Season of the Church Year: Common Time/ “Great Green Growing” Season (green)
Story in Scripture: Genesis 37:1-31; 49:1-6
The story of Joseph is such a beautiful illustration of redemption, forgiveness, and God’s presence in our lives (even when things are really really tough!). When sharing this lesson with the children, sibling rivalry and jealousy are often a strong connecting point to their own lives. Joseph confused and frustrated his brothers and their father’s obvious favoritism didn’t help. God shared many things with Joseph in his dreams and reveals a lot about what is to come in Joseph’s life. As the Bible relates, Joseph’s brothers allow their jealousy to get the better of them and they sell Joseph into slavery, lying to their father about what really happened. God continues to reveal truth about the future in his dreams and also, Joseph is granted wisdom for understanding the dreams of others. While still a slave, Joseph helps the Pharaoh to understand dreams. The Pharaoh is so thankful for Joseph and his wisdom that he gives him important jobs and a better life. One day, Joseph’s brothers come to beg the Pharaoh for some grain in a time of famine. They don’t recognize their long-lost brother, so they are surprised when he eventually reveals himself to them. Because of his job with the Pharaoh and because he loves his brothers and father (even though his brothers did something terrible to him!), they all come to live and be happy together in Egypt. This is not a “happily ever after” story, however, as God’s people continue to struggle throughout the coming generations. But this story is a wonderful reminder of the ways that God redeems our relationships, brings the lost into a place of being known, and allows his great work to be revealed in our obedience to him. Joseph stayed true to his calling from God and restored his family through his love.
Guiding Questions for Discussion:
(Note: These are the usual questions that are asked after Old Testament character studies.)
Now I wonder which part of the story you liked best?
I wonder what part is the most important?
I wonder what part is about you…. Or what part was especially for you?
I wonder what the story of Joseph and his family might be teaching you?
Prayer:“Father, thank you for Joseph. We can learn so much from his life. I pray that you would remind me that you are always with me, even when things are difficult. Even when the people I love the most make mistakes, help my to forgive them, just as Jesus forgave those who hurt him. I know that you are always with me. Help me to be the kind of person that can bring joy to you and who can show the world how powerful and wonderful you are. Amen.”