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Summary: See how Joseph looked at his life and learn how to look at your own.

Genesis 45:3-8, 15 (Monday) Recognize and Respect God's plan for your Life.

3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.

4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.[a] 8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him.

Have you ever heard the expression "God is my co-pilot"? People mean well when they say it - it's on bumper stickers. There are books with that title. God is my co-pilot. In other words, he's at my side, helping me through life. Is that true? Well, kind of yes, and kind of no. He is next to you, and he does help you. Of course, lots of anti-God people like to make fun of that expression. There's the picture of the crumpled up car with "God is my co-pilot" on the license plate and people say, "I'm glad God's not my co-pilot." Instead of God is my co-pilot, a popular bumper sticker is "Dog is my co-pilot." In other words, my dog is at my side, helping me through my life. Some people really love their dogs, maybe a little too much.

I don't want to upset anyone who likes the expression "God is my co-pilot." But God's not interested in being just your co-pilot. God doesn't want you in the front seat. He doesn't want you to even touch that steering wheel. God is not your co-pilot. He is your one and only pilot. He is the one who steers your life - not you. That's what Joseph believed - look again at what he said to his brothers…

"because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you…. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God."

God was not Joseph's co-pilot, and Joseph recognized that. Do you remember the story when Joseph's brothers sold Joseph into slavery because they just couldn't stand him? God allowed that evil to take place, and used it for something good. God knew that eventually there would be a terrible famine that would kill millions of people. God knew that Jacob's family - the very family from which the Savior would come - would be wiped out by that famine. And so God had a plan that he would save all those millions of people and the special Savior-family through one man - Joseph. That was God's plan. God was the pilot of Joseph's life. He allowed evil to happen to Joseph, to be sold into slavery, and eventually God piloted Joseph's life into something good, something no one ever could have anticipated. Joseph recognized this and Joseph respected it.

How do we know Joseph respected God's plan? Because of the way he treated his brothers. Joseph could have sinned, right here in this story, but he didn't. He could have held a grudge against his brothers - that's a sin. He could have gotten revenge on them - that's a sin - put them in jail and caused them to die a slow and painful death for selling him into slavery. He could have hated them - that's a sin. But he didn't do that. Instead, Joseph respected God's plan and said to them, "Do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here." He forgave them. "And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him." Why did Joseph forgive his brothers? Because he respected God's plan for his life. Yes, what his brothers did was bad. But God used it for good. Joseph respected God's plan by doing what God would want him to do - he forgave.

Do you recognize and respect God's plan for your life? Do you realize that God is not your co-pilot? He steers your life. Sometimes, just like with Joseph, he allows bad things to happen to you - maybe people will hate you and reject you, just like what happened to Joseph. But God promises you, "I know that plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11) Do you, like Joseph, recognize God's plan for your life? "In all things God works for the good of those who love him." (Romans 8:28).

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