God's Good Plan

Genesis   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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3 Fears of Sin, God's Sovereignty Removes

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You had one job to do … and you messed it up.

You ever given someone a task to do, a simple task, and they manage to mess it up?
It’s such a simple thing.
You wonder, there’s no way they can do this wrong … and somehow they do it way wrong.
I’ve got a series of pictures I’d like to show you.
They are of simple jobs.
Not much you should be able to do wrong, and yet … they say a picture tells a thousand words.
In other words, they should speak for themselves.
You had one job to do … and you messed it up.
Show the pictures and give time to laugh for each one.
Could you imagine being the person who messed up in those pictures?
Imagine you were the one who messed up.
You’d wonder if you’d have a job in the morning.
You know that none of these pictures are anything you’d ever include in your resume.
You had something so simple to do.
You had one job … and you messed it up.
Put these thoughts on pause for a moment.
We will come back to them.
Today, we come to the end of Genesis.
We will be in .
For 3 years we have been going through Genesis, and it all comes down to today.
And to be honest, I wanted to preach through Genesis because of , which is where we will be.
Let’s read .
Read .
For 3 years we have been going through Genesis, and it all comes down to today.
And to be honest, I wanted to preach through Genesis because of , which is where we will be.
I love .
I find so much comfort and hope in those words.
I bet you do as well.
Look at 50:20 again, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
I as I read those words, do you find comfort in them?
Don’t you think of all the times something bad has happened in your life.
Tragedy hits.
Sickness comes.
Death strikes.
Friends betray.
And then there is .
What you meant for evil, God meant for good.
As we look at , who do you relate to?
Joseph is the one speaking.
And he’s saying these words to his brothers.
Do you relate to Joseph?
Or his brothers?
You think of the evil in your life, the disappointment, and you want Joseph’s words to be your words.
You probably identify with Joseph.
That’s why you memorize those words.
So in the midst of heartache, you can stand up, dust yourself off and know God has a plan for the evil that has happened to you.
Here’s the thing … I don’t think we are supposed to relate to Joseph.
You are not Joseph in this story.
You are not the one who has had all the evil done to you.
And this passage isn’t speaking to Joseph or people like Joseph.
The audience of this passage is actually Joseph’s brothers.
They come to Joseph with requests from him.
He speaks to them.
He comforts them.
He speaks to his brothers.
Think of it this way.
Who is this book written to?
It’s being written by Moses, while the Israelites are in the Wilderness.
They have been freed from Egypt.
This book answers the questions of:
How did creation get here?
Who is Israel?
What is God’s plan for Israel?
And how did Israel get to Egypt?
There are 12 tribes of Israel.
And these 12 tribes of Israel, just left Egypt and they are saying, “How did we get here?”
And the answer is, well 10 of the fathers of the tribes of Israel did evil.
What those 10 brothers did, God meant for good.
Out of the 12 tribes of Israel, if they were asked who do they identify with, Joseph or his brothers, how many would identify with Joseph?
Only 1.
That means the majority of the tribes come not from Joseph.
That means a majority of the tribes don’t relate to Joseph, but rather the wicked brothers.
As Moses writes this passage, his primary audience are people who have come from the evil brothers.
This passage isn’t written to victims.
It’s written to sinners.
That’s their family tree.
But for some reason when we read this passage, and specifically, verse 20, which I love, we read it as if we are the victim.
We put ourselves in Joseph’s shoes.
And we say:
“I’m the good guy.”
“I’m the one who has had evil done to me.”
Is that how we read the Bible? As victims?
How are we to view ourselves?
As sinners.
When we read about Jesus on the Cross, how do we read it?
We don’t say, “I identify with Jesus. I’m like Jesus. And I die for other people’s sins.”
Where are we in the equation?
We are not the victims.
David prayed, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight ...”
Jesus died for your sins.
What you meant for evil, that’s whatJesus died for.
, “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”
And so, I would like to apply this same kind of thinking to our passage.
Instead of us thinking of ourselves like the victim.
Let’s instead, think of ourselves like the sinner, the one who has done evil.
Earlier, I showed you a series of pictures.
You had one job to do and you messed it up.
Imagine the embarrassment, the fear, the doubt, the emotions going through those poor people’s minds who messed up so badly.
Imagine them begging to keep their job.
This passage has Joseph’s brothers in front of Joseph begging for life.
They’ve messed up bad.
And Joseph removing fear from their life, he’s comforting them.
That’s exactly how we come to God.
You’ve messed up.
You’ve sinned.
You deserve punishment.
And like how Joseph comforts his brothers, Jesus comforts us.
Today in your outlines, you have 3 points.
These are 3 fears of sin, that Jesus removes.

