The story of Joseph, like that of Jonah, shows how uninformed we are about God's workings on this planet, how little we understand how resolutely He works at fulfilling His plans. We think we make all the decisions in our lives by our "free" will, but really we have no idea that God is orchestrating the whole symphony from behind the scenes.
Joseph's brothers hated him because he was their father's favourite. They hated him all the more when he told them of his dreams which predicted that one day they would be his servants.
Because of their hatred and jealousy, the brothers threw Joseph into a pit intending to kill him, but sold him to passing traders instead. These traders were on their way to Egypt and, on their arrival there, sold Joseph to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh's guard.
Through extraordinary circumstances, Joseph became Prime Minister of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. In this position he saved Egypt from ruin during the seven year famine that Joseph himself had previously predicted.
Because the famine also affected Canaan, where Joseph's family lived, his brothers came to Egypt to buy food from the stockpiles Joseph had created during the good years before the famine hit. After several dealings with Joseph, who they did not recognise, the brothers finally discovered they were doing business with Joseph, their youngest brother, when he revealed his identity to them.
"I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 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." [Genesis 45 : 4 - 5 NIV]
Later, all the rest of Joseph's family moved to Egypt where Jacob, their father, subsequently died. Fearing revenge from Joseph after their father's death, Joseph reassured them that their mischief-making and evil intentions were used by God to execute His plans to save Jacob (Israel) and his family.
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." [Genesis 50 : 20 NIV]
Sounds a bit like what Jesus might have said to those who put him on the cross, doesn't it?
Jonah, Joseph, Jesus ...... God is really running the show, even when we don't recognise it. However, the wise King Solomon did.
"People may plan all kinds of things, but the LORD's will is going to be done." [Proverbs 19 : 21 GNB] and "You may make your plans, but God directs your actions. " [Proverbs 16 : 9 GNB] were two of his thoughts on the subject.