Women of Genesis Bible Study

The Women of Genesis: Lesson 35

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 89, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34

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Read Genesis 47:27-50:26

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Questions to Consider

1. Briefly summarize, in your own words, Joseph’s story and how Jacob and his family came to live in Egypt, reviewing previous lessons (links above) if necessary.

2. Compare 47:27 with Jeremiah 29:4-7 and these New Testament passages. Think about the concept of God’s people living among pagans, displaced from their Promised Land, and waiting for the day when they can enter and possess it. Describe how this concept fleshes itself out in each of these passages. What is the Christian’s “Promised Land“? How does God want His people to live during the time of their exile? In the Genesis and Jeremiah passages, are there any general principles for godly living that you can apply to your life in “exile” on this earth today?

3. Examine 47:29-31 and 49:29-32. Where did Jacob (Israel) want to be buried? Why was it so important to him not to be buried in Egypt but to be buried in Canaan? Consider family/tribal bonds, the Abrahamic Covenant, and God’s promise to Jacob in 46:4 as you answer.

4. Explain 48:5-6 as it pertains to the establishment of twelve tribes of Israel (49:28, 49:1-27). What group do Israel’s twelve sons point ahead to in the New Testament?

5. Compare Jacob’s blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh (48:8-20) to Isaac’s blessing of Jacob and Esau. What are the similarities? The differences?

6. Consider Jacob’s blessing of Ephraim, Manasseh, and each of his sons. (48:15-49:28) What was the significance of the patriarchal blessing of the sons? Was it prophecy? Good wishes for a bountiful posterity? Instructions for the future? Information on the inheritance? Examine the cross references for each of the people Jacob blessed. How did his predictions for the future come true for each?

7. Which of the twelve tribes of Israel was Jesus descended from? Examine 49:9-12 as well as the cross-references. What do these verses call to mind about Jesus?

8. Revisit your answers to question #2. What was the result of Jacob’s and Joseph’s godly living while in “exile”? What sort of impact did these men have on the Egyptians? (50:2-3,6-7,9-11)

9. Examine 50:15-21. How is this a picture of the permanence of God’s forgiveness and of salvation? What was Joseph’s reaction (50:17) when he realized his brothers didn’t trust his forgiveness?

10. Compare Joseph’s request about his remains (50:24-25) to Jacob’s (47:29-31, 49:29-32). What were the similarities? The differences? How did Joseph’s request demonstrate his faith that God would keep His promises of the Abrahamic Covenant and serve as an introduction to Exodus? Where did both Jacob’s and Joseph’s remains eventually end up?


Homework

Compare 50:20 to Romans 8:26-30 and James 1:2-4. How does God’s ability to “make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” demonstrate His sovereignty? What are some of the ways God can bless and grow us during times of difficulty? How can these passages inform our prayer lives when God allows or causes difficult circumstances in our lives? Write out a prayer that lines up with these passages that you can pray the next time you face a trial or tribulation.


Suggested Memory Verse

As for you, 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.
Genesis 50:20

Women of Genesis Bible Study

The Women of Genesis: Lesson 34

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33

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Read Genesis 46:1-47:26

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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?


Homework

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.”
Genesis 47:25

Women of Genesis Bible Study

The Women of Genesis: Lesson 33

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 89, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32

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Read Genesis 44-45

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Questions to Consider

1. Genesis 44:1 begins with the word “then.” What happened prior to the action in chapter 44? Briefly review recent lessons (links above) to refresh your memory on the background for today’s lesson.

2. Review question 5 from Lesson 32. How much time might have passed between the brothers’ first trip to Egypt (and Joseph’s rough treatment of them) in Genesis 42 and their second trip to Egypt (and Joseph’s rough treatment of them) in Genesis 44? It’s important to keep in mind that the events of these two chapters did not occur back to back in real time.

3. Review question 4 from Lesson 32, and consider again: why did Joseph act the way he did toward his brothers? (44:1-17) Why did he again return their money into their sacks and plant “evidence” in Benjamin’s sack that he could use for a false accusation? Was it revenge for how they had treated him? Was he trying to find out if their character had changed since that time? Was he trying to find out how they were accustomed to regarding and treating Benjamin so he could keep Benjamin in Egypt and protect him from them if necessary? Could it have had something to do with guiding them toward repentance for what they had done to him? (Hint: Notice that the further Joseph carries the rough treatment, the more information he draws out of his brothers about themselves and the rest of his family.)

