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The Proof of Detours

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
May 9, 2022 8:00 am

The Proof of Detours

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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May 9, 2022 8:00 am

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Alistair Begg
Rob West and Steve Moore
Connect with Skip Heitzig
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Truth for Life
Alistair Begg

They take you out of the way.

They're longer than you originally planned to go. There are many reasons to dislike detours, but Dr. Tony Evans says the Lord uses them to do some of His best work. God can take a bad situation, a bad detour, and work that thing out.

This is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. Dr. Evans has been teaching that God designs detours to help us grow and to prepare us for our destiny. But how do we know when these side trips are designed by God, set up by Satan, or just the result of our own misguided thinking?

Let's join him in Genesis 39 as he reveals the answers. One of the brothers from our church came and met with me, somewhat dejected, and he came and he said, Pastor, my detour has met another detour, and they got married and had a baby. In other words, I'm just running into detour after detour. And one detour is simply leading into a whole other detour, and it's just replicating and multiplying itself. What we have said thus far is that before God arrives you at your destiny, He takes you on a detour. He does not really ever move you from where you are to where He wants you without taking you on a road trip first.

He doesn't go from A to B to C. He goes from A to Z to T to R to F to D, and He meanders you to your destiny. When you're on a highway and there's a detour, it's usually because workers are trying to fix something, build something, correct something on the highway, so they take you on a detour. God takes us on a detour because He's constructing something. He's constructing the detour for us, and He's constructing us for the detours. Now detours are inconvenient. They take you out of the way.

They're longer than you originally planned to go. That's because God is more interested in our character than our comfort. He's interested in our development, not merely our arrival at where we want Him to take us or where we believe He wants us taken. We started out with Joseph as a 17-year-old teenager who had a dream.

And then we watched him go on a detour in a pit, be sold like a slave, wind up in Potiphar's house. Today I want to answer the question about the proof of detours. How do I know if I'm on God's detour? How do I know I'm not just unlucky? How do I know that things are just not working out? How do I know that this is a detour God has put me on? So that even though I'm on a detour, I'm on a detour in His will, not out of His will.

How do I know that? How do I know that this is not just circumstances in life? How do I attach God to my situation, if in fact He is with my situation? I want to give you four proofs, if you will, that you're on God's detour toward your destiny from the life of Joseph. Proof number one that you're on God's detour toward your destiny is that you are being persecuted for righteousness.

You're suffering because of good, not bad. Verse 19, Now when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spoke to him, saying, This is what your slave did to me, his anger burned. So Joseph's master took him and put him into a jail, the place where the king's prisoners were confined. And he was there in the jail. Why is he in the jail? Because he was accused of a rape he didn't commit. He is suffering for doing right. He said no to Potiphar's wife.

She lied on him, got him put in jail. He is suffering. He is being persecuted because he was obeying God. When you are being persecuted, suffering or struggling because you are obeying God, your struggle is right where God wants you to be because you're being persecuted for righteousness sake. The word persecution means to be treated in an evil manner. To be persecuted is to be treated in an evil manner. Persecuted for righteousness means I'm being treated in an evil manner because I sought to obey God.

And by obeying God, because remember Joseph told Potiphar's wife, I cannot commit this sin against God. Because there was a desire to obey God, there were negative repercussions for obedience. 2 Timothy 3.12 says, all those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. If you are a serious Christian and you're making your decisions based on what God wants, not what you or society or your friends want, the Bible says you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be persecution, that there will be suffering, comes in different shapes, sizes and forms. But if you are a serious Christian, there will be negative repercussions from those who don't buy your faith. In fact, if you never get negative repercussions because you are standing as a Christian, you're either not a Christian or you're not a good one. Because the Bible says all those who make decisions based on their faith, who desire to live godly, that is desire to please God, are going to run into being treated in an evil manner from time to time. Everybody's not going to be your friend if you're serious about Jesus. Because you will have to make choices that will go against the grain, and the reason you will make that choice is because you're marching to a different drumbeat.

