A Sunday School study plan for kids by Bible Lessons 4 Kids including large group lesson, small group lesson and family devotions. For more information, please read About Bible Lessons 4 Kidz.

Biblical Topics: 

1. Joseph Sold Into Slavery (Genesis 37)



Main Point: We must depend on God’s grace to turn away from sin.

Key Verse:

(God’s grace) teaches us to say no to godless ways and sinful longings. - Titus 2:12a

Props: Richly colored fabric, gold trim or tassels; 2 balloons and a pin


Say: God had made some amazing promises to a man named Abraham (Genesis 12:2-3). God promised to bless him, and give him many children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so on. God promised that the entire world would be blessed through Abraham’s family. Miraculously God gave a son to Abraham and his wife, Sarah, even though they were WAY too old to have a child. Ask: Who can remember the name of their son? Isaac. And who can remember the name of Isaac’s twin boys? Jacob and Esau. Say: Jacob was the younger son, but he received his father’s blessing. Jacob had four wives, but the only wife he really loved was Rachel. All together, Jacob had twelve sons. His two youngest sons were from his beloved wife, Rachel. The older of these two was Joseph and the younger was Benjamin. Back then, the oldest son would often be the father’s favorite child. Even though Joseph wasn’t the oldest of all of Jacob’s sons, he was the oldest son of his favorite wife. So out of all of Jacob’s sons, Joseph was Jacob’s very favorite.

For the next several weeks, we are going to learn about the AMAZING life of Joseph. The story of Joseph is better than any movie you’ve ever seen. It is the TRUE story of God’s incredible plan for Joseph, and the entire world. It is the story of forgiveness and God’s over-flowing grace. It is a story of seeing circumstances the way God sees them instead of the way we see them.

Joseph’s Dreams (Genesis 37:1-11)

Ask: Now, do you think that Joseph’s brothers noticed that Joseph was their dad’s favorite? Listen for answers. Say: Those brothers certainly knew which one was dad’s favorite, and they didn’t like it one bit! At times, Joseph would tell his father when his brothers weren’t behaving well (Genesis 37:2). And Jacob treated Joseph differently from his other sons.

Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph - a beautiful robe. But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him. - Genesis 37:3-4 NLT

Say: Sadly, Jacob made it very clear that he had a favorite son. When Joseph was a teenager, Jacob had a fancy robe made for him. The Bible says it was a colorful coat. It was the type that was worn by royalty (Gesenius’s Lexicon). In Bible times, dyes for fabric were very expensive. A richly colored robe was a sign of great importance. Teacher: Show your fabric and trim. Explain that the robe may have been made of similar fabric with elaborate trim. Say: Joseph’s brothers were shepherds who took care of dirty sheep all day. None of them had a coat like this. By wearing the coat, they thought Joseph was saying he was better than them. Then something happened that made the brothers even more jealous.

One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever. “Listen to this dream,” he said. “We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!”

His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them.

Soon Joseph had another dream, and again he told his brothers about it. “Listen, I have had another dream,” he said. “The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!”

This time he told the dream to his father as well as to his brothers, but his father scolded him. “What kind of dream is that?” he asked. “Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you?” But while his brothers were jealous of Joseph, his father wondered what the dreams meant. - Genesis 37:5-11 NLT

Say: These dreams were from God; they predicted the future. The Bible says that God doesn’t do anything without telling His servants the prophets about it (Amos 3:7). The wheat and the stars were actually symbols for people. These dreams were God’s promise to Joseph. God knew that Joseph’s sweet life was about to turn sour. He would be treated terribly by many people for many years. But in the end, things would turn out great for Joseph. God wanted Joseph to remain strong and encouraged during the hard times. By His grace, God gave this vision of the future to Joseph like a big warm hug ahead of time. We’ll learn more about this in a few weeks.

We’re not sure if Joseph bragged about these dreams, or if he told the dreams to his brothers in an innocent way. No matter how Joseph meant it when he talked about the dreams, it made his brothers really angry.

It seems that everything about Joseph made his brothers angry - even things that Joseph had no control over. They held onto their bitterness and they never forgave. Over time, their anger grew and grew. It’s sort of like this. Teacher: take out your balloon. Let’s say this balloon represents the brothers’ anger. Each time they saw something about Joseph that they didn’t like, they became angry. Blow up the balloon a little. They saw Jacob spending time with Joseph. Blow up the balloon a little more. Joseph told their father when they acted badly. Blow up the balloon a little more. Jacob gave Joseph his awesome robe. Blow up the balloon a little more. Joseph told them his first dream. Blow up the balloon a little more. Then Joseph told them his second dream. Blow up the balloon a little more. When anger builds and builds, eventually, what will happen? Quickly POP the balloon with the pin. Eventually, all that anger leads to sin. We’ll see that Joseph’s brothers were about to do something terrible!

Application: Everyone gets angry sometimes. Raise your hand if you have NEVER gotten angry. We can’t even blame Joseph’s brothers for being angry when they were treated unfairly. However, the Bible says, “When you are angry, do not sin.” (Psalm 4:4). But when we are so angry, how in the world can we keep form sinning? Each one of us has a sin nature. Just like Adam and Eve, we choose to sin. On our own, we are powerless over sin (Romans 6:17a). But here is where God’s grace steps in.

One of the amazing things that God’s grace does is it makes us holy. God’s grace gives us the power to say no to sin. Titus 2:12 says that God’s grace “teaches us to say no to godless ways and sinful longings.”

For example, if someone gets something they don’t deserve, it might make you angry. Blow up the balloon a little. You have a choice to hold onto your anger or pray for God to give you the grace to let it go. Let the air out. Someone might be unkind to you and it makes you angry. Blow up the balloon a little. You have a choice to hold onto your anger or ask God to give you the grace to forgive that person (Ephesians 4:31-32). Let the air out. Holding onto anger leads to sin. When we abide with God, He will show us when there is a root of anger or bitterness in our heart. Each time, ask God for the grace to forgive and let go of your anger so you will not sin.

Joseph Sold By His Brothers (Genesis 37:12-36)

One day, all of Joseph’s older brothers were out in the countryside taking care of the family’s sheep. Jacob told Joseph to go check on them, and come back and tell him how they were doing. While Joseph was still a long way off, his brothers saw him coming. Ask: Can anyone guess how they saw him coming? His colorful coat. Say: Most shepherds were poor. They couldn’t afford brightly colored clothing, so their clothes blended into the landscape. But when Joseph came wearing his fancy coat, he really stood out. While he was walking toward them, they came up with an evil plan.

“Here comes that dreamer!” they said to one another. “Come. Let’s kill him. Let’s throw him into one of these empty wells. Let’s say that a wild animal ate him up. Then we’ll see whether his dreams will come true.”

Reuben (the oldest brother) heard them. He tried to save Joseph from them. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. “Let’s not spill any blood. Throw him into this empty well here in the desert. But don’t harm him yourselves.”

Reuben said that to save Joseph from them. He was hoping he could take him back to his father. - Genesis 37:19-22

Say: This was the most terrible plan possible! They were so angry and jealous that they wanted to kill their own brother (Psalm 37:8). As Jacob’s oldest son, Reuben would have been held responsible for his brothers’ actions. He wanted to stop his brothers from committing this terrible sin (Genesis 42:22). He was planning to come back and rescue Joseph when his brothers weren’t around. Thankfully, they listened to Reuben. When Joseph arrived, they tore off his beautiful coat and threw him into the dry well. Joseph begged his brothers not to leave him there to die but they did not care (Genesis 42:21).

Now, the plot thickens. As some of the brothers sat down to eat their lunch, they saw some traders (not traitors) coming by. The word trader comes from the word “trade.” Traders were sort of like traveling salesmen. They had items that they would buy, sell, or trade with people as they traveled from one town to another. One of the brothers, named Judah, came up with another idea. He said that instead of leaving Joseph to die in the well, they could sell him as a slave to the traders. That way, they wouldn’t be guilty of actually killing him, and they could make some money at the same time.

Say: We KNOW that murder is wrong. Ask: Is selling someone into slavery wrong? Yes! Say: Of course it’s wrong! Every man, woman, and child is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). One person does not have the right to own another person. Judah’s plan was evil. But sadly, his brothers agreed to do it. Reuben was not part of this scheme. He was probably taking care of the sheep at this time (Genesis 37:29).

The traders from Midian came by. Joseph’s brothers pulled him up out of the well. They sold him to the Ishmaelite traders for eight ounces of silver. Then the traders took him to Egypt.

Later, Reuben came back to the empty well. He saw that Joseph wasn’t there. He was so upset that he tore his clothes. He went back to his brothers and said, “The boy isn’t there! Now what should I do?”

Then they got Joseph’s beautiful robe. They killed a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. They took it back to their father. They said, “We found this. Take a look at it. See if it’s your son’s robe.”

Jacob recognized it. He said, “It’s my son’s robe! A wild animal has eaten him up. Joseph must have been torn to pieces.” - Genesis 37:28-33

Jacob sobbed and sobbed because he thought that his precious son had been killed. He wore black clothes to show how very sad he was. All of his children tried to make him feel better, but they couldn’t. Jacob said he would be broken-hearted until the day he died. Ask: How do you think the brothers felt when they saw how sad their father was? Listen for answers. Say: The brothers sinned by selling Joseph into slavery. Then they sinned by lying to their father, leading him to believe that Joseph was dead. We have to wonder if Jacob’s sons ever thought about the pain they would cause their father when they made their evil plans (Proverbs 17:25). Sin almost always hurts innocent people. Furthermore, sin hurts the ones who sin. Jacob’s sons would have to live with their guilt for years and years to come. Sin ALWAYS has a price. Sin causes pain, loss, and separation.

Application: We have to remember that sin ALWAYS ruins things. Only God’s grace can break the power of sin (Romans 6:14). When you put your trust in Jesus, God pours out His grace on you. God’s grace sets you FREE from sin (Romans 6:18, 8:1-2).

Joseph Sold To Potiphar (Genesis 37:36)

Say: While Jacob was grieving the loss of his son, God was working out an amazing plan for Joseph.

Meanwhile, the Midianite traders arrived in Egypt, where they sold Joseph to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Potiphar was captain of the palace guard. - Genesis 37:36

If we were to describe the events in Joseph’s life up to this point, it might not sound too good. His brothers hated him, he was almost killed, he was robbed of his most valuable possession, and he was thrown into a well. Then he was sold into slavery and he didn’t know if he would ever see his father again. But this was not the end for Joseph. His adventure was just beginning. Be sure to come back next week to see what happened next!


Key Verse:

(God’s grace) teaches us to say no to godless ways and sinful longings. - Titus 2:12a


Main Point: We must depend on God’s grace to turn away from sin.

© 2007 All rights reserved worldwide. May be reproduced for personal, nonprofit, and non-commercial uses only. 

Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.

Special thanks to John R. Cross, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, GoodSeed International.

/assets/powerpoint/PPT Joseph Sold.ppt
/assets/worddocs/HUDDLE- Joseph Sold.doc
/assets/pdf/FIT - Joseph Sold.pdf

2. Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife (Genesis 39)



Main Point: The Lord is with those who trust Him, even in the most difficult times.

Key Verse:

But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him His faithful love. - Genesis 39:21a NLT

Props: A mousetrap, cheese


Attention teacher: The proposition of Potiphar’s wife to Joseph is very adult in nature. Some Bible translations (such as NIrV) are very explicit in the wording of her offer. Although we LOVE for teachers to read from their Bibles, and for children to read along in theirs, in this case, it is best to paraphrase her words, and not read directly from the scripture. Even if you are reading a version with “friendlier” wording, children who are following along in their Bibles will come across wording that is not age-appropriate. (Genesis 39:7, 10, 12, 14)

Say: When we left our story, Joseph was in a heap of trouble. His big brothers were very jealous of him. Ask: Who can tell me why they were so jealous? Their father, Jacob, loved Joseph more than all the brothers, Jacob gave him a fancy coat, and Joseph dreamed that his brothers would bow down to him one day. Say: Joseph’s brothers held on to their anger and bitterness. Their jealousy grew and grew until some of them wanted to kill Joseph. Thankfully, they didn’t kill him. Instead, they sold him as a slave to some traders that were passing by. They took his colorful coat, dipped it in the blood of a goat, and gave it to their father. Jacob believed that a wild animal had killed Joseph. Jacob was broken-hearted to lose his favorite son.

Meanwhile, the traders who had bought Joseph traveled to Egypt. They sold Joseph to a very important Egyptian man.

Joseph In Egypt

Say: Joseph had grown up in the land that God had promised to his great-grandfather, Abraham. Ask: Does anyone remember the name of the Promised Land? Canaan. Say: Now Joseph was in a new land with different smells, different tastes, different people, a different language, and different gods. All of his life, Joseph had believed in only one God. Now he was in a land where people believed in thousands of gods.

The Egyptians had a long list of gods. They worshipped a sun god, a moon god, a frog goddess, a fish goddess, a cow goddess, a beautiful cat goddess, the god of thunder, and hundreds more! Often, they combined things such as a man’s body with a hawk’s head, and worshipped it.

Imagine how strange this was to Joseph. His entire life, he only worshipped the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Bible says that there is only one true God. Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Israel, listen to me. The Lord is our God. The Lord is the one and only God.”

In Deuteronomy 32:39, God declares, “Look! I am One! There is no other God except Me.”

The Bible makes it clear that there is only one God, so where do all of these other gods come from? When people look at the world around them, they can tell that there is a powerful God who created everything (Romans 1:20). When they don’t know the true God, they make up their own idea of what God must be. Some people make things with their own hands, such as a statue, and worship it (Isaiah 37:19). Ask: How many of you made a craft today? Say: Can you imagine worshipping the craft you made with your own hands? It sounds ridiculous, but that is what many people around the world do, even today.

