Summary: To lead the people to understand how God promotes faithful people so they can multiply His kingdom’s qualities in their communities.
God’s Promotion in Hard Times
Joseph, A Ruler in Egypt - Genesis 41
1. Aim: To lead the people to understand how God promotes faithful people so they can multiply His kingdom’s qualities in their communities.
2. Explanation of the Aim: The Bible assures us that as we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God He will exalt us at the proper time. (I Pet. 5:6) After allowing Joseph to be unjustly imprisoned God promotes Joseph to a position of great responsibility in Pharaoh’s court. When people show themselves to be faithful, effective and responsible in little things God promises to elevate them to greater responsibilities. Understand that the Lord advances some people who are expected to use their greater opportunities to multiply His kingdom and His righteousness instead of using it for their own selfish purposes.
3. The Bible Story: Our lesson begins by describing a troubled Pharaoh who had a dream that no one was able to correctly interpret. Pharaoh became angry with his servants who failed to explain the meanings of his dreams. Finally, Joseph was called from his prison cell to give Pharaoh the correct interpretation of his dream.
When godly people do God’s will they will eventually be promoted to places of honor, privilege and new opportunities of service. The secret to Joseph’s success is found in his response to Pharaoh’s request for a correct interpretation of his dream. Joseph said, “I cannot interpret the dream, but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” (Gen. 41:16)
Not only did Joseph give the credit for his success to the Lord, but he told Pharaoh that God is only one who gives supernatural wisdom. Be sure to give not only the credit for successful outcomes but also the processes of seeing His will accomplished.
4. Prepare to Teach: The INTRODUCTION is designed to find out what they people know about promotions. Ask the people how some people get promoted while others languish in their same positions for years? Then ask the people what are some of the criteria for getting a promotion from God? (Luke 16:10,11) The BIBLE STORY describes how Joseph gets an opportunity to correctly interpret Pharaoh’s dream and ends up getting promoted to one of the highest offices in Egypt. Describe how God promotes people according to one’s faithfulness, maturity and obedience in handling lower level responsibilities.
THE MEANING FOR OUR LIVES gives the people opportunities to make various applications from the lesson. Ask the people what are some of the pre-requisites that must be met before God will promote us? Ask the people what are some of the reasons why many Christians languish in mediocrity? Find out what are some of the principles of leadership that we learn from the life of Joseph?
Introduction is designed to find out what they people know about promotions. Ask the people how some people get promoted while others languish in their same positions for years? Then ask the people what are some of the criteria for getting a promotion from God? (Luke 16:10,11)
The Bible Story
The first verse in chapter 41 tells us that Joseph had to wait two entire years in jail before he was given an opportunity to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. Sometimes, we need to wait on the Lord while remaining encouraged in His promises, before we receive His promotion. Do not get discouraged when it seems like nothing good is coming your way. Remember God’s promises,
“I am still confident of this; I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psa. 27:13,14)
Application: Be busy with the service opportunities that are before you and God will promote you at the proper time. Refuse to give into worry, frustration or anger. God will deliver you according to His perfect schedule.
Joseph told the Pharaoh that his dream meant that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. This allowed everyone in Egypt to adequately plan for the coming shortages. Through this act of service the Lord enabled Joseph to be promoted to the highest administrative position of power and trust in Egypt.
When the seven years of famine came, the Lord used the crisis to expose the sins of Joseph’s brothers. Furthermore, the Lord used the famine to show how He always provides for his faithful servants even in tough times. No matter how great things might appear remember that the Lord is able to humble any individual, group or nation. David said it best,
“I have been young and now I am old, but I have never seen the righteous go hungry or his seed begging for bread.” Remember God’s promises when there are shortages and He know that He will always supply you with everything you need according to His riches in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19)