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Evil Happens...but God - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
January 11, 2021 2:00 am

Evil Happens...but God - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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January 11, 2021 2:00 am

After all the ups and downs of Joseph's life and the years of his brothers' selfishness, their father, Jacob, died. In the message "Evil Happens...but God," Skip looks at one of the Bible's best but God moments, when forgiveness eclipsed failure.

This teaching is from the series ...but God.

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Something that is bad has turned out by God's providence to become good.

So, Joseph believes, Joseph's theology of pain and suffering is that God is in charge, not me, not anyone else. God uses bad events to bring about good results. And finally, God uses people to help other people. In the book of Nehemiah, a repentant nation of Israel praised God, saying, You have made the heavens, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them.

You give life to all of them. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip shares about how Joseph had that same perspective on God's sovereignty, reminding you how to trust God and His power no matter your circumstances. Before we begin, here's a resource that will help you know God more intimately so you can experience a richer relationship with Him. Does God exist? And if He does, is it possible to know Him? Your answer to those two questions shapes how you see the world.

Skip Heitzig once wrestled with those very questions himself. You know, I've been teaching the Bible for over three decades. Before I became a Christian and when I was new to the faith, I studied science and philosophy alongside the Bible. As I studied, I grew confident that God does exist and yes, we can know Him. In Biography of God, the brand new book by Skip Heitzig, you'll learn to remove the limits you may have placed on your idea of who God is. Everything changes when you acknowledge and believe that God is who He says He is. Biography of God is our way to thank you when you give $35 or more today to help expand this Bible teaching outreach to more people.

Request your copy when you give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Okay, let's dive into today's teaching. We'll be in Genesis chapter 50 as Skip Heitzig begins the study. This was their great uh-oh moment. I'm Joseph. Uh-oh. Not good. Then Joseph said to his brothers, verse 4, please come near me.

Now they're really going uh-oh. So they came near and he said, I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. Uh-oh. But watch this.

Watch this. Look at the different level Joseph lives at. Verse 5. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. Wow.

For these two years the famine has been in the land and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now, it was not you who sent me here, but God. And he has made me father to Pharaoh and Lord of all his house and a ruler throughout the land of Egypt. And he says to his brother, Mary, and go up to my father and say to him, thus says your son Joseph, God has made me Lord of all of Egypt. Come down to me, do not tarry. You shall dwell in the land of Goshen.

And you shall be near to me, you and your children, your children's children, your flocks and your herds and all that you have. That's his level. That's Joseph's level.

The but God level. He always lived on, well this is bad, but God. Okay, they sold me as a slave, but God.

Okay, now I'm in jail, but God. That's how he lived. Not these eleven brothers, especially the oldest ten. Benjamin was another story, but they didn't live on that but God level.

They lived on the but we level. But we. For example, Joseph told us his dreams, but we resent him. Joseph has come to give us a message from dad, but we despise him. Here comes little Joseph in his technicolor coat, but we will show him.

We will sell him. Now, years later, standing before the Prime Minister of Egypt, it's exactly the same. Joseph is the Prime Minister now, dad is dead, but we will outsmart him. They come up with this fabrication. Sir Walter Scott once remarked, oh what a tangled web we weave when at first we practice to deceive. And so what do they do? They send messengers first of all. And then after the messengers come, because once the word gets out, now they come and they get all gravelly before them. They come down, they bow down to dude. We'll be your slaves, man. We'll serve you forever. This is called self-preservation.

That's all it is. They want to save their hide. Satan was accurate when he said to God something true about human nature. He said, skin for skin, yea, all that a man has will he give for his life. When it comes down to it, Joseph's going to kill us.

Let's come up with this lie and maybe he'll spare us. So from baseless fear to a blatant fabrication, the third level is the best level, and that is their brother's forgiveness. So there they are. Can you picture them? They're groveling before them. Their heads are downcast.

They say, we'll be your servants, we'll be your slaves, and they expect to look up and see a vengeful fuming ruler who's going to do something bad to them. They look up and they see the prime minister of Egypt, their brother Joseph, weeping. There are tears in his eyes, verse 17, and Joseph wept when they spoke to him.

