Chapter 3 -- cover pic

Last Sunday we followed the twisting story of Joseph, from dreams, to being sold into slavery, to becoming the Vice Pharaoh of Egypt to, at last, coming face to face with his brothers when they came begging for food in the midst of famine.

It took getting through to Genesis 45 before we saw that the story wasn’t what we thought it was.  It wasn’t about Joseph.  Or his brothers.  Or their betrayal.

It was about God.   The nature of God.   And how God chose to work through this fledgling people of Israel to reveal God’s self to the world.

A key question that we began (and only began) to engage was how do we understand the will of God?  The Joseph story was turned on its head when Joseph tells his brothers, “So it was not you who sent me here [Egypt], but God” (Gen. 45:8).    And then the verse that has been the catalyst for how many understand God, and God’s relation to evil:  “Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today.”

This verse, for many, has “solved” the problem of God and evil.  God doesn’t cause evil or use evil on purpose — God just turns the evil that happens to good.   The cross, of course, is the ultimate example of this.

And yet.

As we probe further into God’s word, we will find occasions where it appears as though God uses violence to further God’s ends.  This Sunday, we will encounter in Chapter 4 of The Story the many occasions when God hardens Pharaoh’s heart.   And the trail from Egypt to the Promised Land will feature many acts of conquest, often brutal, in God’s name.   How do we square this with the Prince of Peace and God’s act of self-sacrifice on calvary?  Just a few questions as we continue this walk of faith together through our study of God’s story.