Jesus Removes the Fear of Judgment - v. 15-19

Look again at verses 15-19.
Jacob has died.
In the preceding verses, they have just had a massive funeral for Jacob.
It involved Joseph, his family, and a bunch of Egyptians going back to Canaan.
They’ve returned back to Egypt, and Jacob’s brothers begin wondering what’s in store for them.
Their relationship didn’t start so well with Joseph.
From a young age they hated him.
He was the favorite son.
They were going to kill him, but they were nice and sold him into slavery.
They were reunited during the 7 year famine that struck the world.
And since then, they’ve lived in Egypt for 17 years.
And for 17 years, the past has lingered over their heads.
They did some terrible things to their brother.
They wonder if Joseph has kept them alive during this time while their dad is alive, just waiting for the day when he will get his revenge over them.
Joseph’s brothers have guilty consciences.
They had one job, and they messed it up.
Jesus paraphrased the law in this way.
He said the law is summed up by:
Loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.
And the second is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
They did not love their brother.
And they certainly didn’t love him as themselves.
And therefore, they knew what they deserved.
So they create this scheme, I say scheme, because I’m not sure I believe them.
In verse 16 they send a message to Joseph.
When you are afraid, you don’t go straight to a person, you send them a message.
I remember being in middle school, and being incredibly awkward around girls.
And some of these girls I found pretty.
Maybe you can relate.
It would start by spending the night at a friends house.
And sometime, way too late, staring at the ceiling, my friend would say, “Who do you like?”
That was middle school code word, for “Who do you have a crush on?”
You can’t come straight out and say it, because if people find out who you “like” your liable to be made fun of, because girls still have a little bit of cooties in middle school.
After going back and forth, your friend finds out who you like, and you find out who he likes.
Then begins the sneakiness.
You ask her friends if they know who she likes.
They ask your friends if they know who you like.
And eventually comes the big day.
You listen to George Straight’s song, “Check ‘Yes’ or ‘No’”, and you write the letter.
“Will you go out with me? Check yes or no.”
What does it mean when middle schoolers “go out”? Good question.
I don’t know.
No one really knows.
Because you don’t actually go anywhere.
Then you fold the letter up into the shape of a boat, or a paper airplane and you give it to her.
Waiting for her response.
You can’t have this conversation like a normal person though, because it’s too scary.
Oh and if she does say yes, and you do go out, you can guarantee that you will break up with her the same way you went out with her.
By sending her a letter, “I break with thee.”
The thought of face to face rejection is just too much.
Joseph’s brothers send him a message.
Their message says that before Jacob died, he commanded Joseph to forgive his brothers of their sin, and the evil they did to him.
I don’t know if Jacob really gave that message or not.
I don’t know if he ever knew about his sons treachery against Joseph.
But what I do know is that they send this message to Joseph, because they live in fear of his judgment.
They know what they deserve.
They are asking for a pardon.
They are asking for forgiveness.
Remember who the audience is.
The audience is Joseph’s brothers.
And when Joseph speaks, he is bringing comfort to his brothers.
He weeps.
They then enter the scene, fall down before him, and say they are his servants.
And what does Joseph say?
Verse 19, “Do not fear ...”
Do not fear.
They are afraid of revenge.
They are afraid of justice.
As we approach this passage, we need to see that we are Joseph’s brothers.
We are not innocent.
His brothers had sinned against him.
And we have sinned against God; you have sinned against God.
This sin makes us deserving.
It makes perfect sense for God to give us justice.
explains this reality.
“For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
But Joseph spoke comfort to his brothers; God comes to us and gives us mercy.
This was why Jesus came.
To receive your judgment.
And once judgment is paid, its threat is removed.
Let’s go back to the Garden.
God says, eat anything you want, just don’t eat from that tree.
Adam ate.
Sin entered the world.
And mankind has been deserving of God’s wrath ever since.
And each of you have followed in Adam’s footsteps.
You had one job.
Be perfect.
And you messed it up.
So like Joseph’s brothers, we are deserving of wrath.
But Jesus came, and paid the price, removing the threat.
explains it like this, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
All this to say, Jesus removes the fear of judgment.
We begin shaking.
The weight of sin on your shoulders
And Jesus removes the fear of judgment, because he paid for it.
So you come fearful of God.
Fearful of death.
Fearful of standing before Him.
Your solution is to turn to Christ, to look to Christ.
He who took on sin.
He who died for sin.
And trust in that death.
Trust in His death.
Trust in Him.
And know that there is:
No more war.
No more threat of judgment.
He has removed it.

