“So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God...” (Genesis 45:8). The Sovereign Plan, or Counsel, of God that operates behind the scenes is incomprehensible for the child of grace.
Solomon wrote, “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand” (Proverbs 19:21). When a child of grace finds himself in a trial, or a valley of adversity, he questions how and why many times. The fatalist says, “It is God’s fault, for He is Sovereign.” The opportunist says it is someone else’s fault. And the man who walks in pride blames God and everyone else for his time of trouble.
There are four things to keep in mind when you ask how and why:
- God is not the Author of your sin (James 1:13-15). It is from your own lust to do evil; and your chastisement is based on your disobedience and His Purpose (Hebrews 12:5-11).
- God’s Secret Will concerning His Appointments He has planned for you are not determined by your sin, but by His own Purpose (Proverbs 19:21; Job 23:13-14).
- (Romans 11:34) “For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?” (Psalms 115:3), “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done (already) whatsoever he hath pleased.” And (Romans 11:33), “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!”
- All trials are not chastisements of God for your sin; but may be a test to prove you, and bring you to perfection (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4) (see John 9:1- ; 11:1-44), that the glory of God be manifested.
However, in the case of Joseph being hated and sold into slavery by his ten brothers, his trial came from their sin of jealousy and envy. They knew that Jacob, their father, loved Joseph above all of the other children. They also hated Joseph for his dream that he would one day reign over them.
But in God’s Secret Will, even though it was because of the ten brothers’ sin of jealousy and envy toward Joseph that they hated Joseph, sold him into slavery to the Ishmaelites who carried him to Egypt, and sold him to Potiphar to be his personal house slave and later to be put into the king’s prison for 13 years; God had sent Joseph to Egypt and not them. God had a plan for Jacob and his 12 sons for all history, to type out His eternal Purpose in Christ Jesus to preserve a posterity in the earth of His covenanted people and to save them by a great deliverance. (See Genesis 45:5, 7b, 8.) His plan was to exalt Joseph to be a ruler with great glory (Genesis 45:13); and for Joseph to nourish his people in the famine (verse 11), to type out Christ, the King of kings, and Provider and Protector for His Seed.
When Joseph revealed himself to his 11 brothers, when they had come the second time to buy grain to not die in the famine, he related to them:
(Genesis 45:5b, 7b, 8 ) “…for God did send me before you to preserve life… (7) …and to save your lives by a great deliverance. (8) So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.”
Joseph did not excuse their sin of jealousy and envy and hatred toward him, but revealed to his brothers the plan of redemption in Joseph (or in Christ Jesus), and daily forgiveness (1 John 1:8-10) on the basis of His Atonement on the cross to His born again people. They deserved to die for their sins, but Joseph (Christ) gave grace and mercy to them based on God’s Eternal Purpose in Christ Jesus.
You may be to the place of giving up in your trial or valley. But please remember God’s forgiveness and mercy in Christ’s Atonement. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Confess your sins, turn to God to serve Him with your entire being, and determine to endure to the end by His Power. Be still and wait on God. Joseph, a type of Christ, had mercy on his brothers and revealed the Plan of God to preserve a posterity, a seed, and to perform a great deliverance for His people. These brothers of Joseph, who hated him, were jealous of him, and put him away from them, found that he turned out to be their preserver of life and their deliverer, temporally and eternally. (See Genesis 50:17-21.)
So Christ was for His Seed, who in their sin hated him, and delivered Him to be crucified. “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends” (Zechariah 13:6). (And see Acts 2:23, 33-38.) But it was the Plan of God for His Seed’s deliverance from the penalty and punishment and power and presence of sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). Thus His Resurrection, the Firstfruits of the Power of God over death, hell, and the grave (1 Corinthians 15:1-58), gives a surety for all His Seed to be raised from their spiritually dead condition. Christ taught us this in John 11:1-44, in the raising of Lazarus, that they might see the Glory of God (verses 4, 25-26, 40). Also on this foundation, Joseph forgave his brothers and provided for them and protected them. And so Christ does for His Sheep daily.
So it was for the ten brothers of Joseph, for Moses, David, and even Job. And it is for you also, no matter your trial, if you are a child of God. (See Romans 8:28-39.) Remember God has a plan that is not controlled by your sin; but controlled by His Purpose in Christ, to Preserve you and bring you to Perfection (John 17:21-26).
Confess your sin today (Psalm 51:1-18; Job 42:6; Genesis 50:17); lift up your head, for God has forgiven you in Christ. Yes, you sinned, yet God had a plan even in your sin. You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. God is behind the scene working all things for His Honor and Glory, and your good (Romans 8:28).
God did not and does not excuse our sin; but forgives us on the basis of our Substitute’s Sacrifice on the cross for our sin debt (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:24-25; Ephesians 1:7.) He therefore shows us grace and mercy and forgiveness upon our confession to Him of our daily sin: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9); just as Joseph did his brothers (Genesis 50:17-20).
Forgiveness is based upon God’s purpose to preserve a people by a great deliverer, and not on the basis of their sin, or even on their confession; for Christ died for us while we were sinners: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8); and enemies; “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Romans 5:10); but on the basis of His Eternal Purpose in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:11).
Child of Grace, even in your present state of sin and rebellion to Joseph (or Christ), confess your sins, submit to Christ; and you will experience a forgiveness, a restoring to His fellowship, and you will be under His wing of Provision and Protection and Peace all the days of your life.