4. What did Judah’s plea in 44:18-34 reveal to Joseph about his brothers’ regard for their father and for Benjamin? What was Judah willing to do (44:33) out of concern for them? Considering the reasons (from question 3) Joseph may have treated his brothers roughly, what response did this treatment draw out of Judah and the other brothers (44:12-17)?

5. What finally convinced Joseph it was time to reveal his identity to his brothers? (45:1-4) Compare 45:3 with 44:30-34. Why would Joseph ask if his father were still alive?

6. In what specific ways in chapters 44-45 is God’s sovereignty over man’s circumstances showcased? What does Joseph believe about God’s sovereignty in his own life? (45:5-8)

7. Compare 45:5 and 45:7. Distinguish between these two purposes for which God sent Joseph to Egypt. Notice the word “you” in verse 7. To whom does “you” refer? What were the implications for the future of Israel of God preserving a remnant of survivors of Joseph’s brothers?

8. What can we learn about repentance and forgiveness from today’s passage? In 45:5, is Joseph brushing aside his brothers’ sin?

9. Write about joy as it is portrayed in chapter 45. What is the source of joy? How is it expressed, and to/between whom?

10. Compare 45:5 to Isaiah 53:10. How does God sending Joseph – via the route of suffering – to save people point us ahead to Christ? Did Joseph’s hard work and suffering save everyone affected by the famine, or only those who came to him seeking the “bread of life”?


Homework

What did you learn from 44:9 about the imprudence of speaking rashly when you don’t know all the facts of the situation? What does the Bible teach about speaking or vowing rashly? Consider these passages, noticing how some of them are worded in the positive (“do this”) and some are worded in the negative (“don’t do that”). Make a two column chart listing all of the positive statements in these passages in one column. In the second column, accurately re-word this statement in the negative. For example: Part of James 1:19 says “be quick to hear”. You might re-word this as “don’t be someone who doesn’t listen to others”.) Make a second chart for the negative statements in these passages, rewording them into positive statements.

Apply these concepts to a current or past situation you’ve been in. In what ways were you obedient to these biblical instructions? Are there any you were disobedient to and need to repent of?


Suggested Memory Verse

And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.
Genesis 45:5

Women of Genesis Bible Study

The Women of Genesis: Lesson 32

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 89, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31

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Read Genesis 42-43

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Questions to Consider

1. Imagine you are writing the setting for the first act of a play that begins with the action in chapter 42. Reviewing previous lessons (links above) if necessary, how would you briefly set the scene?

2. By which name does this passage call Jacob in 42:1? In 42:5? Why do you think it switches back and forth?

3. Examine the extent of the famine (42:5) on an Old Testament map. How widespread was it?

4. Why did Joseph act the way he did toward his brothers? (42:6-38) Why did he speak roughly to them, accuse them of being spies, jail them for three days, insist on keeping Simeon to ensure their return, ask them to bring Benjamin back, and return their money into their sacks? Was it revenge for how they had treated him? Was he trying to find out if their character had changed since that time? Did he really think they might be spying out Egypt? Could it have had something to do with guiding them toward repentance for what they had done to him? (Hint: Notice that the further Joseph carries the rough treatment, the more information he draws out of his brothers about themselves and the rest of his family, and the more he obligates them to come back to Egypt.)

5. Examine 43:2. Speculate on how much grain the 10 brothers could have carried back from Egypt and how long it might have lasted. Where was Simeon this whole time? (42:19,24) Which of the other brothers had spent a long time in an Egyptian jail? Why didn’t Joseph keep Reuben, the firstborn? (Remember, in this culture the firstborn would have been seen as the most important, or valuable, son, making him a better bargaining chip.)

6. How is the gospel reflected in Israel – the father – sending (43:13) his “only son” (42:38) to (what Israel thought would be) his death (42:36,43:14) in order to redeem (42:34,43:5,14) his captive (42:24) child who could do nothing to free himself?

7. How do you suppose Joseph’s steward knew about the one true God? (43:23)


Homework

Think about Joseph’s position and power compared to the lack of position and power of Simeon and the other brothers. What ultimately won Simeon’s redemption – his own abilities, the money his brothers brought, the present they brought, or bringing Benjamin? Even after all of those efforts to earn Simeon’s freedom, didn’t Joseph still have the power to kill or imprison any or all of his brothers if he wanted to? Was Simeon’s redemption earned by any human effort or was it by Joseph showing mercy and extending grace? How is this a picture of our salvation being completely dependent on the mercy and grace of God? Write down three Bible verses that explain how salvation is by God’s grace and mercy, not by our human effort of good works to earn salvation.


