February 21, 2021 – Genesis 45 – 47

Lesson Date: February 21, 2021

Focal Scripture Passage: Genesis 45:1-11, 25-28; 46:3-4; 47:12, 29-31

AIM: To lead students to recognize and describe the providence, provision, and promises found in Genesis 45 – 47, and to discuss ways God’s providence, provision, and promises work in our lives today.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Genesis 45 – 47 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Write the words “Providence,” “Provision,” and “Promises” on the marker board or chalkboard. To improve the application step you could enlist a student to be prepared to take a brief moment to tell the class how they have experienced God’s providence, another to tell how they have experienced God’s provision, and another to tell how God has kept His promises in their experience. (If you do this you must allow sufficient time for the application step.)

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to the three words written on the board. Ask them to suggest definitions for the three words. After they have suggested some definitions, share the following dictionary[i] definitions:

  • Providence: “Care or preparation in advance; foresight,” and “The care, guardianship, and control exercised by a deity; divine direction.”
  • Provision: “The act of supplying or fitting out,” and “A stock of necessary supplies, especially food.”
  • Promise: “A declaration that one will or will not do something; a vow.”

Ask: “What happened in last week’s lesson?” (Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy food; eventually, Judah offered to give his life so his brother Benjamin could go free – Gen. 44:33).

Tell the class in today’s important lesson we will learn how Providence, Provision, and Promises all impacted the lives of Joseph and his family.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Tell the class that we are nearing the end of our study of the book of Genesis.
    • Give everyone a copy of the Sunday School Member Quarterly for the new study of the book of Exodus. Tell them we begin that study two weeks from today.
  1. Joseph Revealed His Identity to His Brothers.
    • Ask: “Joseph’s brothers had already come before him three times; in those previous encounters did they know who he was?” (no).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 45:1-3.
    • Ask: “Why do you think Joseph could restrain his emotions no longer?” (he saw that his selfish, proud brothers had turned into men of integrity who thought of others rather than themselves).
    • Tell the class Joseph wept so loudly the Egyptians and Pharaoh’s house heard him.
    • Ask: “What did Joseph tell his brothers in verse 3?” (“I am Joseph”).
    • Ask: “Why do you think they were troubled?” (they probably assumed Joseph would take vengeance upon them for selling him into slavery).
    • Read Genesis 45:4.
    • Tell the students Joseph called them near and again identified himself as their brother.
    • Ask: “What did he say about why he was in Egypt?” (they had sold him into Egypt).
    • Ask: “How would you feel if you were one of Joseph’s brothers?” (scared to death).
    • Summarize: Joseph revealed his true identity to his brothers, who were troubled and afraid of what he might do to them.
  2. Joseph Explained God’s Providence to His Brothers.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 45:5.
    • Ask: “What did Joseph tell his frightened brothers?” (not to be grieved or angry with themselves for selling him into slavery in Egypt).
    • Ask: Why did he say God had sent him there?” (to preserve life).
    • Ask: “Do you think it is remarkable that Joseph had such a kind and forgiving attitude toward the brothers who had been so cruel to him?” (yes).
    • Read Genesis 45:6-7.
    • Ask: “What did Joseph reveal to his brothers in verse 6?” (the famine had been going on for 2 years and would continue for 5 more years).
    • Ask: “In verse 7, why did Joseph say he was in Egypt?” (to save their lives and preserve their posterity).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 45:8.
    • Remind the students that Joseph’s brothers sold him into Egypt as a slave.
    • Ask: “Who did he say was actually responsible for sending him to Egypt?” (God).
    • Explain the following:
      • This is a beautiful example of providence – God’s unseen hand working in the affairs of men to ultimately accomplish His desired purpose.
      • God sometimes uses difficult or unpleasant circumstances today to bring about something good in the future.
      • Joseph spent all of his young adult years either in slavery or in prison (and no doubt had the scars to prove it), but he held no animosity toward his brothers.
      • Rather than seeking revenge, Joseph praised God for His providence; he realized God used his misfortune to work out a bigger plan.
    • Summarize: Joseph explained God’s providence to his frightened brothers, explaining that God sent him to Egypt to preserve their lives.
  3. Joseph Made Provision for His Brothers and Their Families.
    • Read Genesis 45:9-11.
    • Explain the following:
    • Ask: “According to verse 11, what did Joseph say he would do for his brothers and their families?” (provide for their needs).
    • Tell the class that when Pharaoh heard about Joseph’s brothers, he provided wagons with which to move their families to Egypt. The brothers were given provisions for their journey and sent back to their father in Canaan.
    • Read Genesis 45:25-26.
    • Ask: “What did the brothers tell Jacob?” (Joseph is alive and is governor over the land of Egypt).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 45:27-28.
    • Remind the students that 22 years earlier these brothers brought their father Joseph’s bloody coat and let him assume Joseph was dead.
    • Ask: “Do you think with this unexpected turn of events they confessed their earlier wrongdoing? How do you think that went?”
    • Tell the students that Jacob and all of his family began the journey to Egypt.
    • Summarize: Joseph and Pharaoh made provision for his father and brothers to move to Egypt and live safely there.
  4. God Made Promises to Jacob.
    • Explain the following:
      • Jacob (Israel) led his family began their journey to Egypt.
      • They stopped at Beersheba (locate on the map).
      • Jacob offered sacrifices to God.
      • The Lord spoke to Jacob.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 46:3-4.
    • Tell the class God identified Himself and told Jacob not to fear.
    • Ask: “What four promises did God make to Jacob?”
      • I will make of you a great nation in Egypt.
      • I will go with you into Egypt.
      • I will bring your family out of Egypt and return them to the land of promise.
      • You will see Joseph face-to-face.
    • Summarize: Jacob and his family traveled toward Egypt. God spoke to Jacob and made four very special promises to him.
  5. Joseph Made an Important Promise to His Father.
    • Tell the students that Jacob’s family arrived in Egypt and settled in Goshen, after which Joseph introduced his father and brothers to Pharaoh.
    • Read Genesis 47:12.
    • Ask: “What did Joseph do?” (provided for his family, just as he had promised).
    • Tell the class that Jacob was 130 years old when he came to Egypt, and he lived 17 more years there. His family grew and prospered.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 47:29-31.
    • Ask: “What did Jacob ask Joseph to promise?” (that he would bury Jacob in the burying place of his fathers in Canaan).
    • Summarize: Joseph promised when his father died to bury him in the family burying place in Canaan.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Direct the students’ attention to the words written on the board. Ask: “How is God’s providence seen in this lesson?” (God took bad circumstances in Joseph’s life and accomplished His good plan). Ask: “What did we learn about provision in this lesson?” (Joseph made provision for his family in the midst of a terrible famine; if he had not done so they would have died). Ask: “What promises did we discover in this lesson?” (God made promises to Jacob, and later Joseph made a promise to Jacob).

