Sunday School Material 1-8-12: Joseph Finds Favor

(Genesis 41:37-46, 50-52; 1/8/2012)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that God blessed Joseph with great favor, in Egypt. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to trust God to bless us, right where we are.

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Body:
Read Genesis 41:37-38
I. Joseph’s Plan.
In this section of the Sunday School material Pharaoh and his officials viewed the plan that Joseph presented as being good.

A question is raised about anyone being as indwelt by the spirit of God as Joseph. It seems as if this is a rhetorical question with the answer being “no.”

Applications –
- Indwelt with the spirit of God.
Notice in vs. 38 of the Sunday School material that Joseph was known for being indwelt with the spirit of God. This is a marvelous reputation. Let’s live so people will say that we are indwelt with the spirit of God.

The key to having such a reputation is to focus our lives on loving God and others as we love ourselves. There is so much more to being indwelt by the spirit of God than carrying a Bible everywhere you go and starting and ending every sentence with “praise the Lord.”

We don’t get this reputation by being self centered. It is a reputation that grows out of loving God enough to obey His will for us to be profitable stewards in every area of our lives.

Read Genesis 41:39-46
II. Joseph’s Position.
Pharaoh puts Joseph in charge of everything except the throne in this section of the Sunday School material .

Joseph is given fine cloths and paraded before the people whom he has received charge over. A wife is even given to Joseph. And Joseph is pictured as traveling throughout Egypt.

Applications –
- Faithfulness in bad situations.
Notice in vss. 39-46 of the Sunday School material that Joseph’s faithfulness and God’s grace led to Joseph experiencing so much favor.

This text should encourage us to be faithful, even when things are not like we want them to be. God can bless us beyond what we image, if we would simply stay focused on obeying His will.

Let’s work on being faithful, even in bad situations. Think about how we are tempted to act when our job is in danger, our health is failing, or our relationships are falling apart.

- The sanctity of marriage. Notice in vs. 45 of the Sunday School material that Joseph had a wife, not a live in girl friend.

In our culture, there are too many people who are comfortable simply living with one another. However, God’s way is to love one another enough to marry or to exercise restraint.

The Gentile Pharaoh and Joseph had enough respect for God’s will, the woman, and the man to get married. Let’s work on keeping marriage sacred. We should remember that our young people are watching us.



Read Genesis 41:50-52
III. Joseph’s Offspring.
In this section of the Sunday School material Joseph and his wife had two sons, before the famine came.

One son was named Manasseh, which means that “It is because God has made me to forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” The second son was named Ephraim, which means that “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

Applications –
- Forgetting yesterday’s pain.
Notice in vs. 51 that Joseph’s first son was named “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.”

A key point in this text is that sometimes we have to move past the pain of yester years. We may never forget the historic occasion. However, we often have to let go of the emotional pain.

Let’s work on forgetting the pain of yester years, so we can experience the blessings of today. Think about forgetting the pain of divorce, disappointing children, not having children, dreams being destroyed, etc.

- Trusting God to bless right where you are. Notice in vs. 52 of the Sunday School material that Joseph’s second son was named “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my struggle.”

You don’t have to be a preacher, in order to see that this is shouting stuff (smile). Too often, we act as if God has to get us out of our current location, in order to bless us. The reality is that God can bless us right where we are.

In our land of struggle, God can make us fruitful. The whole world belongs to God, including wherever we find ourselves at right now. Let’s work on trusting God to have His way, right where we are.

If it is any consolation, I remind you that fruit bearing trees grow out of dirt, just like many of us may find rich blessings coming our way, while we are in situations that seem so out of order.

For example, God can give you peace, in spite of old age catching up with you and in spite of expectations of getting so much done with your life disappearing.

Conclusion: Let’s work on trusting God to bless us, right where we are. God has much for those who obey His will.

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