Focus: A Study on the Life of Joseph
Scriptural Text of the Month: Genesis 37-50
Person of Interest: Joseph
Emphasis of the Week: When All Hope Seems Gone
The Bible is rich with stories about people who endured hardships, who struggled against seemingly insurmountable odds, who overcame extreme challenges, who confronted an unforeseen adversary or adversaries, and who had to face self, as well as the LORD, in strange and unusual ways. One such story concerns the life of our subject of the month, Joseph. His story is full of unexpected twists and turns, so much so that we can look at his experience as one big detour on a road that would ultimately lead to a promise.
As we encounter Joseph at this point in his life, we find him in a peculiarly new and completely unfamiliar environment. It is so far removed from what he has known. The people, the customs, the leadership, the expectations – all of it is atypical, to say the least. Add to that the fact that he now has an altered life role. No longer afforded a safe dwelling among his people – amongst the people that he had known his whole life, Joseph has now been cast among men and women who are…different.
Assignment 2: Read Genesis 39-41
1) Where is Joseph’s physical location at the beginning of Chapter 39?
2) Who bought Joseph from the Ishmaelites?
3) How had the Ishmaelites come into possession of Joseph? (Revisit your previous notes.)
4) What 3 things are revealed in 39:2?
5) How does Joseph’s new role as slave-servant compare to his identity as a child from God’s chosen people?
6) Who saw that “the LORD was with” Joseph? (Compile a list.)
7) What responsibilities was Joseph given by Potiphar? Why did this happen?
8) Who approached Joseph and tried to entice him?
9) What great evil (and sin against God) was Joseph trying to avoid?
10) What was Joseph accused of by his master’s wife?
11) In 39:14-19, how was Joseph labeled? Why is this important to know?
12) What did the captain of the royal guard believe about Joseph, and what did he do as a result?
13) What were some of Joseph’s prison experiences?
14) Did God leave or forsake Joseph during his confinement?
15) What were some of Joseph’s assigned responsibilities while he was in prison?
16) What can be said about how God dealt with Joseph while he was imprisoned, and how was God’s treatment of Joseph viewed by others?
17) Who did Joseph continuously credit for anything he did to help others?
18) What lesson might Joseph have learned from “being in the season of the forgotten?” (This refers to the time to chief cupbearer forgot about Joseph’s request.)
19) Based on the reading, approximately how long was Joseph incarcerated?
20) What was the first thing Joseph declared when questioned by the Pharaoh? (See 41:16)
21) How is Joseph characterized by the Pharaoh at the end of chapter 41? (Compare how he is viewed at this point versus how he was viewed after he was accused.)
22) What rewards did Joseph receive after helping the Pharaoh? (Notice every detail.)
23) How old was Joseph when he stood before Pharaoh? (Look back and see how old he was when his brothers committed their act of rebellion and betrayal.)
24) What was the significance of the names of Joseph’s sons?
25) Who were the Egyptians told to go to when they were famished? Why is this important to know?
26) What can you tell me about Joseph’s perseverance and/or his longsuffering? Additionally, what was his attitude during his season of confinement?
27) What “Jesus connection” can you glean from this week’s reading?
* Reflective Verse (Meditate): 41:38-39 *
Hard Knocks & Self- Reflection: Examination of the Heart
Spend some dedicated time getting to know yourself. Try to uncover your true feelings. Seek to better understand your attitude. Assess your relationships, and see how they may have contributed to the shaping of who you have become.
* Have you ever felt like you were in bondage to something that seemed to get the best of you?
* What do you do to break free from the strongholds in your life?
* Do you feel that you have to juggle all kinds of things? Does this juggling cause you to feel incompetent (incapable of doing anything well)?
* Do you see yourself in the way that God sees you?
* How often do you tell yourself the blessed words that God has said about His people?
* Are you consistent with your spiritual input and output?
* Do you believe that all things are purposed?
* Do you believe that the moments we have been given should be focused on declaring who God is?
* When was the last time you told someone else about the wondrous works of the LORD?
* Do you look at your challenges as growth opportunities?
* Is it hard to navigate through the seasons of life when God is not a part of your plan? (Why, then, do you intentionally try to push Him out of your circumstances?)
* How would you describe your attitude during periods of waiting?
* How has knowing and having a relationship with the LORD changed you? Can others see your tender affection and love for the LORD?
* How is your love for God manifested in the day to day?
Life Lessons for the Christian Pilgrim: Going Forward as a Disciple of Christ
What can be learned by studying the life and the experiences of Joseph? A lot. Here are some lessons for the Christian pilgrim. (Notice that these are Bible answers to some of the hardest questions we face. Study and grow.)
1) Psalm 9:9-10
2) Psalm 144:1a, 2
3) 2 Corinthians 10:17
4) Psalm 139