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Bible Study: Enduring God-sanctioned detours

NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.

Bible Passage: Genesis 41:1-32

Discussion Questions:

  • What might God-sanctioned detours look like in our day and culture?
  • How do you respond when you think you are in an extended detour of life? What do you say? What do you do? What do you feel?
  • When have you believed a life detour was dragging on far too long, only to realize at its conclusion that God had accomplished in or through you exactly what He planned?

Food for thought:

Detours. Don’t we always find them frustrating? Whether they take us off the Interstate because of an accident, send us the long way around town because of street work, or keep us circling in a holding pattern in life, we despise the delay.

In “Detours,” pastor and author Tony Evans points out two reasons why we might perceive we are near the end of a God-sanctioned detour, only to endure disappointment by its extension. First, we might not be prepared for our destiny, the destination at the end of a detour. In Genesis 40, Joseph interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer and chief baker, requesting the cupbearer upon his release mention Joseph’s plight to Pharaoh. Had the cupbearer immediately remembered Joseph and mentioned him to Pharaoh, and had Pharaoh promptly freed Joseph, Joseph could have believed his actions resulted in the release. Joseph was not prepared for his destiny. God would not share credit for His work with Joseph.

Second, our destiny might not be prepared for us. What if the cupbearer had lost no time in informing Pharaoh about Joseph? And what if Pharaoh had quickly set Joseph free? What would Joseph have done then? Taken on another role in Egypt? Returned home to the promised land? Pharaoh’s dreams wouldn’t happen for another two years.

Joseph’s destiny of interpreting the dreams and overseeing the accumulation and distribution of the seven years of abundance required that he be readily available when the dreams occurred. Had God ended the detour early, before his destiny was ready, would Joseph have been around for dream-interpretation duty? Would he have been reconciled to his family? Would the family have been provided for?

As much as Joseph surely hated the additional two years he spent in prison, there was a much bigger picture he couldn’t see that would have been distorted had the detour ended early. So it is with us. As much as we want our detours to end yesterday, only God knows whether we are prepared for the destiny He has in store for us, or if the destiny is prepared for us.


MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at lifeway.com/masterwork (https://www.lifeway.com/en/product-family/masterwork).

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by Lifeway can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool (https://www.lifeway.com/en/bible-studies/sunday-school?vid=sundayschool) lifeway.com (https://www.lifeway.com/).

    About the Author

  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources