Inside View Nov/Dec 2014
After Joseph’s brothers were reunited with him in Egypt, they began worrying he might seek revenge because they had sold him into slavery many years earlier. But Joseph encouraged them not to fear, assuring them their evil actions had placed him where God intended him to be.
Joseph’s beautiful testimony to the greatness of God must have dumbfounded them: “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Gen. 50:20).
Evil cannot thwart God. He and He alone is able to work through it to accomplish His good.
The world witnessed this amazing aspect of God over the summer as a major conflict unfolded between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group dedicated to annihilating the Jewish state.
As I left the United States for Israel in June, news came of the abduction of three Israeli teens in Hebron. Grave concern permeated Israel as it launched a massive manhunt to locate the boys. Finally, after almost three weeks of searching, their shallow graves were discovered. The nation mourned the senseless murders, and Israel immediately identified Hamas as the perpetrator.
Then a second tragedy befell Israel when an Arab teen was abducted and murdered by overzealous young Israelis seeking revenge. Israel quickly identified those responsible and rounded them up to face justice.
Hamas’s response was to fire rockets from Gaza into Israel. Though Israel implored Hamas to de-escalate the violence, Hamas stepped it up, increasing the number of rockets it fired.
On July 8, Israel had no choice but to begin Operation Protective Edge to secure the border between Gaza and Israel and end the continuous attacks.
Eventually, Israel sent ground troops into Gaza to destroy the underground tunnels Hamas had been building for four years. Israel located and destroyed 32 tunnels, 14 of which terminated in or near Israeli communities.
As Israel began interrogating captured Hamas terrorists, Hamas’s diabolical plan began unfolding: It was planning to send hundreds of heavily armed terrorists into Israel through the tunnels to kill thousands of unsuspecting Israeli men, women, and children on September 24 and 25, during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Hamas also planned to keep some alive and take them back through the tunnels into Gaza as hostages.
There is no way to justify the evil committed against the three Israeli boys or diminish the loss felt by their families. But what Hamas meant for evil, God used for good to save many Jewish lives. Hamas’s capture of the teens initiated the event that led to the conflict that allowed the tunnels to be discovered and destroyed, preventing thousands of Israeli deaths.
Just as in Joseph’s day, our infinite and amazing God is above all; and no one can oppose or stand against Him.
As we enter the season of thanksgiving and celebrate the birth of our Savior, let us not forget that the greatest evil ever committed was the crucifixion of the unblemished Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Of all the people ever born throughout history, He was the only one who did not deserve to die. Yet God took that great act of evil against His only begotten Son—an evil of which we are all guilty—and used it for the greatest good: the atonement of sins for all who accept His marvelous gift of grace.
To God be the glory.