This is a sensitive guy. He cries a lot. Chapter 45, he was crying before he revealed who he was. He had everybody go out and start weeping loudly. Now he's crying again. But what is he crying for? Is he crying for himself? His tears aren't for himself.

He's going to go, man, you guys were really bad to me. He's not holding on to that. He's crying for who?

Them. He's weeping because he sees their torment. He's weeping because he knows their scheming. He forgave them long ago. And now he repeats that promise and he quells their fears.

Verse 19, Joseph said to them, do not be afraid. Why did he say that? Because they were what? Afraid. They were afraid. He saw that. He saw their fear. Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring it about as it is this day to save many people alive.

I'll explain that in a moment. Now, therefore, do not be afraid. I will provide for you and your little ones. And he comforted them and he spoke kindly to them. Having heard that, here's the question I want to bring. Here's the question.

How is it? How does love, forgiveness, come from the heart of somebody who has been so mistreated like Joseph? How can kindness, compassion, forgiveness, love, how can that be cultivated in a person who has been hurt, mismanaged, misaligned, lied about, gossiped about for years?

How can that be? The answer is found in his answer. His answer to them. Two verses that I just read. And because these two verses, Joseph is giving his theology on pain and suffering. It's all in just two little verses.

It's very, very profound. This is what Joseph believes about God. This is what Joseph believes about life, about his life. This is what Joseph believes about pain and suffering. All put into two neat little verses. This is Joseph's theology on suffering.

It can be divided into three main points. Number one, God is in charge. God is in charge.

Not me, not anyone. God is in charge. Because he says, am I in the place of God? I'm not in charge. God is in charge.

Not me, not anyone. Am I in the place of God? Now, some rulers actually think they are in the place of God. Some politicians think they're in the place of God. Some kings and rulers have thought, well, I'm sort of God-like. I'm in the place of God.

In one sense, they're right. In one sense, they really are in the place of God. Because young Daniel said to King Nebuchadnezzar on the throne of Babylon, he said, the most high rules in the kingdom of men, but he gives it to whoever he wills. And then Paul in Romans 13 said, let every soul, that's you and me, you have a soul, let every soul be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

Remember that with your politicians. And he says about those rulers, for he is God's minister to you for good. What Joseph means when he says, am I in the place of God? Look, guys, I may be the prime minister, but I'm not God. I'm a servant of God, too. I'm a slave of God, too. Our problems begin when we forget that God is in charge. Our problems begin when we try to push God off the throne and we want that place. We're going to call the shots.

I'm large and in charge. Paul said this, and he asked a question. I'm going to have you answer. Paul said, who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has become his counselor? Now, you answer, who has ever become God's counselor? Be honest, because the true answer is you have, and I have. We've counseled God.

Oh, maybe not out loud, but we've thought that. In our prayers we have. Now, God, this is what you ought to do. Or, you know, God, if you had a window here, you had a chance. If you would have just listened to the way I prayed about this, it would have been perfect. You didn't do it.

You blew your chance. You've counseled God. You've thought He has made mistakes in one case or another. When you feel like things are out of control, and you kind of want to push God off that seat of His throne, and you want to occupy that and call the shots, your problems will mount. Joseph believes God is in charge, not me, not anyone. Second thing he believes in his theology is that God uses bad events to bring about good results. God uses bad events to bring about good results. Verse 20, he says, but as for you, you meant this for evil.

I'm not letting you guys off the hook. You had evil intentions. You meant this for evil against me, but God meant it for good.

What's the good? In order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. He has a clear understanding that God is at work, that God is behind the scenes, that I can trust God for the outcome.

That's called providence. God works providentially. No matter what the intention of people, whether good or bad, God's going to bring about His own ultimate end. So Joseph is looking at his brothers realizing, I believe God has a plan for you men, and that is you need to survive. It's crucial that you live, not die.

