Summary: Using a true story about a great American, this stopry deals with the providence of God.

God’s Providence

Genesis 50: 1-20 N.I.V.

[1] Joseph threw himself upon his father and wept over him and kissed him.

[2] Then Joseph directed the physicians in his service to embalm his father Israel. So the physicians embalmed him,

[3] taking a full forty days, for that was the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days.

[4] When the days of mourning had passed, Joseph said to Pharaoh’s court, "If I have found favor in your eyes, speak to Pharaoh for me. Tell him,

[5] ’My father made me swear an oath and said, "I am about to die; bury me in the tomb I dug for myself in the land of Canaan." Now let me go up and bury my father; then I will return.’ "

[6] Pharaoh said, "Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear to do."

[7] So Joseph went up to bury his father. All Pharaoh’s officials accompanied him--the dignitaries of his court and all the dignitaries of Egypt—

[8] besides all the members of Joseph’s household and his brothers and those belonging to his father’s household. Only their children and their flocks and herds were left in Goshen.

[9] Chariots and horsemen also went up with him. It was a very large company.

[10] When they reached the threshing floor of Atad, near the Jordan, they lamented loudly and bitterly; and there Joseph observed a seven-day period of mourning for his father.

[11] When the Canaanites who lived there saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, "The Egyptians are holding a solemn ceremony of mourning." That is why that place near the Jordan is called Abel Mizraim.

[12] So Jacob’s sons did as he had commanded them:

[13] They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre, which Abraham had bought as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite, along with the field.

[14] After burying his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, together with his brothers and all the others who had gone with him to bury his father.

[15] When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?"

[16] So they sent word to Joseph, saying, "Your father left these instructions before he died:

[17] ’This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father." When their message came to him, Joseph wept.

[18] His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. "We are your slaves," they said.

[19] But Joseph said to them, "Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?

[20] You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

This is the story of Joseph & his brothers.

Their father, Jacob…or Israel, has died.

Pharaoh gives Joseph permission to take his father’s body

back to Canaan for burial.

After the burial, Joseph’s brothers are afraid.

They think Joseph will try to get revenge upon them.

They believe that the death of their father means…

Joseph won’t feel like he has to be nice to them any more.

Why did they think Joseph would want to get revenge?

And why did Joseph say to them: [20] You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Let me begin today by reading you a story:

On the front porch of his little country store in Illinois, a small businessman stood with his partner. Business was all gone, and the partner asked, "How much longer can we keep this going?" The owner answered, "It looks as if our business has just about winked out." Then he continued, "You know, I wouldn’t mind so much if I could just do what I want to do. I want to study law. I wouldn’t mind so much if we could sell everything we’ve got and pay all our bills and have just enough left over to buy one book--Blackstone’s Commentary on English Law, but I guess I can’t."

We’ll get back to that story a little later!

The Bible story of Joseph is a story about the providence of God.

What is that?

Providence comes from the Greek word pronoia (Acts 24: 2).

Pronoia is made up of two words, pro = before.

And noeo = to think.

So, providence means: "to think before."

Providence, then, means foreknowledge.

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