The story of Joseph is a favorite among children’s tales. It’s a story of family dysfunction that leads to slavery. The pain of loneliness and abandonment that ultimate lead to Jospeh saving Israel. So often we don’t sit in the pain that Joseph experienced. We don’t think about what went through Joseph’s mind in the bottom of the pit. We forget that Joseph never went to his senior prom. We miss that he lost a vital relationship with his mother. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.
Small Group Questions | The Waiting is the Hardest Part | Genesis 40
We first met Joseph as a seventeen year old living in his fathers home (Genesis 37). His brothers wanted to kill him but ended up selling him into slavery. From there he was accused of actions he didn’t commit and thrown into jail (Genesis 39). During this entire time Jospeh was under the watchful eye of the Lord. Through his life we learn that God is always working in our darkest moments. As we’ve sat in these couple chapters of Joseph’s life we have to be intentional to not rush ahead and see what happens. Jospeh teaches us to look for the hand of God in our dark moments. Jospeh teaches us to be patient and allow God to shape our hearts for His glory.
1) Thinking about the first three chapters of Jospeh’s life, that we’ve studied this far, what stands out to the you most? What part of Joseph’s life can your relate to and what part is extremely difficult for you to understand?
2) Read Genesis 49:1-4a. Joseph has learned to care for others in this waiting period. Read John 13:34-35, Romans 12:10, 2 Corinthians 13:11, and Ephesians 4:2. What does Scripture teach us about caring for others?
3) Some people think that God had abandoned Jospeh but we read that God was close to Joseph during this entire time (read Genesis 39:2, 23). Also read Matthew 28:19-20 and talk about how Jesus is always with us.
4) Read Genesis 40:4a-8. Instead of falling into a pagan culture, Jospeh spoke the truth of God in that dark prison. Where is God asking you to be the light of the world to those around you (Matthew 5:13-16)? What does that require?
5) Thinking about the interpretations that Joseph gave to the men, we read that he told the truth in a difficult situation. The Bible calls us to be truth-tellers. Read and discuss these passages: Exodus 20:16, Proverbs 12:22, and 1 John 1:6-7
6) The time Joseph spent in prison was a time of character building. Briefly look at Acts 9. Make sure to focus on Acts 9:26-31. Paul’s life was changed but he eventually moved home to grow his character. Where is God shaping your character?
7) When we look at the entirety of what happened to Jospeh’s life, can you think of any of his: mistreatment, abandonment, and disappointment that reminds you of your life? How did you respond? Where are you still growing?
Close your time in prayer. Pray for strength grow your character in the dark moments.