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Providence is one of the hardest concepts to understand in the Bible, yet it is taught, without any doubt. When Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, they did not have anything in mind other than ridding themselves of a “nuisance” and making a little extra money. Though Joseph handled the situation very well, working in Potiphar’s house, rising to importance in prison, and eventually coming to be second in the kingdom, he did not—at the moment his brothers sold him—have a grand plan for saving his brothers from a future famine.

However, after all of these things had passed and Joseph could look back on this cumulation of events, he told his brothers, “Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life” (Genesis 45:5). Joseph did not mean to excuse the wrong that his brothers committed, but he did see the bigger picture: that events had turned out well in the long run, despite what had appeared to be a situation from which nothing good could come.

Providence does not interfere with nature. It is God using natural means to accomplish His will. Though we can never know for sure when something is providential, even in hindsight, we should always look back upon events to see the good that came from them instead of dwelling on the bad.

Kevin Rhodes
Brown Trail church of Christ
Bedford, TX

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