God’s Plan Is Greater Than Man’s
“God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.” – Genesis 45:7 NASB
These two chapters contain one of my favorite stories in the entire Bible. It is an amazing picture of the sovereignty of God and His amazing behind-the-scenes control over the affairs of men. We have seen all that has happened in the life of Joseph up until this point. Born into a large, God-fearing family, Joseph is loved by his father, but despised by his own brothers. Out of jealousy over his father’s inordinate affection, they plan to murder their brother, but then decide to sell him to slave traders at the last minute. Then they spend years covering up their act with lies, leaving their father believing his favorite son was killed by an animal of some kind. Joseph is carried to Egypt and sold on the auction block and ends up in the home of Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s bodyguard. But even in that, we saw that the Lord was with Joseph. He was watching over him. It was no coincidence that he ended up in Potiphar’s house. There he would encounter Potiphar’s wife, a woman who would attempt to seduce Joseph into committing adultery with her. But he refused, causing her to falsely accuse him of attempted rape. He ended up in prison, but not just ANY prison. He was placed in the prison where the prisoners of Pharaoh were confined. Yet another example of God’s sovereign hand in the affairs of Joseph’s life. And there in that prion, Joseph would meet two men who worked directly for Pharaoh. Joseph would end up interpreting their dreams – a skill Joseph demonstrated no where else before. God gave him that ability during his time in jail. One of those men was released and two years later would recommend Joseph as a possible interpreter for Pharaoh’s disturbing dreams. So Joseph ends up in the court of Pharaoh himself. And after providing Pharaoh with the meaning of his dreams and a recommended course of action, Joseph ends up as the second highest official in the land of Egypt! In that position he would orchestrate a huge relief effort designed to feed the nation and protect them through seven years of drought.
And in all that had happened to Joseph, he recognized the unmistakable hand of God. He told his brothers, “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance” (Genesis 45:7 NASB). He assured them, “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt” (Genesis 45:8 NASB). Joseph’s entire life was a picture of the sovereign hand of God. It had not been easy. It had been filled with trials and difficulties, but God was there, working behind the scenes to bring about just the right outcome at just the right time.
The sovereign will of God is hard for us to grasp. Yet the Scriptures assure us of its reality. “You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail” (Proverbs 19:21 NLT). “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps” (Proverbs 16:9 NLT). God is in control. He is ALWAYS in control. He says of Himself, “What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do” (Isaiah 46:11 NIV). And nowhere do you see that better illustrated than in the life of Joseph. God’s plans for Joseph had been in place long before he arrived in Egypt as a slave. His brothers formulated their plan to sell their brother, but God’s plan trumped theirs. God is able to use even what was meant for evil to accomplish His divine will. At the end of his life, Joseph would remind his brothers of his belief in the sovereign will of God: “As for you, you meant to harm me, but God intended it for a good purpose, so he could preserve the lives of many people, as you can see this day.” (Genesis 50:20 NET). Our God is sovereign. He reigns over the affairs of men. He rules over all creation and all created things. He holds everything in His hands and has the power to do with it what He alone desires. His plans cannot be derailed, defeated, or delayed. He will do what He has set out to do. And even the mistakes, sinful reactions, and ungodly plans of men cannot alter His plans for even a moment. God is never worried. God is never surprised. God is never fearful that His plans might fail. Because He knows, “What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do” (Isaiah 46:11 NIV).
Father, what an assuring passage this should be to me. That you are in complete control of the affairs of men. You have a plan for my life and nothing I or anyone else can do will thwart that plan. You can even use my mistakes and sinful actions in such a way that Your will for me is still accomplished. I don’t always know how, but I know You do. You move in ways I cannot see. You act behind the scenes – invisible to my eyes, but intimately involved in my life each day. What you have planned for me, You will do. Thank You! Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men