The Egyptians saw things that God made such as the sun, the moon, and animals, and believed that these amazing things must be gods. They even treated their king, Pharaoh, as a god. The Bible says, “They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator Himself, who is worthy of eternal praise!” (Romans 1:25 NLT)

How did the Egyptians fall into this trap? Teacher: Show the mousetrap. Say: Here is a mouse trap. We all know how this works. If I have a mouse on the loose in my house, I want to keep it out of the good supply of food in my kitchen. Let’s face it; there is enough food in my kitchen to keep that mouse fat and happy for his entire life. But I don’t want a mouse to thrive in my kitchen. So I need to distract it. I would put a piece of cheese in this trap - the smellier the better! The cheese has to smell so good to the mouse that it will distract it from the good food in my kitchen. When the mouse would come out at night looking for food, it would smell the stinky cheese. Before you know it, (Carefully, SNAP the trap.) SNAP! The mouse is caught. It can no longer get to the real food supply, and I can do whatever I want with the mouse.

It is very similar with Satan. Satan spends his days and nights setting traps to distract people from the truth (1 Peter 5:8). It’s Satan’s goal to rob God of the worship that God deserves, because Satan is so jealous of God. Satan’s desire is that we worship anything or everything - except the one true God. Satan has many lies for people to choose from, and he doesn’t care which one they choose.

Application: You must be aware of Satan’s traps. His goal is to distract you from the only real source of life. Remember, he is “the father of lies” (John 8:44). He makes his lies sound really good. For example, he may offer you a “scientific” explanation for something that is against the Bible, or he may lead you to believe that you can run your own life without God. Remember that Satan’s lies are nothing more than stinky cheese! The only way to tell the truth apart from Satan’s lies is to know God’s word. Then you only have two choices. You can believe God and live, or you can believe Satan, and be caught in his trap. God wants you to believe Him - to TRUST HIM - and live!

Joseph & Potiphar (Genesis 39:1-6)


Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. An Egyptian named Potiphar had bought him from the Ishmaelite traders who had taken him there. Potiphar was one of Pharaoh's officials. He was the captain of the palace guard. The Lord was with Joseph. He gave him great success. Joseph lived in Potiphar's house. - Genesis 39:1-2

Say: Joseph didn’t know anyone in this new country. He must have been terrified to be around so many people who were so different from him and who didn’t know anything about his God. Ask: Do you think he felt afraid or lonely? Say: As far as we know, Joseph was probably the only believer in the entire nation of Egypt! But Joseph was not alone! Ask: Who was with Joseph? The Lord! Say: Joseph wasn’t alone because God was with Him. God was in Canaan with Jacob and in Egypt with Joseph at the same time. God is everywhere. We call this omni-present.

Application: Ask: Have you ever felt like Joseph in Egypt? Have you ever been the only one who followed God on your team, or in your class at school? Remember that you are NEVER alone! God is with you. God was with Joseph when he was the only believer in Egypt, and He will be with you wherever you go. There is nowhere you can go where God cannot go with you (Psalm 139:7-12).

Say: When Joseph arrived in Egypt, he was sold to a man named Potiphar who was the captain of the guards at Pharaoh’s palace. Ask: Who is the most powerful man in our country? The president. Say: The most important man in Egypt was Pharaoh. As we said, some people even believed he was a god. And Pharaoh’s most important official chose Joseph to be his slave. Why did the most important official of the most important man in Egypt choose Joseph out of all the other slaves? Because God had a plan! (Genesis 50:20)

Say: Joseph went from being the favorite son to becoming a SLAVE! But God was with Joseph in everything he did. God was intimately involved in every detail of Joseph’s life.

Joseph's master saw that the Lord was with him. He saw that the Lord gave Joseph success in everything he did. So Potiphar was pleased with Joseph. He made him his attendant. He put Joseph in charge of his house. He told Joseph to take good care of everything he owned.

From that time on, the Lord blessed Potiphar's family and servants because of Joseph. He blessed everything Potiphar had in his house and field. So Potiphar told Joseph to take good care of everything he owned. With Joseph in charge, he didn't have to worry about anything except the food he ate. - Genesis 39:3-6a

Joseph was doing an excellent job in Egypt, but not through his own strength. God was enabling him to be strong and wise. Joseph lived his life differently than all the Egyptians. He followed God in everything he did (Genesis 39:8-9). His life was different; he was set apart from the ungodly. God blessed him and Potiphar could tell a distinct difference between Joseph and all those around him.

Application: Just like Joseph, we live in a time and place where many of the people around us don’t know the one true God. Do you stand out as different among the ungodly? Do you allow the Holy Spirit to guide you? Do you follow God in everything you do? When you truly live a God-centered life, those around you will be able to tell that you are different (Philippians 2:15). Sometimes, God sends us places so that people who do not know Him will be able to see God through us.

Say: God blessed Joseph, and the blessings poured out over Potiphar, his family, and even his servants. Everyone and everything in Potiphar’s home was blessed because of Joseph’s God-centered life. Having Joseph around was wonderful for Potiphar. He trusted Joseph and he no longer worried about running his home.

Potiphar’s Wife (Genesis 39:7-10)

Say: But, Here comes trouble. As we said, none of the people around Joseph followed the Lord. It wasn’t long before sin came knocking at Joseph’s door.

The Bible describes Joseph as strong and handsome. God gave him great leadership skills and other blessings. After a while, Potiphar’s wife noticed Joseph. One day she asked him to act like her boyfriend!

But he said no. "My master has put me in charge," he told her. "Now he doesn't have to worry about anything in the house. He trusts me to take care of everything he owns. No one in this house is in a higher position than I am. My master hasn't held anything back from me, except you. You are his wife. So how could I do an evil thing like that? How could I sin against God?" - Genesis 39:8-9

Rightly, Joseph knew that being a boyfriend to another man’s wife was a sin against God. In the very beginning, God created one wife (Eve) for one man (Adam). God’s perfect plan for marriage has always been one man and one woman together for their lifetime. God’s grace made Joseph want to obey God. By His grace, God gave Joseph the power to say NO to sin (Titus 2:11-12).

The test that Joseph faced was very similar to the temptation that Adam and Eve faced in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve could eat freely of every tree - except for one. In the same way, Joseph had complete control over everything in Potiphar’s household - except for one thing, Potiphar’s wife. Adam and Eve did not trust that God’s plan was best for them. They trusted Satan when he accused God of holding back something good from them, so they took what was forbidden. Just the opposite, Joseph was content with all that God had blessed him with. He was humble. He did not think he deserved more than God had given him.

Application: Satan loves to tempt people with what God has forbidden. Satan even tried to tempt Jesus to step outside of God’s perfect will (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus knows what it feels like to be attacked from the outside by Satan. But Jesus never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). God’s grace gives you power when Satan tries to tempt you. Hebrews 4:16 says, “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (NLT) Even though Satan is powerful, God is immeasurably more powerful. When you face temptation, abide in God. Boldly ask for the grace to say NO to sin.

Sent To Prison (Genesis 39:11-23)

Say: Mrs. Potiphar would not give up. She was used to getting her way, and she kept flirting with Joseph. But Joseph refused to spend any time with her. One day, Joseph went to the house to take care of his duties. He didn’t realize that Mrs. Potiphar was alone in the house. She grabbed hold of his coat, but he managed to get away from her. As he ran out, she held onto his coat. Then she made up a big lie about him (John 8:44). She said that Joseph came in to attack her, she screamed, and he ran away. She used his coat to prove that he had been in the house.

When Joseph's master (Potiphar) heard her story, he became very angry. So he put Joseph in prison. It was the place where the king's prisoners were kept. - Genesis 39:19b-20a

This seems so unfair! Deep down, we want things to be fair. We have a longing for justice, because we are created in the image of a perfectly just God (Deuteronomy 32:4). It is unfair that Joseph did the right thing, yet he was sent to prison! Joseph had lost his master’s respect and he was forced to become lower than a slave - he became a PRISONER. Do you think Joseph will be all alone this time? Do you believe that God would go all the way down to a dingy dungeon to be with Joseph? Do you think that this situation was out of God’s control? Let’s read to find out:

While Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him. He was kind to him. So the man who was running the prison was pleased with Joseph. He put Joseph in charge of all of the prisoners. He made him accountable for everything that was done there. The man who ran the prison didn't pay attention to anything that was in Joseph's care. The Lord was with Joseph. He gave Joseph success in everything he did. - Genesis 39:20b-23

Say: God did NOT abandon Joseph! Even when things got much worse, the Lord was with him. In this very difficult time, God poured out grace on Joseph that was like a big warm hug. God gave Joseph the peace and strength that he needed in prison. God’s grace can turn any situation around. By God’s grace, Joseph did not become bitter, holding onto his anger as his brothers had done. Here in a cold prison, God continued to use Joseph. Joseph clung to God and he was even blessed in prison! Next week we’ll see another twist in God’s incredible plan for Joseph. We’ll start to see how God used this terrible situation for good!

Application: You are young, but some of you have already faced very difficult situations. In your hardest times, God will not leave you. In fact, it’s in those times that God pours out an extra measure of grace on you. God’s grace gives you strength, peace, and even joy, in any situation (Romans 5:1-4, Hebrews 13:9).

Note to Teacher: The apostle Paul, who suffered greatly for the gospel, opened each of his epistles with the words, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” For Paul, God’s grace was inseparable from peace. Paul understood that true peace could never be achieved without God’s grace. Paul relied on God’s grace to bring him strength and contentment in the most trying of circumstances (Philippians 4:11-13).


Key Verse:

But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him His faithful love. - Genesis 39:21a NLT


Main Point: The Lord is with those who trust Him, even in the most difficult times.

© 2007 All rights reserved worldwide. May be reproduced for personal, nonprofit, and non-commercial uses only. 

Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.

Special thanks to John R. Cross, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, GoodSeed International.

/assets/powerpoint/PPT Potiphar's Wife.ppt
/assets/worddocs/HUDDLE - Jos & Potiphar's Wife.doc
/assets/pdf/FIT - Potiphar's Wife.pdf

3. The Cupbearer and the Baker (Genesis 40)



Main Poinzt: God never forgets His children.

Key Verse:

I, the Lord, made you, and I will not forget you. - Isaiah 44:21b NLT

Props: Cup of juice (Silver cup would be great), loaf of bread

Teacher: Before class, choose an adult leader, or a student who can read loudly, to read Psalm 139:7-10 when you call on him or her.


Say: Last week, we ended our story with Joseph thrown in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Potiphar’s wife had made up a big lie about Joseph. She was so angry that Joseph wouldn’t pay attention to her that she accused him of something he did not do.

Joseph was thrown into the dungeon that was under Potiphar’s house. Ask: It may seem that everyone had forgotten about Joseph, but who was with him? God was with him! Say: There is nowhere you can go that God does not go with you! Listen to the words that King David wrote to the Lord. Teacher: Call on your volunteer to read Psalm 139:7-10.

How can I get away from your Spirit? Where can I go to escape from you? If I go up to the heavens, you are there. If I lie down in the deepest parts of the earth, you are also there. Suppose I were to rise with the sun in the east and then cross over to the west where it sinks into the ocean. Your hand would always be there to guide me. Your right hand would still be holding me close. - Psalm 139:7-10

David goes on to say that even the darkest night is not dark to God. He sees through darkness as if it’s broad daylight. Remember that you are never alone. God is with you! He’s with you on your first day of school when you walk into a classroom of strangers; He’s with you when your friends turn their backs on you; He’s with you when your parents argue; He’s with you when someone you love passes away. God sees you no matter where you are, and He will never forget you.

The Bible says that God blessed Joseph while he was in prison. God made sure that the warden, the person in charge of the prison, liked Joseph a lot. Just like upstairs in Potiphar’s home, Joseph was put in charge of everything in the prison. The warden no longer worried about anything because God gave Joseph success in everything that he did (Genesis 39:21-23).

The Cupbearer & The Baker (Genesis 40:1-4)

Say: While Joseph was in prison, two other important men where thrown into jail with him.

...The cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their master, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined. The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he attended them. - Genesis 40:1-4a NIV

One of the men was the cupbearer. Teacher: Hold up your cup of juice. Say: Remember, Pharaoh was an important leader. Sometimes important leaders have powerful enemies, such as the kings of countries that he gone to war with. One of those enemies might even try to poison Pharaoh. Ask: How do you think Pharaoh could be sure that his drink wasn’t poisoned? Listen for answers. Say: Pharaoh appointed a man that he trusted to be his cupbearer, which means cup holder. Choose a volunteer; ask him to hold the cup. The cupbearer would be very careful to protect Pharaoh’s drinks. If Pharaoh was feeling suspicious, the cupbearer might even have to drink from the cup first. Have volunteer take a sip of juice. Then if he didn’t die, Pharaoh would know the drink wasn’t poisoned. Thank your volunteer.

The second man who was thrown into jail was Pharaoh’s baker. We can all guess what he did for Pharaoh. Hold up your loaf of bread. Again, since Pharaoh had many enemies, the man who made food for him had to be a person that he trusted. We aren’t told what the men did, or even if the men had committed the same offense. We are just told that Pharaoh was really angry.

Ask: Do you think it was a coincidence that these two men were thrown into the same prison as Joseph? Listen for answers. Say: It was no coincidence. God had a plan and God’s plans are always good! (Jeremiah 29:11) Potiphar had control over the dungeon. He put Joseph in charge of these two new prisoners.

Note to Teacher: This act of Potiphar’s leads us to believe that he still trusted Joseph, at least to a degree. It is possible that he trusted Joseph more than he trusted his wife. After all, Joseph was known for his loyal character. It would seem that perhaps Mrs. Potiphar was not known for hers. But when she made a spectacle of Joseph’s robe in her clutches, Potiphar was forced to make a choice: either side with his wife, or side with Joseph, admitting that his wife was chasing after another man.