Next, Jesus Removes the Fear of Chaos - v. 20

Isn’t verse 20 a magnificent verse.
It’s one of the greatest verses talking about the sovereignty of God.
It’s one of the greatest verses talking about God’s victory over sin.
Just to refresh our memories, who is it being spoken to?
It’s not being spoken to Joseph, the wronged person.
It’s being spoken to Joseph’s brothers, the ones who did wrong.
And it’s not being spoken to rub their noses in their sin, the way you rub a puppy’s nose in a mess he’s made on the floor.
This is supposed to be comforting.
“You did evil
You see the direction of the conversation there.
It’s Joseph speaking to his brothers.
“You did evil .... but God meant it for good.”
… but God meant it for good.”
These are comforting words.
He’s trying to make them feel better.
God had a purpose for evil.
God has a purpose for your evil.
I’ve recently started making a hot breakfast everyday.
You wonder what did I eat before hot breakfasts?
Lucky charms.
Cookie crispies.
Fruity Pebbles.
Cocoa Pebbles.
The good stuff.
But now I’ve started making hot breakfasts.
I make toast.
A couple pieces of bacon.
And some sunny side up, over easy fried eggs.
And I like my eggs pretty.
I don’t want the yoke broken.
I want it pretty.
And sometimes it doesn’t work out.
Sometimes the bacon is overdone … you can’t uncook overcooked bacon.
Sometimes the yolk breaks … and like Humpty Dumpty, you can’t put it back together again.
When breakfast doesn’t cook right, that meal is imperfect.
You can’t undo it.
For the rest of the breakfast I have to live in the failure of the moment.
It really does bother me.
When you sin, it hangs over your shoulder.
There’s sin that you can’t undo.
Relationships are damaged.
They are permanently broken.
No amount of apologizing will fix it.
No amount of promises will restore it.
What’s done is done.
I remember one time, receiving a text message from someone.
It wasn’t good news.
And so I texted someone else about the text message that I had just received.
I was passing on the bad news to someone else.
The problem was, and maybe you’ve done this before, I accidentally sent that message to the first person.
I sent the bad news to the same person who sent me the bad news.
In essence, I meant to tell Person B about what happened to Person A, but instead told Person A about Person A.
It looked like I was gossiping about the person.
As soon as I sent the text message, I knew things didn’t look good.
I knew that the accidental text message was going to hurt the person I sent it to, and you can’t undo it.
I hit send, and wished I could reach into my cell phone and pull it back.
I was so angry, I took my phone, and I threw it across the room.
I was embarrassed.
I was frustrated.
I couldn’t undo what I had done.
And Person A was upset.
I couldn’t fix it.
I couldn’t apologize enough.
I had broken the trust.
There are times our sin hangs over our heads.
You sin.
And your sin is wrong.
And you can’t undo it.
And yet, God is sovereign over your sin.
He uses your sin for His own purposes.
And so the comforting words are, “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.”
The hope here, the comfort here, is Jesus removes the fear of chaos.
You sin.
But God is sovereign over your sin.
And He can even use your sin, for good.
What you meant for evil ...
All the harm the brothers did to Joseph.
God meant for good.
Through Joseph being sold to Egypt, Joseph was in a place to save the day.
He was able to rescue his family from the famine.
It was good.
It took decades for Joseph to realize, but it was good.
So Joseph says, “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.”, and it was meant to comfort and dry the tears of his brothers.
Simon Peter, was a brash, reactionary disciple of Jesus.
He often acted first … and thought later.
Cut off a guy’s ear once.
One time Jesus even called him Satan.
Following the arrest of Jesus, Peter denied Jesus 3 times.
3 times in one night, he denied Jesus.
That was an evil action.
In , Jesus said, “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.”
That’s what Peter did.
That was an action that should have disqualified him from heaven.
And yet, the Lord used it for good.
Peter meant it for evil.
God meant it for good.
It ended up becoming an example of Christ’s gentle love, and the type of people he is saving.
Because after the resurrection of Jesus, Jesus confronted Peter, and allowed it to serve as a statement of Peter’s love for Jesus, and Jesus’ use of Peter.
The comfort here, is that you sin, but your sin won’t mess up God’s greater plan.
Sin messes up our plans for sure.
But it won’t ever mess up God’s plans.
And sometimes we don’t get to see the immediate plan in action.
A sin happens today.
The hurt is today.
And it continues for a while.
It might continue the rest of your life.
The old Puritan, John Flavel, talked about it this way, “providence is like reading Hebrew. You read it backwards. -”
Hebrew is one of those languages that writes from the right side to the left.
We read left to right.
Hebrew is right to left.
So it looks like you read backwards to us.
Let me read that again and continue, “providence is like reading Hebrew. You read it backwards. And providence is best read backwards because it takes time.”
That’s the key.
That’s the lesson.
It takes time for God to accomplish His purposes.
God isn’t in a hurry.
To the guilty, to the broken hearted, to the sinner, who is grieving over your sin, take this to heart.
What you meant for evil … God meant for good.
And you might not get to see the good.
Maybe you’ll be lucky, and in the future be able to thank God for it.
But right now all you see is the sin and the bad.
So now, grieve for your sin.
Repent of your sin.
Be sorry for your sin.
Hate your sin.
But remember, you aren’t going to mess up God’s plan.
His will is good.
And sometimes it takes time to see the goodness of His will.
That’s why over and over again in the Psalms it says to wait on the Lord.
- “But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.”
- “But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.”
- “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.”
And on and on the Psalmist cries.
It takes time to see the providence of God, and it’s best viewed backwards.
But to you who fear that your sin will bring chaos, Jesus removes the fear of chaos, because He is sovereign over sin.
This removes the fear of chaos.

