And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spoke unto him. And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Genesis 50:15-20
In the above passage, we see that God took a situation that man meant for evil and turned it around and used it for good. I was listening to a podcast of Alistair Begg and he mentioned how Paul was under house arrest for over two years at the end of the book of Acts.
And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him. And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had aught to accuse my nation of. For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain. And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came showed or spake any harm of thee. But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against. And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Isaiah the prophet unto our fathers, Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves. And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him. Acts 28:16-31
During this time, Paul was able to have visitors and preached the gospel to them. Alistair Begg also mentioned that no doubt Paul did not have the same Roman soldiers keep watch over him for the entire two years. Paul probably had many different soldiers guarding him during that time. When he said that, I remembered that several years ago I had read that parts of Northern Europe were evangelized by a Roman soldier who was converted during Paul’s ministry. The imprisonment of Paul was an attempt by the Jews to silence him – to keep him from spreading the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. What they intended for evil, God used for good. The Jews’ attempt at stopping the gospel resulted in the fulfillment of Acts 1:8 and the gospel being taken to the uttermost parts of the earth!
That got me thinking. What else have men intended for evil, but God used for good? A couple of years ago, I commented that the problem the U.S. is having with illegal immigrants and them not wanting to learn English could be an attempt by Satan to destroy our country. Our country has been used mightily by God in the spreading of the gospel (although it is not the same as it once was). If Satan could divide our country in language and culture (as has already happened in many other areas), certainly it would weaken us. Satan saw how different languages confounded those building the tower of Babel and they could not complete their task. He could be using that to confound our country. So what good could God be working in all this?
Spanish is a language that is spoken by many people worldwide – I think it lags behind only Chinese and English. Most of the countries where Spanish is the primary language are dominated by Catholicism. Could God be using this influx of Spanish-speaking people into our country to see them saved and then take the gospel to their homelands and other Spanish-speaking nations? Is God preparing a great awakening of Spanish nations? Is this not a great evangelistic opportunity?