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Questions to Consider
1. Reviewing previous lessons (links above) if necessary, briefly summarize Joseph’s life and experiences up to this point. What was happening to Joseph when last we left him?
2. What’s the first thing you think of when you think of Joseph? His “coat of many colors” and his status as favorite son? That God enabled him to interpret dreams? His fame and success as Pharaoh’s right hand man during Egypt’s famine? Joseph was favored and successful at many points in his life, but he also suffered greatly. From previous lessons and from today’s passage, describe the various ways Joseph has suffered in his life. How do Joseph’s sufferings and successes point us ahead to Christ as both Suffering Servant and King of Kings? How does Joseph’s being lifted up out of “the heart of the earth” (the “pit” 40:15, 41:14) foreshadow Christ’s resurrection?
3. Since God is sovereign and in complete control of everything that happens, why didn’t He remind the cupbearer to speak up on Joseph’s behalf as soon as he got out of prison? (40:14-15, 23, 41:1, 9-13) Why didn’t He cause Pharaoh to have his dream sooner? (41:1) Why did God wait two whole years, allowing Joseph’s suffering to continue?
4. How did Joseph give glory to God for his abilities and witness to Pharaoh about the one true God? (41:15-16, 25,28,32,38-39). List some ways you can use your God-given talents and abilities to honor Him, to bring glory to Him, and to testify to others about Him. Why is it important for Christians, like Joseph, to have a good work ethic?
5. List the godly character traits exhibited by Joseph in this passage. Which Bible passages talk about these traits? Are any of these traits lacking in your life? Which of these traits do you think you are most spiritually mature in?
6. What can we learn about the nature and character of God from this passage? Which of His attributes are showcased? What can we learn about how God governs the affairs of men and works in the hearts of men?
7. Since this is a descriptive passage (a narrative report of what happened) rather than a prescriptive passage (instructions or commands), what can we not learn from this passage? For example: Does the fact that God spoke to three people through dreams in this passage mean that we should expect Him to speak to us through dreams today? Does the fact that Joseph became successful and powerful guarantee that God will make you successful and powerful? List several things we can not learn from this passage along with the correctly handled Scriptures that would apply.
Have you ever been in a “two more years in prison” situation like Joseph was in which you went through prolonged suffering, injustice, or feeling abandoned? Why did God allow you to suffer? What does the Bible say about suffering? Looking back on your situation, what are some good things God brought out of it? How did He grow you spiritually during that time? Set aside some prayer time to thank God for bringing you through that suffering and for what He taught you and how He grew you during suffering. Ask God to give you the opportunity to comfort someone who’s suffering the way He comforted you.
Suggested Memory Verse
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are.”