Summary: To lead the people to understand how to show forgiveness to those who have hurt us by doing good to them without expecting anything in return.
Unit 11 – Hard Times
Lesson 32 – Joseph’s Dreams Come True – Genesis 42
Preparation for the Teacher
1. Aim: To lead the people to understand how to show forgiveness to those who have hurt us by doing good to them without expecting anything in return.
2. Explanation of the Aim: God fulfills Joseph’s dream that his brothers will come to Egypt and bow down to him. Instead of using this as an opportunity to exact vengeance Joseph uses the opportunity to do good to all of Israel and save many lives during a terrible famine. It takes a great person of God to say what Joseph said to his brothers, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Gen. 50:19,20) Let us trust the Lord to help us show our forgiveness to others by seeking to do them good as Christ shows grace to us.
3. The Bible Story: The Lord always has a way of using crisis for our good. In our lesson we see how the Sovereign God requires the guilty ten brothers of Joseph to humble themselves and come to Egypt seeking to purchase maize. When people are willing to humble themselves and seek answers from God, He is always able to help them find solutions. Joseph proves to be a man of God by using the entire encounter with his brothers to allow God to minister grace, service and blessings to those who are need. Let us always do good to all people, especially to those who are of the household of the faith, as we have opportunity. There may soon come a time when we will also be in want.
4. Prepare to Teach: In the INTRODUCTION we want to help the people put themselves in the place of Joseph when his brothers come begging for grain. Ask the people how they would tend to treat people who have betrayed them? What do some of the people think that Joseph must have thought when he saw his brothers for the first time in twenty years? What are some of the reasons that we are to show forgiveness to those who have wronged us? THE BIBLE STORY tells us how Joseph started out speaking harshly to his brothers. He actually charged them with evil schemes against the Egyptian government. Joseph tried to bring his brothers to a point of repentance because he certainly did not want to take revenge into his own hands. Eventually, Joseph’s demonstration of forgiveness is a foreshadowing to how Christ prayed on the cross, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” The MEANING FOR OUR LIVES gives the people an opportunity to make applications to their own lives and activities. Ask the people to explain how they are going to forgive others as God has forgiven them. Let the people pray a prayer that helps them plan to show kindness to those who have offended them. Allow the people to explain how they are going to apply the verse from Romans 12:19,20 that says, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath…On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
CLASS TIME (Begin With Prayer)
Help the people put themselves in the place of Joseph when his brothers come begging for grain. Ask the people how they would tend to treat people who have betrayed them? What do some of the people think that Joseph must have thought when he saw his brothers for the first time in twenty years? What are some of the reasons that we are to show forgiveness to those who have wronged us? Ask the people why some people have a hard time loving their enemies as Jesus did? What are some of the hindrances to forgiving others as Jesus forgives us?
The Bible Story
When Joseph brothers come to Egypt looking for grain, they are surprised to find themselves thrown in jail for three days. God often has to allow certain people to be humbled before they can learn the lessons they need to acquire. Eventually, God redeems, delivers and restores those humble people who are willing to put their faith in Him. Similarly, Joseph releases his brothers from prison and provides them with enough grain to save the lives of their people in their homeland.
Joseph demands that the brothers leave a hostage with him while they fetch Benjamin, their younger brother. Note that Joseph expresses his fear of God before his brothers when he says, “You will be tested to see if you are spies. Send one of your number to get your brother; the rest of you will be kept in prison, so that your words may be tested to see if you are telling the truth… Then the brothers said, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come upon us.” (Gen. 42:15-21) Be sure that your sin will find you out. Joseph’s plan to bring his brothers to a point of repentance works perfectly. Allow the Spirit of God to produce conviction of sin in the lives of some people who need to repent before the Lord and do right.