I love a happy ending. Many modern movies and stories are developed through flashbacks and moving through time as if there is something wrong with telling a story from beginning to end in chronological order. I wouldn’t say I like the artsy way the current producers and writers feel it’s more creative to include a bunch of flashbacks in their stories and movies. I guess I’m old-fashioned. I’m also disappointed in many of the endings of some of the stories you see and hear today. The “Perfect Storm” is an example. If everybody dies in the storm, including Robert Redford, who is left to tell the story? Some say today that “happy endings only happen in fairy tales.” Hogwash! Joseph is a story told from beginning to end and has the happiest ending imaginable. Not only does Joseph’s early childhood dreams come true as he rules not Just over Egypt, but in effect, over the whole known world, but also he saves his entire family and much of the world from the famine, and he is reunited with his family. He is a true life hero and doesn’t need a cape. Here’s the best part: His brothers plotted his murder and sold him as a slave. He had every reason to, and justification, to strike back in vengeance and “get even” or “ahead.” But that would not have constituted a happy ending at all.

But instead, he tested their repentance. He recognized that they were sorry for their deed and had changed because now they would not desert their little brother Benjamin. Joseph wept with joy and fell upon them! That means he hugged and kissed them all! But the real happy ending is Joseph’s recognition of God’s hand in it all! In his complete forgiveness of them, Joseph says, “But don’t be upset and don’t be angry with yourselves.” This was because Joseph was not angry with them. He goes on in 45:5, “It was God who sent me here.” In 47, he says, “It was God.” In 48, he repeats, “So it was God.” And they lived happily ever after! Well, as much as you can in a sinful world. Seeing God’s hand in all the events of your life and knowing that God will work all things together for good is essential to living happily ever after regardless of the circumstances of your life. Joseph did not diminish what the brothers did. Yet he saw that God’s purpose in it all was more significant than the brothers’ evil. I’ve preached several sermons with the key verse being Jeremiah 29:11: “I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I know some argue that it’s not for believers today. It was written to tell the exiles in Babylon that God would restore them to their land after 70 years. If the Bible is only interpreted like that, it might just as well be relegated to ancient history. God is not only interested in world history, but he is interested in you and me.

Guzik writes, “All Joseph’s sorrows were for a purpose. God used them to preserve his family and provide the conditions to become a nation. Joseph was a victim of men, but God turned it around for His glory. None of it was for a loss. If this family did not go into Egypt, then they would assimilate among the pagan tribes of Canaan and cease to become distinctive people. God had to put them in a place where they could grow yet remain a distinctive nation. Years ago, Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote a remarkably wide-selling book titled When Bad Things Happen to Good People. It sold more than half a million copies before going to paperback and was on the New York Times best-seller list for a whole year. The whole point of his book was to say God is all-loving but not all-powerful; that God is good but not sovereign. So, when bad things happen to good people, it is because events are out of God’s control. Kushner advised his readers to “learn to love [God] and forgive him despite his limitations.” Whatever Kushner described, it was not the God of the Bible; the God displayed in Joseph’s life. Joseph realized God ruled his life, not good men, not evil men, not circumstances, or fate. God was in control, and because God was in control, all things worked together for good.”1. I don’t see any other way to read the Bible! If God is for us, no one and nothing can stand against us in the long run.

1 David Guzik, Genesis, David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible (Santa Barbara, CA: David Guzik, 2013), Ge 45:4–8.