Gen 50:20

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Winman, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. Winman

    Winman
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    Gen 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

    This is a favorite verse of Ref/Cals that I often see used to argue that God uses evil to bring about good. And perhaps that is so. But seeing this used so much I went back at looked at this story carefully. What I see, is that God "countered evil". Lets look at a few verses and I will explain.

    Gen 37:12 And his brethren went to feed their father's flock in Shechem.
    13 And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I.
    14 And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.

    This story starts out innocently enough, Israel (Jacob) sends Joseph to find his brothers. Joseph is obedient, and does exactly as told.

    Gen 37:15 And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou?
    16 And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks.
    17 And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan.

    Now here is when PERHAPS we see God intervening on Joseph's behalf. His brothers are not in Shechem, they have gone to Dothan. This appears to be surprising to Joseph. I think this is significant.

    Gen 37:18 And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.
    19 And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.
    20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.

    Now, here is what Joseph meant in Gen 50:20 when he said his brothers thought evil against him. They wanted to KILL Joseph. Now keep that in mind, this was their intent, not to sell Joseph, but to KILL him.

    Gen 37:21 And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.
    22 And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.

    Here I believe we see God intervening for Joseph. He moved Reuben to say "Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit". They were going to kill Joseph, but Reuben suggested they simply throw Joseph in a pit and leave him to die. Now, it is true Reuben wanted to return and save Joseph, but his other brothers were still intent upon killing him. Now, it also appears Reuben left his brothers. Perhaps he was trying to draw them away from the pit so he could return later and rescue Joseph, but his brothers remained by the pit.

    Gen 37:23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him;
    24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.
    25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.
    26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?
    27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.
    28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.

    Now, I have always thought it a little odd that Joseph's brothers sat down to eat. I believe this was also from God, as it prevented the brothers from leaving Joseph in the pit where he would die. It bought Joseph time. And it so happened during this time that a caravan passed by, and Judah got the idea of selling Joseph to the merchants.

    Now, that takes us back to Shechem. That is where Israel (Jacob) expected his sons to be, and where Joseph had gone looking for them. But they had moved on to Dothan which is significant, because it was a trade route. And I believe God moved the brothers to sit down and eat which bought time for Joseph until this caravan came along. And so Joseph's life was spared, because he would have died in the pit.

    So, I believe God was "countering" the brothers evil intentions all along. God caused them to go to Dothan. Is this evil? No. God moved Reuben to suggest throwing Joseph in the pit when his brothers wanted to kill him. Is this evil? No. God moved the brothers to eat until a caravan of merchants came along, when they might have left Joseph in the pit to die. Is this evil? No. And God moved Judah to desire to sell Joseph instead of leaving him to die. Is this evil? No, not really, for Joseph's life was spared when he was sold to the merchants, otherwise he would have died in the pit.

    So, I admit there is a great deal of speculation on my part here, but I believe God was countering what Joseph's brothers true intentions were, which was to KILL Joseph, not sell him. Joseph's life was spared, Joseph was taken down into Egypt, and later saved his people, including his brothers who wanted to kill him.

    So, I do not see God using evil here, so much as I see him countering evil to bring about good.

    What do you say?
     
  2. Iconoclast

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    1]This story obviously speaks as a great type of Christ.

    2]God works through all manner of sin and wickedness to accomplish His purpose to save the objects of His Love.

    3]God in providence does counter the evil overall, but yet he uses it many times to work to sanctify the saints,

    4] these verses get used as proof texts here and in discussions, because those who enjoy these teachings understand they are given as a great comfort to the saints throughout time.

    5] whenever these teachings are used in the NT. they are the occasion of great rejoicing and praise, not controversy and fighting over it.
     
  3. J.D.

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    God meant it. Think about that. This is not only a providential scenario, but it was also predestined beforehand; and it was not accidental, but was intended all along.
     
  4. Tom Butler

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    And this is a great mystery. How can God INTEND that all the things that happened result in good--which were intended by the brothers for evil; yet the brothers acted freely in carrying out their desires. They acted freely in joining Reuben in relenting against killing Joseph. No evidence of coercion from God here. How did God make Reuben not want to kill Little Joe? How did God thwart the plans of the other brothers, without interfering with their wills? Is there any possibility that he did interfere?

    Yet God intended for Joseph to become Prime Minister of Egypt, and be instrumental in saving his family from starvation. God arranged the circumstances that brought it to fruition. How'd he do that without messing with their wills?

    Or-------is it just possible that man's will is not completely free?

    Is it possible that God can bring you into line with His will, and make you want it?

    As I tell my grandchildren, I know everything, but I don't know that.
     
