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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Joseph: God Uses Evil for Good"

September 13, 2004

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“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20

Evil stops us. Others treat us unfairly. We try hard but receive little recognition. Power-hungry people use us and then discard us. How easy to grow cynical and depressed!

Joseph could have felt that way. Certainly evil attacked him at every point. He was left in a pit by his brothers and sold as a slave to traders. A slave in Egypt, he was thrown into prison when he refused the advances of Potiphar’s wife. But we don’t find Joseph complaining against God or growing bitter toward others. He served faithfully in Potiphar’s household. In prison he gained trust and respect. When the time came, he was ready to help the country through a famine and bring his family to Egypt.

How often we permit problems and troubles to consume, discourage, and destroy us! Unlike Joseph, we complain and grow bitter. We forget to trust God and fail to obey Him.

Near the end of his life, Joseph’s brothers beg forgiveness for the evil they have inflicted on him. In tears, Joseph tells them, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Joseph recognized God’s loving hand in his life. God used evil for good.

Turn from Joseph to Jesus. See Him as One surrounded by evil – tempted in the wilderness by Satan, opposed angrily and unfairly by the scribes and Pharisees, convicted and crucified unjustly by Pontius Pilate. Yet He faithfully trusted the Father, lived obediently, and died to defeat the combined forces of evil. God used evil for good.

He has a plan for your life too. He promises His constant presence. And He wants to use you to carry out His plan for the salvation of the world. God uses evil for good.

PRAYER: Dear God, help us to see how You use evil for good in our lives, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

(Devotions from “My Daily Devotion” by Dr. Stephen J. Carter, copyright 1988 CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For ordering information, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit

Today's Bible Readings: Isaiah 7-8    Acts 20:17-38

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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