The Payout for Patience
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God
meant it for good, to
bring it about that many people should be kept
alive.” (Genesis 50:20)
The story of Joseph in Genesis 37–50 is a great
lesson in why we should have
faith in the sovereign future grace of God.
Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers, which
must have tested his
patience tremendously. But he is given a good job
in Potiphar’s household.
Then, when he is acting uprightly in the unplanned
place of obedience,
Potiphar’s wife lies about his integrity and has
him thrown into prison —
another great trial to his patience.
But again things turn for the better, and the
prison keeper gives him
responsibility and respect. But just when he
thinks he is about to get a
reprieve from Pharaoh’s cupbearer, whose dream he
interpreted, the cupbearer
forgets him for two more years.
Finally, the meaning of all these detours and
delays becomes clear. Joseph
says to his long-estranged brothers, “God sent me
before you to preserve for
you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you
many survivors. . . . As
for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant
it for good, to bring it
about that many people should be kept alive”
(Genesis 45:7; 50:20).
What would have been the key to patience for
Joseph during all those long
years of exile and abuse? The answer is: faith in
future grace — the
sovereign grace of God to turn the unplanned place
and the unplanned pace
into the happiest ending imaginable.
By John Piper. ©2015 Desiring God Foundation.