  5. Winman

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    Free will simply means the ability to make a true choice, no one's will is not subject to outside influence. Reuben was most likely moved to spare Joseph by his God given conscience that it was wrong, and concern for his father, whom he knew would be deeply hurt. And Judah may have been influenced by Reuben's plea not to directly kill Joseph. It also seems Judah came to be convicted it would be wrong to kill a family member and saw selling Joseph as a better way to get rid of Joseph.

    Our wills are often influenced by others, or by our conscience as seems to be the case here, but that does not mean we do not have the ability to make choices whether good or evil.
     
  6. JesusFan

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    Ultimate example in Bible the Cross...
    God had decreed/predestined that Jesus would die for the Sins of man, but used what evil men had purposed in their hearts, so used their evilness to accomplish His plan!
     
  7. webdog

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    It has to do with intention, not "predestining beforehand". You have to read a linear order into that text.

    You believe it was God's action in committing sin against Joseph? Are you attributing the entire account to Him?
     
    #7 webdog, Jul 13, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2011
  8. JesusFan

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    problem is though that we have now as a direct result of the fall of man a "limited free will"

    Adam could freely choose, he chose to Sin against God...

    Today, since ALL are born with sin natures, against God ...

    free to chose, just what we chose will be governed by fact of having sin natures, will be mixture of doing good and bad things!
     
  9. JesusFan

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    Thin the Lord knew what their intentions were towards Joseph, and used what they wanted to do already. and worked it into His plan to bring the Jews into Egypt eventuaslly!
     
  10. webdog

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    You are still looking at things from a linear standpoint. God is not bound to our linear understanding.
     
  11. JesusFan

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    What other way would there be to understand what was happening here?
     
  12. Winman

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    Romans 12:21 tells us not to be overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. And that is what I see God did here. He countered the brothers intent to kill Joseph, then he countered their intent to leave Joseph in the pit to die. So God overcame the brother's intended evil with good.
     
  13. convicted1

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    This line of reasoning is completely "anti-Calvinistic", Brother. You are stating that God knew their intentions, and then used them to accomplish His will concerning Joseph. Now, if someone stated that God knew those who would accept Him, and then He elected them via this process, well that would be utterly blasphemous. Now, I do not believe God elected anyone this way, but it is along the same line of reasoning as what you posted here.


    God used this as a way to bring His people into safety during the seven year drought that Joseph told Pharoah about. God has a way of preserving His children.
     
  14. kyredneck

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    :thumbsup:

    him, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.....Acts 2:23

    to do whatsoever thy hand and thy council foreordained to come to pass. Acts 4:28
     
  15. Winman

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    Actually Willis, most non-Cals/Arms believe God in his foreknowledge saw who would trust Christ and elected these persons.

    Joseph's brothers did not plan on selling Joseph into slavery, their original intent was to KILL him. God did not tempt them to do this. But we see several good things happen that altered the outcome. First, Reuben became convicted and said they should not kill him, but throw him in a pit, Reuben's intention to return later and rescue Joseph and return him to his father. This was good, but it was not God's plan. Then they sat down to eat which prevented Reuben from rescuing Joseph, but also the caravan came by. Only then did Judah get the idea to sell Joseph. So, we see God intervening to bring about his purpose by doing good.
     
  16. Robert Snow

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    I believe this accentuates the sovereignty of God. I believe God is so magnificent that He is able to give man free will; yet God is able to use and arrange these free will choices so that His will is accomplished. I don't know how, and I don't think anyone else knows how God does it, it's part of being God!
     
  17. quantumfaith

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    :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:

    I would also add, that yes there are events etc that God has indeed planned and specified that this or that will occur. Indeed some persons in biblical and redemptive history are chosen to accomplish specific tasks. Furthermore, God is never surprised.
     
  18. Iconoclast

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    Correct Willis, good catch!
    While God does providentially move, he does not just "know' what will happen as a spectator.

    a wrong use of foreknowledge,and if this was so....no election ac tually takes place.God does not s\take a peek forward than make a plan...His plan is always first.
     
  19. Winman

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    And what scripture supports your last statement that God does not look in the future and from the beginning chose whom he foreknew would believe? Do you have scripture that clearly refutes this? I would love to see it.
     
  20. Iconoclast

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    winman
    17That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

    18Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.


    29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

    30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

    You will not get by these two to start with

    Whom he did Foreknow.......not what he saw ahead of time.....whom he did foreknow

    predestination proceeds calling.....see it


    In the Acts 15 verse God's works are known to Him before the world was. What he has purposed has come to pass, because he has ordained it to be so.
     

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