1. Joseph had some specific promises from God:The promised land for him and his descendants. Gen 28:13 The promise of greatness. Gen 37:5-9
2. Joseph’s brothers (hated and envied him) decided to kill Joseph, then changed their minds, and sold him into slavery. Gen 37:4,5,8,11; 20-24; 25-28
3. These brothers were opposition to God’s promises. Gen 37:20
a. They removed Joseph from the land, and demoted him to slavery.
b. That’s life in a sin – cursed earth! The earth is populated by a fallen race who will oppose you and God’s promise on purpose or by accident.
4. God knew the brothers were going to do this to Joseph. Why didn’t He stop it?
a. Men really do have free wills — and their choices produce consequences.
b. The human race, in Adam, chose the knowledge of good and evil, and God is allowing sin and the consequences to run its course. Gen 3:6
1. Man’s 6,000 years on earth will be a monument throughout eternity to what happens when men choose independence from God.
2. Sin and its consequences will not go on forever — only until Jesus returns to earth. And, in eternity, 6,000 years will seem like nothing.
c. God causes mens’ choices to serve His purposes = gather a people for Himself; bring glory to Himself and good to man — that is exactly what God is going to do in Joseph’s situation.
5. Yes, but why did God let Joseph suffer? You must realize, we ask that question strictly from a human, time vantage point.
a. First of all, God does not owe anybody anything. Matt 20:1-16
1. We tend to focus on what we don’t have and didn’t get, instead of being grateful for what God has done.
2. We think in terms of “that’s not fair” and miss the whole point.
a. Fair = everyone goes to hell; everyone gets nothing but punishment.
b. Grace = Because God is good, He chooses to give us good we don’t deserve.
b. Secondly, there is no such thing as an innocent person.
1. We are all born into a fallen race. Eph 2:1-3 — by nature = PHUSIS = lineal descent, disposition, constitution, or usage; children of wrath = people with whom God was angry. (Beck)
2. God says there is none righteous — not one. Rom 3:10-12; Isa 53:6
c. We are time oriented, but, in terms of eternity, 17 years of postponed dreams is nothing. Joseph doesn’t care today!!
1. And, God used the situation for great good = maximum good.
2. And, God was with Joseph in a demonstrable way throughout the waiting period.
6. What if God had stopped the brothers from selling Joseph?
a. Would that have solved his problems with the brothers?
b. What would have happened to all of them — including Joseph — during the famine?
c. What would have happened to Egypt during the famine? (God’s kindness allowed them to live. Ex 9:16; 8:19; 9:20,21)
7. In dealing with questions such as why does God allow suffering, why don’t we see results immediately, you’ve got to recognize and believe:
a. You don’t know everything.
b. God is good and good means good.
c. God owes you nothing; be grateful for all that He has given.
d. The God of all the universe is not, never has been, nor ever will be unfair. Gen 18:25