January 27

Genesis 50:19-20 (NIV) 19But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Once Joseph's father had died, his brothers thought Joseph might now get even with them. They pretended that their father's last words were, "Please forgive your brothers." The Scripture today is Joseph's response. Joseph knew that only God could judge and reward men for their actions. He left all judgment to God and assured his brothers that he would not take any action himself.

Then he went on to tell us a wonderful truth. God can take what man intends for evil and use it to save lives. The brothers had malice, envy and greed in their hearts, but God used the action they took to get Joseph into Egypt. He used a lustful wife to get him into prison. He used an ungrateful butler to tell Pharaoh about a man who could interpret dreams. God does not author the evil, or condone it, but He uses the consequences of the actions to serve His purposes. All things do work together for good to those that love God and are called according to his purposes (Romans 8:28).

In this story we see the omnipotence and sovereignty of God. He can use even the evil in the world to serve His purposes. What an amazing God! We do not need to fear that evil is out of control. God is on the throne of heaven. Though man sins against God and against us, our God can use it to bless our lives and the lives of others. Don't be discouraged. Our God is over all and will use all things to bring glory to Himself. His glory fills the earth. Trust His all-powerful hand to bring about good in whatever situation you are facing.

Meditation: God is never caught off guard by the evil of man. He causes all things to glorify Him.

January 27

Matthew 3:16-17 (NIV) 16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

The Spirit of God had revealed to John the Baptist that he would see the Spirit descend in the form of a dove upon the Messiah. That was to be the sign by which John would know he had found the Lamb of God. Even before this happened, he somehow knew Jesus was the One. When Jesus asked to be baptized, John said that he would rather Jesus baptize him. Remember, John had been declaring that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. But Jesus, our perfect example in all things, insisted that John baptize Him. John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. The only reason that Jesus would be baptized is in obedience to the Father. He had nothing of which to repent. Since the Father instructed Him to do so, He insisted that it was necessary to fulfill all righteousness.

Once John baptized Him, the sign that John had been watching for came to pass. In addition, a voice came from heaven! John must have needed these confirmations because Jesus' calling was so radically different from John's. John ate a strict diet. Jesus ate and drank freely. John isolated himself in the wilderness. Jesus mingled with every kind of people. This contrast may have caused John to doubt, for when he was in prison he sent word to Jesus asking him if He was indeed the Messiah.

The voice also commended the Lord for His obedience. Jesus, being all God and yet all man, may have wondered if the Father was indeed pleased with Him, since He was led to the baptism of John, that of repentance. But He was indeed walking in continual obedience, and so the Father audibly confirmed He was His loved Son with Whom He was well pleased.

Consider: If you are ever tempted to think God is not pleased with you, remember, if you are in the Son, He is well pleased with you.