Although my study of the book of Genesis has been completed in my bible study fellowship, I am still amazed by the stories I learned. Just like most of the BSF members, my initial understanding of Genesis was that it is mainly about God’s creation of everything. But after studying it, I realized that the creation story is only described in the first three chapters. There are many more lessons I can learn and apply to my daily life, even from stories that happened thousands of years ago.
One key thing I observed from the study is that God can always turn bad things into good. For example, Jacob cheated Esau and stole the firstborn blessing from Isaac, which led to Jacob’s later suffering of leaving his home and laboring for Laban for 14 years. However, during this journey, Jacob encountered God many times, and when he returned to Canaan, God has already blessed him with many children and countless livestock. His blessing was much more than his suffering.
We can observe the same thing from Joseph’s life. Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob, he must have lived a very comfortable life. However, he was sold by his brothers to Egypt as a slave. No families around, no proper food, no proper shelter, laboring day by day. Even when his situation became slightly better (becoming the chief steward in Potiphar’s house), he then went to jail because of false accusations. When he was in jail, although there was a chance he could get out earlier, he was forgotten by the cupbearer.
So how did God make all things good? We can see, from those experiences, Joseph learned the etiquette of the Egyptians and God also gave him the ability of dream interpretation. And all these made him the second-in-command in Egypt. And this was not the end, because of Joseph’s strategy, God’s people were saved from the global famine and Joseph also reunited with his family.
At the end of Genesis, Joseph’s words summarized this point:
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 5:20, NIV)
Romans 8:28 (NIV) says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
In our current situation, with the COVID-19 pandemic having swept the whole world, many people have lost their jobs, their loved ones, or even their lives. Panic and fear fills everyone’s hearts; all kinds of restrictions bring many inconveniences to our lives. But as Christians, let us not lose Hope but believe that “in all things, God works for the good”. No matter what happens, let us depend on our Lord Jesus and continue to follow Him.
By brother Joseph Li Jie