God gave Joseph the grace to obey Potiphar’s command (Titus 2:11-12). Joseph cared for the two men for some time. He even knew them well enough to know when they were unhappy. Most importantly, Joseph taught the men about the one true God.

Application: The Bible tells us we should take care of the needs of others (James 1:27, Luke 6:31). Joseph cared for the other prisoners even when he was in a terrible situation. Caring for others is a great way to take your focus off of your own troubles! Hebrews 6:10 tells us that God will not forget your work and the love you show to others when you help them.

Two Dreams (Genesis 40:4-19)

After quite a while in prison, both the cup-bearer and baker had a dream on the same night. The men didn’t understand what their dreams meant, and it bothered them.

When Joseph saw them the next morning, he noticed that they both looked upset. “Why do you look so worried today?” he asked them.

And they replied, “We both had dreams last night, but no one can tell us what they mean.” - Genesis 40:6-8a NLT

In their part of the world, people took their dreams very seriously. Before God’s word was written down in the Bible, God often spoke to people through dreams (Numbers 12:6, Judges 7:15, 1 Kings 3:5). Kings and Pharaohs had men who claimed that they could interpret dreams. Since the cupbearer and baker were in prison, they did not have access to Pharaoh’s interpreters. They didn’t know that the only true interpretations came from the Lord. Joseph let them know that only the all-knowing God could tell them what their dreams meant. Because Joseph abided with God, God would reveal the meanings to him.

“Interpreting dreams is God’s business, Joseph replied. “Go ahead and tell me your dreams.”

So the chief cupbearer told Joseph his dream first. “In my dream,” he said, “I saw a grapevine in front of me. The vine had three branches that began to bud and blossom, and soon it produced clusters of ripe grapes. I was holding Pharaoh’s wine cup in my hand, so I took a cluster of grapes and squeezed the juice into the cup. Then I placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.”

“This is what the dream means,” Joseph said. “The three branches represent three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift you up and restore you to your position as his chief cupbearer. And please remember me and do me a favor when things go well for you. Mention me to Pharaoh, so he might let me out of this place. For I was kidnapped from my homeland, the land of the Hebrews, and now I’m here in prison, but I did nothing to deserve it.” - Genesis 40:8b-15 NLT

Say: Clearly God was with Joseph. God gave Joseph the meaning of the cupbearer’s dream. Things would turn out very well for the cupbearer - soon he would be out of prison, serving Pharaoh once again.

Joseph trusted God completely. Joseph knew that the interpretation would happen exactly as God had revealed. So, Joseph asked the cupbearer to remember him when he was out of prison. Joseph wanted the cupbearer to ask Pharaoh to set him free because he was innocent. There was still one more dream:

The chief baker saw that Joseph had given a positive meaning to the (cupbearer’s) dream. So he said to Joseph, "I had a dream too. There were three baskets of bread on my head. All kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh were in the top basket. But the birds were eating them out of the basket that was on my head." - Genesis 40:16-17

Again, God let Joseph know exactly what the dream meant. Sadly, things were not going to go well for the baker. It must have been hard for Joseph to tell bad news to the baker, but he had to tell the truth. The Bible says to always speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Joseph told the baker that in three days, Pharaoh was going to order that he be killed, and hang his body for everyone to see. This was a terrible fate for the baker!

Note to Teacher: We know that once again, Joseph trusted that God was telling exactly what was going to happen. Knowing that Pharaoh would execute the baker, Joseph did not ask the baker to put in a good word for him.

Now, God was not going to cause these things to happen. He was just telling the future ahead of time. Why would God want these men, including Joseph, know what was about to happen?

God gave these dreams:

  • To reveal that He was the one and only true God.
  • To give the baker the opportunity to repent (turn from his sin) and TRUST in God.
  • To show Joseph that dreams that are given by God always come true.

Application: God has many ways of speaking to people today. The clearest way is through His written word, the Bible. Hold up your Bible. God’s word is not just words on a page, or just good advice. It is the very truth of God, and it changes people.

God has breathed life into all of Scripture. It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again. It is useful for training us to do what is right. By using Scripture, a man of God can be completely prepared to do every good thing. - 2 Timothy 3:17-16

The word of God is living and active. It is sharper than any sword that has two edges... It judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart. - Hebrews 4:12

God also speaks through prayer, preaching, teaching, prompting by the Holy Spirit, and in some parts of the world, through dreams. But be sure of this: God will NEVER speak in any way that is against His written word. Any time you think God has spoken to you, check it against what the Bible says. God wants to reveal Himself to you, and guide your life by His truth.

Dreams Into Reality (Genesis 40:20-23)

Pharaoh’s birthday came three days later, and he prepared a banquet for all his officials and staff. He summoned his chief cupbearer and chief baker to join the other officials. He then restored the chief cupbearer to his former position, so he could again hand Pharaoh his cup. But Pharaoh impaled the chief baker, just as Joseph had predicted when he interpreted his dream. - Genesis 40:20-22 NLT

The dreams came true, exactly as Joseph had foretold. Sadly, the baker was killed for what he had done. But the cupbearer was forgiven. This means the cupbearer was returned to Pharaoh’s favor; Pharaoh trusted him once again. Can you imagine how excited Joseph must have been about this? Finally, the cupbearer could tell Pharaoh all about Joseph. He could tell Pharaoh that Joseph was a good man who had done nothing wrong. Surely, Pharaoh would let Joseph out of prison and he could go home to his father. I can just imagine that every time the prison door opened, Joseph jumped up hoping to be set free... But it wasn’t to be:

Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer, however, forgot all about Joseph, never giving him another thought. - Genesis 40:23 NLT

After Joseph had unselfishly cared for the cup-bearer in prison and even interpreted his dream, the cup-bearer never gave Joseph a second thought. Apparently, as soon as the cupbearer was out of prison, he wanted to be completed separated from everything there. What a heartbreaking disappointment this was for Joseph! The Bible says, “Hope that is put off makes one sick at heart.” (Proverbs 13:12a)

Joseph was stuck in that prison for TWO more years! (Genesis 41:1) But Joseph was not alone in that prison. God remained with him. God gave Joseph the grace that gave him strength and comfort. God’s grace was like a hug around Joseph day and night.

I wish I could tell you the end of the story right now so you would know that God was in complete control of the situation. Even though the cupbearer forgot about Joseph, God did not! God did not forget the promise He made to Joseph back in Canaan through Joseph’s two dreams. Come back next week to hear the amazing way that Joseph got out of prison!

Application: People often disappoint us. They forget about us, or forget promises they made to us. But God never forgets His children! God reminds us that He is with us by wrapping His grace around us like a big hug.


Key Verse:

I, the Lord, made you, and I will not forget you. - Isaiah 44:21b NLT


Main Point: God never forgets His children.

© 2007 All rights reserved worldwide. May be reproduced for personal, nonprofit, and non-commercial uses only. 

Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.

Special thanks to John R. Cross, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, GoodSeed International.

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/assets/pdf/FIT - Cupbearer & Baker.pdf

4. Pharaoh’s Dreams (Genesis 41)



Main Point: God’s timing is perfect.

Key Verse:

God makes everything happen at the right time. - Ecclesiastes 3:11a CEV

Props: Cup and bread from last week; two calendars.


Say: Last week, we read about two Egyptian men who were thrown in prison with Joseph. Ask: Who can remember who these men were? The cupbearer and the baker. Say: Right, there was Pharaoh’s official drink taster (Show the cup), and his “top chef” (Show the bread). Joseph was highly respected, even in prison, so Potiphar gave him the job of taking care of these men. Each man had a dream about their own future, but they did not understand what the dreams meant. God told Joseph what the dreams meant, and of course, they came true just as Joseph foretold. The baker was killed, and Pharaoh forgave the cupbearer. Before the cupbearer left prison, Joseph asked him for one favor. Joseph asked him to tell Pharaoh about him so he could be set free. Ask: Did the cupbearer tell Pharaoh about Joseph? No! Say: The cupbearer forgot all about Joseph. But God did not! God never forgets His children.

We pick up our story TWO years later. Teacher: Flip through your two calendars as you talk. Joseph was still in prison, day after day, week after week, month after month. And remember, he had never even done anything wrong.

Pharaoh’s Dreams (Genesis 41:1-13)


When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream. In his dream, he was standing by the Nile River. Seven cows came up out of the river. They looked healthy and fat. They were eating some of the tall grass that was growing along the river.

After them, seven other cows came up out of the Nile. They looked ugly and skinny. They were standing beside the other cows on the riverbank. The ugly, skinny cows ate up the seven cows that looked healthy and fat. Then Pharaoh woke up.

He fell asleep again and had a second dream. In that dream, seven heads of grain were growing on one stem. They were healthy and good. After them, seven other heads of grain came up. They were thin and dried up by the east wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up. It had been a dream. - Genesis 41:1-7

Say: As we learned last week, dreams were very important at that time, especially in that part of the world. Pharaoh became worried when he woke up from his dreams. He wanted someone to explain what they meant. So he called for all the magicians and wise men in Egypt, but no one could interpret the dreams. Ask: Who do you think could interpret Pharaoh’s dreams? God - through Joseph. Say: There was one person in Pharaoh’s palace who was living proof that Joseph could interpret dreams correctly.

Finally, the king’s chief cupbearer spoke up. “Today I have been reminded of my failure,” he told Pharaoh. “Some time ago, you were angry with the chief baker and me, and you imprisoned us in the palace of the captain of the guard. One night the chief baker and I each had a dream, and each dream had its own meaning. There was a young Hebrew man with us in the prison who was a slave of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he told us what each of our dreams meant. And everything happened just as he had predicted. - Genesis 41:9-13a NLT

So Pharaoh sent for Joseph.

Here is where we start to see just how God had been in control during Joseph’s entire life. It was not by chance that Joseph was taken to Egypt, or sold to Potiphar, or accused by Potiphar’s wife, or thrown in prison where he would meet the cupbearer. It took years, but God worked everything together so that Joseph would meet with Pharaoh this day (Romans 8:28). These events were caused by people’s sin - God did not cause or encourage the sin! But only our completely GOOD God can take things that start out bad and use them for good.

God was waiting for just the right time to release Joseph from prison. God could have thrown the prison door wide open whenever He wanted to. But God had a purpose for Joseph in prison. Sometimes we can’t see everything God is doing. It has been said, “When you can’t see God’s hand, you have to trust His heart.” We may never know all that God was doing with Joseph, but we know that God was growing his faith, and God was waiting for the perfect time to release Joseph. The timing was perfect for Joseph, Pharaoh, and everyone in the land.

Application: It is the same in your life. God loves you, and He is ALWAYS at work in your life for His glory and your good (Jeremiah 29:11). It may take a long, long time for you to see the good that God is doing. But you can trust that God’s timing is perfect!

Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dreams (Genesis 41:14-40)

Say: Finally, Joseph stepped out of the dark, musty-smelling prison. He probably squinted his eyes against the sunlight as he was taken to Pharaoh’s palace, breathing in the fresh air along the way. He was even allowed to shave his unkempt beard and put on new clean clothes before he was taken before Pharaoh. Joseph must have felt like a new man!

Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream. No one can tell me what it means. But I’ve heard that when you hear a dream you can explain it.” - Genesis 41:15

Say: Let’s not forget how unusual it was for a Pharaoh to get advice from a slave and prisoner! God had made it clear to Pharaoh that Pharaoh was not all-knowing. Even if some people thought Pharaoh was a god, clearly he is not! Now he needed Joseph’s help.

I can’t do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh. “But God will give Pharaoh the answer he wants.” - Genesis 41:16

Say: Joseph did not take credit for being able to interpret dreams. He knew that his gift of interpreting dreams came directly from the Lord. Joseph was humble, and he pointed Pharaoh to the all-knowing God. Did you know that God makes a wonderful promise about being humble? God promises to honor those who are humble (Matthew 23:13, James 4:10).

So Pharaoh told his dreams to Joseph. He told him about the seven healthy cows that were eaten up by the seven skinny cows. And Pharaoh told Joseph about the second dream where seven healthy pieces of grain were swallowed up by seven thin, dry pieces of grain.

Joseph told Pharaoh that both dreams had the same meaning. In the first dream, the seven healthy cows were a symbol for the coming seven years. In those years, Egypt would thrive. There would be more than enough of food to eat and water to drink. But the seven ugly, skinny cows were a symbol for the following seven years. In those years, there wouldn’t be enough food to eat. The people would be very hungry, to the point of starving.

The dream of the good grain and shriveled-up grain was just like the first. The seven good pieces of grain stood for the seven years with plenty to eat, and the seven dry pieces of grain stood for the seven years of hunger. The seven years of famine would be so terrible that people wouldn’t even remember the good years when there had been plenty to eat. Joseph explained:

God gave the dream to Pharaoh in two forms. That’s because the matter has been firmly decided by God. And it’s because God will do it soon.” - Genesis 41:29-32

Say: God gave these dreams to Pharaoh so Pharaoh would know what was about to happen. There was a terrible famine coming, but in His grace and mercy, God sent His servant, Joseph, to warn Pharaoh (Amos 3:7). And when God sends a warning, He also sends instructions (Genesis 6:13-21, 1 Kings 17:1-4). God had a plan to provide food during the seven years of famine. Because Joseph abided in (or remained with) God, he could hear God’s plan very clearly.

Joseph told Pharaoh to choose a wise and understanding man, and put him in charge of the entire land of Egypt. And Pharaoh should appoint officials under him. During the seven years when there was plenty of food, they should store up one-fifth of the food that was grown. They should put this extra food in big storehouses. Then when the famine hit the land, the Egyptians could use the grain that was stored up. That way, the people would not starve (Proverbs 30:24-25). Isn’t that a wise plan?

