God gave a promise to Abraham
After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord God , what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
Genesis 15:1-5 KJV
Genesis 21-26 God is faithful to that promise
Isaac was born 25 years
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord , thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Jeremiah 29:11 KJV 700 years after
For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
2 Corinthians 1:20 KJV
Are we willing to wait 25 years for God to fulfill His promise? 200 years? 400 years?
No matter what the circumstances are, God is all powerful; God is sovereign.
And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the whole
use of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.
Genesis 39:2-6 KJV
But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.
Genesis 39:21-23 KJV
God is still doing the same thing. He is still working in the midst of sin and injustice and blessing Joseph. God is still sovereign.
And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.
Genesis 40:8 KJV
And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.
Genesis 41:32 KJV
Who is in charge, not only of Joseph, but Egypt and everything? It is still God. There is not even a shadow of doubt, despite everything that has happened to Joseph, who is in charge of the universe. It is still God. God is sovereign, He will accomplish His purposes, He will keep His promises in His way and in His time.
Even in the midst of horrible sin and horrible injustice, what you and I mean for sin, God in His omnipotence and sovereignty means for good.
This is the primary message of Genesis in this story of Joseph: What humans meant for sin, God meant for good.
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 50:19-20 KJV
I. God is all powerful
But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.
Psalms 115:3 KJV
II. God keeps His promises in spite of evil around us
God’s sovereignty allows Him to keep His promises, even in the midst of human sin. I think it is easy to understand or to think about God’s sovereignty when everything is good. It is something else when things are bad.
1. God does not do evil. He did not make Joseph’s brothers sell him into captivity. He did not make Potiphar’s wife lie.
Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity. For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways. Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment.
Job 34:10-12 KJV
2. God holds the sinful party responsible
The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.
Matthew 26:24 KJV
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
James 1:13 KJV
He is so wise, that He can work in the midst of human sin to accomplish His purposes.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Romans 8:28-29 KJV
God never loses control. Our actions of sin never thwart what God wants to accomplish. And God is so sovereign that He has promised us that no matter what happens, he is at work in the midst to accomplish His good and His good is that you look like His Son, Jesus Christ.
III. God calls us to faith
You and I are called to confess that when life seems out of control, faith says God is in control. Like Joseph we are called to trust in God, to look beyond the immediate and believe that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do. And God has said, “I will reward righteousness. I will punish wickedness.” You and I are called to believe that in His way and in His time, he will do exactly that. And you know, the cool thing is that we do not have to understand it at all. God does not call us to understand everything; He simply calls us to believe everything.
Christians are thinking people. But what pleases God at the innermost part of His being is not that you and I understand Him, but that you and I trust Him, (Heb. 11 6)believe in Him, have faith in Him, especially in the difficult times of life.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord . For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9 KJV
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
Romans 11:33-34 KJV
This is not the greatest story of injustice in the history of the world. God worked in the midst of human sin when they killed His perfect Son. That is the greatest injustice that has ever been perpetrated in all of reality. And if God can work in the midst of that kind of depravity and in that kind of sin, He can work in the midst of your life and mine. The question of Joseph is simply: Do you believe that God is sovereign? That is the question. Do you believe with all your heart