GRACE TO JOSEPH: Genesis 37

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BIG IDEA

In Genesis 37, we see the subtleness of sin, the secrecy of sovereignty, and the sweetness of salvation. Jacob, Joseph, and the brothers were all struggling with sin. Jacob’s sin was preference, Joseph’s was pride, and the brothers’ was jealousy. The things they didn’t think were that big of a deal ended up destroying their family. They were in need of far more grace than they realized. Joseph’s brothers ended up stripping him of his robe, throwing him in a pit, then selling him into slavery. Though Joseph was sinned against and didn’t realize why these terrible things were happening to him, God was sovereignly using it all for his glory and Joseph’s good. Through the terrible darkness, Joseph ended up getting out of the pit and seeing light. He became the prime minister of Egypt, and he used his authority to save his people from death, giving them a future. Ultimately this story points to Jesus. Jesus was stripped of his robe. On the cross, Jesus didn’t just lose the symbol of his father’s love, he lost his father’s love all together by becoming our sin and paying our debt to God. Jesus was betrayed by his brothers. The people of Israel didn’t receive him and ended up conspiring against him to bring him to death. Jesus was thrown into a pit, but he got out and saw light. He saved his people from death, hell, and the wrath of God, giving them a future. If you are in Christ, your future is with Jesus. He is coming back for all those who trust him. He will wipe every tear from our eyes and make everything sad come untrue.

SCRIPTURE

Genesis 37:1-28 1 Jacob lived in the land of his father’s sojournings, in the land of Canaan. 2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. 4 But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.

5 Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: 7 Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” 8 His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. 9 Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” 11 And his brothers were jealous of him,but his father kept the saying in mind.

12 Now his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock near Shechem. 13 And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” And he said to him, “Here I am.” 14 So he said to him, “Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock, and bring me word.” So he sent him from the Valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. 15 And a man found him wandering in the fields. And the man asked him, “What are you seeking?” 16 “I am seeking my brothers,” he said. “Tell me, please, where they are pasturing the flock.” 17 And the man said, “They have gone away, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.

18 They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him. 19 They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. 20 Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits. Then we will say that a fierce animal has devoured him, and we will see what will become of his dreams.” 21 But when Reuben heard it, he rescued him out of their hands, saying, “Let us not take his life.” 22 And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but do not lay a hand on him”—that he might rescue him out of their hand to restore him to his father. 23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the robe of many colors that he wore. 24 And they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it. 25 Then they sat down to eat. And looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing gum, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry it down to Egypt. 26 Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27 Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him. 28 Then Midianite traders passed by. And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. They took Joseph to Egypt.

DISCUSSION 

1. Was there anything from the sermon or the big idea that stood out to you or challenged you? Was there anything new? Was there anything confusing? 

2. What stands out to you in Genesis 37 and why? 

Though Joseph was sinned against and didn’t realize why these terrible things were happening to him, God was sovereignly using it all for his glory and Joseph’s good.

3. Which do you find more challenging to believe—that God does miracles to accomplish his his purposes or that God works through ordinary occurrences to bring about his extended ends? Try and explain your answer.

The theme of Joseph’s story is found in his words, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:20). 

4. Are there any experiences in your life that, although painful or hurtful, you can already see God using for good in your life? Try and be specific.

5. Would you be willing to share any experiences in your life that you have not seen any good come from and are hopeful to see how, in the end, Jesus will make the sad thing come untrue?

6. Spend some time praying for one another, praying for the lost, praying for your city, and praying for God to provide for the future church plant in Checotah. 

GOOD WORD

Some of you have fallen into a pit of darkness—some kind of suffering: sickness, betrayal, poverty, sin, depression, hopelessness. If not you, someone you’re close to. But hear this: Jesus has not forgotten you. Jesus knows exactly what that’s like. He went through it for you, so that He could one day free you from it forever. The once crucified, now resurrected Jesus says this: “In the world you will have tribulation—you will suffer—but take heart, I have overcome the world. And through the triumph of my cross and resurrection, I will sovereignly work all things together for good. One day, everything sad will come untrue.”

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