20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
God's Intention For Us is Good. But good doesn't always mean easy or comfortable.
Joseph's brothers intended harm, but God intended good.
God Intended Good From the Beginning
2 This is the account of Jacob. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. 5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, "Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it." 8 His brothers said to him, "Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?" And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. 9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. "Listen," he said, "I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me." 10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, "What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?" 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
Joseph's brothers intended harm, so they sold Joseph into slavery.
But God intended Good for Joseph while he was in slavery
1Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh's officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there. 2 The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5 From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the LORD was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field.
Potipher's wife intended evil. When Joseph wouldn't give her what she wanted, she falsely accused Joseph to her husband.
But God Intended Good for Joseph while he was in prison.
20 Joseph's master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph's care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.
The king's cupbearer and baker were also in prison. Each had a dream, and God gave Joseph the interpretations. The baker would be executed, but the cupbearer would be restored to his position serving the king.
Joseph asked the cupbearer to remember him to the king, but he did not.
Joseph sat in prison another two years as the Word of the Lord tested him.
17 He sent a man before them - Joseph - who was sold as a slave. 18 They hurt his feet with fetters, he was laid in irons. 19 Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the LORD tested him.
God Ultimately Brings About His Good Intentions For Us.
Pharaoh had a dream that no one could interpret. Finally, the cupbearer remembers Joseph and how Joseph had interpreted his own dream for him. The King sends for Joseph.
Genesis 41: 25-44
25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, "The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. 27The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine. 28 "It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, 30 but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. 31 The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. 32 The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon. 33 "And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35 They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. 36 This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine." 37 The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. 38 So Pharaoh asked them, "Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?" 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you." 41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt." 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph's finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and men shouted before him, "Make way!" Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. 44 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt."
Through all this millions of people are saved from starvation. Included are Joseph's family. They hear there is grain in Egypt, so they come down.
Remember Joseph's original dreams. They came true. In fact, Joseph's brothers are bowing down to Joseph when he says, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."
Others that God used for good in difficult circumstances
1. John Bunyan - in Bedford prison wrote "Pilgrim's Progress"
2. Fanny Crosby - was blind because of a Doctor's mistake, yet was used of God to write 3000 hymns.
4. Elizabeth Eliot - widowed by the cannibalistic Aucca Indians went to the tribe and reached them with the gospel message of Christ.
5. Joni Erickson Toda - paralyzed from a diving accident has become an artist, writer, motivational speaker, head of ministry to handicapped and hurting
God Intends Good For You
Do you have a prayer request? We would love to pray with you. To reach us, click here.