Joseph the Governor

This devotion may be separated into two lessons if desired.

Age 5+: Read Genesis 41:14-33, 39-40,47-49,
                      Genesis 41:53-57, Genesis 42:1-2, 6, Genesis 45:1-8, 14-15, Genesis 47:11-12
Under 5: Read about Joseph the Governor from a children's story bible or the short summary below.

After Joseph's brothers sold him, he went to Egypt. He ended up in jail for something he didn't even do. While he was in jail, Pharaoh had a crazy dream about thin cows gobbling up fat cows. God helped Joseph to explain to Pharaoh that his dream meant a famine was coming and there wouldn't be enough food. After he told Pharaoh what his dream meant, Pharaoh made Joseph a governor in charge of the whole land of Egypt. Joseph made sure the people in Egypt stored up enough food so when the famine came, they would have plenty to eat.

Soon the dream came true, and there was a famine across the whole land. Joseph's brothers back at home had run out of food and everyone was hungry. So they traveled to Egypt to buy food. They came and bowed down to the new governor, but they didn't realize it was Joseph! But Joseph knew who they were. He sent away his servants and then made himself known to his brothers. They were afraid of Joseph. They thought he wanted to punish them. But instead, Joseph hugged his brothers with tears in his eyes. He forgave them for the terrible things they had done and brought them to live safely with him in Egypt.

Discussion 

Preschool questions:
What was Pharaoh's dream about? Skinny cows eating fat cows.
Who helped Joseph understand Pharaoh's dream? God.
Why were Joseph's brothers afraid? They thought Joseph wanted to punish them.
Did Joseph punish his brothers? No, he hugged them and forgave them.

Elementary questions:
What is a Pharaoh? A king in Egypt.
What two things did Pharaoh dream about? 7 thin cows eating 7 fat cows and 7 thin heads of grain eating 7 full ones.
What is a famine? When crops do not grow, so there is no food to eat.  

Read Genesis 37:5-8. Did Joseph's dream come true? Yes, his brothers bowed down to him.
How did God take care of Joseph and his entire family? He put Joseph in a position of power so Joseph could move his family to safety and abundance.

Preteen application:
What should you do when it seems like God's plan isn't working? Pray about it, ask God for patience. 
To whom should you give the credit for your special talents or abilities? God.
Why did Pharaoh appoint Joseph? He saw that he was wise and God was with him.
Why did God want Joseph to be the governor? So Jacob's family could survive the famine.
Describe Joseph's character that made him useful to God. He was meek and humble, and willing to forgive.
Do you think it was easy for Joseph to forgive his brothers? Why or why not? Answers vary.

Memory Verse: Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV) 

Journal (age 8+) Copy the memory verse, and write about a time when it was hard to forgive someone. Write down any prayer requests.

Journal (age 3+) Draw and color a picture of Joseph forgiving his brothers. Copy the memory verse if able.

Optional Activity: Discuss what it means to forgive. Can you still forgive someone even if they don't seem sorry?

Prayer: Praise and thank God, ask for forgiveness, and submit any prayer requests.

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