Understanding His story helps us to understand that His-Story is our Story!
Understand what true Grace is by learning about the life of Joseph as a Grace bearer to his brothers. Learn to apply the principles Joseph exhibited! Then, ask yourself a question: "Am I a Grace bearer?"
Watch the lesson on video or read the lesson below.
When all Seems Hopeless - God Gives Grace... (Joseph Reveals his Identity) - Genesis 45, 50
by: Mike Anderson - prodigalmike.com
In the moment when time began, the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and God said let there be light, He knew what was going to happen! He knew the choice Adam and Eve would make and He knew that He would send His one and only beloved Son who would willingly submit Himself to the Father and die upon the cross. Yet God is who He is!
God reveals who He is in the very first verse of Genesis. When He says, let there be light! He did it because of His great love for us. God loved us even then! 1 John 4:19 says, “We love, because He first loved us.” He did not love us just at some point in our lives! God has loved us first! At the very first! In the beginning!
Since the beginning, God has gone to extreme lengths to show us that love. He worked through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as He works toward the ultimate goal of salvation for mankind by Grace through faith. And He will do no less with Joseph as He uses him to save a nation and protect the line that will give birth to the Messiah. Against God's canvas of creation, He uses Israel, (Jacob), his 12 sons and even the Egyptians to paint a beautiful picture that shows us His love. A picture that foreshadows God’s ultimate expression of His own heart when He sends His only Son so that whoever might believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.
As we read the story of Joseph, it is important for us to see that life was anything but a big win for Joseph! Joseph’s life story was no fairy tale. Moses did not tell us that after Joseph was promoted by Pharaoh that he lived “happily ever after.” Joseph has been promoted for a definite purpose! That purpose was bigger than Joseph could have even imagined!
Joseph is a picture of Christ. The parallels are amazing. He was rejected by His own, he is sold, he is falsely accused, arrested, tried, convicted, punished… But in the end he is lifted up! He becomes second to Pharaoh himself! Jesus is clearly seen in this picture painted by Joseph's life! It was not all roses! But He triumphs in the end! The most striking thing of all is when Joseph says that God, Himself, sent him for this purpose, to preserve life! (Genesis 45:4-8)
Joseph preserves his people! The promise of a people and a Savior that God made to Abraham is continued because of Joseph’s actions and the world will be blessed through the coming of the Messiah! Joseph is not in the line of the Messiah! His older brother, Judah is in that line. The line of Abraham could have died during that famine! But God made all things work together for good… (Romans 8:28)
Lesson Objective:At the conclusion of this lesson, students will better understand what true Grace is through the life of Joseph as a Grace bearer to his brothers. Then, students should be able to evaluate their own lives of being a Grace bearer and apply the principles Joseph exhibited!
Genesis begins with the creation of life and ends with two coffins… Jacob (Israel) and Joseph.
God intends for us to know that because of sin, death entered His “very good” creation.God teaches everyone through the book of Genesis that He is not only the Creator but He is also Redeemer.
God shows us that grace is forgiveness for those who absolutely do not deserve it.
God’s Grace is evident all over Genesis! We see His Grace when Adam and Eve sinned, when Cain killed Abel, in Noah and the rainbow, in the tower of Babel, in the call of Abraham, the birth of Isaac and the saving of Isaac’s life when his father was to sacrifice him!
We see Grace in the life of Jacob the Grabber, and in the life of his 12 sons, especially Joseph.
Lesson Outline - Same Ol' Same Ol' - Genesis 30:22-24; Genesis 37-50
CONNECTIONS - The Same Old Hopeless Situation
Abraham faced a severe famine when he arrived in the land of Canaan. “Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.” (Genesis 12:10) Aside from the fact that God did not tell Abraham to go down to Egypt, he lies about his wife while he is there and causes hardship for the Egyptians. God blesses Abraham during the famine. That’s Grace!One generation later, Isaac also faced a severe famine but he was told not to go down to Egypt. “Now there was a famine in the land, besides the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham. So Isaac went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines.” (Genesis 26:1)
Isaac obeys and stays in the land, but he repeats the same lie his father told about his wife! But, he sows crops and reaps a hundred fold. God blesses Isaac during the famine. That’s Grace!One generation after that, famine hits the area of Canaan again! Jacob is not spared. He and his family are running out of food for themselves and soon the livestock will die. Jacob does not go to Egypt! Jacob does not seek God’s guidance! Jacob just sits where he is and continues to mourn the loss of Joseph and over protect Benjamin, who is probably in his 20’s by now, while making the other sons feel - less loved. God does not bless Jacob during the famine while he is sitting there - doing nothing. His dysfunctional home, where favoritism is the norm, is running the way it should and God just lets them begin to run out of food!The famine is worldwide (41:57). God will use this famine to accomplish His will not only for Jacob and his family, but all of us (“all nations will be blessed”).
