Did God Put Joseph Into Bad Situations?

Q. I heard from my pastor years ago when he preached on the story of Joseph that God put him in bad (difficult) situations and says God will sometimes put us in bad situations. I have read Q&A on your website and you state that God does not put us in bad situations. In the story of Joseph, I believe he was hurt badly and deeply though God was not the cause of his problems nor did He put him in situations like that. But I believe He allowed him to be sold into slavery and put into prison and God used his bad situations and turned them around for his good (Romans 8:28). Do you think God put Joseph in these situations or allowed these bad things to happen to him?

A. What I have said is that God is working everything together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28), even those things we think are bad. A sizable number of the difficult situations we experience are our own fault, and many others are due to the fact that we live in an evil world. But God will work even those situations in our favor if we let Him. I can’t tell you how many times in my own life I’ve been in situations where it seemed to me that no good could come from them, only to discover after the fact that God had a great blessing in store for me all along.

Joseph’s life is a prime example of this and can be summarized by his comment to his brothers that what they intended for evil, God intended for good (Genesis 50:20). When his brothers sold him into slavery (because of their jealousy), he became the head of Potiphar’s household. When he was wrongly accused and imprisoned (because he refused to commit adultery), he was placed in charge of the prison. While there he interpreted some dreams and came to Pharaoh’s attention. He was brought out of the prison, promoted to a position of authority second only to Pharaoh, and saved countless thousands of lives in addition to reuniting his family. No matter what evil people tried to do to Joseph, the Lord always turned it into a great blessing. It’s the Bible’s best example of Romans 8:28 in action.

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