Sunday School Material 1-15-12: God Preserves a Remnant

(Genesis 45:3-15; 1/15/2012)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Joseph is working to save his family. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to let God do a great work through our lives, in spite of the negativity we have experienced.

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Read Genesis 45:3-8
I. Revelation.
Joseph reveals to his brothers who he really is in this section of the Sunday School material. The brothers were terrified. Joseph tries to get them to see that God used what they meant for evil to do a great work.

Applications –
- Reframing.
Notice in vss. 4-5, 7 of the Sunday School material that Joseph is not in denial of being sold into Egyptian slavery. He simply reframes the situation.

He has some sense that no matter how wicked people may be, God is still in ultimate control. God is still working things out for the good of His people. Let’s work on reframing our situations in ways that highlight God’s working things out for His people.

There are too many who stay stuck in the negativity of wicked people. In so doing, they miss the many blessings that God has for them, in their place of captivity. Prayerful study and obedience with the support of serious disciples can help you get to this point.

Read Genesis 45:9-11
II. Recommendation.
In this section of the Sunday School material Joseph tells his brothers to hurry back and get his father. Joseph calls for the whole family to relocate to Goshen, so he can provide for them.

He reminds them that failure to follow his instructions will result in them being destitute, since there are five more years of famine to come.

Applications –
- Balancing information, emotions, and actions.
Notice in vs. 9 of the Sunday School material that actions need to accompany information and emotions.

In our text, there was a need for the brothers to go and get the father. They had to literally relocate, so they would not be harmed by the famine.

There are too many who spend so much time learning and experiencing the emotions of the moment that they have no energy to do what needs to be done.

On the other hand, there are those who are almost all action with no reflection or experiencing of emotions. Let’s work on having a balance of information, emotions, and actions.

- Taking care of family. Notice in vss. 10-11 of the Sunday School material that Joseph is concerned with taking care of his family. There are clear teachings in the Bible about taking care of weaker family members (see Ex. 20:12; I Tim. 5:4).

One of challenges of today is finding the balancing act between taking care of yourself, your children, and your parents.

With the aging of America, the lack of wealth that many seniors experience, the lack of gainful employment experienced by many young adults, and the lack of safety provided by big business or big brother (i.e., government), the issue of taking care of family can get a little challenging.

The Pastor urges us to strive to live by the principles of being a wise steward for personal retirement, raising children to be independent, and providing needed emergency care to seniors, as governed by your peaceful conscious.

“Your peaceful conscious” is code for others may never be happy with your attempt to balance how you spend your money. Therefore, instead of making the happiness of others the measure of how well you are doing, make your peaceful conscious the measure. Let’s work on living out the meaning of “taking care of family” in these challenging times.

Read Genesis 45:12-15
III. Recognition.
In this section of the Sunday School material Joseph again affirms his identity. He urges the bringing of his father to Egypt. And there is emotional embracing among the brothers

Applications –
- Emotional expression.
Notice in vss. 14-15 that the men showed emotions. They not only hugged but wept. Too many people, especially men, do not give themselves permission to express strong emotions.

The unnecessarily “strong and silent” types are too often causing harm to their mental/emotional health. On one hand, adults don’t have the luxury of crying every time and everywhere they feel like crying.

Nor can we cuss every time we feel like cussing. But on the other hand, there should be some times and places, where we can let go of our “control” and release the tension caused by unresolved emotional issues.

Let’s strive to have the wisdom and courage to be emotionally healthy.

- Forgiveness. Notice throughout the Sunday School material how Joseph appears to forgive his brothers. To “forgive,” as used here, is to let go of the negative emotions.

Trusting a person and restoring the relationships are different issues. But it will be difficult to even address trust and restoration without dealing with forgiveness.

As Christians, not only can we reframe our situation in light of God’s working things out, but we should also remember that our being forgiven calls for our forgiving others (see Mt. 6:12, 14-15).

Let’s work on forgiving those who we believe have mistreated us.

Conclusion: Let’s work on letting God do a great work through our lives, in spite of the negativity we have experienced. God has much for those who obey His will.

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