Imagine Joesph and Mary getting an inspiration to move to Bethlehem. Mary tells her sister Elizabeth that they are thinking of moving and Elizabeth tells her that she’s crazy to think about moving while pregnant.
This occurs several times, until finally God takes matters into his own hands and creates a massive national registration to be sure that Mary and Joesph end up in Bethlehem.]]>
Maybe Joseph needed to learn a few lessons about himself and humility that wouldn’t have happened if Jacob had simply moved to Egypt. Maybe the Egyptians would have turned them away if Joseph hadn’t been in a position of authority to sponsor them.
Maybe the reason history actually went the way it happened is because more people were involved than just the principal actors, and simply giving them all a vision wouldn’t guarantee they’d do what was needed. So the Lord set up the circumstances to lead them that way instead of having to tell them to do it.]]>
I suppose one can blame God for allowing hate, jealousy, and promiscuity but ultimately human beings ought to take responsibility for their behavior. The fact that everything turns out for the best nonetheless might be an indication of divine grace.]]>
Believing in an open future and improvisation (by us with God directing) while here on earth makes most of these questions pretty easy to deal with I think. God wanted to keep some basic promises to Abraham and his posterity and the stories we have are just how things works out as the players freely improvised their parts. I think it is a mistake to read these stories and assume the actions of all participants were exactly pre-scripted by God.
I would also say that the end result of Joseph’s personal story was that Joseph and God had an wonderfully close personal relationship. I think that is the goal God has for all of us (and why he doesn’t prevent all negative things from happening to us so we will turn to embrace him.)]]>