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He cares about the world, and he gets involved. Thankful people like Joseph see this, and they acknowledge the hand of God in history. God was working in Joseph’s life, but also in the lives of the whole Egyptian population and many other peoples of the world. God’s providence is not limited to His people, but extends as far as His love, which includes the whole world. The result was that the Egyptians were thankful for God’s providence, and they became a blessing to God’s people, and made it possible for them to enjoy a happy ending of these final chapters of Genesis.

If you read the autobiography of any person who is humble about their blessings in life, you will read things like this, which is taken from the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin: “and now I speak of thanking God, I desire with all humility to acknowledge that I owe the mentioned happiness of my pass life to His kind providence, which led me to the means I used and gave them success.” This is precisely the spirit of Joseph, and should be the spirit of every person who has achieved any goal they are grateful for, for it is only by the providence of God that there is any success.

The first English settlement in America was in Jamestown, Virginia. It was a disaster. Nine out of every ten people who set sail for this new world colony would die the first year. In 1610 the survivors decided to abandon the new world. They all got on their ships and were on their way when the sails of the large ship Deliverance appeared. Lord De La Warr had been sent to be the new governor, and he urged them to return to the abandon town. He knelt on that land which had been so unkind and thanked God for bringing them there safely. Had he been just a little later all of history would have been different, and all the people would have died, for they only had food on their ship to get them a third of the way back to England. They had an immediate service of thanksgiving for God’s providence in saving the project. It was still a long hard struggle, but the project was saved, and the history of America was radically altered because the hand of God intervened in history.

The examples are numerous, but let me share one more before we move on. Benedict Arnold was in charge of West Point during the Revolutionary War. He plotted with the British to betray his country and let the British take West Point, which would have been a major victory. Major John Andre was their contact man. Arnold sent secret plans of the fortification of West Point through him. He was dressed as a civilian, and the plan should have been fool proof. But Andre had the bad luck of mistaking an American patrol for a British patrol. He let it slip that he was a British officer, and he was immediately searched. They found the plans in the heel of his shoe. This was not enough to foul up the plan, however, for they sent the prisoner to Benedict Arnold to explain how he happen to have such plans.

It just happened that Major Ben Tallmage, Washington’s Chief of  Intelligence was in the area. He put two and two together, and although Arnold escaped to a British ship, West Point was saved and General Washington saw the hand of God again in the history of our land. He reported to the American people, and I quote, “Treason of the blackest dye was yesterday discovered….The providential train of circumstances which led to it affords the most convincing truth that the liberties of America are the objects of divine protection.”

When the war finally ended with the British surrender, George Washington said, “The hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worst than a infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.” The more you know of history in the Bible and outside of it, the more you know that you have an endless obligation to thank God for His providence. Everything we have to be grateful for in America is ours, not because we are worthy, but because of the providence of God. The happy ending of Joseph and his brothers was not reward for their righteousness, but it was grace, and they had an obligation to be forever grateful for the providence of God.

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