Suggested Memory Verse

May God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, and may he send back your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.
Genesis 43:14

Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word ~ Obadiah

obadiah 4

Obadiah

The vision of Obadiah.

Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom:
We have heard a report from the Lord,
    and a messenger has been sent among the nations:
“Rise up! Let us rise against her for battle!”
Behold, I will make you small among the nations;
    you shall be utterly despised.
The pride of your heart has deceived you,
    you who live in the clefts of the rock,
    in your lofty dwelling,
who say in your heart,
    “Who will bring me down to the ground?”
Though you soar aloft like the eagle,
    though your nest is set among the stars,
    from there I will bring you down,
declares the Lord.

If thieves came to you,
    if plunderers came by night—
    how you have been destroyed!—
    would they not steal only enough for themselves?
If grape gatherers came to you,
    would they not leave gleanings?
How Esau has been pillaged,
    his treasures sought out!
All your allies have driven you to your border;
    those at peace with you have deceived you;
they have prevailed against you;
    those who eat your bread have set a trap beneath you—
    you have no understanding.

Will I not on that day, declares the Lord,
    destroy the wise men out of Edom,
    and understanding out of Mount Esau?
And your mighty men shall be dismayed, O Teman,
    so that every man from Mount Esau will be cut off by slaughter.

10 Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob,
    shame shall cover you,
    and you shall be cut off forever.
11 On the day that you stood aloof,
    on the day that strangers carried off his wealth
and foreigners entered his gates
    and cast lots for Jerusalem,
    you were like one of them.
12 But do not gloat over the day of your brother
    in the day of his misfortune;
do not rejoice over the people of Judah
    in the day of their ruin;
do not boast
    in the day of distress.
13 Do not enter the gate of my people
    in the day of their calamity;
do not gloat over his disaster
    in the day of his calamity;
do not loot his wealth
    in the day of his calamity.
14 Do not stand at the crossroads
    to cut off his fugitives;
do not hand over his survivors
    in the day of distress.

15 For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations.
As you have done, it shall be done to you;
    your deeds shall return on your own head.
16 For as you have drunk on my holy mountain,
    so all the nations shall drink continually;
they shall drink and swallow,
    and shall be as though they had never been.
17 But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape,
    and it shall be holy,
and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.
18 The house of Jacob shall be a fire,
    and the house of Joseph a flame,
    and the house of Esau stubble;
they shall burn them and consume them,
    and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,
for the Lord has spoken.

19 Those of the Negeb shall possess Mount Esau,
    and those of the Shephelah shall possess the land of the Philistines;
they shall possess the land of Ephraim and the land of Samaria,
    and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.
20 The exiles of this host of the people of Israel
    shall possess the land of the Canaanites as far as Zarephath,
and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad
    shall possess the cities of the Negeb.
21 Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion
    to rule Mount Esau,
    and the kingdom shall be the Lord‘s.


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


Questions to Consider:

1. What is the theme or purpose of the book of Obadiah? What is the historical backdrop of this book? Why is it important to understand Scripture in light of its historical and cultural setting?

2. Which nation is God speaking directly to in this book? (Who is “you” in verses 1-4?) But which nation would have been the one to receive this book of prophecy? (20) Where do the terms “Jacob” (10, 18) and “Edom/Esau” (1, 6, 18) come from originally, and why are these men’s names used to refer to two nations in this passage? “Jacob” refers to which nation? “Edom/Esau” refers to which nation?

3. Why is God bringing judgment upon Edom? (15, 10) What can we learn from this passage about God’s judgment upon the enemies of His people both in this immediate situation with Israel, and in the future final day of judgment? How does the message of Obadiah work hand in hand with the message of these passages?

4. The theme of most of the Old Testament prophetic books is a warning to God’s people, Israel, to repent of their sin before God judges them. In Obadiah, we see God’s promise of judgment for the sin of a pagan nation. What does this teach us about God’s view of sin and repentance? How do Obadiah, God’s judgment on Israel, and Romans 2:1-11 show that God is “no respecter of persons” when it comes to judging sin?

5. How does knowing that God is a righteous and just judge impact your prayer life, your worship, your sense of urgency in sharing the gospel, and your desire to take vengeance on others?