In this study, we will look at the life of Joseph, from his family background to his eventual rise to power in Egypt.
- God has a plan.
- God is always with us.
- The importance of forgiving others.
BIBLE READING: Genesis 37-50
MEMORY VERSE: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”- Genesis 50:20
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BIBLE STUDY NOTES FOR TEENS
Here is a quick summary of Joseph’s life as recorded in the Bible:
A. Joseph’s Birth and Early life
Joseph was the 11th son of Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, the father of the Israelites. Joseph was Jacob’s favourite son. Jacob showed Joseph more love than to his brothers, giving him a fabulous coat of many colours. When Joseph was a young man, he had dreams that showed him as a ruler over his brothers and family.
B. Joseph is Sold into Slavery (Genesis 37:17-28)
Joseph’s jealous brothers plotted to get rid of him and sold him into slavery in Egypt. They told Jacob that Joseph had been killed and put his coat of many colours in the blood-stained bag to make it appear as if he had been attacked.
C. Joseph in Potiphar’s House (Genesis 39)
Joseph was sold into slavery and taken to Egypt, where he was bought by Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard. Joseph worked hard, and God blessed him with success and favour in all he did. He quickly rose through the ranks and gained Potiphar’s trust.
C. Joseph in Prison (Genesis 40)
Potiphar’s wife failed to lure Joseph into having an affair, so she falsely accused him of attempted rape. As a result, Joseph was thrown into prison. But even in prison, God blessed Joseph, and he was put in charge of the prisoners and all the prison affairs.
D. Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dreams (Genesis 41)
Pharaoh had a dream, and none of his wise men or magicians could interpret it. So Pharaoh heard about Joseph and asked him to interpret the dream. Joseph was able to correctly interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, and he told of seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine.
E. Joseph Rises to Power in Egypt (Genesis 41-45)
Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of preparing for the coming famine. Joseph was made ruler of all of Egypt and stored up grain during the seven years of plenty to prepare for the famine.
F. Joseph Reunited with his Brothers and Father (Genesis 45-50)
Joseph’s brothers eventually came to Egypt looking for food and reunited with their long-lost brother. Joseph forgave them and was reconciled with his father. He invited his family to live in Egypt.
1. GOD HAS A PLAN FOR GOOD – GENESIS 50:20
God has a plan for us, and He works all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). We can see this clearly in the life of Joseph, who experienced unimaginable suffering and hardship, yet God worked it together for good.
Joseph recognizes God’s hand on his life in Genesis 50:20 when he says to his brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
God can take even the most difficult situations and use them for good. In fact, God often takes heartache, pain, loss, and troubles to create something beautiful and more meaningful than what was there before. We may not understand why we are in painful moments or why they have to happen, but with faith, we can be sure that God is working in the midst of it all.
We can trust God with our life’s journey and challenges, knowing that, ultimately, everything will work together for good, and that God remains in control. Circumstances may surprise us, but they never surprise God.
2. ADVERSITY PREPARES US FOR OUR FUTURE – 1 PETER 5:10
Adversity is a common theme throughout the life of Joseph, from his brothers selling him into slavery to his wrongful imprisonment and even his false accusations from Potiphar’s wife. Despite all of Joseph’s suffering throughout his life, it was all part of God’s plan to use Joseph’s adversity to prepare for his future calling.
Joseph needed to go through those struggles and hardships to be prepared to fulfil the role God had planned for him. He needed to learn valuable lessons in trust, compassion, humility and leadership, which would equip him to be second in command over all of Egypt.
It’s difficult to understand why God allows us to endure adversity and suffering, but God often uses it to shape us into the people we were always meant to be. It’s important to remember that God’s purpose is not to make our lives miserable or difficult; instead, God has a perfect plan, and our troubles are often part of God’s strategy in unfolding that plan in our lives. At times, this means that He must allow trials into our lives to reshape us for bigger and better things. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,” (Romans 5:3-4). Adversity helps us become more Christlike and teaches us how dependent we need to be on Him. (see also 1 Peter 5:10)
3. THE LORD WAS WITH JOSEPH – GENESIS 39:2
Throughout all of Joseph’s challenges and suffering, one thing remained constant – God was with him. Even though it may have seemed like Joseph was alone, God had not abandoned him in his time of need. In fact, Genesis 39:2 says that the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in all that he did.
How was God with Joseph?
- God was with Joseph allowing him to prosper in Potiphar’s household and the prison. (Genesis 39:1-6)
- God was with Joseph allowing him to overcome the temptation by Potiphar’s wife. (Genesis 39:6-23)
- God was with Joseph allowing him to remain faithful in the midst of unjust imprisonment. (Genesis 40)
- God was with Joseph allowing him to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams and become second in command over all of Egypt. (Genesis 41:38-45).
- God was with Joseph allowing him to forgive his brothers. (Genesis 45:1-15)
God was with Joseph in every situation, teaching him valuable lessons and preparing him for his destiny. In the same way, God is with us at all times. He is with us to give us strength, wisdom and courage to persevere through trials and serve Him faithfully.
4. FORGIVE OTHERS – GENESIS 50:15-21
Joseph’s story of forgiveness is a powerful reminder of the importance of forgiving those who have wronged us. As Joseph was able to forgive his brothers for their wrongdoing, so must we forgive those who have wronged us to find true freedom.
The Bible says a lot about forgiving others:
- “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” – Matthew 6:14
- “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32
We must learn from Joseph’s example of forgiveness and forgive those who have wronged us. Forgiveness is never easy, but it is essential for our spiritual growth and relationship with God. It requires humility, compassion, and a willingness to let go of anger and resentment. As we forgive others, we reflect the love and mercy of Christ, and we open ourselves to reflect the forgiveness and grace that God freely offers.
CONCLUSION Joseph’s life is an inspiring example of how God works in our lives, despite the hardship and suffering that we may experience. God was with Joseph throughout his journey, granting him success in all he did. God allowed him to overcome the temptation of Potiphar’s wife and ultimately fulfil his destiny as second in command over all of Egypt. Joseph also teaches us to forgive others, just as God forgave us.
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YOUTH GAMES AND ACTIVITIES – Joseph
COAT OF MANY COLOURS
- Divide players into two teams.
- Assign one player on each team to be the “Joseph” for that team. This player will wear the “coat of many colours” once it is completed.
- Give each team a roll of masking tape and a stack of scrap paper in different colours.
- Players must add patches to the coat until the coat is large enough to fit their designated Joseph.
- To make the game more challenging, players can be given a time limit to complete the coat.
COLOUR SCAVENGER HUNT
- Create a list of colours for players to find, such as red, blue, green, yellow, purple, pink, orange, and brown.
- Divide players into teams of two or more.
- Set a time limit, such as 5 minutes, for players to find as many items as they can.
- Players must work together to find items of each colour on the list and bring them back to their bag or basket.
- Alternatively, a team can be given a specific colour such as blue and then have to find as many different blue objects as possible in the given time.
- Create a giant game board with spaces representing different locations and challenges in Joseph’s life story, such as his childhood home, Potiphar’s house, the prison, and Pharaoh’s palace.
- Prepare cards or other game elements to represent the challenges and obstacles that players will face at each location.
- Players take turns rolling a dice and move around the board.
- When a player lands on a location space, they draw a challenge card or other game element to determine what obstacle they must face. Reflect on the challenges Joseph faced to trust and honour God.
- Players must successfully complete the challenge in order to continue their journey.
- The first player to reach the end of the board and complete all the challenges wins.