The Purpose of Detours

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Wouldn’t it be great if God could lead you right to the earthly calling He had in store for you? Unfortunately for us, God rarely takes his children to their destiny in the way they might expect. Tony Evans says that in order to fully experience God’s destiny for you, you need to understand the detours He might provide along the way. In this lesson, discover how God uses Joseph’s biggest detour yet in order to begin developing the plans He has in store for him.



remember your blessing includes you, but it’s not only about you detours detours are distractions from the original intended route that you had planned to go. They take you off the beaten path. It takes you longer than you had planned to be using to arrive at where you are hoping to go. If you’re here today and you want your destiny, I would not be being fair to the word of God if I didn’t tell you that they’re going to be dry spots where nothing appears to be happening and you find yourself stuck. If you are a believer in jesus christ today, you have a destiny. I’m telling you to let you know that when God is ready to move it, don’t take long. Yeah, detours. Mhm detours are distractions from the original intended route that you had planned to go. When we get in our cars, we get in our cars with a destination in mind. We plan to go somewhere. Mm hmm. We typically, you know how we plan to get there, which highway we’re going to take, what streets we’re going to turn on to arrive at the destination that we’re headed to. But along the way, on many occasions we run into a detour. Something that takes us off of the pre planned route that we had determined to use to get where we hope to go, if you are a believer in jesus christ today, you have a destiny. Now from an eternal perspective, we know what our destiny is and that is to be in God’s presence forever worshiping him and working for him in that eternal state. That is our eternal destiny. We know that but our concern or our focus is on the historical destiny that he has for you in this life, there is a destiny in the life to come. But I’m talking about where he’s taking you in the life that is God has a plan for your life, a purpose for your existence. The reason why you weren’t taken to heaven the moment after you were converted is because there is a purpose on earth. He desires you to fulfill part of experiencing your destiny is understanding your detours. When you look at scripture, it is full of destiny’s being reached through detours. When God told Israel he was going to take them to their destiny in Canaan. They had to cross the Red Sea. But when you read the scripture, he didn’t take them directly to the Red Sea. He took him down south, brought him back up before he let him cross the Red Sea, took him on a detour. In fact, they wind up on a 40 year detour before the nation reached its destiny Moses was on a detour for 40 years. He knew what God wanted him to do. Thought God wanted him to do it at one time. God had to take him over 40 years before he let him do it took him on a detour to the backside of the wilderness the greatest apostle in the new testament call. Mhm was taken on a three year detour to a desert, where God took him off of the front page, took him into a detour, then brought him back before he let him fulfill his purpose. So let me repeat. God has a destiny for you, A place he wants you to be. And there is no better place for you than his place destined to you. But you won’t get there in a straight line. There is no individual in the bible who illustrates this principle of detours and its relationship to destiny. Like the life of joseph genesis. Chapter 50. Chapter 50 gives you kind of the summary of the story, but joseph said to them, that is his brothers. Do not be afraid for am I in God’s place, you got a hint of destiny. Their destiny is being in the place God has for you. Am I not in God’s place. As for you, you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result to preserve many alive. So therefore do not be afraid I will provide for you and your little one. So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. Please notice that phrase. As for you, uh you meant evil against me and God meant it for good. Watch it. Watch it. That tells you something about destiny. It includes evil and good. Let’s go back to the beginning of the story. Chapter 37. We find in verse two, Joseph was 17 years of age. So we got a teenager here, where were introduced to him in some detail joseph, he’s 17 At 17 years of age. He is the 11th son of Jacob 12. Sons of Jacob came from four different women. So you’ve got all kinds of dynamics as you got all these baby mama drama in the context of the chaos of the family into which joseph is born. Joseph’s oldest brother, Reuben has sex with Jacob, his father’s wife, Chapter 35, verse 22 two of his brothers, Simeon and Levi are mass murderers. Simeon and Levi are mass murderers. Chapter 34 verse 25. But it gets worse. 1st 3 says now Israel, that’s Jacob. Jacob loved Joseph more than all his sons. Joseph is his favorite because it came from Rachel. He came from Rachel. He loved him. Well, he loved joseph more than all the sons because he was the son of his old age and made him a varied color tunic When he made them this special coat. Notice what happens verse four. His brothers saw that their father loved him more than all of his brothers and so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms. So now you got a sibling situation because daddy’s playing favorites. Now let me tell you why they hated him all the more, not just because he got a pretty role. That would have been enough of itself, but that’s a robe that goes to the oldest son? Because it was the first born who was to be the most recognized and the firstborn got a double inheritance. So they understood what this road meant. This road meant that he was going to be treated