Humanly speaking, the average individual, when faced with people who have done them such grievous wrong, would likely frown and demand, “Drop to your knees and stay there! You think you know what humiliation is all about. You wait until I’m through with you. I’ve been waiting all these torturous years for this moment!”
But not Joseph. He, too, was a changed man. He was God’s man, which means he was a great man. And so, with the arm of the Lord supporting him, he could look into his brothers’ anxious eyes and say, in all sincerity, “Do not be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me into slavery. It was not you who sent me here, but God. He sent me before you to preserve life.” Allow me a moment to interrupt the flow of events and ask you: Did he operate from the vertical perspective, or what?
“But God!” Those two words change everything.
Joseph could never have spoken such words of reassurance if he had not fully forgiven his brothers. You cannot genuinely embrace a person you’ve not fully forgiven. Joseph did not see his brothers as enemies, because his perspective had been changed. “You didn’t send me here,” he said. “God sent me here. And He sent me here for a reason—to preserve life.”
I love that. In today’s terms: “Men, it wasn’t you who pulled this off; it was God. It was my sovereign Lord who saw far into the future and saw the needs of this world and chose me to be His personal messenger to solve the famine problem of the future. You thought you were doing evil to me. But I’ll tell you, it was God who worked outside your evil intentions to preserve life.”
And he says it again, “Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God.” But God! Underline that. “God sent me.” Joseph was a man who operated his life—continually—with divine perspective.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.