Genesis - The Beginning

Lesson 9 - The Story of Joseph - Good from Evil

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Context:

In Genesis 37-50, Moses wrote much about Joseph who was one of Jacob’s (Israel’s) twelve sons. God spoke to Joseph through dreams at times. These dreams did not please his brothers, and they decided to sell Joseph into Egyptian slavery. Moses wrote about Joseph’s struggles when in Egypt even as he tried to listen to and obey God. He was falsely accused, placed in prison, and forgotten.

Even in the midst of these trials, he remembered God and God’s promises to him and to his ancestors. As a slave in Egypt, God would ultimately raise Joseph up to not only save Egypt from famine but also to help God’s promises continue through his father and brothers. In this lesson, we learn how God is faithful even in the midst of our difficulties and how he can turn what the enemy intended as evil into good.

We are also reminded that the promises of God were based on his unmerited favor even when our forefathers in the faith (and when we) did not deserve them. 

Genesis 45:4-13  

4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 

8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. 9 Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. 10 You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. 11 I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’ 

12 “You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you. 13 Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.” 

Genesis 50:20-25 

20 As for you (his brothers), you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 22 Joseph stayed in Egypt, along with all his father’s family. He lived a hundred and ten years 23 and saw the third generation of Ephraim’s children. Also the children of Makir son of Manasseh were placed at birth on Joseph’s knees. 

24 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” 25 And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.” 

For further discussion:

Ephesians 2:12-16

 

12 remember that at that time you (non-Jewish people) were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups (Jewish people and non-Jewish people) one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 

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