See, you're not listening to the cadence of this world order. I had a call last week from a brokenhearted young lady whose boyfriend said, I'm not dating you anymore, and the reason was she wouldn't sleep with him. And so she lost what she thought was going to be her husband, the love of her life, because she took a stand for righteousness and it's now cost her a relationship. There have been people fired because they refuse to do evil on the job or steal or go with the program because they made a decision for righteousness sake and there was a price tag that had to be paid because of the decision. So let me tell you upfront, I'd love to just come to church every Sunday and tell you, come get your blessing and there will be nothing that will ever go wrong, but that wouldn't be the truth. The whole truth is nothing but the truth, so help you God. All those, not some, many, or most, any Christian who is serious about their faith and make decisions in light of their faith will find that there will be repercussions because of it. In fact, Matthew chapter 10 says, there is a double blessing for those who are persecuted for righteousness. In fact, if you want to be twice blessed, you might want to go look for some persecution.

Actually, you don't have to look for it, just be godly, it'll know where you're living. Just seek to please God in your decision making and he says there will be negative repercussions because of your identification with God and Christ. Daniel got thrown into the lions then because he wouldn't compromise on the job, Daniel 6. Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego got thrown into the fire, the fiery furnace, because they wouldn't bow to an idol. They suffered the repercussions of a decision that they were unwilling to compromise due to their faith. It is unfortunate today that we have a lower number of Christians who are willing to bear consequences for their commitment to their faith, to that which pleases God. Trust me, your commitment to Jesus Christ and your support of him will often bring negative repercussions because they know the association.

They know that you're not just a Christian by name, you're not just a cultural Christian, a convenient Christian. You are a serious, committed Christian and yes, Joseph is thrown in jail because he would not compromise the commitment of his faith. The most critical test you will ever face is the test of suffering when you didn't do anything wrong, when you did exactly what God told you to do and you're paying a price tag and it's not fair because all you were trying to do was what God said and you're paying the penalty for righteousness sake. So being persecuted for righteousness sake is the opposite of being persecuted for unrighteousness sake. 1 Peter 2.20 says, what good is it if you're persecuted and you were wrong?

He said, that's nothing to be excited about. Oh, I'm suffering and you were the one wrong. You disobeyed God. You walked away from God. He says, but being persecuted for that which is right, that is, that which is consistent with God, he says, ah, now that carries something special with it.

So let's get this straight. If you're serious about your faith, there will be repercussions. You don't go looking for them.

They know your address. But watch this now. Joseph is suffering for his faith and he's right smack dab in the will of God. He's right smack dab where God wants him to be.

You're going to see that in point number two. He's right smack dab in God's favor and he wasn't in a pleasant place. Notice verse 20. He was placed in the king's prison and confined and he was there in jail. The word jail there in the Hebrew refers to a dungeon. So the king had his own private prison. And at the bottom, the dungeon was always the lowest part of the prison. He's in a dungeon.

Now let me give you some more information. Psalm chapter 105 verses 15 to 18 summarize this experience Joseph is having. Psalm 105 verses 15 to 18 says, Joseph was thrown into prison and his hands and feet were shackled. So he's not just in a deep hole in a dark place. He's in a dark place with no mobility or limited mobility because Psalm says he was shackled.

So he wasn't able to maneuver. He was trapped and he's right smack dab in the will of God. So a lot of people think because things are going bad, I'm out of the will of God.

No, if you were doing right and things are going bad, you smack dab in the will of God. You're just on a detour. A detour to destiny. That can seem like good news and bad news at the same time. Dr. Evans will return to shed some light on it in just a moment.

Stay with us. Whether you're facing a decision or a dilemma, it's smart to ask, what would Jesus do? But first you have to know what Jesus did and what God has to say about the situations you face. Well, if building your biblical foundation is your goal, the help you need is as close as your computer or mobile device thanks to the Tony Evans Training Center. It's packed with online courses covering core concepts of the faith and in-depth scripture studies you can work through any time you want at any pace you want. Along the way you'll explore key teachings and learn how to apply them in real-world situations. There's lots of exclusive content from Tony to keep you interested and motivated and an online forum where you can ask questions, get answers, and collaborate with other students.

