UNIT 1 LESSON 4
September 24, 2023
STUDY TEXT: Genesis 37:1-36
CENTRAL TRUTH: God is present with us through the Holy Spirit in good and bad times. (KJV).
Key Verse: Genesis 39:2 The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian (KJV).
The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded un everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian (NLT).
LET'S GET STARTED
The story of Joseph is one of the most well-known stories in the Bible. Musicals and movies have been made from it. It is told to children from their earliest ages. But it is far more than a rags to riches story. It is far more than a rags to riches story. It is a crucial part of God's plan for the redemption of the nation of Israel--and for the redemption of all of humanity. In spite of the human suffering and frailties it reveals, it shows us the loving of God working behind the scenes to bring His plan, for individuals and nations, to fruition. Genesis 29:31 through 30:24 contains the interesting account of Jacob's growing family. It is a story of jealousy, heartache, joy, and ruthless competition. At the end of this Jacob's beloved wife Rachel gave birth to Joseph. His story comprises the remainder of Genesis and includes critical reminders of God's care for His people and the sovereignty of His plan. This lesson looks at Joseph's first great trial, which resulted from family dysfunction, jealousy, malice, and treachery. However, this sad series of events will stage for another marvelous display of God's power, provision, and promise.
PART1 ---Joseph's Prophetic Dreams.
Family Dysfunction Genesis 37:1-4
In the next chapter in Abraham's lineage, Joseph takes center stage--although he was (at that time) Jacob's youngest son (Genesis 37:1-2). Again, we see that God often chooses people who might otherwise have been overlooked. Joseph was the son of Jacob's beloved wife Rachel, whom he had been allowed to marry only after he had been deceived into marrying her sister Leah. Leah and the servants of bore him wives bore Jacob ten sons before Rachel bore him a son "in his old age" and named him Joseph. Jacob should have known the problems of parental favoritism and sibling rivalries. However, "Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children. At age seventeen, Joseph witnessed his brothers doing "bad things" and reported it to Jacob. Also, Jacob gave Joseph an elaborately decorated coat that became a constant reminder of Joseph's special place in his father's heart. The brothers grew to hate Joseph and expressed their hatred openly. Joseph faced many of the same family challenges we experience, but we can find hope in Joseph's story. regardless of our upbringing, issues, or trauma we have experienced., God can use us to bring glory to His name.
REACT? Favoritism is destructive and divisive, and Scripture warns us against it (see James 2:1-10). How might Christians show favoritism, and what might result?
Division over Dreams Genesis 37:5-11
Genesis 37:5 records that Joseph had a dream. When he told his brothers, they hated him all the more. Dreams were often associated with divine communication and prophecy. So, in his brothers' eyes, Joseph was not only the favored younger son, but he now claimed God was prophesying that he would one day rule over them. Joseph's insensitivity and immaturity might also be indicated in his father's rebuke after Joseph told of his second dream. Jacob recognized. the great significance of such dreams, but the implications of Joseph's dream--that he would dominate the whole family--opened the entire social order. Joseph might have been wise to keep the dreams to himself and he better understand their meaning. His story may provide guidance for us. when we receive a message from God, it is often wise to keep such revelations to ourselves until God instructs us to share them.
REACT? Was Joseph wise to tell his family about his dreams? Why or why not?
PART 2- Plot to Harm Joseph
The Trap Is Set Genesis 37:12-20
Joseph's brothers had moved their flocks of sheep about twenty miles north to Shechem. about two years earlier, the family had experienced a terrible tragedy and killed all the men in that town. So, he sent Joseph to check on them. Joseph located his brothers and the flocks in Dothan, but they were not happy to see. him coming. Before he reached them, they began making plans to kill him. His brothers initially planned to killed Joseph and throw his body into a cistern, a large bottle-shaped pit used to store water. A cistern made an excellent dungeon. The brothers reasoned that they would tell Jacob a wild beast had killed Joseph. Crises often challenge our faith in God's promises. But hard times do not indicate our trust is misplaced. When we trust God's promises, such times are opportunities for the Lord to receive even greater glory for fulfilling His Word.