It appears that this famine happened for one reason, to carry out God’s plan for mankind. He had told Abraham that his descendants would go to Egypt (a strange land) - “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.” (Genesis 15:13) And God will keep His Word! The question is, what if Jacob had been listening to God more than he had been? Would there have been a famine? Did it happen only because God had to push Jacob to the place He wanted him to be? Either way, God knew what He was doing and He used Joseph to prepare a place of safety (at least temporarily) for Jacob and his 12 sons, to survive and grow with their families while still accomplishing His will to deliver them from the land of Egypt through Moses 400 years later.
CONNECTIONS - The Same Old New Fear
Jacob and his family are in need and he hears of the food in Egypt. The irony is, Jacob and his 11 sons probably heard the stories of the great one in Egypt that interpreted dreams and predicted the famine. Had they heard that this prophet had stored enough food for the world and they could purchase some from him? Jacob could not know that the famous prophet and leader of Egypt who was equal to Pharaoh himself (Genesis 44:18), was his own son whom he believed to be dead.
So, he sends 10 of his sons to Egypt to buy food. He would not send Benjamin who is a grown man by now and should be with his brothers. When they get there, Joseph sees them and begins to interact with them through an interpreter. Things must not have looked that bad at that moment, but suddenly this powerful Egyptian leader said, “You are spies; you have come to look at the undefended parts of our land.” (Genesis 42:9) Their hearts must have dropped! They had no idea what had just happened! From their point of view, the situation just became hopeless! They had just been accused by what may have been the most powerful man in the world at that time! A man with the power of life and death over millions of people! He controlled the world’s food supply! He accused them of a crime that meant death and they were at his mercy.All 10 of them were put into the prison! It gave them time to reflect! Joseph knew that's what would happen when they were put in there. They would think about things. It gave them time to think about what they had done and maybe to see what God was doing. We have no proof, but it's very possible that Joseph put them in the same dungeon that he had been in at Potiphar's house.
As captain of the prison, Potiphar lived in a house that was probably directly above the prison itself. It was underground, dark and was probably like being in a tomb. God often allows us to go through dark times that seem like punishment when the truth is that it is really just a chance to follow Him! He is the light that will lead us through the dark times. Sometimes we get off the path God has set for us! We need to be reminded of the gravity of the situation on the side path we may find ourselves on! During the easy times, forgetfulness flourishes! When times get dark, our true character comes out! It has been said that a person's true character is revealed in the dark. Maybe sometimes we just need to be reminded of who He is and who we were made to be. The light!
After spending three days (coincidence?) in the dungeon, all but one were set free to go back to their father and bring evidence that they were not lying. The evidence was their youngest brother, the son of Jacob and Rachel.
CONNECTIONS - The Same Old Dysfunctional Family
Ten go down to Egypt and nine return! Simeon was still in jail. Jacob would not allow them to take his beloved son, Benjamin, to Egypt. Jacob has the same problems with fear and hanging onto something other than God for his comfort and peace of mind that Abraham and Isaac both experienced. After his sons told him of the “death” of Joseph, he clings to Joseph's brother, the only son of Rachel that he had left, and shows him favoritism, which is the very thing that put Joseph into the situation he found himself in with his brothers to begin with. Abraham showed favoritism to Isaac over Ishmael, Isaac showed favoritism to Esau over Jacob and now Jacob has carried on the sinful tradition. In fact, Jacob does not care enough about his other 10 sons to send Benjamin down to Egypt! He would rather leave Simeon there at the mercy of the Egyptians!
Imagine how these nine brothers felt knowing their father would have left any one of them or all of them in Egypt rather than send Benjamin down to free them! Jacob continues the same dysfunctions of the family that were fostered by his father and his grandfather. Only it is even worse! Jacob continues to mourn Rachel and Joseph to the point that it is destroying his family. Things really must have seemed hopeless for all 10 of the brothers of Joseph and Benjamin.
But God has a plan!