Pharaoh thought that the plan was very wise. He thought about whom he should put in charge of the land. Listen carefully to what Pharaoh said next:

So Pharaoh said to (his officials), “The spirit of God is in this man. We can’t find anyone else like him, can we?” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “God has made all of this known to you. No one is as wise and understanding as you are. You will be in charge of my palace. All of my people must obey your orders. I will be greater than you only because I’m the one who sits on the throne.” - Genesis 41:38-40

Say: Can you imagine the surprised look on Joseph’s face? Joseph never imagined that Pharaoh would choose him to do such an important job. Next to Pharaoh, Joseph would be the most powerful man in all of Egypt. Just a few hours before, he was a slave and a prisoner who lived in dungeon! God can turn any situation upside-down! Remember God’s promise about humble people? God promises to honor those who are humble. Joseph had lived a humble life, serving Potiphar and serving the men in prison. He was humble before Pharaoh, and now he was being honored. God ALWAYS keeps His promises!

Joseph In Charge Of Egypt (Genesis 41:41-57)

Say: Pharaoh made an official announcement that Joseph was in charge of Egypt.

Then Pharaoh took his ring off his finger. It was the ring he used to stamp all of the official papers. He put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes that were made out of fine linen. He put a gold chain around his neck. He also had him ride in a chariot. Joseph was now next in command after Pharaoh. - Genesis 41:42-43a

A King’s ring was a symbol of his power, and Pharaoh had given his ring to Joseph. Now, Joseph had the power to give orders that all the Egyptians must obey. Pharaoh also gave Joseph fancy robes to wear. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Pharaoh even gave Joseph a wife. Joseph was thirty years old when all of this happened.

For seven years, the land produced tons and tons of food, just as Joseph had said it would. Joseph traveled all over Egypt and made sure the extra grain was being stored. Joseph stored up so much grain that he couldn’t even keep a record of it anymore. It was like grains of sand on the seashore. Joseph was a hard-working, loyal official for Pharaoh (Colossians 3:23-24).

During these good years, God blessed Joseph with two sons. Joseph named his first son Manasseh, which means forget, because the Lord caused Joseph to forget all of his troubles. Joseph named his second son Ephraim, which means fruitful, because God gave Joseph so many blessings in Egypt.

Finally, the seven abundant years in Egypt came to an end. Ask: Was this a surprise to the Lord? No. Say: Because Joseph abided with God, and listened to God, it was not a surprise to Joseph or Pharaoh either. When the Egyptians started getting hungry, they came to Joseph and bought grain. The famine was so severe that other countries also ran out of food. People from every country came to Joseph to buy grain. God is so good! His plan provided plenty of food for everyone who needed it.

Application: There is nothing that can happen in your life that is a surprise to God. When you trust His plan, and obey His voice, He will provide everything you need, even in your most difficult times.

God’s Plan & Promises (Genesis 12:2-3)

Say: God kept His promise to honor anyone who is humble when he put Joseph in charge of Egypt. Let’s look at some other promises that God had made many years before, to Joseph’s great-grandfather, Abraham. Ask: Can anyone remember the promises that God made to Abraham? Listen for answers. Say: Let’s read the first promises God made to Abraham:


I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. - Genesis 12:2-3 NIV

Abraham did nothing to deserve these wonderful promises. God gave them by His grace. God promised to make Abraham’s family grow and grow and grow. God would bless Abraham’s family like no family had ever been blessed before. God would bless any person or any country that blessed Abraham’s family. But anyone or any country that was mean to Abraham’s family would be punished. And the most special promise was that all people on the earth would be blessed through Abraham’s family.

As our story unfolds, we’ll see that God kept each of these promises. Today, we can see that God blessed Pharaoh because Pharaoh blessed Jacob, just as God promised He would. Pharaoh became famous and incredibly respected because his land was the only nation that had food while every other nation was starving. Just think how smart Pharaoh must have seemed to all the other nations! Also, Pharaoh ended up with great wealth and property because he followed God’s plan. And the most important blessing for Pharaoh was that God revealed Himself to Pharaoh. God showed Pharaoh that He cares about people and He is the great Rescuer who always has a plan to help us. God showed Pharaoh that He is full of grace, blessing Pharaoh even though Pharaoh did not deserve it.

Say: So, things finally turned around for Joseph. Ask: Do you think it was hard for Joseph to wait in prison for two whole years after the cupbearer promised to help him get out of jail? Say: It may have been hard to wait for God’s timing, but just think about this: If Joseph had been released from prison two years earlier, he would not have been around to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. All the people in Egypt and the surrounding countries would have starved to death! Joseph would have starved to death! It was God’s perfect timing that allowed Pharaoh to meet Joseph when Pharaoh needed help. God’s perfect timing caused Pharaoh to listen to Joseph, to learn about God, and provide food for the nations.

Application: Raise your hand if you are really good at waiting. Sometimes it is really hard to wait. It is hard to wait for your birthday, and for Christmas. It is even harder to wait for rescue when you are in a really difficult situation, like Joseph. But you can ALWAYS trust God’s timing. Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait for the Lord. Be strong and don’t lose hope. Wait for the Lord.” Remember that God’s grace gives you the power to do what He wants you to do (Titus 2:11-12). When you feel like you can’t wait for one more minute, ask God to give you the grace to wait for His perfect timing.


Key Verse:

God makes everything happen at the right time. - Ecclesiastes 3:11a CEV


Main Point: God’s timing is perfect.

© 2007 All rights reserved worldwide. May be reproduced for personal, nonprofit, and non-commercial uses only. 

Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.

Special thanks to John R. Cross, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, GoodSeed International.

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/assets/pdf/FIT - Pharaoh's Dreams.pdf

5. Joseph’s Brothers Go to Egypt (Genesis 42)



Main Point: God’s grace gives us the ability to do the right thing.

Key Verse:

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. - 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV

Props: A pouch of silver coins, and a larger satchel


Say: Last week, we saw that God’s timing is perfect. Joseph spent many years in Egypt as a slave. Then, after spending over two long years in prison, the time was perfect for the cupbearer to remember Joseph. Joseph was released from prison so that he could interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. God gave Pharaoh two dreams as a warning about a terrible famine that was going to come to Egypt. God also gave Joseph a plan to provide food during the famine. Pharaoh believed Joseph, and followed God’s plan. Pharaoh honored Joseph and put him in charge of all of Egypt. Pharaoh was the only man more powerful than Joseph. Ask: Who can remember what God’s plan was to provide food during the famine? Listen for answers. Say: According to God’s plan, Joseph stored up all the extra grain in Egypt during seven years when there was plenty of food. Then, when the famine hit, and no food would grow, people came to Joseph to buy grain from the storehouses.

Joseph’s Brothers Go To Egypt (Genesis 42:1-26)

Say: So, what do you think was happening with Joseph’s family back in Canaan? Listen for answers. Teacher: Show world map. (This is helpful in showing students where this history happened in relation to where they live. The world map helps students to see that these stories actually happened in a real place.) Say: Let’s take a look at where all of this took place. Point to your own country or state. Here’s where we are right now. Point to Egypt and surrounding area. Say: The famine not only affected Egypt, but all the land surrounding it. Now we’ll take a closer look it the area in this box. Show slide of Egypt and Canaan. Point to Canaan. Here is Canaan, where Joseph’s brothers and father, Jacob, lived. Do you think the famine affected them? Yes! Say: It certainly did. By this time, many of Joseph’s brothers were married and had children. Jacob’s large family ran out of food, and if they didn’t find food soon they would die!

Say: Jacob was very upset about the food shortage, and he spoke unkindly to his sons.

Jacob found out that there was grain in Egypt. So he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?” He continued, “I’ve heard there’s grain in Egypt. Go down there. Buy some for us. Then we’ll live and not die.”

So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to Egypt to buy grain there. But Jacob didn’t send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with them. He was afraid Benjamin might be harmed. - Genesis 42:1-4

Just as Jacob had done years ago, he favored one of his sons. Benjamin was the youngest of all the boys. Remember, Joseph and Benjamin were the only two children from Jacob’s most beloved wife, Rachel. In order to protect Benjamin, Jacob did not allow him to travel to Egypt. This would make sense if Benjamin was just a child, but Benjamin would have been around thirty years old by this time. Jacob kept him home because he had become his new favorite! So Joseph’s ten brothers took silver coins and traveled 200 miles to Egypt. Show your pouch of coins. This trip would have taken at least ten days on the back of a donkey. Crowds of people came from all around to buy grain in Egypt.

When Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. - Genesis 42:6

Say: Wait just a minute. This sounds familiar. I’m going to turn back in my Bible to Genesis 37:5-7. This goes back to before Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery.

Joseph had a dream. When he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, “Listen to the dream I had. We were tying up bundles of grain out in the field. Suddenly my bundle rose and stood up straight. Your bundles gathered around my bundle and bowed down to it.”

Wow! The dream that God had given to Joseph as a young man had finally come true. As his brothers bowed before him, Joseph remembered his dream. I wonder how many times Joseph had thought about this dream when he was a slave and a prisoner. By grace, God had made a promise to Joseph that one day he would be a leader, he would be respected, and his brothers would bow down to him. Now it had happened!

Joseph’s brothers did not recognize him because when they last saw him, Joseph was not much older than a boy, but now he was a man. Also, they didn’t know that the slave traders had taken him to Egypt. They would never have known to look for him here. Furthermore, they thought this important ruler was an Egyptian, not an Israelite. Joseph, however, recognized his brothers the moment he laid eyes on them. Can you imagine how Joseph must have felt when he saw his brothers? His eyes probably widened as his stomach turned into knots. Seeing his brothers this day might be the biggest challenge of Joseph’s life.

Everyone close your eyes for just a minute. Pretend you are Joseph. Just imagine that you are dressed in fine Egyptian robes, standing high on a platform. As you look out, before you are your ten brothers. They look weak and nervous as they bow down low in front of you. Your mind flashes back to the last time you saw them. You can remember the anger in their eyes as they tore off your special robe and threw you into a dry well. You can remember their voices laughing as you begged them for mercy. Your mind races to your years as a slave, wondering if you would ever see your father again. And then you remember the long years you spent as a falsely accused prisoner. Now, don’t say anything, but think for a minute about what you might say to these men who had caused you such pain, now that you have power over their lives. Pause for thought.

Say: Okay, you can open your eyes. The natural, human response would be to take revenge. We might expect Joseph to say, “You almost killed me! You sold me as a slave! Why should I give you anything to eat? Go home and fend for yourself.” And, actually, that would be a “just” response. They would get what they had given. But God’s grace gave Joseph the power to do what was right, not what was natural (Titus 2:11-12). By God’s grace, Joseph realized that God had a purpose for placing him in this position of power, and this purpose was to save his family. Joseph had great power, but he would not use his power to get revenge. This is not a natural reaction! This reaction is possible only because of God’s grace. God’s grace gave Joseph the ability to say, “No” to revenge.

Application: The Bible says, “Stop being angry and don’t try to take revenge. I am the Lord, and I command you to love others as much as you love yourself,” and “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat. If he is thirsty, give him water to drink.” (Leviticus 19:18 CEV, Proverbs 25:21). This may seem like a really hard thing to do sometimes. That’s because our human nature wants to hurt those who have hurt us. Only God’s grace can help us say “No” to revenge, and help us be kind to those who have been unkind to us. The best part is that God promises us eternal rewards when we rely on His grace to bless those who have hurt us (Proverbs 25:22, 1 Peter 3:9).

Say: Joseph decided not to let his brothers know who he was. Joseph had lived in Egypt for many years. By now he spoke the Egyptian language perfectly, but he also remembered how to speak Hebrew, the language that his brothers spoke. Joseph pretended not to understand them. When he met with them, he used an interpreter. Joseph thought of a way to find out information about his father and his brother, Benjamin, without giving away his identity.

So he said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see the places where our land isn’t guarded very well.”

“No, sir,” they answered. “We’ve come to buy food. All of us are the sons of one man. We’re honest men. We aren’t spies.”

“No!” he said to them. “You have come to see the places where our land isn’t guarded very well.”

But they replied, “We were 12 brothers. All of us were the sons of one man. He lives in the land of Canaan. Our youngest brother is now with our father. And one brother is gone.” - Genesis 42:9b-13

Say: It must have sounded strange to Joseph when his brothers said they were “honest men.” He told them he didn’t believe that they weren’t spies. He said he would not believe their story unless he saw their younger brother. He put them in prison for three days. On the third day, he told them he would keep one of them in prison, and send the others home with food for their families.

“But you must bring your youngest brother to me. That will prove that your words are true. Then you won’t die.” So they did what he said.

They said to one another, “God is certainly punishing us because of our brother (Joseph). We saw how troubled he was when he begged us to let him live. But we wouldn’t listen. That’s why all of this trouble has come to us.”

Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we’re being held accountable for killing him.” - Genesis 42:20-22

Remember, the brothers didn’t know that Joseph could understand them. They believed that Joseph must have died as a slave. They thought God was punishing them for what they had done. The brothers were sad that their sin was causing them to be punished. This is very different than agreeing with God that their action was wrong, and turning from their sin.

Application: For instance, let’s say that your mom told you not to play soccer in the house, but you did it anyway, and you broke her favorite vase. There is a big difference between thinking, “Uh-oh, now mom will figure out what I did and she’ll take away my favorite video games!” and thinking, “Oh no! I did a terrible thing. Mom was right, there is a good reason I shouldn’t play soccer inside. It will break her heart when she sees that her vase is broken. I wish I had never done that. I’ll never do that again.” Just being sorry that you will be punished is NOT repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10). Repentance is changing your mind, causing you to turn away from sin. (Teacher Note: This point is key for next week’s lesson.)

