2. From the notes – this is so true: “Never be content with an experience, whether your conversion, filling of the Holy Spirit, or any other special encounter with God. We must live ‘on every word that comes from the mouth of God’ (Matthew 4:4). Experiences with God are precious. They constitute the vision of the invisible realities of God’s presence in tenderness and power. At such times, we are consciously aware that nothing is impossible.”
3. a. The promises contained in the dreams likely sustained Joseph through his days as a servant and a prisoner. They served as a reminder of his true identity when he was tempted to despair. Joseph had likely heard of his father, Israel’s, prophetic dreams.
b. Given the outcome, it appears the answer should be no. Joseph was no doubt aware that his brothers were jealous of him and that their father preferred him.
However, this scenario could have been part of God’s plan. Even it wasn’t His plan, He used it for good. It got Joseph to Egypt away from the influence and taunting of his brothers. When the brothers saw the way their actions devastated their father, they seem to have mellowed. Although, they did not confess their wrongdoing.
Joseph’s seeming lack of humility displayed by relaying the dream and the resulting behavior of his brothers served to temper Joseph as well. He certainly had time to think while he was stuck in that cistern.
c. We don’t know if Joseph was aware the dreams were God-given. Israel did not consider them God-given. Sharing something God-given with those who will, at the very least, reject the messenger proves ill-advised.
The commentary suggested by the line of questioning in the lesson (and many others I’ve heard and read over the years) provides Matthew 7:6 as the moral of this story. In day-to-day life, it isn’t always easy to determine who should be labeled as swine. I find Matthew 6:44 more helpful. Jesus says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Lording our calling, ministry, visions, and dreams over others displays hypocrisy, in my view, and seems to line up with the larger context of the passage in Matthew. Jesus is teaching about attitudes, condition of the heart, and prayer.
4. The brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than them and demonstrated it by giving Joseph an ornate robe.
5. Joseph’s brothers were not where his father thought they were, but upon hearing where they might have gone, he traveled on to find them.
Joseph walked in on a plot to take his life. His brother, Reuben and later Judah, had “mercy” on him and attempted to rescue him. Ultimately, Joseph was sold into slavery and all the brothers conspired to deceive their father.
6. a. Reuben and Judah
b. Surely he felt fear when they first put him in the cistern. He likely felt some anger toward his brothers. Perhaps he felt remorse for the arrogance he displayed at times. Seeing that he could not climb out of the cistern, he begged and pleaded for help.
When his brother’s sold him to the Ishmaelites, many thoughts likely rushed through his mind – thoughts about his father and his brother – how his disappearance would affect them, how much he loved them, and how he wished they could save him. He probably questioned the dreams he had – were they from God? Did he make God angry and now God was going to abandon him? Hopefully, he prayed and humbled himself before God. I hope ministering angels were there to comfort him and give him peace.
c. We try to use our own strength and ingenuity to get out of the situation; We let fear take hold of us; We forget to call out to God; We forget to trust Him; We forget to immediately humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness.
- They were both stripped of their robe.
- The brothers and the disciples both sat down nearby.
- Both Jesus and Joseph were sold for pieces of silver.
7. a. Joseph was sold for twenty shekels of silver. Jesus was sold for 30 pieces of silver.
b. Joseph went from being the household favorite to a household slave.
c. We wonder why God didn’t do something to stop others from putting us in the situation. We think our gifts are being ignored or wasted because we are relegated to mundane tasks.
8. a. This challenge question is posed as an either/or. Because “we are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.” Romans 8:28. God was and still is able to weave these elaborate tapestries of amazing circumstances and challenges that lead us into our destinies even when we are unaware. Sometimes we get glimpses of it during our lives. Joseph’s life is such an amazing story of God putting one person into position to save his entire family.
b. The two dreams about Joseph and his destiny, although, I’m sure there were times he heard the tempter asking, “did God really say…?”
9. a. Jacob’s open favoritism toward Joseph led to Jacob losing his son altogether. Or so he was told.
b. Jacob did see his son again. He also saw his son blessed and highly favored by someone even more powerful than himself. Joseph saved his father, his entire family, and the entire nation of Egypt.
- Joseph’s brothers never had a kind word for him.
- Joseph’s brothers plotted to kill him.
- They threw him into a cistern.
- They sold him into slavery.
- Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph of trying to rape her.
- Joseph was put in prison.
- The cup-bearer did not remember Joseph as he had promised.
- Joseph was sold into the family of one of Pharaoh’s officials. Joseph found favor with Potiphar and was put in charge of the entire household. (Genesis 39:1)
- Joseph found favor with the prison guard, and the guard put him in charge of the prison. (Genesis 39:21-23)
- God gave Joseph the ability to interpret dreams. (Genesis 4:8)
- The cupbearer eventually remembered Joseph when he saw Pharaoh similarly troubled by a dream. (Genesis 41:9)
- Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” (Genesis 41:39)
12. This question seems more self-explanatory than challenging. I must be missing something. They began to associate closely with the Canaanites to the point of intermarrying. (Judah) Sadly, the perverse and ungodly ways seem more enticing and influential than godly ways.
13. The exile in Egypt removed Jacob’s family from Canaan and it’s influences. At other times, God warned his people not to leave the promised land. So only God knew that the time in Egypt would bring the desired outcome.
14. Judah, as head of the family, probably realized he had done wrong by marrying a Canaanite and by getting a Canaanite wife for his son. He may have thought God was angry with him, and he didn’t want to lose his only remaining son if Tamar was the reason his other sons died. It doesn’t appear he inquired of God about the matter. So the wrong was Judah’s own doing. He was treating Tamar wrong by not fulfilling his obligation to her. I have to admit, I probably would have reacted the same way Judah did.
15. a. It would be nice to think that Tamar wanted to be a part of the covenant promise because she also loved their God. However, given the previous questions about the intermingling with the Canaanites, we don’t know how different Judah’s son was. Also, children can marry outside their own culture due to rebellion, a taste for the exotic, romantic love, or financial security.
Perhaps she had seen or heard that Judah and his eldest son treated women better than did men in her own culture. However, that doesn’t seem likely since God found Er and his brother wicked.
More likely, Tamar had little say in the matter. Genesis 38:6 says Judah got a wife for Er. Got probably meant a hefty dowry arrangement with her father.
b. Tamar, Ruth, and Rahab are all mentioned in the lineage of David and Joseph, the husband of Mary. Other than Mary, they are the only mothers mentioned. They were also Gentiles.
16. Judah said of Tamar, “She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.” Genesis 38:26
17. I think her name is included to show that God accepts Gentiles who desire to become a part of His people. Jesus came to save the whole world just as God promised to Eve.
18. The lesson is always trust God and always stay near to His heart. Ask lots of questions. We get in trouble when we lean on our own understanding. In all our ways acknowledge Him. And He will direct our path. Proverbs 3:5-7