Lastly, Jesus Removes the Fear of the Future - v. 21-26

Jacob’s family has come a long way.
They were once in the Promised Land, Canaan.
In Joshua, that land is described as a land flowing with milk and honey.
Back in , Abraham, was on this hill.
God told him to look north, south, east and west.
God said that all that land would belong to him and his offspring.
But by the end of Genesis where is Abraham’s offspring?
They are not in the land of milk and honey.
They don’t possess the land as far as you can.
They are in Egypt.
It would seem as if the plan has failed.
How did they get to Egypt?
God had this great plan.
Through terrible sin.
And this plan was set in eternity past.
Back in
This has always been God’s big plan.
Parents have you ever played with dominos with your kids.
I don’t mean play dominos.
I mean have you ever played with dominos.
Set them up in rows.
Standing up.
So that when you knock one over, it sets off a chain reaction, knocking all of them over.
There’s huge competitions with these things.
People fill warehouses with dominos and set them off.
Thousands upon thousands of dominos in a careful plan and pattern as they fall.
It’s as if for an eternity God has been laying dominos out.
Carefully, placing them where He wants them.
And they go on into eternity.
But at some point in history you sin.
And your sin knocks over his dominos prematurely.
You’re one sin, ruined all of God’s big plans.
Messing up His big eternal plan.
And your sin has not only messed up the plans for now … but the plans for the future.
God does not operate in a cause and affect world, filled with dominos that anyone can ruin.
Where 1 sin can mess up his eternal plan.
I’m so glad God doesn’t operate that way.
And God throws His hands up in the air, and says, “That’s it, I quit!”
Joseph sees that.
Look at verses 21-26.
Read .
Again, “do not fear.”
Only this time it’s for the future.
“I will provide for you and your little ones.”
Your children.
It concludes with talking about future.
Joseph lives.
Joseph dies.
And before he dies, he makes his children swear to him that they will not bury him in Egypt.
He knows that God has a promise for Israel.
Despite his brothers’ sins, there is a plan for the future.
Verse 25 says, “God will surely visit, and you shall carry up my bones from here.”
God will not abandon Israel in Egypt.
In 400 years, God will appear to Moses in a burning bush, and the Exodus will start.
God will deliver them from Egypt.
Sometimes the guilt of sin is so great, that you lose all hope of the future.
Sometimes we think too much of our sin.
The victory of Jesus is that He is greater than our sin.
Sin is dangerous.
Sin is deadly.
Sin is destructive.
But Jesus conquered sin.
In , sin is compared to a balance sheet, that’s been cleared.
In , sin is compared to a scorpion with no stinger, what’s to fear.
“Oh death, where is your sting.”
You can’t mess up God’s timeline.
Joseph’s brothers come to him worried about their lives.
He says “Don’t be afraid.”
Then there is fear of the future.
And again Joseph says, “Do not fear … God will surely visit you.”
There is going to be evil in this world.
I think things will get worse.
Sin will grow.
There will be times when it seems all is lost.
But like Joseph told his family, “God will surely visit you.”
And though there is sin in the world, Jesus will return.
He will defeat His enemies.
He will give you new bodies.
And you will have an eternity with Him.
Jesus removes the fear of the future.
The end of says, “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts.”
There’s some weirdness there.
Treading on the ashes of our enemies.
But do you notice we won’t even notice the weirdness.
Because we will go leaping like calves out of a stall.
That’s dancing.
Clicking your heels in joy.
Jesus removes the fear of the future.

This morning where are you at in your sin.

Do you live like the person who had one job and messed it up?
Or does sin still frighten you?
Do you live in fear of judgment?
Do you live in fear of chaos?
Do you live in fear of the future?
This is why Jesus came.
To cast out fear.
To remove the threat of sin.
To remove the fear of condemnation.
And this has always been His plan.
And there’s more to come.
So until Christ returns, hold strong to Christ.
Keep the cross as center.
Knowing that this is where your sin was paid.
Keep your eyes on Jesus.
Knowing that He is Lord over all things, and nothing surprises Him.
And live to His glory.
Knowing that He has a plan and He will accomplish it.
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