like the first born. Even though at this point he’s the last born and it says and they hated him and would not speak to him on friendly terms. They talked about him, they degraded him. And there were sibling conflicts and some of you know what it’s like not to be able to communicate with brothers or sisters or or siblings because of what went down with daddy and mama. That’s the situation. It’s a family disaster. But it ain’t over because now joseph has a dream, Verse five. Then Joseph had a dream and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. Okay, now they already don’t like you boy. But he now goes out has a dream. He says, Please verse six, listen to the dream I had last night verse seven. Behold we were binding sheaves in the field and lo my sheaf rose up and also stood erect and behold your sheets gathered around and bowed down. The mushy peas. Now they already don’t like you boy. Yes. And you’re gonna tell them you had a dream where they bowed down the unit? So what was their response? Verse eight and their brother said, are you actually going terrain over us or are you really going to rule over us? So they hated him even more for the dreams he dreamt and the words he told them. But not only that we ain’t finished Verse nine. Now he had still another dream. This boy need to stay up this boy having too many dreams. He had another dream and he related it to his brothers and said, lo I have still another dream. And behold the sun and the moon. And 11 stars were bowing down to me. He related this to his father to his brothers and his father rebuked him and said him, what is this dream you have? Shall I? And your mother and your brothers actually come and buy ourselves down before you to the ground. His brothers were jealous of him because he shared a dream, Joseph has made three mistakes. three Very critical mistakes. Now we know his brother’s got issues. His daddy has issues, but he’s made three mistakes. Let me review joseph some mistakes with you mistake number one, the end divers too. And joseph brought back a bad report about them to his father. He’s a tattletale. He going to sneak it out. Let me see what the boys are doing. He’s 17 years old. So we understand it. You know, he’s immature. That’s the first thing. 2nd thing he did was tell his dreams to folks who don’t like him. That’s the third mistake you made sporting his tunic. Okay, watch this. Now we read in the beginning of the chapter. He’s taking care of flocks with his brothers. His brothers already don’t like him and speak harshly to him. He’s taking care of flocks with his brother. Now he gets suited and booted. He’s got on this multicolored, flamboyant tunic. Everybody else’s riding up in the bike. He drives his car to the fly. So watch this. Joseph has a dream. Joseph has also been given a gift to interpret dreams. So that is his uniqueness to have a dream and to interpret dreams, which is going to work well for him down the line. But joseph is also immature. He’s a tattletale. He doesn’t know how to transfer information to whom, about what and when. And he wants to rubber this favoritism in the face of his brothers who already doesn’t like him. He is immature. So joseph is going to have to grow up before he can realize his dream, which means he needs a detour here. It is the purpose of detours mm hmm. Is to develop you for the destiny God has for you while God is developing the destiny for when you arrive. God is doing two things at one time. He’s developing you maturity through the things he takes you through for the destiny while he’s working on the Destiny for when you get there. So I got to tell you the truth. Things may get worse before they get better because development is part of the process. See, we want the destiny. God wants to make sure you’re ready for it because the worst thing you can have is to be somewhere God wants you to be and not be ready to be there. Because then you’ll mess up the destiny. I cannot give you your destiny. If you will not allow me to shape your character, I can’t give you your destiny. If you do not allow me to deal with your sins, I cannot give you your destiny. If you don’t allow me to promote your righteousness, I can’t give you your destiny if you don’t allow me to mature you. So therefore in order to give you your destiny, I’ve got to detour you first. You don’t go from the ground to the store. You go through a process first of detour and that means things may get worse before they get better and they do get worse. His father sends him on a trip to see his brothers. He says, I want you to go check on the brothers Because verse 12 there tending the flock in check. Um so he goes looking for them, he goes to shake him, he goes to doctor and he’s looking for them. And when verse 18 here it is, when they saw him from a distance and before he came close to them, they plotted against him to put him to death. They said verse 20 let us kill him, throw him into the pit and we will say a wild beast. The virus Rubin said no, no no, no, no, let’s let’s let’s come on, we gotta come up with something. Let’s not shed any blood. So it came about when Joseph reached verse 23, his brothers, they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the very colored tunic that was on him. I told you he was wearing this thing. I told you now he’s going to visit his brothers who outward sheep and he’s suited and booted. He wearing a suit and a royal robe to hang out with some sheep and sheep herders. Alright? He’s strutting his stuff. Watch this now. And they stripped him of it. What did they strip him off? They stripped him off something he held in high value because he’s wearing this thing. It was given to him by his daddy. You see sometimes when God is taking us on a detour, he allows us to be stripped of things. We love the most because when you’re on God’s design detours, things can get worse before they get better. Especially when you’re being stripped of something that you’re