CONNECTIONS - The New Lesson of Grace
The famine is 7 years long. At this point the family is less than two years into the famine. So what happens next? They're running out of food again! Jacob agrees to let his sons go to Egypt and take Benjamin with them. Not because he wanted to free Simeon, but because a new problem had arisen that outweighed all of the others - hunger! So the brothers, all 11 this time, go down to Egypt. When they get there, there are more unexplainable problems that must have seemed like God was bringing judgment down on them! They knew they deserved it! A silver cup is found in Benjamin's bag. They are summoned directly to this Egyptian leaders home. To their brothers home! As they begin to talk about what they had done to their brother in Hebrew and how much regret they now had over that situation, Joseph breaks down and begins to cry. The 10 brothers had come to fully understand that there are actions that we take in life that can never be undone and Joseph must have realized they were repentant! Now, Joseph extends Grace to his brothers!“Joseph made himself known to his brothers. He wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard of it. Then Joseph said to his brothers, 1I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?’ But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Please come closer to me.’ And they came closer. And he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.’” (Genesis 45:1b-5)The difference between the 10 brothers and Joseph was Grace! Joseph understood that God had shown him Grace by making him one of the most powerful men in the world. I believe Joseph also understood that his responsibility now was to pass on that Grace that God had given him. Although the word Grace is not found in the book of Genesis, the principle of Grace is found all over its pages. Joseph shows them undeserved forgiveness! He shows them undeserved kindness! And above all, he shows them undeserved love. All the brothers had shown Joseph was hate, anger, greed and jealousy. They were guilty! But Joseph, who was the judge, jury and executioner, forgave them and loved them as if they had never committed the crime against him that they had committed. He even provides for them and gives a land that was the best land to be found anywhere! What a picture of the Grace of God he extends to us through His Son Jesus Christ! After Joseph forgives them, he gave them a mission! They had been forgiven and saved from the famine and Joseph expected them to go back and share that good news with the rest! Go back to where you live and bring the rest back to me!!! He insisted that his brothers leave as soon as they could and return with their entire family as soon as possible. Sound familiar? Jesus gave us the same commission! (Matthew 28)
Application - What does this lesson teach us about God? Man? Sin? Grace
When Jacob dies 17 years later, 10 brothers assume that Joseph will now take revenge upon them since their father is gone. They misunderstood what Grace was! They assumed that Joseph would act with deceit just like they had acted! They thought he would wait until his father was dead and then take revenge! Why did they think like that? They thought like that because that's the kind of men they were! The only reason they had not killed Joseph was because of their father! That day all those years ago, when their father was not around, they almost killed him and Joseph ended up in slavery! That’s the kind of men they were! They were just like us! Sinful, prideful, strong-willed! Grace the way they would have shown it, not the way Joseph had shown it to them. That is what we do! We often see God in our own image instead of seeing ourselves in his image! We apply our own ideas as to what the Grace of God is like! Some of us work out of fear! Some of us give because we feel that God will get us if we don’t! Some of us grudgingly help out at church because we want God to give us something or because we are afraid of what is coming next! That is why it is so important for us to learn what Grace truly means from the Word of God. If you do not understand Grace clearly, you cannot understand who God really is! Joseph, being a type or a picture of Christ teaches us what Grace really is! Grace is releasing, not condemning! Grace is loving the unlovable! Grace is forgiving the unforgivable! Pardoning the unpardonable! We are given Grace and we are expected to be Grace bearers to everyone around us! What He has done for us, we must do for others! He calls us to be cups that are filled to overflowing and splashing Grace on everyone we see! God so loved… you! That’s Grace!
God speaks to Joseph and his family through Joseph’s dreams
God acts by using Joseph as a type of Christ to save the family and many other people.
God reveals His love and care for Jacob and his family through Joseph.
Compare how the life of Joseph resembles the life of Jesus as the Savior.
Discuss the options Joseph had at his disposal to seek revenge on his brothers.
What do Joseph’s actions teach us about how to treat people in our own lives?
Copyright © 2018 Michael & Angela Anderson - Prodigalmike.com, Connections Bible Study - Connecting God's Word From Cover To Cover - Finding Jesus on Every Page! "We receive no compensation from any websites listed in this site or from any part of this website. We just love Jesus and want to spread his Word! All opinions in the website are my own! Always check the things we say against what the Bible says and decide for yourself." - Mike & Angie - All Rights Reserved.
STAY CLOSE! STAY CLEAN! READ THE WORD!