Say: At this point, it does not seem that the brothers have repented from the sins of their youth. When Jacob heard his brothers arguing about what they had done to him years ago, Joseph began to cry. Sin always causes pain. Joseph turned away so his brothers wouldn’t see him cry.

Then Joseph had his brother, Simeon, chained up and put in prison. The Bible doesn’t tell us why Joseph chose to keep Simeon, but we can make a thoughtful guess. We know that Reuben was the oldest brother, and Simeon was the second oldest. Reuben tried to help Joseph. So, out of all the brothers who wanted to harm Joseph, Simeon was the oldest. He may have been the ringleader of the whole gang. Even so, Joseph was not going to harm Simeon. He had to keep one brother to be sure the rest would return for him.

Joseph ordered his servants to fill his brothers’ bags with grain. And, without them knowing it, he took the silver they brought to buy the grain, and put it back in their sacks. Place your pouch of coins into the larger satchel. Joseph didn’t take their money! He gave them free grain that they did not deserve. This was an act of grace. Because God had given Joseph many blessings that he did not deserve, Joseph was able to give his brothers a blessing that they did not deserve (Genesis 43:23).

Application: If you listed all of the blessings God has given you, the list might be several miles long! You have lungs that work and a planet full of oxygen. You have friends, family members, ice cream, and so much more. Did you do anything to deserve your healthy lungs? No. Did you do anything to earn all of the oxygen you breathe? Of course not. God gives these blessings by His grace. When we think of all the blessings God gives to us freely, we should look for opportunities to bless others, even when they haven’t “earned” it. It is actually a BLAST to bless people who have done nothing to deserve it.

The Brothers Return Home (Genesis 42:27-38)

Say: We have said that the trip between Egypt and Canaan took at least ten days. Now that the donkeys were loaded with food, the men were probably walking and it would have taken much longer. The men would have to stop at night to sleep and let their donkeys rest.

When night came, they stopped. One of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey. He saw his money in the top of his sack. “My money has been given back,” he said to his brothers. “Here it is in my sack.” Teacher: Pull out your pouch of coins.

They had a sinking feeling in their hearts. They began to tremble. They turned to each other and said, “What has God done to us?” - Genesis 42:27-28

Say: Joseph’s brothers didn’t see this gift as a blessing at all. Instead, they thought it was a curse. They thought they would be accused of stealing. They felt so guilty for the sin they had committed against Joseph that they imagined that God was punishing them. They could not accept this gift of grace. Often, our unrepentant sin keeps us from seeing God’s grace (Isaiah 26:10).

The men continued on their way and when they arrived at home, they told Jacob everything that happened. They explained that the man in charge of Egypt accused them of being spies, and how they told him that they were ten brothers from Canaan. They had to tell Jacob that Simeon was still in Egypt - in prison.

They began emptying their sacks. There in each man’s sack was his bag of money! When they and their father saw the moneybags, they were afraid.

Their father Jacob said to them, “You have taken my children away from me. Joseph is gone. Simeon is gone. Now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is going against me!” - Genesis 42:35-36

Say: Jacob also saw this blessing as a curse. He said, “Everything is going against me!”

Jacob refused to allow Benjamin to go to Egypt. Jacob was going to leave Simeon there in prison forever! Jacob did not take this matter to the Lord. In fact, there is no mention of God at all. At one time, God had appeared to Jacob and made awesome promises to him personally (Genesis 28:13-15). God promised to be with Jacob, watch out for him, and bless him wherever he was. How is it that Jacob had so little faith now? Could it be that when Joseph was taken, Jacob stopped abiding in God? At one time, Jacob trusted God completely. Somewhere along the way, Jacob stopped trusting God. He couldn’t even imagine that God had kept His promises! Jacob never dreamed that Joseph was alive and well, and blessed beyond Jacob’s wildest dreams! Jacob should have known that God ALWAYS keeps His promises.

Note to Teacher: At one time, Jacob clearly saw God’s grace. After God had blessed him in Paddan Aram, Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two groups.” (Genesis 32:9-10) At that time, Jacob lived with a clean conscience before the Lord, abiding with Him, depending on Him.

Come back next week to see the next twists and turns in the amazing story of Joseph and God’s grace.


Key Verse:

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. - 2 Corinthians 9:8


Main Point: God’s grace gives us the power to do the right thing.

© 2007 All rights reserved worldwide. May be reproduced for personal, nonprofit, and non-commercial uses only. 

Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.

Special thanks to John R. Cross, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, GoodSeed International.

/assets/powerpoint/PPT Jos Bros to Egypt.ppt
/assets/worddocs/HUDDLE-Jacob Moves to Egypt.doc
/assets/pdf/FIT - Jos Bros go to Egypt.pdf

6. Joseph Tests His Brothers (Genesis 43-44)



Main Point: God looks for a repentant heart.

Key Verse:

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. - Acts 3:19 NIV

Props: A clear glass, a pitcher of water; Optional: a sign that says “God” and a sign that says “sin”, tape for both signs.


Say: Last week, we saw God’s grace at work! When Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy food, Joseph did not take revenge on them. Joseph’s ten brothers did not recognize Joseph. They bowed at his feet, just as God had foretold twenty years before. And when Joseph had power over their very lives, he was merciful. Joseph was only able to do these things because of God’s grace.

Joseph longed to see his father and youngest brother, Benjamin, once again. Joseph kept his brother, Simeon, in an Egyptian prison, but let the others go home. He promised that when they brought their youngest brother back to meet him, he would let Simeon go. Before they left, Joseph loaded their donkeys with grain, and returned the silver they brought to buy the grain. Joseph hid their money in their packs with the grain. When they found the money in their sacks, the brothers were afraid that this was somehow going to get them into trouble. Their father, Jacob, refused to let Benjamin go to Egypt, even though Simeon was left in prison.

Jacob said, “My son will not go down there with you. His brother is dead. He’s the only one left here with me. Suppose he’s harmed on the journey you are taking. Then I would die as a sad old man. I would go down into the grave full of sorrow.” - Genesis 42:38

Sadly, Jacob did not even pray about this situation. He did not realize that God was in complete control, and that God was keeping His promise to bless him.

Joseph’s Brothers Set Out For Egypt (Genesis 43:1-15)

Say: Joseph had given his brothers a very generous amount of food - ten donkeys could easily carry a thousand pounds of grain. But all of the brothers were married and had children. In all, Jacob had over seventy people in his family counting his kids and grandkids. The food Jacob had given them would not last forever. After some time, probably a couple months, the food ran out. Ask: Who can remember how long the famine was going to last? Seven years. Say: The famine was only in its second year, so there were five devastating years left. Jacob had to do something to feed his family. He told his sons to go back to Egypt to buy more food. Jacob’s fourth oldest son, Judah, spoke up. He reminded Jacob that the man in charge of Egypt wanted to meet Benjamin.

Judah said to him, “The man gave us a strong warning. He said, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother comes with you.’ So send our brother along with us. Then we’ll go down and buy food for you.

“If you won’t send him, we won’t go down. The man said to us, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother comes with you.’ ”

(Jacob) asked, “Why did you bring this trouble to me? Why did you tell the man you had another brother?”

They replied, “The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. ‘Is your father still living?’ he asked us. ‘Do you have another brother?’ We just answered his questions. How could we possibly know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?” - Genesis 43:3-7

Sadly, it seems that Jacob would rather have his sons lie than tell the whole truth. Remember, telling a half-truth is the same as lying. Jacob was living in fear; he was not trusting God.

Application: Hold up an empty glass. Ask: What is in this glass? Some may say “Nothing.” Say: There is something in the glass. It is full of air. Pour water into the glass until it is completely full. Say: Now the glass is full of water. Is there any air left in the glass? No. The water pushed all the air out. Just as this water forced the air out of the glass, trusting God forces the fear out of your heart and mind.

There are two parts to fully trusting God. Part one is believing that God is ABLE to do anything. This means that you are certain that He knows everything, and He is so powerful that there’s nothing He can’t do. Part two is believing that God is good, so He is WILLING to do what is best for you - every single time. If you trust that God is ABLE and WILLING to allow only what is best for you, then what is there to fear?

The Bible says if you truly trust the Lord, you will stand firm with a strong heart, and you will not fear (Psalm 112:7, Hebrews 11:23, 27).

Note to Teacher: When Jesus rebuked His disciples for being afraid in the storm, He said, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” (Matthew 8:26 NLT)

Say: To calm his father’s fear, Judah promised to keep Benjamin safe no matter what. Finally, Jacob agreed to let Benjamin go with his brothers. Jacob told his sons to take gifts to the man in Egypt. (Little did Jacob know, he was sending gifts to his beloved Joseph!) The brothers took lotions, spices, and honey. They also took some almonds and pistachio nuts. These would have been extremely valuable during this time with no other food available! They took money to buy more food, and they also took the money that had been returned to them when they tried to buy grain the first time. All the brothers hurried to Egypt.

Joseph Receives His Brothers (Genesis 43:16-34)

When Joseph saw his brothers coming with Benjamin, he told his main servant to take the men to his house and prepare a big meal.

Note to Teacher: Joseph seeing his brothers in the distance brings to mind the parable of the prodigal son. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him...” (Luke 15:20) We can picture Joseph, much like the prodigal’s father, searching the horizon day after day, hoping his wayward brothers would return with repentant hearts.

The brothers were taken to Joseph’s house, but they were very afraid. They thought they were in trouble because their money was put back in their sacks the first time they came to buy food. Nervously, they spoke to Joseph’s servant. They tried to explain what happened with their silver the first time. They explained that they wanted to return the money.

“It’s all right,” the (servant) said. “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you riches in your sacks. I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them. - Genesis 43:23

Joseph’s servant acknowledged Joseph’s God, and confirmed that the free grain was an undeserved gift of grace. Simeon was released from prison, just as Joseph had promised.

When Joseph came home, they gave him the gifts they had brought into the house. They bowed down to the ground in front of him. He asked them how they were. Then he said, “How is your old father you told me about? Is he still living?”

They replied, “Your servant our father is still alive and well.” And they bowed low to show him honor. - Genesis 43:26-28

Say: Remember, Joseph dreamed two times that his brothers would bow down to him!

Joseph looked around. Then he saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son. He asked, “Is this your youngest brother? Is he the one you told me about?” He continued, “May God be gracious to you, my son.” It moved him deeply to see his brother. So Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to cry. He went into his own room and cried there. - Genesis 43:29-30

Say: Joseph was overwhelmed to see his little brother! Joseph was 17 when he last saw Benjamin. Benjamin was just a child then, and now he was a grown up. Joseph couldn’t hold back his tears, so he ran out of the room. When Joseph calmed down, he returned and ordered that lunch be served. The brothers were seated in order, from oldest to youngest. This amazed the brothers. Of course, if they were just children it might be easy to tell who was oldest and who was youngest. But these were grown men. It is very difficult to guess the ages of grown men!

When all the food was served, Benjamin was given five times as much food as his brothers. Once again, the youngest brother was being favored. We’ll see that this was part of test that Joseph was giving to his brothers.

Siver Cup In A Sack (Genesis 44:1-34)

Say: The next morning, the brothers were packing up to head home to Canaan. Wouldn’t Jacob be amazed to hear how the man in Egypt had treated them so well? On this trip home, they had Simeon with them. All eleven brothers would return safe and sound. Judah must have been relieved that no harm had come to Benjamin. After all, he had sworn to keep him safe.

Jacob gave secret instructions to his main servant. He told him to fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they could carry. He ordered that all of their money be placed inside their sacks as well. Then Joseph gave an unusual order. He told his servant to put his special silver cup inside Benjamin’s sack.

They hadn’t gone very far from the city when Joseph spoke to his (servant). “Go after those men at once,” he said. “Catch up with them. Say to them, ‘My master was good to you. Why have you paid him back by doing evil? Isn’t this the cup my master drinks from? Doesn’t he also use it to figure things out? You have done an evil thing.’ ”

When the (servant) caught up with them, he told them what Joseph had said.

But they said to him, “Why do you say these things? We would never do anything like that! We even brought back to you from Canaan the money we found in our sacks. So why would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? If you find out that any of us has the cup, he will die. And the rest of us will become your slaves.”

“All right, then,” he said. “As you wish. The one who is found to have the cup will become my slave. But the rest of you will be free from blame.” - Genesis 44:4-10

Say: The men pulled their sacks down off their donkeys. Starting with Reuben, the servant checked each man’s bag, from oldest to youngest. Ask: What do you think happened when he got to Benjamin’s bag? He found the cup. Say: The brothers were shocked and very, very sad that the cup was in Benjamin’s sack. They all loaded their donkeys and headed back to Joseph’s house.

When they arrived, they threw themselves on the ground in front of Joseph. They begged Joseph for mercy. They admitted they were guilty. Now, they were not guilty for this crime, but they were certainly guilty of other sins. They said they would all become Joseph’s slaves. But Joseph said that would not be fair. Only Benjamin would become his slave. He said, “The rest of you can return to your father in peace.” (Genesis 44:17)

But Judah stepped forward. He respectfully pleaded with Joseph. Judah told Joseph that his father favored his two youngest sons. One was Benjamin, and the other was no more. He explained that Jacob could not bear to lose his other beloved son. He said:

“I promised my father I would keep the boy safe. I said, ‘Father, I’ll bring him back to you. If I don’t, you can put the blame on me for the rest of my life.’

“Now then, please let me stay here. Let me be your slave in place of the boy. Let the boy return with his brothers. How can I go back to my father if the boy isn’t with me? Don’t let me see the pain and suffering that would come to my father.” - Genesis 44:32-33

Judah offered to be Benjamin’s substitute. Twenty years before, Judah had sold his brother into slavery. Now Judah was begging to become a slave in place of his brother. Ask: Is this a real change in Judah’s heart? Yes! Say: Last week, we said that repentance is NOT just being sorry that you will be punished (2 Corinthians 7:10). Repentance is changing your mind, causing you to turn away from sin.

