Week 12: Genesis 41-45-Joseph and His Brothers

Week 12: Joseph and His Brothers

As a family, read Genesis 41-45 together. Afterwards, share the following discussion.

What happened?

We learned last week that Joseph had been unfairly thrown into prison. While there, he remained faithful to God and showed that God’s favor was on him by interpreting dreams. Sometime later, Pharaoh had two dreams that he could not understand, nor could his smartest and wisest advisors. Pharaoh’s cupbearer, who was in prison with Joseph, told Pharaoh that his dreams had been interpreted by Joseph and that he could do the same for Pharaoh. Pharaoh sent for Joseph; and as the cupbearer had said, Joseph was able to tell Pharaoh what his dreams meant. God told Joseph: there would be seven years with lots of food, followed by seven years of severe famine. Pharaoh was so impressed with how God spoke to Joseph that he made him second-in-command of all of Egypt!

Joseph organized the land to prepare for the seven years of famine by saving the extra grain. The amount of grain they were able to save was so large that Joseph stopped counting because the number was too big! But, just as God had told him, the seven years of famine came right after. The land of Egypt had more than enough food because of Joseph’s planning, and they had so much that people from other countries came to buy grain from them.

Back in Canaan, Joseph’s family felt the effects of the famine and traveled to Egypt to buy food. They were sent to Joseph and bowed before him, not recognizing him as their own brother. Joseph, however, recognized them, but did not reveal who he was. He sent his brothers back and forth several times from their homeland without revealing his identity.

Eventually, Joseph brought his brothers to him and told them who he was. God helped Joseph to forgive his brothers. He told them that God had allowed everything that happened to him so that they could live through the famine and have food. After Joseph told Pharaoh that his family had come, Pharaoh provided land for them and their herds.

Why is this important to us today?

Joseph had endured terrible treatment because of his brothers, including years of slavery and imprisonment. However, because he stayed faithful to what God wanted him to do, God blessed him. Because of his position and authority, he was able to save his family and many others.

God made good things happen from the bad things in Joseph’s life. He can do the same in our lives. We all have times when we don’t understand how anything good can come from something that has happened. We can be tempted to blame God or try to fix it ourselves. Joseph gives us a better example, though. His story reminds us to follow God even in the bad times and trust that He will use it for something good.

Spend a few minutes talking about what you just read by answering these questions together:

Take a few moments to talk about the difficult times that you’ve gone through as a family. How did you respond to God? How have you seen God make something good happen from a bad situation?

How can we better follow God this week?

Maybe you’re going through a hard time right now; maybe you’ve just come out of one. Maybe you can already see how a bad time has ultimately worked out to help you. Wherever you may be, follow Joseph’s example and choose to obey God, even when it feels as if life is unfair. What difficult or unfair situations are your family members facing? Stop now and pray for each other to honor God with your words and actions. Thank God that He is going to do (or already has done) something good even with times that have been rough.