wrapped in that’s covering you that’s close to you. It says they stripped him of it And they took him. Verse 24 threw him into a pit. Now the pit was empty and without water. Oh no anybody here today and that’s a whole, You can’t get out of that’s a situation you can’t fix? He didn’t create the whole, he didn’t make the hall, but he was thrown into the hole and it says there was there was no water. There wasn’t anything to nourish him while he was there. There was no fuel for his well being while he was there. It was a waterless, in other words, it was a dry place. If you’re here today and you want your destiny, I would not be being fair to the word of God if I didn’t tell you that they’re going to be dry spots along the jury, they’re gonna be places where there are no filling stations where there are no off ramps for you to get something to drink, where there’s gonna be dry spots where nothing appears to be happening. And you find yourself stuck in a bad place. So I know what the dreamer is thinking. Here is what he’s thinking. My dreams are shattered. I had these great dreams. I thought I was gonna be something, be somebody go somewhere, achieve something. And then I didn’t go on from a royal robe to a whole. I’m down to my underwear because I’ve been stripped this man has got to be disappointed and maybe he’s even disappointed with God because God, how could you let me be in this hole? When you said you loved me. How can you let me be in this whole When you told me to trust you, how can you let me be in this hole with my own family members doing me and how can you let me be in this hole with these folks, treat me this way. How can you leave me in this hole? And when you’re in a hole and you have no way out, you feel like you’re in a hopeless situation, you’re on a detour because the tools are divine design, contribute to construction, because God must address our character. He must mature us. If he is going to trust us with the destiny he has for us. Okay, let me close with this. First Verse 27 and 28, come and let us sell him to the Ishmael elites. Look back at verse 25. Then they sat down and to eat a meal and they raised their eyes and look behold A caravan of the Israelites were coming from Gilead with their camels bearing aromatic gum and balm and mirror on their way to bring them down to Egypt verse 27. Come, let us sell them to the Israelites and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother and our own flesh and his brothers listen to him. Then some media night traders passed by. So they pulled him up and lifted joseph out of the pit and sold them to the Israelites for 20 shekels of silver. Thus they brought joseph to Egypt joseph in the hole, some Israelite traders come along and they say, you know what, let’s sell it, let’s get rid of it. So for some silver they sell their brother, watch this in the slavery, he’s a slave, he’s being bought and sold like cheap property. One minute he’s living large, one minute he’s in the white house. Now he’s in the outhouse. One minute he’s got significance. The next minute he’s a nobody. All he is is a slave sold like cheap labor labor. He’s up here one minute, he’s down there another minute. And the man had a dream about a destiny. And the last line I read that you said, and they took him to Egypt. Okay. I know you heard me, but maybe you didn’t hear me. It said they sold joseph out of the pit to slave traders who bought him. He didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to his daddy. He got ripped away from his family. I didn’t get to see his brother who would come later, Benjamin. He was sold like cheap property to slave trainers who brought him to Egypt. Now, why am I going through that? Because we started at the end of the book and at the end of the book, Chapter 50, Chapter 50 It said has not God brought me to this place. The place he’s in is Egypt. He says, God brought me here so that I could deliver you. So God’s plan for Joseph was to get him to Egypt so that he could fulfill his destiny. But in order to get him to the last chapter, he had to back up here to the 17 year old chapter, he had to strip him of his tunic, give him his dream, separate him from his family, sell him into being a slave so that they would go to Egypt so that God could fulfill his destiny. So you may be in a bad place right now. You may be in a pit right now and there may be no water, no nourishment, no support. You may feel like you’re the lone ranger by yourself, but I want to call on you in the middle of your pit to tell God you’re available to the Israelites, you’re available. Even if you have to be a slave, forgot to take you from here to deliver you over there so that you wind up in this place, life is full of detours, twists and turns, things that you didn’t expect. But the good news is God’s detours are always done with the purpose. He rarely goes in a straight line from A to Z. He zigzags along the way and that’s why being in touch with God and staying in close contact with him is critical in order for you to recognize the detours utilize the detours and most importantly benefit from the detours. If God has you on a detour right now, he has you on a detour for a reason, stay close to him, stay connected to him because he will still lead you to the destination he has for you. Mhm, mm hmm. I’m standing here in Alaska, one of the most glorious places in God’s great creation and I want to invite you to join me in our urban alternative family for the Alaskan Cruise. We’re going to have a magnificent time, in God’s word. And in God’s creation, we’re going to enjoy great fellowship, great fun, great food. And I’m looking forward to meeting and greeting you on R T U A Alaskan Cruise register to be there. Can’t wait to be with you.

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Tony Evans Dr. Tony Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative and...

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