Right through the Bible runs the idea of a ‘remnant’. It is a story of the grace, mercy and faithfulness of God. Even when most people choose to go their own way, God ensures that there are always those – the remnant – who remain true to him.
v 7 God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors.
What a rollercoaster of a life Joseph experienced! From the loving security of his family down to slavery in Egypt; then to a position of responsibility in an Egyptian household and down again to prison; finally up again to be Pharaoh’s right hand man. Yet it seems that through it all he had a sense of God’s direction and purpose for him. His is not a story of the wicked brothers who wanted him out of the way, nor of a persistent flirt who wanted him in bed; it is a story of God’s faithful purposes being worked out to preserve this family from which the nation of Israel would spring.
In spite of the treatment meted out to him Joseph had this bigger picture in front of him; the God of his fathers had a good purpose for him, I’m sure he had no idea at the outset how it would all work out, but once his brothers appeared in front of him the jigsaw of life began to take shape.
Very many of us can look back on life and see how God had his hand on us at different stages, bringing us right through to the present moment. As young people we had no idea of God’s plan, but we were committed to following him, and now look with amazement at the point to which he has brought us.
The plan is bigger than just us however! God’s big plan is to keep a people for himself, witnessing to his grace and majesty, down through the ages. Even when the number of faithful followers was small, he protected what the bible refers to as a remnant – keeping faith and hope in God alive.