Summary: Romans 8:28 is often quoted when someone has turmoil in their lives. We may hear it but do we believe it? This sermon looks at the life of Joseph and Paul and disects Romans 8:28
There was a king in Africa who had a faithful servant with a positive attitude about everything that occurred in life. Whether it was good or bad he would always remark, “This is good.”
One day the king and his servant were out on a hunting expedition. The servant would load and prepare the guns for the king. The servant had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his servant, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off. Examining the situation, the servant remarked as usual, "This is good!"
Angrily the king replied, "No, this is not good!" and proceeded to send his friend to jail.
About three years later, the king was hunting in an area unaware of the cannibals around him. The cannibals captured him and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake.
As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone who was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way.
As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his servant. He went immediately to the jail to speak with him.
"You were right," he said, "it was good that my thumb was blown off." And he proceeded to tell the servant all that had just happened. "And so, I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this."
"No," his servant replied, "This is good!"
"What do you mean, ‘This is good’? How could it be good that I sent you to jail for three years?"
"Because if I had not been in jail, I would have been with you. And I am whole. This is good"
Today I want us to study Romans 8:28. It is a very well known scripture. It is a scripture often quoted to relieve the suffering that someone is going through. But it is also a scripture that may be hard to understand in the midst of our struggles. Let’s read Romans 8:28. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
The Bible is filled with stories of people who faced hardships in their lives, like Job who lost everything in order for others to be taught a lesson.
In the Old Testament, we are told the story of a young boy named Joseph. He had dreams of the day coming when his older brothers, his mother, and his father would bow before him. His father was offended. His brothers were jealous. They concocted a plan to get rid of him. It began as a plan to murder him. It ended as a plan to sell him into slavery. One must wonder if Joseph thought this was a good thing that was happening to him. Probably not. Joseph ended up in Egypt in the house of a Pharaoh official named Potiphar.
While there, things went well for Joseph. He became a house slave. Everything he did was successful. Joseph became Potiphar’s attendant. He was placed in charge of the household and all that Potiphar owned. Potiphar’s wealth grew through the blessing of Joseph. For Joseph, this was good.
One-day Potiphar’s wife became attracted to Joseph. She was constantly trying to seduce him. He refused because he knew it would be a sin against God and a betrayal of trust that his master had placed in his hands. So she set him up and screamed attempted rape. Joseph, although innocent, was thrown into prison. Do you think he thought, “This is good?”
While in prison, Joseph met two members of the Pharaoh’s staff who had also been imprisoned; his chief cupbearer and his chief baker. Each had a dream that Joseph interpreted. The chief cupbearer would be restored to his position. The chief baker would be executed. Joseph asked the cupbearer to mention him to Pharaoh so he could be released. A glimmer of hope was there and this was good.
But Joseph was forgotten for two years. One must wonder how many times did he think during those two years “This is good.”
After two years had passed, the Pharaoh began having dreams that disturbed him. None of his wise men could interpret the dreams. It was then that the cupbearer remembered Joseph. So he told the Pharaoh about him. The Pharaoh sent for Joseph and he interpreted his dreams. Joseph warned of an upcoming famine and the steps necessary to survive. The Pharaoh was so impressed that he placed Joseph second in command of all of Egypt. This was good. And it was because of this that Joseph would be able to save his brothers and his father through the famine.