Why? Because I understand that God has a plan for a nation He wants to develop, and for Him to enact that plan of the nation, He has to enact that plan on the leaders of that nation, and that's us boys, the twelve tribes of Israel. That they were transported from a land where there was no food to Egypt, a place where there was plenty of food. They were given a section of the land, the land of Goshen, so that for the next four hundred years, they could go from a seventy person family to a nation of two to three million. That was God's plan.

Why? Because God wanted a nation on the earth to witness to His glory, and eventually bring the Messiah who would be the Savior of the world. Joseph sees the big picture, not all of it, but part of it, that God has a plan to save many people alive, so you guys need to be alive because you're going to be the nation that God is going to use to put on the earth. That nation will bring the Messiah. Joseph simply sees his suffering as part of the plan.

So if my suffering means that a nation can be preserved, I'm in. Now Joseph's story that we have just read and considered, Joseph's story, can be summed up in one verse in the New Testament. You know it well. Romans chapter 8 verse 28. You know that verse? Paul said this.

You know it. Paul said, And we know, not we think, we hope, we cross our fingers, maybe, we know that all things work together, not some things, not most things, not good things, not just the things I've prayed about, all things, and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and to those who are the called according to His purpose. Don't you love that verse?

It's what R.A. Torrey called a soft pillow for a tired heart. And how many times I've laid my heart on that verse for repose. All things, all things, all things. William Newell says, dark things, bright things, happy things, sad things, sweet things, bitter things, times of prosperity, times of adversity. We know that all things, what are the next two words?

We know that all things work together. Two words, one word in Greek, sun ergeo. Sun ergeo is where we get our word synergism or synergy. And synergism is the interaction and cooperation of two or more things. Synergism means the working together of various elements to produce results that are greater than the sum, so that things by themselves may be bad, but when you put them in combination with other things, the result can be very, very good.

We see this happen in the natural world. You can take two substances that are normally harmful, but in right combination they're beneficial. Example, sodium in its pure form is not good for you. It can hurt you, it can kill you. Chlorine, if you sniff chlorine, you die.

If you mix sodium and chlorine in the right combination, now you have sodium chloride, that's table salt, yum. Two bad things in right combination can be beneficial. So, God is able to take all of those poisonous, toxic things in life, good things, bad things, and bring divine synergism to it so that the result is good. Which means, you better be very careful what you call bad. Why do bad things happen to people? Why did that bad thing happen to me? Be careful, that bad thing may actually be something very good in a very clever disguise.

I'll give you an example from our own lives. We have a good friend, an acquaintance of ours, lives in Florida, who recently got in a... Paul Hackenberry got in a motorcycle accident. I saw the pictures of him in the emergency room, didn't look good.

You look at them and go, that's bad. But they did x-rays and MRI scans, and you know, when you have a head injury, you kind of look at not just the head, but the neck, right? Cervical spine, clavicle, lower thoracic, upper thoracic. So they're x-raying him, doing MRIs, and they discover in the upper thorax is a nodule. They just picked it up on the MRI. And they found out that was cancer.

But it was in its early stage, so they could treat it and he'd be fine. And so, this accident may have saved his life. Something that is bad has turned out by God's providence to become good. So, Joseph believes, Joseph's theology of pain and suffering is that God is in charge, not me, not anyone else. God uses bad events to bring about good results. And finally, God uses people to help other people.

That's verse 21, look at it. He says, now therefore, do not be afraid. Now get this, I will provide for you. I, the kid that 40 years ago you put in a pit. I, the kid you resented all your life.

Me, that guy that you say, I'm selling him to the media and I get rid of him, kill him. This guy will provide for you. I will provide for you and your little ones. And he comforted them and he spoke kindly to them. You see what Joseph is saying is, look, your act was an evil act. What you did was wrong. But if you wouldn't have done that, then I wouldn't have been sold to the Midianites. And if I wouldn't have sold to the Midianites, then I wouldn't have gone down to Egypt. If I hadn't gone down to Egypt, they wouldn't have thrown me in Potiphar's house. If I wouldn't have been in Potiphar's house, I wouldn't be falsely accused by his wife of something I never did. And if I was never falsely accused of something I never did, I wouldn't have gone to jail. And if I wouldn't have gone to jail, I never would have met those two guys who had dreams. And I told them what their dream meant and they forgot about me for a couple of years.