Joseph had been testing his brothers to see if they had truly repented. If they had not repented, they would have been furious that Benjamin received five times as much food as them at Joseph’s table. If they had not repented, they could have easily let Benjamin go back to Joseph’s house alone after the servant found the cup in his sack. If they had not repented, Judah would never have begged to take Benjamin’s place and live the rest of his life as a slave. These men had a true change of heart. Given the chance to repeat their sin, they went the opposite way. Just imagine the joy that flooded over Joseph as he saw this amazing change! Be sure to come back next week to see the brothers’ reaction when they found out who Joseph really was!

Application: Let’s talk about our own sin for a minute. Our sin is very serious to God. Sin ruins everything. Our sin separates us from God, just as the brothers’ sin separated them from Joseph.

Optional Illustration: Repentance is like this. Tape sign that says “God’s way” high on one wall, and sign that says “My way (sin)” on opposite wall. Stand under “God’s way” sign. Say: God has given us His instructions in the Bible. I know that God’s instructions are perfect and they will give me many blessings. But when I chose to ignore His instructions, I am sinning. Turn your back to “God’s way” sign and walk away. My sin separates me from God. But when I repent, I change my heart and mind; I turn away from the direction I was headed. Turn back to face “God’s way” sign, and walk back toward it.

God rejoices when we repent, when we change our mind and turn away from our sin (Luke 15:10). God longs for every person to repent (2 Peter 2:9). God forgives everyone who repents of his sin and puts his trust in Jesus (Acts 2:38, 20:21). Our repentance restores our relationship with God!


Key Verse:

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. - Acts 3:19 NIV


Main Point: God looks for a repentant heart.

© 2007 All rights reserved worldwide. May be reproduced for personal, nonprofit, and non-commercial uses only. 

Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.

Special thanks to John R. Cross, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, GoodSeed International.

/assets/powerpoint/PPT Joseph Tests Bros.ppt
/assets/worddocs/HUDDLE - Joseph Tests His Bros.doc
/assets/pdf/FIT - Joseph Tests His Bros.pdf

7. Joseph Makes Himself Known (Genesis 45)



Main Point: God’s grace is available to everyone.

Key Verse:

God’s saving grace has appeared to all people. - Titus 2:11

Props: A paper chain made of about 10 strips of white paper; one yellow strip of paper that says, “JOSEPH”; several extra strips of white paper; a stapler or tape


Say: Last week, something amazing happened! We saw a BIG change in Joseph’s brothers!

Joseph had a test for his brothers when they returned to Egypt and brought their youngest brother, Benjamin, with them. Joseph purposely treated Benjamin better than all the others. He gave Benjamin five times more food than his brothers. Then, when they were heading home, Joseph had his servant hide a special silver cup in Benjamin’s sack. The servant went after them and accused Benjamin of stealing the cup. He said Benjamin would have to become his slave. But the brothers would not allow it. They would not leave Egypt without Benjamin. Judah even begged to take Benjamin’s place as Joseph’s slave.

Years before, these brothers gladly sold their little brother into slavery, but now they would do anything to save their brother. Given the chance to repeat their sin, they went the opposite way. These men had a true change of heart. Ask: Who can remember the word for this BIG change? (The word starts with “R”.) Repentance. Say: Repentance is changing your mind about sin. It is realizing that your sin is wrong, and turning away from your sin.

Just as Joseph looked for repentance in his brothers, God looks for repentance in us. God rejoices when we repent - when we change our mind and turn away from our sin (Luke 15:10). God longs for every person to repent (2 Peter 2:9). Repentance leads the way to forgiveness from others and a restored relationship with them (Acts 3:19). Today we’ll see how the brothers’ relationship with Joseph was restored.

Joseph Makes Himself Known (Genesis 45:1-15)

Say: Remember, the brothers still had NO idea who Joseph really was. Joseph so was filled with joy over his brothers’ BIG change that he could hardly hold it in! The Bible says he could no longer control himself! He told all of his royal attendants and servants to leave the room.

Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers weren’t able to answer him. They were too afraid of him. Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” So they did. Then he said, “I am your brother Joseph. I’m the one you sold into Egypt.” - Genesis 45:3-4

Can you imagine what his brothers must have been thinking? Everyone give me your most surprised and amazed look. These men were stunned! Up until this point, they thought he was an Egyptian - and not just any Egyptian - the most powerful Egyptian besides Pharaoh. Up until this moment, he had used an interpreter to speak to them. Imagine their shock when he started speaking to them in their own language! They could hardly believe their ears. But now, as this truth started to sink in, let’s imagine the thoughts that went racing through their minds.

On one hand, now that they had realized how wrong they were to sell Joseph into slavery, they would have been thrilled that he was alive and well. Remember, they mentioned several times that they thought Joseph was probably dead (Genesis 42:13, 22). On the other hand, their long lost brother was now the second most powerful man in the world. They had done something terrible to him, and now he had the power to do anything he wanted to take revenge on them. This thought must have terrified them! Let’s listen carefully to Joseph’s next words:

“But don’t be upset. And don’t be angry with yourselves because you sold me here. God sent me ahead of you to save many lives.

“For two years now, there hasn’t been enough food in the land. And for the next five years, people won’t be plowing or gathering crops. But God sent me ahead of you to keep some of you alive on earth. He sent me here to save your lives by an act of mighty power. So then, it wasn’t you who sent me here. It was God.” - Genesis 45:5-8a

Say: Wow! There are so many lessons for us to learn here. Joseph made it clear that he was not going to take revenge on his brothers. Not only did he forgive them, but also he didn’t even want them to feel bad for what they had done! This is because Joseph saw with Kingdom eyes. He didn’t see his life as just the “here and now.” He saw his life the way God saw it - as one part of God’s amazing, eternal plan. Here’s what I mean: Do you remember God’s promises to Joseph’s great-grandfather, Abraham? God promised Abraham that he would have as many descendants as there are grains of sand on the seashore (Genesis 22:17). Joseph’s brothers were all descendants of Abraham. God allowed Joseph to rise to power in order to keep Abraham’s great-grandsons and their children alive during the famine! Without Joseph in this place of power, all of Abraham’s descendants would have died. Joseph’s amazing life was God’s way of keeping His promise! God ALWAYS keeps His promises!

Illustration: Here is a very simple way to look at it. Since before the beginning of the world, God has had a plan and a purpose. Let’s say this chain represents God’s plan. Teacher: Hold up your paper chain. Say: God is so amazing that He can link all things together to fit into His plan. God told part of His plan to Abraham when He made his many wonderful promises to him (Galatians 3:8). One important promise that God made was to give Abraham lots and lots of descendants. God used Joseph’s amazing life to accomplish this part of His plan. Hold up yellow strip that says, “JOSEPH” and Say: “God used Joseph to save Abraham’s descendants.” Link it to the end link, and staple it to form a link. Joseph’s life was an important link in the chain of God’s plan. Soon we’ll see how this chain keeps going. Of course, this is just a symbol. God’s plan is not flimsy like paper. His plan stands FOREVER (Psalm 33:11). (Teacher: We will use this chain in future lessons.)

Say: Joseph was thrilled to be used by God in His plan. He begged his brothers to understand God’s amazing grace. It was God who had done this amazing thing for their entire family. None of them - not even Joseph - deserved God’s promises. But God gave the promise to them out of His grace. By His grace, God saved all of them from dying in the famine.

Application: Ask God to help you see with Kingdom eyes. Ask to see beyond the “here and now.” Ask God to use you like a link in the chain of His plan. And at times when you can’t see all that God is doing, ask Him for the faith to trust Him. That’s what faith is all about: Faith is being certain of what you can’t see (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is trusting that God is doing what is best for you, even when you can’t see it with your eyes.

Say: Joseph was very glad to be used to save his family. And he was also excited to be reunited with his brothers. Because of their repentance and Joseph’s grace toward them, their relationship was restored. Ask: Guess who else Joseph wanted to be reunited with? His father. Say: Joseph wanted to see his father, Jacob! He told his brothers to go home to Canaan and tell Jacob everything that had happened. Joseph warned them that there would be five more years of famine, and they should all move to Egypt so they would have enough food to eat.

“Tell my father about all of the honor that has been given to me in Egypt. Tell him about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.”

Then Joseph threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and sobbed. Benjamin also hugged him and sobbed. Joseph kissed all of his brothers and sobbed over them. After that, his brothers talked with him. - Genesis 45:13-15

Just think of all the stories Joseph wanted want to share with his brothers! He must have told them about Potiphar, prison, the cupbearer, and the baker. He must have told them that God was with him wherever he was, and all about God’s perfect timing!

The men hugged each other and cried together. The brothers accepted Joseph’s forgiveness, and they were finally free from the guilt they had felt for so long.

Pharaoh Blesses Joseph’s Family (Genesis 45:16-24)

The news reached Pharaoh’s palace that Joseph’s brothers had come. Pharaoh and all of his officials were pleased. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Here’s what I want you to tell your brothers. Say to them, ‘Load your animals. Return to the land of Canaan. Bring your father and your families back to me. I’ll give you the best land in Egypt. You can enjoy all of the good things in the land.’ ” - Genesis 45:16-18

Say: Pharaoh even gave Joseph’s brothers large carts to make their move easier. This was like an ancient Egyptian moving van! Pharaoh loaded the brothers up with new clothes, silver, and other wonderful supplies. Here is another one of God’s promises that came true. God had promised to bless Abraham’s descendants. God even used Pharaoh in His great plan. Teacher: Hold up a strip of white paper and add it to the paper chain. Ask: Do you think that being showered with gifts from the richest, most powerful man in the world would be a blessing? Of course! Did these men deserve this all-star treatment? No! Say: It was a free gift. It was grace. It was God keeping His promise to people who did nothing to earn it. Place the chain in a place of prominence in the front of the room to be used over the next two weeks.

Jacob Hears The Good News (Genesis 45:25-28)

Say: The brothers were heading home to Jacob. Ask: What do you think he was doing while his sons were gone these past few weeks? Listen for answers. Say: I’m afraid he may have been pacing the floor with worry. As far as he knew, Joseph was dead and Simeon was in prison. And he feared that something terrible would happen to Benjamin. Perhaps one of his grandchildren came running in to tell him that a large caravan had arrived. Maybe Jacob peeked nervously out of his tent to see how many sons would be coming home to him. To his amazement, eleven sons came before him safe and sound.

They told him, “Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of the whole land of Egypt.” Jacob was shocked. He didn’t believe them. So they told him everything Joseph had said to them. Jacob saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back. That gave new life to their father Jacob. (He) said, “I believe it now! My son Joseph is still alive. I’ll go and see him before I die.” - Genesis 45:26-28

Jacob may have been more shocked than anyone to hear that his twelfth son was alive. For the past twenty years, he believed that Joseph had been killed by wild animals. Next week, we’ll see if Jacob makes it to Egypt to see Joseph.


Say: Very often in the Bible, we find a real-life story that holds a spiritual meaning for us. Let’s look at Joseph’s life story to find the spiritual meaning that applies to you and me. Joseph’s relationship with his brothers is a lot like our relationship with God. First of all, just as Joseph’s brothers had sinned terribly against Joseph, each one of us has sinned against God (Romans 3:23). The brothers’ sin separated them from Joseph. The Bible tells us that our sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2).

When the brothers went back to Joseph, they took gifts to buy what they needed, but Jacob didn’t accept the gifts. They could never pay the price for sin they had committed against him. There was nothing they could ever do to “undo” their sin. In a similar way, we often try to earn our way back into a right relationship with God, but no good work we could ever do can undo our sin (Isaiah 64:6, Ephesians 2:8-9).

Joseph looked to see if his brothers had changed; he looked for a repentant heart. Joseph was overjoyed to find out that his brothers had changed their ways. When they were given the chance to repeat their sin, they did just the opposite. Likewise, God also looks for a repentant heart. The Bible says that there is rejoicing in the presence of angels when a person repents (Luke 15:10). That means God is doing the rejoicing! He is overjoyed when we turn away from sin and turn back to Him.

Joseph forgave his brothers completely. He did not hold a grudge. He didn’t even want his brothers to feel bad for what they had done. When we turn from our sin and put our trust in Jesus, God forgives us completely. By His grace, He keeps no record of our sin (Jeremiah 31:34). God tells us that He throws our sins into the bottom of the ocean (Micah 7:9). God’s grace takes our sin away.

Joseph’s relationship with his brothers was completely restored. They hugged and talked and ate and drank, as if nothing had ever happened. When we put our trust in Jesus, our broken relationship with God is completely restored. By grace, God no longer sees our sin (Romans 8:1). Instead, He sees the perfection of Jesus in us (Romans 10:4).

Finally, Joseph’s brothers were freely blessed with the best that Egypt had to offer. Joseph’s brothers did not deserve these gifts. They just accepted them. When we become followers of Christ, not only are our sins forgiven, but we receive new life and eternal blessings that begin right here on earth! (Hebrews 9:15) We don’t deserve any of these blessings. It is by God’s grace that He gives us blessings we could never earn. John 1:16 says, “From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.”

The best part of God’s amazing grace is that He offers it to everyone. He wants everyone to repent from his or her sin, trust in Jesus, and receive His eternal blessings.


Key Verse:

God’s saving grace has appeared to all people. - Titus 2:11


Main Point: God’s grace is available to everyone.

© 2007 All rights reserved worldwide. May be reproduced for personal, nonprofit, and non-commercial uses only. 

Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.

Special thanks to John R. Cross, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, GoodSeed International.

