Joseph: From the Pit to the Palace (Genesis 37-50)
Digging Deeper into Pastor Kevin’s message
Pastor Kevin led us through five truths about the character of God in the story of Joseph.
God’s plan often conflicts with our logic (Genesis 37)
1. Joseph was given a literal dream from God about the future. Perhaps in your life it wasn’t a literal dream, but rather an intense longing in your Spirit, a lifelong pull, or even a promise given during a season of prayer. In whatever shape it came, have you ever had a dream or vision of a way God was going to use you or something God was going to do in your life? Has it come to pass? Did you share it with anyone else? If so, what was their reaction?
2. It’s hard to believe that Joseph would see being thrown in a pit and sold into slavery as part of God’s plan, and yet, it was. When has God’s plan deviated from the plan you laid out for yourself? How did you handle the deviation? In hindsight, is it easier to see why God took that path or is it still unknown to you? What lessons did you learn because God took you down His path and not your path?
3. What is an area of your life in which God is not presently operating “like He should” (from your perspective)? Why are these present circumstances difficult for you? How could others be praying for you through these circumstances?
God never leaves us, even when we feel alone (Genesis 39)
4. Look through chapter 39 and note every time “the Lord was with him” appears or the Lord blessed the work/effort of Joseph. The Lord was with Joseph in slavery and in prison. The Lord blessed Joseph while in slavery and in prison. During the valleys or pits of your life, has God been with you? Has He used you to bless others? Why might God intentionally use times of discomfort to make himself known to us or bless others through us?
5. Think about a Christian you know who has been or is presently in a difficult circumstance. Does this person act like God is with them? How do you tangibly see it in their actions, words, etc?
God helps us be steadfast in shaky situations (Genesis 39)
6. Pastor Kevin noted a question many of us might ask in shaky situations: How do I trust in God’s goodness when I act rightly but get treated badly? How would you respond to this question if a friend or loved one said it to you? How has someone responded to you when you’ve asked this question?
Pastor Kevin provided the acronym R.U.N. for how to deal with shaky situations.
R – Remain focused on God (Gen 39:9)
U – Unhitch from your vices (Gen 39:11-12)
N – Nail down your dependence (Gen 41:16)
7. In these situations where we are being treated badly, things aren’t going as planned, or we find ourselves in a pit or a prison, what are some ways that we can help ourselves remain focused on God? As a friend or loved one of people in these situations, how can we help them remain focused on God without being trite, belittling, or unhelpful with our words?
8. The Enemy uses our vices to pull us down, particularly during times of stress and distress. Why might this be such a useful strategy? What are you dabbling in that you need to run from? When unhitching from vices, how can we keep ourselves from falling back into bad habits?
9. Do you know people who are overly self-reliant? What happens when they get themselves into difficult situations? In contrast, what does it mean to depend on God?
God’s dreams [for us] usually don’t happen in our timing (Genesis 41-50)
10. Before the vision of the bowing sheaves of wheat came to pass in real life, Joseph had to experience 22 years of life in Egypt, including time as a slave and a prisoner. Thinking back to question #1, how long have you been waiting for a dream or promise from God to be fulfilled?
11. While Joseph had to wait 22 years for the vision God gave him to be realized, he was able to live in the peace and fulfillment of that vision for 71 years until his death at age 110. When God’s dreams or promises for you have been realized, what has it been like living in that time of fulfillment? Did it make the period of waiting worth it?
God redeems all things for His glory and our good (Genesis 50)
12. Read Genesis 50:20. What “evil” event in your life has God redeemed and used for good? What has it meant to you to have that event redeemed? Have you been able to share that redemptive event with others?
Digging Deeper into The Story: Chapter 3 – Joseph: From Slave to Deputy Pharaoh Genesis 37; 39; 41-48; 50
1. What did Reuben try to do for Joseph? How was his plan thwarted? Given his intentions, why might he not have shared the truth with his father later on?
2. Potiphar’s wife offered sex to Joseph. Given her insistence in asking, it probably wouldn’t have been the only time. Joseph literally ran away from sin. When sin has been offered to you like it was to Joseph, has running away been your first response? Why is it so hard to turn and run away from sin that is at our door?
3. Dreams are the mind’s way of processing information that it has taken in. They are generally meaningless. However, sometimes dreams seem like real life or cause us deep distress. Have you ever had a strange dream that you just couldn’t stop thinking about, even days later? Why was it so impactful? On occasion, God used dreams and visions in the Bible to deliver His message to someone. Have you ever had a dream that seemed like it was from God? What message was conveyed?
4. In Genesis, there are several instances of reconciliation, especially after sins have taken place (Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers). Why is it important to reconcile with those close to us when we’ve been wronged? Why is reconciliation so important to God? How does it point to Jesus?
5. Why would Jacob (and later Joseph) not have wanted to be buried in Egypt?
6. Why might Joseph’s brothers have assumed the worst about him after the death of Jacob/Israel? How did he actually react? Does his reaction surprise you? Would you have reacted the same way?