God Intended it For Good

Genesis   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Does anyone know what the word “intentions” means tonight?
Defined, intention means a thing intended; an aim or plan.
Intentions point to what we want accomplished or desire to see accomplished. Intentions do not always end up the way we want.
How many have ever heard the phrase, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions?” What does that mean? It means a person can end up landing in eternal punishment even though they had different… intentions!
That might seem like an extreme example… but we know what it is like to have “goo intentions” only to fall short in those intentions.
Think about New Year’s resolutions!
We have a habit of making new claims or habits as we begin a new year hoping for change by the end of the year. But… most of the time those goals fade out of memory within a few weeks of being spoken.
The joke is… New Year’s resolutions are made to be broken… not completed. But yet, we really do hope for change.
Whether or not an intention becomes reality has to do a lot with our focus and/or commitment to that goal.
A goal may look good or sound good but will fall flat unless we place action to that goal.
This is true when the goal is good… this is true when the goal is… bad.
But did you know… that God has the power… of using our intentions whether good or bad… for His purposes and glory?
This immediately begs the question: how can God use bad… for good?
I believe God desires for ALL THINGS TO BE GOOD. That being said, God can use our bad decisions to bring good in this world. How does He do this? In ways that are higher than our ways!
And what we are going to see tonight… is how the focus of one man… allowed for God to take the bad intentions of many men… and use them for God’s glory.
First off, we need to set the stage.

Jacob, is Dead.

Genesis 50 begins with the death of Jacob.
The previous chapter revealed his final “blessings” to his sons just before he breathed his last breath. Genesis 50:1 tells us
Genesis 50:1 NIV
1 Joseph threw himself on his father and wept over him and kissed him.
Joseph was deeply saddened by the death of his father… and now he had a promise to keep. Jacob wanted to be buried back home, not in Egypt. So once the body had been embalmed by the Egyptians, Joseph makes the request of Pharoah to take his dad back home to bury him. Pharoah grants the request and they set out to do that very thing.
This burial in Scripture is something else!
They honor Jacob in a tremendous way! It is such an event that the Canaanites take notice and name the place Abel Mizraim which means “meadow of Egypt” or “mourning of Egypt.”
Joseph does exactly what he promised his father he would do. Genesis 50:12-14 tells the story
Genesis 50:12–14 NIV
12 So Jacob’s sons did as he had commanded them: 13 They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre, which Abraham had bought along with the field as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite. 14 After burying his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, together with his brothers and all the others who had gone with him to bury his father.
This burial process took a significant amount of time from start to finish, and Genesis 50 does well to give several of the details. And when all is said and done, the chapter brings out another important detail regarding the family… the brothers of Joseph… are now afraid.
What would they have to be afraid of in the aftermath of their father’s death? They feared the wrath of Joseph.
Genesis 50:15 NIV
15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?”
The “what ifs” begin to strike fear into the hearts of these brothers.
The idea here is they felt “safe” so long as dad was around. Jacob might have been able to curb any built up rage or hostility from Joseph. If Joseph lost his cool, dad might be able to talk him down.
But now, dad is gone. Dad is no more. There is no more perceived safety net. What’s to stop Joseph from punishing them severely for what they had done?
On a side note… I really believe this is how people feel when they approach God. They fear what He will do in light of their sin and rebellion. They fear His wrath and judgement. They fear they will meet the biblical consequence for their sin.
What they don’t realize is, today is a day of grace and repentance. Today is a day of redemption and freedom.
Yes… there is coming a day when God’s wrath will be poured out. You see… sin WILL be judged. A payment WILL be given for sin. Redemption of this world WILL happen in the days to come.
But we have a choice… we can be redeemed either through blood or fire.
Redemption by blood is redemption through Christ. We accept Him as Savior and He takes on our punishment for our sins.
Redemption by fire is redemption through wrath. God cleanses the world of sin through redeeming fire. This results in eternal death for those who rejected Christ.
And once a person has chosen Jesus, they need not fear what will happen to them. John 3:16 tells the story well
John 3:16 NIV
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
If you are in Christ, you do not need to be afraid of your past… no matter how dark or ugly it might be. For if you are in Christ, you are a new creation. THE OLD IS GONE… UNDER THE BLOOD! BEHOLD! THE NEW HAS COME!
For the brothers in Genesis 50, they feared what was to come for what they had done. but what they were about to learn was simply… incredible.

God had a Plan.

This was true then… and it is true now. God had a plan! And His plan involved taking the bad choices of the brothers… to do something only He could have done!
But before we get there… let’s look at how the brothers chose to navigate this situation. As they stood in their fear, they came up with their own plan on how to deal with it.
Genesis 50:15–17 NIV
15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.
Now… we have no idea if Jacob really gave those instructions to the brothers. I personally find it hard to believe that he did… because Jacob had every opportunity to share those instructions with Joseph personally.
But in the grand scheme of things… I don’t think that matters much to our story. Upon receiving this word, Joseph begins to weep.
Was he weeping because of what had been said OR was he weeping because of the fear his brothers were feeling?
So Joseph, in response to this report, gives this answer.
Genesis 50:19–21 NIV
19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
Joseph knew that what the brothers intended for harm… God intended for good. This happened over the course of many, MANY years! but God used this situation to save many lives!
So Joseph calms their fears, reassures them of their safety, and promises provision for them and their children.
Listen church, we may find ourselves in a bad struggle. We might find ourselves walking through a difficult time… and maybe it all started by the hand of someone else.
Someone gave a report that cost you a job,
Someone started a rumor that closed doors of opportunity.
Something didn’t work out as expected and now you don’t know what to do.
Someone acted in a way unexpected, and you have been left shaken and unsettled.
My encouragement to you is this: DON’T GET STUCK IN THE BLAME GAME… KEEP FOLLOWING JESUS!!!
Joseph had forgiven the brothers long ago… how do I know this? Because he continually walked in the favor of God!
You cannot walk in bitterness and in God’s favor. One or the other with rule the day. BUT… you can walk in forgiveness and God’s favor! Forgiveness brings victory over the offense and allows God’s PLAN to prevail!
Bitterness places us back into our plan… our intentions… our motives. Forgiveness keeps us in the hands of our Lord.
Joseph knew full well that his brothers “intended” to harm him back in the day. But he did not allow their bad intentions to govern his walk and attitude toward God. He remained faithful… He held on to the dream… and He was exactly where God had planned for him to be.
God works in mysterious ways! And sometimes He works… over long spans of time. Don’t give up on His plan for you! Remain in His favor that His blessing would be observable by all who know you!
And… as Joseph remained in God’s favor, he was positioned to pass on God’s promises.

Joseph’s Final Words.

Joseph was about to die. He was 110 years old, he was able to the third generation of Ephraim’s children, as well as Manasseh’s children.
And with his dying breath, he doesn’t pass on punishment, he passes on… promise.
Genesis 50:24–26 NIV
24 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” 25 And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.” 26 So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.
He lived in God’s plan… and passed on God’s promise.
IS THERE ANYWAY BETTER… TO LIVE? We should only hope to do the same! No matter the intentions of others… Choose to live in God’s plan!
And with that, we conclude… the book of Genesis!
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