Questions to Consider
1. Briefly review previous lessons (links above) to refresh your memory on the background of today’s passage. What events led up to the action in chapters 46-47?
2. Review previous lessons regarding the role the Abrahamic Covenant has played in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, especially with regard to physically living in Canaan and “possessing the land”. Trace Israel’s journey from Hebron to Egypt on a Bible map. Why would he have stopped and sought the Lord at Beersheba, specifically, and why would God have assured him it was OK to leave Beersheba and enter Egypt? (46:1-4)
3. Compare 46:3 to Genesis 12:2. How is this a promise to Israel of fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant? How can this passage be a reminder to us that God does not forget His promises and that He has a right to carry out those promises in any way and any timing He chooses, even if it doesn’t make sense to us? What does this teach us about God’s sovereignty, His authority, and His infinite wisdom, compared to our humility and limited knowledge?
4. Why would it have been important to the nation of Israel’s history and record-keeping to list the names, numbers, and relationships (46:8-27) of the people who left Canaan to settle in Egypt?
5. Consider 47:5-6 and recall 45:16-20. Why was Pharaoh, a pagan, so favorably disposed toward Joseph, and consequently, Joseph’s family? What character traits had Joseph displayed while serving Pharaoh that had such an impact on him? Think about the way you serve your employer, your family, and your church. How does the Fruit of the Spirit you display impact your relationships with those you serve?
6. Compare 47:11-2 with these passages. How does Joseph’s provision for his family who has come to him paint a picture of God taking care of the needs of those who come to Him?
7. Consider 47:13-26 with regard to Egypt’s rise to power in the ancient world. What did Pharaoh take from the people first? (47:14-15) Next? (47:16-17) Next? (47:18-21) How did this shift the balance of power between the people and the Egyptian government? Was it God’s will for Egypt to become a powerful and prominent nation? Who sent the famine that set these wheels in motion and who could have stopped it? Thinking ahead to the Exodus, what was the significance of having an “almighty” Pharaoh and empire as the backdrop for Almighty God’s signs, wonders and deliverance?
8. Think about 47:23,35 in light of these passages. How does Joseph purchasing the people to save their lives point to Christ’s redemption of sinful man? Was there any way for the people to save themselves? How did Joseph show mercy and compassion to them? What was the people’s response to becoming servants? Were they resentful? Grateful? What does this teach us about why we should serve Christ, and the attitude with which we should serve Christ?
Again compare 46:3 to Genesis 12:2, and consider 46:1-4, this time putting yourself in Israel’s shoes. God has promised Canaan to Abraham’s descendants. Israel already lives there with a decent number of descendants. (46:8-27) From Israel’s human vantage point, does it make sense for him to pack everybody up and leave the Promised Land (46:5-7) rather than staying, increasing in number, and taking over Canaan? But can Israel see the big picture, centuries into the future, the way God does?
Think about a time God worked in your life in a way that, humanly speaking, didn’t make sense. Compare your finite knowledge of the situation with God’s infinite knowledge of it and His “big picture” plans. Considering this, write down three reasons it is important to trust God and three reasons it is important to obey God, especially when things don’t make sense.
Suggested Memory Verse
And they said, “You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be servants to Pharaoh.”