REACT? How would we view events that seem to contradict God's promises to us?
Joseph Is Sold into Slavery Genesis 37:21-27
As the plan to kill Joseph was being formulated, Reuben spoke up on Joseph's. behalf, declaring they should spare Joseph's life so there would be no blood on their hand. Instead, they should throw him alive into a cistern. Reuben planned to come back secretly to rescue Joseph and take him home to Jacob. When Joseph arrived, his brothers did as Reuben had said. Shortly afterwards, they spotted a caravan of traders passing by. With Reuben gone at this time, Judah saw an opportunity to make a profit and get rid of their brother without killing him. They sold Joseph to the merchants for twenty shekels of silver-about two hundred dollars in today's money. The merchants took Joseph to Egypt Joseph's dreams seemed to have been derailed. Seemingly hopeless circumstances do not mean God is angry with us or we have missed His will. Sometimes, other people's behavior impacts our lives. When this happens, we must keep in mind that God is always working out His purposes for our lives and His glory.
REACT? How would you respond to someone who asked, "Why do terrible things sometimes happen to people who have placed their trust in Christ?"?
Part 3--Joseph Sold into Slavery
The Plot Begins Genesis 37:28-32
Reuben appears to have gone elsewhere after Joseph was dumped in the cistern. When he returned to find the cistern empty, he tore. his clothes in grief, indicating concern for his father, Jacob. He lamented, "The boy is gone! What will I do now?" He realized he could not go home to his father without Joseph--or at least a story of what had happened to him. The brothers proceeded with their plan to deceive Jacob, faking Joseph's death by ripping his coat and soaking it in goat's blood. They sent Joseph's garment to their father, insinuating a tragedy had taken place. In their message, they claimed not to know if the bloodied coat actually belonged to Joesph while refusing to call him their brother: "Doesn't this robe belong to your son?" They left it to their aged father to assume Joseph had died a horrible death. This was God's chosen family, but their struggles, weaknesses, and failures were all too real.
REACT? In what ways can you see God's mercy at work in this sad story?
Jacob Is Devastated; Joseph Arrives in Egypt Genesis 37:33-36
Imagine Jacob's agony when he recognized the torn, bloody coat he had given his beloved son Joseph. Joseph had been violently taken from him. In their hypocrisy the brothers attempted to console Jacob rather than confessing their treachery and attempting to rescue Joseph. Jacob refused to be comforted, vowing to take his grief to the grave. Grief is a natural emotion. Even Jesus can turn into bitterness against God and others. The days to come would be difficult. Joseph would be enslaved in Egypt, but his destiny would shift dramatically through God's intervention. God's plan for our future may be far different from whatever circumstances we are facing today.
REACT? Describe a time when God and others helped you through a season of grief.
WHAT IS GOD SAYING TO US?
Jacob's journey toward the promised Land brings the larger story of God's covenant promise full circle, adding physical reality to the promise of Genesis 12. When God's promises seem far away, we might struggle to believe they will come to pass. But we can be assured that God will guide and bless us according to His unfailing promises.
LIVING IT OUT
Pray that God will help you treat others well, regardless of who they are.
Pray with someone who is going through difficult circumstances.
DAILY BIBLE READING
Monday: Sin Prevented by a Dream. Genesis 20:1-7
Tuesday: God Revealed in a Dream. Genesis 28:10-17.
Wednesday: Encouraged by a Dream. Judges 7:9-18
Thursday: Instructed by a Dream. Matthew 1:18-25
Friday: Warned by a Dream. Matthew 2:7-12
Saturday: Spirit-Inspired Dreams. Acts 2:14-21
Gospel Publishing House. 1445 N. Boonville Ave. Springfield, Missouri 65802 Volume 105 Number 1. Sept. Oct. Nov. 2023