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From the series: Joseph PREVIOUS PAGE

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

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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.

From the series: Joseph PREVIOUS PAGE

Related Topics: Children, Children's Curriculum

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