Introduction: Have you experienced difficult times in your
life and you could not understand why God allowed it? Or,
have you experienced difficult times and you understood how
your lack of emotional intelligence played a big role in
your problems? In our study today, the troubles of Joseph
appear largely the result of poor decisions by him and his
father. Despite that, God does great things through Joseph.
Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and learn more about
A. Read Genesis 37:2-4. There is much emotion living
inside these three verses. Is it proper to report
on the failures of your co-workers?
1. Read Proverbs 17:9 and Proverbs 9:8. Does this
give us some guidance on reporting co-workers?
B. Look again at Genesis 37:3. If you have a direct
line to the top boss, does it make you more likely
to report co-workers?
C. Look again at Genesis 37:4. Is the attitude of the
other sons totally the fault of Jacob (Israel)?
(The father is not helping anything, but Joseph is
taking advantage of his relationship.)
1. How would you like to be in Joseph’s
situation? Would you report bad behavior as
“payback” for the hate?
II. Early Dreams
A. Read Genesis 37:5-7. How do you think Joseph
reported his dream? Modestly? Or, with pride and
1. Why would he report this dream?
2. Why would God give him this dream?
B. Read Genesis 37:8. Are you surprised by the
brothers’ reaction? Do you think Joseph was
1. If Joseph was not surprised, what was he
C. Read Genesis 37:9-10. What motivates Joseph to
tell his brothers this dream? (Joseph has no
common sense. No emotional intelligence. He is
aware that this will do nothing good for his
relationship with his brothers.)
D. Read Genesis 37:11. The report that the brothers
were “jealous” is much different than the brothers
simply hating Joseph and not speaking to him. What
would make the brothers jealous? (They would be
jealous only if they thought this might come true.
They were concerned Joseph would rule them.)
1. Did Jacob believe the dream?
III. The Supervisor
A. Read Genesis 37:12-14. Remember that Joseph is
younger than any of the brothers tending the
flock. Why would Jacob choose him to report on the
job done by the older brothers?
1. Is Joseph beginning to rule?
2. Note the location. Does this ring a bell in
your mind? (Read Genesis 34:24-26. This is
where two of Joseph’s brothers killed all the
males in the town. Jacob knows he is sending
Joseph to killers who hate him. He probably
cannot bring himself to admit this truth.)
B. Joseph catches up with his older brothers. Read
Genesis 37:18-20. Are the brothers still killers?
1. Do they believe that Joseph’s dreams might
come true? (Thinking they might come true is a
motive for killing.)
C. Read Genesis 37:21-22 and Genesis 37:25-29. Not
all the brothers are killers. What sets Reuben
apart from the rest? (He is the only one who
wanted to rescue Joseph and send him back home.)
D. Read Genesis 37:32-35. Is Jacob right that it
would be a “fierce animal” that would do such a
1. Imagine you are one of the brothers and you
are attempting to comfort your father?
IV. The Slave
A. Read Genesis 37:36, Genesis 39:1, and Genesis
39:5-7. If you were in Joseph’s place, how great a
temptation is this? Or, is this no temptation at
all, but rather a danger to avoid without getting
B. Read Genesis 39:8-9. On what grounds does Joseph
reject the wife’s advances? (He cites both a
loyalty to his master and a loyalty to God.)
C. Read Genesis 39:11-15. What motivates the wife to
tell this lie? Why would she want to harm Joseph?
1. Is the motivation demonic? That is, are
supernatural forces out to harm Joseph?
2. There is a movement in the United States that
argues in situations like this all women are
to be believed. Or, is this situation
V. The Prisoner
A. Read Genesis 39:19-20. Is there any reason to
think that Potiphar doubts his wife’s story? (He
puts Joseph in a special prison, where I suspect
the worst criminals were not held.)
B. Read Genesis 39:21-22. The Bible tells us that God
showed Joseph “steadfast love.” Is that how you
would view your situation if you were Joseph?
(Joseph has gone from being the favored son of a
rich and powerful man, to a slave who is in
1. There are parallels between the lives of
Joseph and Jesus. Both suffer as part of a
journey to save others. Do you think that
Joseph understands this? Is he angry about his
youthful arrogance in sharing his dreams –
dreams which put him on the path to slavery?
C. Pharaoh’s cupbearer and his baker are tossed in
prison with Joseph for some period of time. Read
Genesis 40:9-13 and Genesis 40:16-19. In three
days these dreams, as interpreted by Joseph came
true. Read Genesis 40:14-15. What opportunity does
Joseph seek in this situation?
1. Is this realistic? Is Pharaoh going to be
concerned about justice for a Hebrew slave?
(Read Genesis 40:23. It is even worse, the
cupbearer forgets Joseph.)
D. Two years later, Pharaoh has a dream about cows.
Read Genesis 41:8-10 and Genesis 41:12-13. What if
the cupbearer had not previously forgotten about
Joseph? What if Pharaoh had intervened and
released Joseph from prison. How would that have
impacted the situation here?
E. Read Genesis 41:14-16. Would you be tempted to
leave God out of your response? What does Joseph
giving glory to God say about him after all of the
discouraging events in his life?
F. Read Genesis 41:25-30. If you were Joseph, and I
told you that you could skip all the terrible
things that have happened to you since your trip
to supervise your brothers, but the result would
be that tens of thousands of people would starve,
would you be satisfied with the path of your life?
G. Read Genesis 41:33-36. You have just been pulled
out of prison and placed before Pharaoh. Would you
go beyond the dream and suggest to Pharaoh a
strategy for the future famine? (The Holy Spirit
must have inspired Joseph to continue. Otherwise,
it seems like arrogance.)
1. Do you think that Joseph had himself in mind
as that “discerning and wise man?”
H. Friend, this story teaches us how God will rescue
us from our own lack of discretion. It teaches us
how we need to trust God with the big picture in
life. If we trust Him in our suffering, He will be
faithful in His own time! Will you, by the power
of the Holy Spirit, determine to trust God?
VI. Next week: Joseph, Prince of Egypt.
Copr. 2022, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
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link: http://www.GoBible.org. Pray for the guidance of the
Holy Spirit as you study.