It's almost like having a seminary on your smartphone. Visit today and connect with the Tony Evans Training Center where you can explore the kingdom anytime, anywhere. You can find out more about the Tony Evans Training Center when you visit And while you're there, check out how you can get the full-length version of today's message to review in its entirety or to share with a friend. It's part of Dr. Evans' nine-part series exploring how we can discover our destiny through the inevitable detours God allows us to experience in life. The series is called Joseph Detours to Destiny, and it'll help you grow in your confidence of God's direction and purpose for you. We'd like to send you a copy of the complete series on CD or instantly downloadable MP3s as our thank-you gift when you make a donation to help support Tony's ministry. Just visit or give us a call at 1-800-800-3222 to make the arrangements and request your copy of the Detours to Destiny audio series. I'll repeat that contact information for you after part two of today's lesson.

Let's join Dr. Evans once again. When you stand in opposition to the culture, when the culture is in opposition to God, you're not making stuff up. It clearly goes against God's word. You will get a reaction. It's like the missionary who had a mirror, and she was doing work among a tribal people who had never seen themselves. They'd never seen a mirror before. The only way they knew what they looked like is by the reflection in the water, but that wasn't a good picture. So they said, well, these ladies need to see how they look, and so she put the mirror up on the tree.

One of the tribe's ladies came and saw her picture in the mirror, and when she saw the reflection of herself in the mirror, she took the mirror off the tree and smashed it because she didn't like what she looked like. Your job and my job is to be a mirror of Jesus Christ in the culture, and when the culture sees Christ reflected in you, it may not like what it sees and may try to take it out on you. So the way you know, number one, that you're right where God wants you to be is you're suffering because you are doing what God wanted you to do. That's number one. Number two, the second way you know you're on God's detour.

It's not you meandering. You don't know quite where you are, but here's the second way you know you're in God's place. You're suffering or being persecuted for righteousness, and in the midst of the suffering, God shows you his presence. The second proof you have, you're where God wants you to be, is God doesn't take you out of it but joins you in it. God didn't keep Daniel from the lion's den. He just joined him in the lion's den. So God, because he's taking you through a detour, may not cut off the detour, but he jumps in the car.

Okay? Stay with me here. Verse 21, but the Lord was with Joseph, extending kindness to him. Verse 23, because the Lord was with him. And where is he? In jail. Because he's being persecuted.

It is. If you're in the will of God, meaning you're obeying God and things are not going well, that means you're on a detour. I know you're praying, God, get me out of jail, get me out of the detour, but he may not be ready to get you out yet. So if he's not ready to get you out and you're in it, look for him joining you. Look for him coming to where you are since he's not taking you out of where you are. Look for him to give you light in the midst of darkness, where he joins you in your suffering.

The New Testament book of Acts chapter seven, verse nine says the secret to Joseph's success was God was with him. And he's with him in jail. He's not with him, you know, where things are going perfect. He's with him in shackles. God was with, so the key to your situation is not first where you are.

It is who's there with you while you're there. God was with him. Verse 22, the chief jailer committed to Joseph's charge over all the prisoners who was in the jail in that whatever was done there, he was responsible. So he got a promotion in jail. God didn't change the situation.

He's still in jail, but he gets promoted in jail. So the way God shows up is not delivering him out of it, but showing his presence in it. So the next way you know is when God shows up and gives you a hint of his presence in the middle of a situation he's not yet ready to take you out of. Here's the way you know it's God showing up when he joins you, watch this, a second time.

In the early part of chapter 39, Joseph is a slave. He goes to Potiphar's house, and what does Potiphar do? Potiphar makes him head over everything. He's now in jail. What does the jailer do?

Make him head of everything. Because the biblical principle is by two or three witnesses shall a matter be confirmed. When God shows up twice in the same kind of scenario, that's God confirming it's not chance, it's not luck, it's not happening, just things that happen. I am showing up because I gave you a double witness. When Gideon needed proof, he was really headed for God, he put the skin out and said let it be dry on one side and wet on the other. The next day he flipped it over and said do it again.

