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God has for good plans for you, but it’s no guarantee your life will be easy. Genesis says God had an important purpose for Joseph, but this young man found himself used, abused, and accused. During his hard life Joseph may have wondered if God had forgotten him, but still he saw the Lord’s guiding hand as life unfolded. In this series, you’ll learn to see that same guiding hand in your life.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good . . .” (Genesis 50:20).
Have you ever been right but handled it poorly? Usually it’s worse than being wrong and handling it well. That’s what happened to a 17-year-old from Canaan. God gave Joseph a glimpse of his future through some mysterious dreams. Unfortunately, Joseph didn’t handle it well when he shared these dreams with his family, and as a result, his brothers “hated him all the more.” Still, despite the family’s dysfunction, God’s purpose moved forward.
Genesis 37:14c-20, 25-28
Has it ever seemed that your life has taken a detour and there was no way to get it back on track? Joseph believed he was chosen by God for great things, and maybe he imagined this greatness was just around the corner. Poor Joseph had no idea what strange turns his life would take. Still a teenager, he found himself far from home, a slave in a foreign land. Could God’s hand be still be guiding him?
When you do what’s right, God’s supposed to bless you. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? And it did work that way for Joseph – for a while – until someone accused him falsely out of spite. Before he knew it, he was convicted and imprisoned. His dreams of great things were gone. But never say it’s over if God is still in the picture.
Genesis 40:1-15, 23
Have you ever gotten your hopes up only to find them dashed? That can be harder than never hoping at all. Joseph’s in prison, making the most of a bad situation, when he sees an opportunity to improve his fortunes. But the person who’s supposed to help him forgets all about him. Has God forgotten him, too? How do you keep hoping when hope is delayed?
Does it ever seem that your original dream has been swapped for another? Joseph’s been sold into slavery, falsely imprisoned, and forgotten by someone he helped. Now he gets his chance. After interpreting Pharaoh’s dream, he becomes Egypt’s second in command, charged with saving an entire nation from starvation. But what does this have to do with the original dream God gave him?
Genesis 45:1-8; 47:11-21
The people God uses for his purposes may have hidden flaws – unknown even to themselves. Joseph recognized God’s guiding hand in his life, allowing his family to be saved. They were given the best land in Egypt to settle. But Joseph also consolidated Pharaoh’s power during the famine and reduced the Egyptians to poverty and servitude. Would this inequity lead to Egyptian hostility toward the descendants of Israel?