Ask: “Does God’s providence still work in our lives today? If so, in what ways?” Allow time for some responses. If you enlisted a student to tell how they have experienced God’s providence, ask them to share it with the class now. If not, read the following:

God’s providence sent Joseph to Egypt. His wicked brothers wanted to harm him, but God providentially sent Joseph to Egypt and later elevated him to a high position so he could preserve and provide for his family. God’s providence is at work in our lives today, whether we recognize it or not. When things don’t go our way we should ask God to help us see His providential plan. He may be working out a good plan even though we are currently going through a hard time (Rom. 8:28). We must trust Him.

Ask: “Does God still make provision for our needs? If so, how?” Allow time for some responses. If you enlisted a student to tell how they have experienced God’s provision, ask them to share it with the class now. If not, read the following:

Joseph and Pharaoh made provision for the needs of Joseph’s family. All the brothers wanted was to buy some grain, but Pharaoh and Joseph gave them food, gifts, and the best pastureland in all of Egypt. God provides for our needs both physically and spiritually. Not only does He give us food, water, and air to breathe; He also enables us to feast on spiritual riches in the midst of a spiritual famine.

Ask: “Does God still keep the promises He has made to us in His Word?”   Allow time for some responses. If you enlisted a student to tell how God has kept His promises to them, ask them to share it with the class now. If not, read the following:

God promised to make Israel a great nation while they were in Egypt, and He also promised to bring them out of Egypt one day and return them to the land of Canaan. God has also made many promises to us. He has promised to go with us through this life and someday take us to our eternal home in heaven (Heb. 13:5; John 14:3).

Tell the students our God is a God of providence, provision, and promises. Encourage everyone to thank God for His providence, provision, and promises as you lead a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Tell everyone to be on the lookout for God’s providence, provision, and promises at work in their lives this week. Ask them to memorize Genesis 45:8.

[i] The American Heritage College Dictionary, Third Edition, Copyright © 1993 by Houghton, Mifflin Company.

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