How God works in Bad Situations
Updated: May 31
One of the greatest characters in the Old Testament is Joseph. His story is also one of the longest in the Bible and it is found in Genesis chapters 37 to 50. In these chapters, you will notice that people are free to make choices, good or evil, but in the grand scheme of things, it is God who determines the future. Proverbs 16 verse 9 says, “9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” NIV. Joseph’s life was marred by great challenges, deceit, murder plot and cover-up and then rise to power, but in the end, God fulfills his plan.
1. God reveals his plan.
“1Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan. 2 This is the account of Jacob’s family line. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him.” Genesis 37:1-3.
· Joseph is Jacob’s son from his second wife Rachel.
· He was specially favoured by his father over his bothers.
· Jacob made him a lavish robe as a sign of his future leadership in the family.
· God affirmed Jacob’s choice of Joseph through a dream. See Gen. 37:7.
· In the Old Testament, God reveals himself and his plans through dreams. See Genesis 15:13; 28:10-22.
2. God predetermines the course of history.
“19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other.20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” 21 When Reubenheard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. 22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Genesis 37:19-22.
· Joseph’s brothers planned his murder and cover-up.
· No matter what choices people make, either good or evil, they all fit into God’s plan.
· By God’s sovereignty, He used their evil intent to direct Joseph’s life.
· God involves Himself with the affairs of the earth.
· God used Reuben and Judah to change their evil plan.
· In Gen. 39, Joseph was sold to Potiphar and became in-charge of the official’s household.
3. God directs the steps of His people.
“19 When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger.20 Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison,the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.” Genesis 39:19-23
· The Lord never left Joseph and determined his fate.
· God used the most unexpected person to elevate him in a position of influence.
· While in jail, God providentially presented an opportunity to interpret the dream of a king’s cup bearer.
· After the cup bearer’s release from prison, he providentially remembered Joseph when the king had a troublesome dream.
· Joseph rose to become the governor of the whole Egypt.
· Many came to Joseph to buy food during the great famine.
· His brothers came to buy from Egypt and bow down to Joseph.
· God used Joseph to save many lives and to preserve Israel.