/assets/powerpoint/PPT Joseph Makes Himself Known.ppt
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/assets/pdf/FIT - Jos Makes Himself Known.pdf

8. Jacob Moves to Egypt (Genesis 46-47)



Main Point: We can trust God’s promises.

Key Verse:

Lord and King, You are God! Your words can be trusted. You have promised many good things to me. - 2 Samuel 7:28

Props: Paper chain from last week; a coin; 5 apples

Optional prop (for a large group of students): 70 star stickers - before class, put one sticker each on 70 randomly selected students.


Say: Finally, last week, the moment we had all been waiting for: Joseph told his brothers who he was! Joseph forgave completely because he saw with “Kingdom eyes.” He saw his life as more than just his life. He saw his life as a link in the chain of God’s amazing plan. Teacher: Refer to paper chain from last week. God kept Abraham’s grandsons and great-grandsons alive during the famine. This was God’s way of keeping His promise to Abraham that he would have thousands and thousands of descendants.

Joseph and his brothers hugged, cried, laughed, and talked. Their relationship was restored. Forgiveness is the first step to restored relationships. Pharaoh blessed Joseph’s family with many gifts and offered to give them the best land in Egypt.

One thing I want to mention before we go on is that earlier in his life, God had given Jacob the name “Israel” (Genesis 32:28). This name means “God Prevails, or God wins.” We are used to hearing the name Israel, referring to the nation of God’s chosen people. Well, the name started when God renamed Jacob. All of Jacob’s descendants became known as the Israelites. So, it is a little bit confusing, but sometimes the Bible calls Jacob “Jacob,” and sometimes it calls him by his new name “Israel.”

Jacob Turns To God (Genesis 46:1-27)

Say: When Jacob’s eleven sons came home from Egypt, they told their father everything that had happened. Just imagine - part of their story had to be admitting that Joseph was not killed by a wild animal, but that they had sold him as a slave! When they told Jacob that Joseph was still alive, he couldn’t believe it. They had to convince him that they were telling the truth by showing him all the carts filled with gifts that Pharaoh had sent home with them. Finally, Jacob accepted the truth, and he really wanted to go see his son! This would mean leaving the land of Canaan.

Years and years before, God promised to give the land of Canaan to Abraham’s family. That’s why Jacob lived in Canaan and raised his family there. Refer to map. But now, there was no food in Canaan, Joseph was in Egypt, and Pharaoh offered Jacob everything he needed to take care of his family in Egypt. Jacob had to decide between God’s Promised Land (Canaan) and the logical place to go (Egypt). Ask: How could Jacob be sure that God wanted him to pack up his large family and leave the land of Canaan now? Listen for answers. Say: Jacob could have flipped a coin. Teacher: Flip a coin. Say: “Heads we move, tails we stay.” Or, he could have taken a vote. Or, Jacob could have made a list in his head with the good points and bad points about moving to Egypt. Let’s read in Genesis 46 to see what Jacob did.

So Israel started out with everything that belonged to him. When he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.

God spoke to Israel in a vision at night. “Jacob! Jacob!” He said.

“Here I am,” Jacob replied.

“I am God. I am the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt. There I will make you into a great nation. I will go down to Egypt with you. You can be sure that I will bring you back again. And when you die, Joseph will close your eyes with his own hand.” - Genesis 46:1-4

Say: Jacob had packed up his family and set out, but as soon as he arrived at Beersheba, he stopped. This was a special place at the very edge of Canaan where God had spoken to Jacob before (Genesis 26:23-24). Refer to map. At Beersheba, Jacob offered sacrifices to the Lord. It is wonderful that Jacob turned back to the Lord before taking his family to a foreign land.

Note to Teacher: Twice before, in Jacob’s ancestry, a famine struck the land of Canaan. The first time, Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham, went to Egypt in order to find food, with nearly disastrous results (Genesis 12:10-20). During the second famine, God warned Jacob’s father, Isaac, not to go to Egypt (Genesis 26:2). It is little wonder that Jacob felt the need to turn to God for direction before crossing the southern border of Canaan.

Application: Going to the Lord is the very best way to make any decision! We all make decisions every day. Most often, we try to use our own logic. We make a list in our mind to weigh the good points against the bad points. But the Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)

Say: God did not hesitate to speak to Jacob when Jacob came to Him. Even though Jacob’s heart had been far from the Lord over the past years, the Lord was not far from him. God was eagerly waiting for Jacob to turn back to Him. The Lord knew that Jacob was fearful about leaving Canaan and going to Egypt (Psalm 139:23). God made the way very clear for Jacob. God told Jacob that going to Egypt was the right thing to do. God promised that He would go with Jacob to Egypt, that his family would grow and thrive there, and that one day, his family would return to Canaan. And when the time came for Jacob to die, his dearly loved Joseph would be at his side. We can just imagine the peace that Jacob felt when God gave him such clear direction and wonderful promises.

Jacob trusted the Lord’s promises. He and his large family took all of their belongings and their livestock and headed for Egypt. All together, counting Jacob’s eleven sons, their wives, sons, and daughters, there were over 70 people traveling to Egypt. Optional: If you put stickers on 70 students, ask every student wearing a star sticker to stand up. Say: This was about the number traveling the long route to Egypt. No wonder Jacob wanted to be sure that this was God’s plan. He was changing the lives of many people by moving to Egypt. It was a long trip by wagon. Of course there were no cars or airplanes back then. There were only crying babies, antsy children, and a very old Jacob. The Bible tells us he was about 130 years old by then!

Joseph And Jacob Are Reunited (Genesis 46:28-34)

Say: Jacob’s family arrived in Egypt in the area called Goshen. This was a wonderful piece of land. These men were shepherds. They took care of sheep, goats, and cattle. Ask: Can anyone tell me the main thing that makes land good for shepherding? Water Say: There has to be a good source of water for the animals to drink, and to grow grass for the animals to eat. The Nile River is the longest river in the world, and it flows right through Egypt. The Nile was so important to the Egyptians’ survival that the Egyptians even worshipped the Nile. It flows northward before it ends at the Mediterranean Sea. Toward the end of the Nile, it branches out into many smaller rivers. This happens right at the land of Goshen. We have two maps to look at. One is a drawing where you can see the Nile and its branches. The other is a modern day satellite photo. You can see green where the Nile’s water makes plants grow. Ask: Did God keep His promise to bless Abraham’s family? Yes! Say: God gave them the best land in the only country that had any food!

As soon as Joseph heard that his family had arrived, he got in his chariot and raced to meet his father. He had waited over twenty years for this moment!

As soon as he came to his father, Joseph threw his arms around him. Then Joseph sobbed for a long time. Israel (Jacob) said to Joseph, “I have seen for myself that you are still alive. Now I’m ready to die.” - Genesis 46:29b-30

Jacob meant that he could die a happy man, since he had seen that his son was alive and well.

Note to Teacher: Twice, Jacob proclaimed he would go to his grave mourning for his sons (Genesis 37:35, 42:38). He now exclaims that he is ready to die - so that he may end his life on a good note.

Pharaoh Meets The Family (Genesis 47:1-12)

Joseph went to tell Pharaoh that his family had come to Egypt. Joseph chose five of his brothers and brought them before Pharaoh. They told him that they were shepherds, and Pharaoh told them they were welcome to live in Goshen. He even asked for some of Joseph’s brothers to take care of his own livestock. Note: This point will appear later in the lesson.

Then Joseph brought his father in to meet Pharaoh. Jacob pronounced a blessing on Pharaoh. Obviously, Jacob didn’t own anything that he could give to the richest man in the world. Jacob’s blessing was a spiritual blessing that he spoke over Pharaoh.

Joseph helped his family settle in Goshen. Joseph made sure that his father, brothers, sister, nieces, and nephews had plenty of food to eat.

Will Work For Food (Genesis 47:13-26)

Ask: How many years of famine were there going to be? Seven. Say: Two of the seven years had passed. There were five years left, and everyone except Jacob’s family (now called the Israelites) and the priests were completely out of food. The Egyptians had spent all of their money buying food from Joseph. The Bible says that both Canaan and Egypt wasted away during these years.

When the money of the people of Egypt and Canaan was gone, all of the Egyptians came to Joseph. They said, “Give us food. Why should we die right in front of your eyes? Our money is all gone.”

“Then bring your livestock,” said Joseph. “You say your money is gone. So I’ll trade you food for your livestock.”

They brought their livestock to Joseph. He traded them food for their animals. They gave him their horses, sheep, goats, cattle and donkeys. He brought the people through that year by trading them food for all of their livestock. - Genesis 47:15-17

It may seem harsh that Joseph was selling the grain to the people instead of just giving it away. But remember, the grain did not belong to Joseph. It belonged to Pharaoh. Joseph worked for Pharaoh. Any of the Egyptians could have stored up their own grain supply during the seven years when there was plenty of food, but they didn’t. Joseph’s plan to sell them grain kept them alive and they were very grateful (Genesis 47:25).

When that year was over, (the Egyptians) came to him the next year. They said, “We can’t hide the truth from you. Our money is gone. Our livestock belongs to you. We don’t have anything left to give you except our bodies and our land.

“Why should we die right in front of your eyes? Why should our land be destroyed as well? Trade us food for ourselves and our land. Then we and our land will belong to Pharaoh. Give us some seeds so we can live and not die. We don’t want the land to become a desert.” - Genesis 47:18-19

Say: I don’t know if any of us in this room can understand this kind of hunger. The people were starving, and they were desperate. They had already sold everything they owned. The only thing they had left was their land and themselves. So the Egyptians entered into an agreement with Joseph. They were willing to give their land to Pharaoh in exchange for food. Since there were four more years of famine coming, they also offered to become servants to Pharaoh in exchange for enough grain to make it through the rest of the famine. They agreed to become “indentured servants.” This type of servant was different than a slave because the people were offering to do this, and they were receiving something in return - they were receiving enough food to eat for the next four years, and seeds to plant for future crops. Joseph would give them what they needed, and they would “owe” him the work to pay off their debt. This has been a common practice throughout history.

Additional Application for older students: Here is a credit card. You probably know how this works. If I want to buy something, like a new television, but I don’t have enough money, I can use a credit card. I go to the store, hand them my card, and they hand me a new TV. That may sound pretty good, but it isn’t! What really happens is then I owe money to the credit card company - a lot more than the TV cost in the first place! A $200 television might end up costing me $250. In a way, I become a servant to the credit card company (Luke 16:13). I have to spend the next months, maybe even years, working to earn money so I can send payments to the credit card company. Using credit makes you a servant to the person or company that you owe money to. It is ALWAYS better to save up for what you want first.

The Bible says to learn from the ants! They store up the food they need during the summer when there is plenty. Then they always have food during the winter (Proverbs 6:6-8). The Egyptians should have done this. Now they were getting food from Joseph “on credit.” They and their children would work for years and years to pay off their debt to Pharaoh.

Say: Joseph gave seed to the people, and then he explained that one-fifth of everything they grew would belong to Pharaoh. For example, if I planted apple seeds, and in time my apple tree produced apples, I would have to give one out of every five apples to Pharaoh. Show your five apples, and give one away. This became the law in Egypt, and it stayed in effect for hundreds of years (Genesis 47:26). Ask: How do you think the people felt about this deal? If using Power Point have everyone read Genesis 47:25 together, or ask for a volunteer to read Genesis 47:25 aloud.

“You have saved our lives!” they exclaimed. “May it please you, my lord, to let us be Pharaoh’s servants.” - Genesis 47:25 NLT

The Egyptians were sure to die without Joseph’s provision of food. Even though being servants would be difficult, it was far better than dying! The people were very grateful.

Blessed In Goshen (Genesis 47:27)

Meanwhile, things were going very well in the land of Goshen. The Bible tells us that Jacob’s family, the Israelites, gained more property and their numbers grew quickly. How can this be? First of all, Joseph provided food for his large family. Also, do you remember when Pharaoh asked for some of the brothers to take care of his animals (Genesis 47:6)? One year later, Pharaoh owned all the animals in Egypt! The brothers would have their hands full as the official shepherds for Pharaoh, and we can imagine that Pharaoh paid them well to care for his livestock. The Israelites were thriving. They were having more and more children and grandchildren. Think back to Jacob’s vision in Beersheba. God promised Jacob that He would make his family into a great nation in Egypt. Ask: Did God keep His promise? Yes!

The people of Egypt had not lived according to God’s wisdom. They lived their own way, and now they were servants to Pharaoh. On the other hand, Joseph had listened to God in every step of his life. He trusted God’s promises and he was greatly blessed by the Lord. When Pharaoh trusted God by listening to the plan God gave to Joseph, he was greatly blessed. And finally, Jacob had turned back to the Lord. Jacob trusted God’s promises that He spoke at Beersheba, and he and his family were blessed beyond their wildest dreams.

Application: We each have the same opportunities as the people we have talked about today. By God’s loving grace, He gives us many wonderful promises that we do not deserve. God ALWAYS keeps His promises! If you trust His promises, you will live according to His word. If you don’t trust His promises, you will live your life according to your own wisdom. We have seen God keep His promises time and time again in the Bible. Are you willing to trust His promises in your own life? It is up to you. Will you be like the Egyptians - enslaved by worldly things, or like Joseph - blessed and used in God’s plan?


Key Verse:

Lord and King, You are God! Your words can be trusted. You have promised many good things to me. - 2 Samuel 7:28


Main Point: We can trust God’s promises.

© 2007 All rights reserved worldwide. May be reproduced for personal, nonprofit, and non-commercial uses only. 

Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.

Special thanks to John R. Cross, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, GoodSeed International.

/assets/powerpoint/PPT Jacob to Egypt.ppt
/assets/worddocs/HUDDLE-Jacob Moves to Egypt.doc
/assets/pdf/FIT - Jacob Moves to Egypt.pdf

9. Jacob Blesses His Family (Genesis 48-50)



Main Point: God works all things together for His plan and purpose.

