1. Many believe God sets up circumstances, does things to us, to test us, teach us, see how we will react, etc. — but, that is incorrect.
a. Yes, but God allows them, some would say.
b. God allows people to sin and go to hell — that doesn’t mean He wills it, is for it, or is behind it in any way.
c. He allows men their free will choices and all the resulting consequences.
2. Joseph’s circumstances were the result of life in a sin – cursed earth, not God playing with him. John 16:33
a. In this sin-cursed earth, moths and rust corrupt. Gen 3:17,18; Matt 6:19
b. We interact with free will sinners who are influenced by satan. Eph 2:1-3
c. We have an adversay whom we must resist steadfast in the faith. I Pet 5:8,9
3. What happened to Joseph has the fingerprints of satan inspired sinners all over it. John 8:44; 10:10
a. His brothers planned to kill him and then lie about it. They stole years of his life by selling him into slavery.
b. Potiphar’s wife did likewise.
4. We must always read the OT in light of the NT.
a. Acts 7:9,10 tells us that what happened to Joseph was affliction.
b. satan is identified as the source of affliction and his goal is destruction. I Pet 5:8,9
c. Acts 7:9,10 tells us God was with Joseph and delivered him.
d. Remember, God good, devil bad. God and the devil are not working together. John 10:10; Matt 12:24-26
5. Some might ask: Why doesn’t the Bible say the devil did it?
a. The Bible is progressive revelation. The OT men did not have the light on satan and his activities as we do in the NT.
b. The devil is directly mentioned only a few times in the OT.
6. Some say God sets up circumstances such as Joseph’s to test us.
a. No, circumstances are the result of life in a sin – cursed earth, men’s free will choices, and satan’s activities. Mark 4:14-17; Matt 13:18-21
b. God’s test in the circumstance is His Word — will you continue to believe Him / obey Him despite what you see?
c. Joseph’s test was God’s Word in the circumstance. Would Joseph continue to believe God’s promises despite what he could see: no one bowing down to him; him out of the promised land. Ps 105:19
7. God is not “putting Joseph through all this”; God is using all this for maximum glory and maximun good.
a. Some say: Bad happened to me; God must have been behind it because good came out of it.
b. God didn’t send the evil, He used it. That’s what Rom 8:28 is all about.
8. Remember, God has a will and a plan for our lives.
a. His will = blessing, sonship, conformity to the image of Christ.
b. His plan = what He does with our free will choices; how He uses the choices people make to bring His will to pass.
9. We see this clearly in Joseph’s life.
a. God’s will = the promised land and greatness.
b. God’s plan = how He used the choices everyone made to bring His will to pass.
10. God can take what the devil means for evil, what others mean for evil, the circumstances that result from life in a sin – cursed earth, and cause them all to serve His purpose and bring great good.
a. That is what God did for Joseph during the waiting period.
b. In Joseph’s case, everything happened at the right time — although it didn’t seem like it during the waiting period.
11. Joseph recognized that God was so in control of the situation (had everything under control), he was able to say: it is as though God sent me to Egypt.
a. Gen 45:5,7 — God didn’t send Joseph; his wicked brothers did.
1. Acts 7:10 — Joseph’s condition is called affliction, from which God delivered him.
2. But God used it all to bring idol worshippers to Him, and to save Joseph and his family from starving along with thousands of others.
b. Gen 50:20 — Joseph was able to say: “As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil; for He brought me to this high position I have today so that I could save the lives of many people.” (Living)
12. Joseph could look back at the end of the story and see God at work in his circumstances, causing it to serve His purposes and bring maximum good.