When Joseph’s brothers apologized again for selling him into slavery, Joseph said: “You wanted to hurt me. I know that. But you need to know something, too. God wanted to help me and many others as well. He turned the bad thing you did into something good. He used it to save many people” (Genesis 50:20). Really? Did God somehow coerce Joseph’s 10 older brothers to sell him into slavery? Or did God take that terrible situation and somehow turn it around into something helpful?
Most Christians would rather not think of God causing a bad situation. They would rather think of him as being able to take a bad situation and turn it into something helpful and healing. Yet, as the Bible teaches it, God sometimes nudges people toward behavior they might not necessarily follow otherwise: “The Lord told Moses, ‘When you arrive back in Egypt, go to Pharaoh and perform all the miracles I have empowered you to do. But I will harden his heart so he will refuse to let the people go’” (Exodus 4:21 NLT). The king’s refusal to let the Jews go is what prompted the famous 10 plagues of Egypt, which displayed the power of God.
Reprinted from the Leader’s Guide & Atlas for Genesis