Key Verse:

(God) works out everything to fit His plan and purpose. - Ephesians 1:11b

Props: Paper chain from previous lessons - add many white links after the yellow Joseph link; purple strip of paper that says: JESUS; several white strips with first names of believers - including your name.


Say: Last week, we saw that Jacob turned to God when he was about to move his family to Egypt. God promised to be with Jacob and bless his family in Egypt. Ask: Did God keep His promises? Yes! Say: God blessed Jacob’s family beyond their wildest dreams. They lived in the best part of Egypt. They had plenty to eat when everyone else did not. They gained land when everyone else had to sell theirs. Jacob’s family grew and grew. Jacob trusted God’s promises, and you can too. God ALWAYS keeps His promises!

This is our last week to study the AMAZING life of Joseph. I believe it is the most exciting lesson yet, because it has to do with you and me.

Jacob’s Charge To Joseph (Genesis 47:28-31)

Ask: Does anyone remember how old Jacob was when he moved to Egypt? 130 years old. Say: He was older than any of your grandparents, or even your great grandparents. Here is a picture of the oldest living person today. Her name is Edna Parker and she is 115 years old (born April 20, 1893). Just imagine all the things she has seen in her lifetime: When she was born, there were only 44 United States! She has lived through twenty different US presidents, two World Wars, man’s first steps on the moon, and the invention of the airplane, television, and the Internet. This just gives us an idea of how long of a life 115 years is.

When Jacob moved to Egypt, he was 15 years older than Edna. That is a ripe old age to pick up and move to another country. Jacob’s life had been filled with trials of many kinds, but life in Egypt was wonderful. Jacob lived with his family in Egypt for seventeen years. When Jacob knew that he would die soon, he called Joseph to his side. He said:

“Promise me that you will be kind and faithful to me. Don't bury me in Egypt. When I join the members of my family who have already died, carry me out of Egypt. Bury me where they are buried."

"I'll do exactly as you say," Joseph said.

"Promise me with an oath that you will do it," Jacob said. So Joseph promised him. And Israel (Jacob) worshiped God as he leaned on the top of his wooden staff. - Genesis 47:29b-31

Jacob Blesses Joseph’s Sons (Genesis 48)

Some time later, Jacob became very sick. Joseph brought his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, to his father. Jacob reminded Joseph of the wonderful, undeserved promises that God had made to him. God had promised to make his family grow and grow, and one day that family would return to the land of Canaan.

(Jacob's) eyes were weak because he was old. He couldn't see very well. So Joseph brought his sons close to him. His father kissed them and hugged them.

(Jacob) said to Joseph, "I never thought I'd see your face again. But now God has let me see your children too." - Genesis 48:10-11

Then Jacob put his hands on the boys’ heads and spoke wonderful blessings over them.

Notice Jacob’s attitude. Jacob gave all credit to God for allowing him to have this wonderful time with Joseph and Joseph’s sons. Jacob had many losses and heartbreaks in his life. For years, Jacob complained about his troubles, but now he understood that God had brought him full circle. Now he realized that God had been with him all along, and God used every difficult situation for good to bring him to this place.

Application: Many people pray that they will never have hardship in their lives. The FAR BETTER thing to pray is that God will use every hardship to make you more like Jesus, that you will feel God with you in the trouble, and that God will use the hardship for His glory. For example, instead of praying, “Lord, please don’t let me get that really hard math teacher this year,” you should pray, “Lord, You know what’s best for me. Give me whichever teacher will help me to learn, and if I get the really hard teacher, please let me know You are sitting right beside me in class. Help me to do my best and to be a good example to others as I work hard and do not complain.”

God’s Plan & Promises (Genesis 12:2-3)

Say: Before we go on, let’s think back one more time to the promises that God gave to Joseph’s great-grandfather, Abraham. Remember, the promises apply to Abraham’s whole family.

I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. - Genesis 12:2-3 NIV

God gave these promises by His grace. Abraham did nothing to deserve these wonderful blessings. As we read through the Bible, and even by what we can see today, we know that God kept each of these promises.

I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you - We have seen this already in the land of Goshen, but it will continue throughout history.

I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. - We have seen how Joseph was certainly a blessing because he saved the lives of everyone in Egypt, Canaan, and the surrounding areas.

I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse - We have seen that Pharaoh was blessed because he blessed Joseph. There are countless examples of this throughout the Bible.

And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. - Today, I would like us to focus on this part of the promise. It is the VERY BEST part of God’s promises to Abraham.

How in the world could every person on earth - throughout all time - be blessed by Abraham’s family? Galatians 3:8 tells us that this promise was God’s way of telling Abraham that the Messiah was going to be born into his family one day. The Messiah was the Deliverer that God promised to send. He would come to rescue people from the punishment of their sin. Because of our sin, all people are separated from God. The Messiah would be a blessing to every person on earth - throughout all time - because he would bring people back to God.

Jacob Blesses His Sons (Genesis 49:1-33)

Say: Let’s continue in Genesis to see how this will come to pass. After Jacob blessed Joseph’s two sons, he called his twelve sons together. Jacob was literally on his deathbed. With his last breaths, he told each of the twelve what would happen in their future. These were prophecies that God revealed to Jacob. There was good news and bad news. Each son would have a large family, and some would live in great blessings. But some would have trouble that would come as a result of their sin. Jacob’s twelve sons would become the twelve tribes of Israel.

(Teacher: exercise caution if reading verse 49:4 aloud, or asking children to follow along in their Bibles. Some versions are explicit in explaining Reuben’s sexual sin.)

As we might expect, Jacob prophesied great things for Joseph:

"Joseph is a vine that grows a lot of fruit.
It grows close by a spring.
Its branches climb over a wall.
Mean people shot arrows at him.
They shot at him because they were angry.
But his bow remained steady.
His strong arms moved freely.
The hand of the Mighty One of Jacob was with him.
The Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, stood by him.
Your father's God helps you.
The Mighty One blesses you.
He gives you blessings from the highest heavens.
He gives you blessings from the deepest oceans.
He blesses you with children and with a mother's milk.
Your father's blessings are great.
They are greater than the blessings from the age-old mountains.
They are greater than the gifts from the ancient hills.
Let all of those blessings rest on the head of Joseph.
Let them rest on the head of the one who is prince among his brothers.
- Genesis 49:22-26

Say: Men had tried to harm Joseph, but God was with him every minute. Joseph went through great hardship, but it worked out for his good and for the good of others.

Let’s look back over all the hardships and trials in Joseph’s life.

    • His brothers hated him.
    • His brothers ripped off his special coat and threw him into a pit.
    • His brothers sold him as a slave.
    • The traders took him to a foreign land.
    • Potiphar’s wife lied about him.
    • Joseph was thrown in prison.
    • The cupbearer forgot all about Joseph when he got out of prison.

All of these hard things were caused by other people’s sin. However, God flipped all these things around for good.

Application: It may be that some of you have had to deal with some really hard things because of other people’s sins. There are two VERY important things to remember. Remember that GOD IS WITH YOU just as he was with Joseph, and GOD CAN FLIP these things around for good, just as He did with Joseph’s hard times.

Say: Let’s look at the good things that God brought out of Joseph’s hard times. First of all, Joseph’s character grew more godly with every event. Also, Joseph ended up being very blessed and he saved the lives of countless people. And most importantly, God used Joseph to save the lives of his brothers - one of whom would be the great, great, ...Teacher: Hold up your fingers to count out 34 “great”s as you speak... great, great grandfather of the Messiah (Matthew 1:1-17).

That leads us to one more very special prophecy spoken by Jacob:

Judah, my son, is a young lion that has finished eating its prey.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down; like a lioness - who dares to rouse him?
The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants,
until the coming of the One to whom it belongs,
the One whom all nations will honor.
- Genesis 49:9-10 NLT

Ask: Who knows what a scepter is? Listen for answers. Say: It is the rod held by a king. It is a symbol of his authority to be the ruler of a kingdom. Jacob was saying that a line of Kings was going to come through Judah. And, in God’s perfect timing, the most important King - the King of kings, the Messiah - would come through Judah’s descendants. The Messiah is the FINAL King. All nations will honor Him.

Everyone turn in your Bibles to the first book in the New Testament. Turn to Matthew, chapter one. This chapter lists the family line of the promised Messiah. This is a long list of 40 generations. Starting at verse 2, we read:

Abraham was the father of Isaac.
Isaac was the father of Jacob.
Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah. Tamar was their mother.
Perez was the father of Hezron.
Hezron was the father of Ram...

The list continues through 40 generations. We get to King David and King Solomon, Jehoshaphat, and Uzziah. Then we get down to verse 16:

Jacob (another Jacob) was the father of Joseph. Joseph was the husband of Mary. And Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called Christ.

Say: God works everything together for good. All the events we have read about so far in Joseph’s amazing, adventuresome life have been a part of God’s plan to bring Jesus into the world! Joseph played such an important part in God’s plan, because Joseph saved Judah’s life along with the lives of millions of others.

Jesus is the GREATEST blessing for every person on earth because Jesus was our substitute on the cross. Each person has sinned and is separated from God. There is NOTHING we can do to make ourselves right with God. By His grace, God sent us a gift we did not deserve. He sent His Son to die as a perfect sacrifice to take away our sin. EVERY person on earth has the opportunity to be made right with God. All we do is place our trust in Jesus - to FULLY depend on Him. When we receive the free gift of forgiveness that Jesus offers, our sin is taken away and forgotten! We are welcomed into God’s Kingdom.

We have been set free because of what Christ has done. Through His blood our sins have been forgiven. We have been set free because God's grace is so rich. He poured His grace on us by giving us great wisdom and understanding.

He showed us the mystery of His plan. It was in keeping with what He wanted to do. It was what He had planned through Christ. It will all come about when history has been completed. God will then bring together all things in heaven and on earth under one Ruler. The Ruler is Christ.

We were also chosen to belong to Him. God decided to choose us long ago in keeping with His plan. He works out everything to fit His plan and purpose. - Ephesians 1:7-11

Application: Joseph’s whole life has been about - GOD’S LOVE for YOU! Joseph went through what he went through so Jesus could enter the world, so Jesus could die for your sin, so you could accept His forgiveness, so God’s grace would pour out on you!

Jacob’s Death (Genesis 49:29 - 50:21)

Say: Let’s finish reading Joseph’s story. Jacob died in Egypt, with Joseph by his side - just as God had promised (Genesis 46:4). Joseph and his brothers took Jacob to Canaan to bury him as he wished. After the family returned to Egypt, the brothers became very nervous. They were afraid that Joseph was only being nice to them while their father was alive. They were afraid that Joseph was just waiting for Jacob to die before he paid them back for the evil things they had done to him. Once again they bowed down in front of him and begged for mercy. Joseph wept, and told them:

“You planned to harm me. But God planned it for good. He planned to do what is now being done. He wanted to save many lives.” - Genesis 50:20

Say: Joseph saw with “Kingdom eyes.” He knew that God works all things together for good, and he was honored to be used in God’s amazing plan. Teacher: Hold up the extended paper chain from previous weeks. From before the creation of the world, God had a plan to save people from their sin. Joseph was just one link in the chain of God’s plan. Point to the yellow JOSEPH link. Say: Joseph saved Judah’s life, and forty generations later, Jesus was born into his family line. Add the purple JESUS link.

Application: Do not imagine that God is finished with His incredible plan, or that people no longer live adventuresome lives like Joseph’s. Add white links with your own name and names of other believers. God’s desire is that every person would come to know Him and accept His free gift of grace that rescues them from their sin (2 Peter 3:9). God wants to use you in His plan, just like He used Joseph! A life lived out in humility, abiding in God, is the most exciting life possible. Remain with God, and He will work everything in your life out for your good and for His glory.


Key Verse:

(God) works out everything to fit His plan and purpose. - Ephesians 1:11b


Main Point: God works all things together for His plan and purpose.

Teacher Note: Amazing Parallels between Joseph and Jesus -




The favorite son of a wealthy father

Genesis 37:3

Matthew 3:17

A shepherd

Genesis 37:2

John 10:11-14

Sent to brothers by father

Genesis 37:13-14

Hebrews 2:11

Hated by brothers

Genesis 37:4

Matthew 12:14

Taken into Egypt to avoid being killed

Genesis 37:28

Matthew 2:13

Robe taken from him

Genesis 37:23

John 19:23

Sold for the price of a slave

Genesis 37:28

Matthew 26:15

Began his ministry at the age of thirty

Genesis 41:46

Luke 3:23

Filled with the Spirit of God

Genesis 41:38

Luke 4:1

Returned good for evil

Genesis 50:20

Matthew 5:44

Was taught by God

Genesis 41:16

John 5:19

Loved people freely

Genesis 45:15

John 13:34

Gained the confidence of others quickly

Genesis 39:3

Matthew 8:8

Gave bread to hungry people that came to him

Genesis 41:57

Mark 6:41

Resisted the most difficult temptations

Genesis 39:8-9

Hebrews 4:15

Tested people to reveal their true nature

Genesis 42:25

Mark 11:30

Hated for his teachings

Genesis 37:8

John 7:7

Falsely accused

Genesis 39:14

Mark 14:56

Condemned with two prisoners (one was saved, one was lost)

Genesis 40:2-3

Luke 23:32

Dead before his father

Genesis 37:33

Luke 23:46

Arose into a new life

Genesis 41:41

Mark 16:6

Not recognized by his own brethren

Genesis 42:8

Luke 24:37

Returned to his father

Genesis 46:29

Mark 16:19

© 2007 All rights reserved worldwide. May be reproduced for personal, nonprofit, and non-commercial uses only. 

Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.

Special thanks to John R. Cross, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, GoodSeed International.

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