But then they remembered. And if that wouldn't have happened, then I wouldn't have been in Pharaoh's house to interpret his dream. And if that wouldn't have happened, I wouldn't be the Lord of all of Egypt, but I am. Because God took all of those events and wove them together.

And now, boys, I'm here to help and provide for your future. How's that for gracious love and forgiveness from a heart that has been mistreated year after year? All of that to say that God will use your suffering to help somebody else who suffers. Please don't let your suffering ever go to waste. In the very least, God can use your time of suffering and your lessons to help somebody else who's going to go through that.

That's what Paul says, 2 Corinthians 1. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given to us. So, when we are weighed down, speaking of we apostles, we, Paul, Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your benefit and salvation. I'm not going to waste this.

God's going to use this. I want to close with a little article I found, a hypothetical situation. This is written by Jonathan Haidt, a New York psychologist, New York City attached to a prominent university.

This is what he says. Imagine that you have a child and for five minutes you are given a script of what will be that child's life. You get an eraser. You can edit.

You can take out whatever you want. You read that your child will have a learning disability in grade school. Reading, which comes easily for some kids, will be laborious for yours. In high school, your kid will make a great circle of friends and then one of them will die of cancer. After high school, this child will actually get into the college they wanted to attend. While there, there will be a car crash and your child will lose a leg or go through a difficult depression and go through a difficult depression. A few years later, your child will get a great job and then lose that job in an economic downturn. Your child will get married but then go through the grief of a separation. This is the script of your child's life and you have five minutes to edit that script.

Question, what would you erase? Wouldn't you want to take out all that stuff that would cause them pain? He continues, I'm a part of a generation of adults called helicopter parents because we're constantly trying to swoop into our kids' educational life, relational life, sports life, etc. to make sure no one is mistreating them, no one is disappointing them.

We want them to experience one unobstructed success after another. Then he continues, one Halloween, a mom came to our door to trick or treat. Why didn't she send in her kid?

Well, the weather's a little bad, she said. She was driving so he didn't have to walk in the rain. But why not send him to the door?

Well, he had fallen asleep in the car, she said, so she didn't want to have to wake him up. I felt like saying, why don't you just eat all this candy and get the stomach ache for him too? Then he can be completely protected. If you could wave a magic wand, if you could erase every failure, every setback, suffering and pain, are you sure it would be a good idea? Would it cause your child to grow up to be a better, stronger, more generous person?

Is it possible that in some way people actually need adversity, setbacks, maybe even something like trauma to reach the fullest level of development and growth? One question that only you can answer as we close. How big is your God? The God you say you serve, the God you say you love, the God you say you're committed to, how big is that God? Is that God big enough to take the bad things of your past and weave them together with all the things in your life and produce something of great value and great beauty at the end?

Is He big enough to do that? That's the God that we're served, that's the God that gives us those promises, that's the God who did this for Joseph. Is your God that big? Can you trust Him right now in perhaps the worst point at your life and say, Lord, but God. Not but me, but we, but Him, but God. Yeah, but God. But you don't, but God. What level are you going to live at?

Their level, these 11 brothers, or the level Joseph lived in? But God sent me here to preserve life. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message from the series, But God. Now, here's Skip to tell you about how you can keep encouraging messages like this coming your way as you help connect others to God's love. Well, it's vital to remember that God is our Father in heaven. It reminds us that we have a sovereign and personal God who works in our lives.

We love sharing these biblical messages because we love connecting you with your Heavenly Father. But we need your help to keep these teachings coming to you and to others around the world. You can help do that by giving a gift today. Here's how. You can give online at connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you. Tomorrow, Skip Heitzig shares how even as the world faces judgment one day, God is pouring out His grace today. God is slow to anger.

Another word the Old Testament uses about 13 times. He is long suffering. Long tempered. He lets the fuse go and burn a long time. He is slow to anger.

He is abounding in mercy. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the crossing. Cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection. A connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, where we are connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-06 08:05:03 / 2024-01-06 08:14:56 / 10

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