The Hand of God
by Alistair Begg
Joseph’s birth is recorded in Genesis 30:23-24, and he is mentioned several times in subsequent chapters. But we are introduced to him in depth when he is seventeen years old, a young man tending the flocks of his father, Jacob, with his brothers (Gen. 37:2). Between this notice and the record of Joseph’s death ninety-three years later at the age of 110 (50:26), we have the details of a truly amazing life presented to us in biblical Technicolor.
The story of Joseph is a tale of jealousy, deceit, slavery, misrepresentation, injustice, lust, rivalry, and forgiveness. It pits brother against brother. We encounter imprisonment and deep trials that do not produce self-pity, and prosperity that does not bring the accompanying pride.
Joseph’s life encompasses all of this and more—and in it all, the overarching theme is that of the sovereign hand of God manifesting itself in His providential care over His dearly loved children and bringing about all that He has purposed in the affairs of time.
Joseph’s life ought to be for us a story of great encouragement and reassurance as we make our way in the walk of faith, carrying with us the baggage of our past, the fears of our present, and the prospects of our future. We are sometimes tempted to wonder in the midst of all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle of life, Does God care? Is God in control? And if so, what might we expect?
We don’t know if Joseph asked those questions before he was seventeen. We will see that his early life did include a great amount of turmoil, in large part because his father’s past was catching up with him. But if Joseph never had reason to wonder what God was doing in his life, all of that changed when he turned seventeen.
Alistair Begg was born in Scotland and spent the first 30 years of life in the United Kingdom. Since September of 1983, he has been the senior pastor at Parkside Church in suburban Cleveland, Ohio. During this time he has been increasingly involved in an international ministry of teaching and evangelism.