TiO 45 – The Story – But God…

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The Main Idea

In chapter 3 we see one primary story, the story of Joseph. This is the story about a flawed family and the son who experienced hardship and grace and then was able to dispense grace in return. Joseph’s life was success followed by tragedy at regular intervals: His brothers, Potiphar, Pharaoh. In the end, Joseph’s faithfulness set the stage for the beginnings of the nation that God promised to Abraham.

Warm Up Questions: (Choose 1 or 2)

Q1: Many of us heard Bible stories when we were children, at home, in Sunday School, or in other places. What Bible story from your childhood do you remember as being most significant? Why?

Q2: Have you seen a Bible story that was made into a movie? Talk about your impressions, good or bad, of these stories.

Q3: Have you ever had a moment where someone granted you a significant amount of grace in a circumstance? Tell that story.

The story of Joseph is difficult to hear because in it we see a guy who followed God but we see that his desire to follow God got him into trouble with people. Through all of those circumstances we see Joseph coming back time to his reliance on God and dispensing grace to the people around him.

Q1: Are you currently in a situation where you are (or should be) giving out grace to someone who has wronged you? Share that story if you can.

Q2: What is your response when someone else can give you grace but does not? What can the story of Joseph teach us about those circumstances?

Dig a Little Deeper

Joseph’s life was not boring, full of excitement you might say. And at each exciting turn came both the taste of success brought about by God’s work in his life, and the tragedy that came because of the sin of others.

Act 1: Sold into Slavery (pp. 29-30)

“So [Israel] said to [Joseph], ‘Go an see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.’”

In Act 1 we carry on the story from chapter 2. As that chapter closed we heard of Jacob’s special relationship with his son Joseph, the special coat that he was given to wear, and the dreams that Joseph had. All of this was an incredible strain on his relationship with his older brothers. And that is where chapter 3 picks up the story.

Act 2: Potiphar and Prison (pp. 31-33)

“The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered.” That begins the story of Joseph in the house of Potiphar, his master. But, despite the blessing of God, Potiphar’s wife wants more than Joseph is willing to give and Joseph ends up in prison. While in prison he is seen to be a good and faithful man and in addition to being given authority over prison administration he discovers an ability to interpret dreams.

Act 3: Joseph the Governor (pp. 33-40)

“Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I had a dream and no one can interpret it.’”

And with that Joseph’s final blessing begins. He is made governor of Egypt and reconciles with his family.

Act 4: Jacob’s (Israel) Family moves to Egypt (pp. 40-42)

“And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night … ‘I am the God of your father … do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there.’”

And with that the family of Israel (for that is all they were at that time) moved to Egypt, the next step in their journey first to the land of promise—remember Abraham.

Looking back at the story, there are a few themes that occur:

  • Lack of Repentance

In the story of Joseph being sold into slavery and of Potiphar’s wife we see not only sin but the failure to repent even given the potential harm of the sin.

Q1: Joseph’s brothers formed a conspiracy to get rid of Jospeh. What were the consequences of that conspiracy?

Q2: Potiphar’s wife let her lust (or her power) overwhelm her ability to do the right thing. What was the result in her not (ever) admitting to what she had done?

  • God’s Blessing, Human Curses

Over and over we see the contrast between the blessing of God on Joseph and the consequence of the sin of others.

Q3: Looking at some or all of the stories, talk about the contrasts between God blessing and humans cursing Joseph.

Q4: In the stories we are told, how does Joseph react to both the blessings and the curses?

Next Steps

The story of Joseph is difficult to hear because in it we see a guy who followed God but we see that his desire to follow God got him into trouble with people. Through all of those circumstances we see Joseph coming back time to his reliance on God and dispensing grace to the people around him.

Q1: Are you currently in a situation where you are (or should be) giving out grace to someone who has wronged you? Share that story if you can.

Q2: What is your response when someone else can give you grace but does not? What can the story of Joseph teach us about those circumstances?

Pray that, like Joseph, you will embrace the grace that God gives and have the courage to dispense grace to those who do not deserve it, especially those who have hurt you.

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