Introduction: Joseph’s life has been steadily going downhill despite
his faithfulness to God. He now has his big break. Will God “fix” his
problems forever? If God is with Joseph, can he expect rewards for
his faithfulness here on earth? Was the entire thing part of God’s
plan for Joseph and his family? Let’s dive into our lesson and find
out how things worked out in Joseph’s life!

  1. Joseph the Master

    1. Read Genesis 41:41-44. When God decided the time was right
      to save Joseph from the dungeon, how long did it take Him
      to completely reverse Joseph’s situation? (Less than one

      1. It had been 13 years since Joseph had been sold into
        slavery. Why did God wait 13 years?

      2. During those 13 years did it appear to Joseph that he
        was making progress towards the throne? (From a human
        point of view, things were only getting worse. It you
        knew that God was going to give Joseph the kingdom,
        it would seem Joseph was making no progress towards
        that goal. The answer has to be (at least in part)
        that God had some character development for this
        young man who told his brother and parents that he
        would rule them.)

    2. Read Genesis 41:45. The Priest of On. On means “light” or
      the “sun.” The city of On was the center of sun-worship in
      Egypt. Commentaries I read referred to the sun-god “Re.”
      In popular reading, however, I have seen the Egyptian sun-god referred to as “Ra.” Notice that Potiphera ends with
      “Ra,” which connects him to the sun-god. Why would Pharoah
      direct that Joseph be married to the daughter of the
      Priest of On? (It makes sense to put all of those “god”
      genes together. They might have super “god-aware”

      1. What is the problem for Joseph?

      2. Read 1 Kings 11:1-2. Why did Joseph resist sleeping
        with Potiphar’s wife, but not resist marrying the
        daughter of the priest of the sun-god? (I doubt he
        had any say in the matter. He was not in the position
        of King Solomon where this was a voluntary choice.)

    3. Read Genesis 41:50-52. Does Joseph think he is ever going
      back home? (His son’s name indicates that God has helped
      him to forget his father’s household. He is not going

    4. Read Genesis 41:53-57. How secure is Joseph’s position in

      1. What is God doing through Joseph? (Saving the world
        from starvation. Making the Egyptian government even
        richer and more powerful.)

      2. Could God have done this through Joseph if Joseph had
        never left home?

        1. Was God manipulating world weather conditions
          for the benefit of Joseph?

  2. Joseph and His Brothers

    1. Read Genesis 42:1-2. Jacob is a man of vast wealth. How
      can he speak of dying when he has so much cattle? (These
      few words tell us volumes. The sons are so shocked by
      their sudden change of fortune that they listlessly sit
      there staring, not knowing what to do.)

    2. Read Genesis 42:3-5. What was the source of harm that
      Jacob feared for Benjamin?

      1. Do you think Jacob has his suspicions about Joseph’s

    3. Read Genesis 42:6. Does this remind you of any prior
      dreams? (See Genesis 37:5-8. Now who do you say gave
      Joseph this dream?)

    4. Read Genesis 42:7-11. Notice that verse 9 connects
      Joseph’s dreams to his allegation that they are spies.
      What sense can you make of this? (The dreams are not yet
      fulfilled. The second dream has his entire family bowing
      down. Thus, Joseph may be thinking about how he can get
      his entire family to Egypt.)

      1. What did Joseph’s older brothers do to keep his
        dreams from being fulfilled? (The very thing they did
        to keep his dreams from being fulfilled is the cause
        of the fulfillment of his dreams!)

      2. Are they, as they say in verse 11, “honest men?”

    5. Read Genesis 42:12-17. What do you think about this method
      of proof? How difficult will it be for them to prove they
      are not spies? (I’m not sure what this test proves. If
      they were lying, they could bring any young person as
      their “younger brother.” This test only makes sense
      because Joseph knows the truth.)

      1. Why does Joseph pick this test? (He wants to know
        their relationship with his younger brother.)

      2. Why is Joseph lying about his brothers, swearing by
        Pharaoh (“as surely as Pharaoh lives”) and jailing
        them? (He is giving them a taste of his past life in

    6. Read Genesis 42:18-22. Why would the brothers connect
      their treatment of Joseph to their current situation?
      (They were reminded of Joseph because of the command to
      bring Benjamin to Egypt. This shows that their guilty
      consciences had not abated.)

    7. Read Genesis 42:23-24. Are the brothers making progress?
      Now, only one son is in prison. Why did Joseph take
      Simeon? (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary says tradition
      holds that he was the most cruel of the brothers. See
      Genesis 49:5-7 for further proof of this tradition.)

    8. Read Genesis 42:25-28. What is wrong with getting your
      money back? Shopping in Egypt is a real bargain! (They
      were already accused of dishonesty. This might be taken as
      evidence of it.)

      1. Why would the brothers attribute their problems to

    9. The brothers go home, explain the situation to their
      father Jacob. He does not want to let them take Benjamin
      and they do not return until their food situation is
      desperate. Read Genesis 43:15-18. What do you think about
      their fears? (They fear happening to them what they did to

    10. Read Genesis 43:26-34. Why did Joseph give directions that
      Benjamin should have more food? (He wanted to see how the
      brothers now reacted to favoritism.)

    11. Joseph instructs his steward to give the brothers their
      grain, return their money again, and put his royal cup in
      Benjamin’s sack of grain. After they leave, Joseph sends
      the steward to catch them and accuse them of theft. The
      cup is found in Benjamin’s sack, and they are forced to
      return. It looks like Benjamin may be put to death for
      theft and the rest enslaved, but the sentence is reduced
      to slavery for just Benjamin. Roll the clock back, if
      this had been Joseph and his brothers when Joseph was 17,
      what would the brothers have said? (Great! Take him off
      our hands.)

    12. Read Genesis 44:30-33 to see what Judah says about leaving
      Benjamin. How have things changed?

      1. What do you think would have happened if the brothers
        had been content to leave Benjamin?

  3. Joseph the Savior

    1. Read Genesis 45:1-7. Notice what Joseph says about God’s
      plan for his life and the lives of his family. Is Joseph
      bitter about the 13 years he spent in slavery and prison?

      1. How about you? Have you reached the point Joseph has
        reached? Can you see the hand of God working out for
        your benefit the bad things in your life?

      2. What parallel do you see in Genesis 45:7 between
        Joseph and Jesus?

    2. Joseph invites his family to Egypt, the brothers go home
      and tell Jacob the amazing news that Joseph is the ruler
      of Egypt. Read Genesis 45:25-46:4. Why does God allow
      this when He knows that Jacob’s descendants will become
      slaves in Egypt?

    3. Jacob dies and Joseph’s brothers are afraid. Read Genesis 50:15-21. What kind of attitude does Joseph show towards
      his brothers?

    4. Friend, sometimes life does not go the way we want it to
      go. The lesson from the life of Joseph is that we need to
      simply trust God. Others may intend to hurt us, but God
      can overrule every evil intent. Will you agree to trust

  1. Next week we begin the study of the book of Ecclesiastes.