Because I want to be sure this is you. So look for God twice. Because God confirms himself by doubles or triples, by two or three witnesses.

Oh, but let me show you something else about divine favor. Stay with me here. He's in jail. Who took him to jail? Potiphar. Because Potiphar's wife accused him of rape.

Who does he take him to? The chief jailer. So Potiphar takes Joseph to the chief jailer. So Potiphar knows the chief jailer. Because the chief jailer is under Potiphar because it's Pharaoh's prison and says it's Pharaoh's prison and Potiphar is the bodyguard, captain of the bodyguard for Pharaoh. That means that the chief jailer has to answer to Potiphar because Potiphar is captain whose job it is to protect Pharaoh and it's Pharaoh's prison. Stay with me here. It's Potiphar taking Joseph to the chief jailer in the prison.

Now watch this now. Chapter 40, verse 4. The captain of the bodyguard put Joseph in charge of them, two guys we're gonna talk about in a minute, and he took care of them and they were in confinement at the same time.

Oh, amen, man. Like a little drama here. It's a mystery. Potiphar's wife accused Joseph of rape, falsely. Potiphar's mad. He takes Joseph to the chief jailer, says, lock him up. The chief jailer says, this boy is good. I'm gonna put him in charge of the whole prison. Potiphar then, chapter 40, verse 4, comes back and says, Joseph, I got two prisoners I'm gonna put under you.

But wait a minute. Why you, when your wife accused Joseph of raping her, coming over to Joseph, hooking up with the jailer, saying, this boy is good. You should use him to help run the prison. Then you go over to Joseph and tell Joseph, I got two special prisoners who I want you to take care of for me when you know he tried to rape your wife, unless you know Mrs. Potiphar. In other words, he knew something about Joseph that didn't fit.

This story didn't fit. But he can't go against his wife, because she accused him, but he does know Joseph, because he worked with him. So he even sets Joseph up for a promotion in a bad situation. See, God can take a bad situation, a bad detour, and work that thing out. Dr. Evans will talk about another way we can recognize God's detours for us when he comes back in a moment to wrap up today's message. But first, if you'd like to get a copy of this teaching to review again or to share with someone you care about, the title to ask for is The Proof of Detours. Better yet, get today's message as a part of Tony's 9-part audio series called Joseph Detours to Destiny. The complete collection is available on CD or downloadable MP3s as our thank-you gift for your contribution toward the continued outreach of the alternative. First off, visit us today at to make your contribution and resource request. That's Or you can let one of our friendly team members assist with your request when you phone us at 1-800-800-3222.

That's 1-800-800-3222. The Bible tells us one of the attributes of God's Holy Spirit living and operating inside of us is kindness. And that's something we can never have too much of. Share a kind word or gesture with someone today as you seek to carry God's light to a world in need of His love. Well, coming up tomorrow, the shortest distance between two points may be a straight line. But when God takes us on a tangent, we need to recognize what He's doing and why.

Well, Dr. Evans will help us see that tomorrow. But right now, he's back with a final thought for today. The second proof that you're right where you're supposed to be, even though you're not where you want to be, is God shows up without changing your situation. You're still in it.

He just shows up. Now, I told you before, like when I was working, and I didn't go along with the thing they had going there that was illegal. And I said no, and they, you know, sort of shunned me and made me do the bus alone. And then they called me in. The management called me in a few weeks later and said, we know about the scam.

We know you weren't participating. We're going to make you head of the shift. Now, actually, I didn't want to be working at the place. I was working all night long, 11 and 7 in the morning, you know, trying to make it work my way through school. I didn't want to be loading and unloading buses. You know, I'm working on, right then, a master's degree. I ain't trying to be unloading and unloading buses, you know. I wanted another job. God hadn't given me another job. But he repositioned me in the job because he wasn't ready to take me from the job, so he joined me at the location until he was ready to remove me from the location. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative and is made possible by the generous contributions of listeners like you. 🎵
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-21 15:33:34 / 2023-04-21 15:43:06 / 10

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