There is a story about something that seemed bad at the time, but ultimately turned out to be beneficial in the end.
“Before WW II, coal was commonly used to heat homes, which left soot stains on walls. Noah McVicker developed a doughy cleaner to rub the soot off wallpaper. After the war, washable wallpaper and the use of natural gas as a heat source made this cleaner obsolete. The company faced bankruptcy; however, Noah’s nephew, Joe McVicker, learned that his sister, a school teacher, used the material in her classroom as modeling dough. The McVikers marketed their nontoxic creation as a children’s toy, Play-Doh.—PSG, pg. 91
1. When have you seen something good come out of a bad situation?
In our study today we will explore how God can take a person’s evil intentions and shape the effects of those intentions for His good purposes.
Read Genesis 37:1-4
2. How can telling the truth cause problems?
3. How can the method with which we communicate the truth contribute to the problem?
Everyone at one time or another has said or done insensitive things. God can use those moments to teach us how to be more sensitive to others in the future.
Sometimes we have to speak truth that others don’t want to hear, but God can give us wisdom about how to do so in a loving manner.
In today’s study the focus of our study in Genesis turns the emphasis from Jacob or Israel to Joseph. This is the beginning of turning our focus on the nation of Israel as a whole.
Rule Over Us? Read Genesis 37:5-11
1. How did Joseph’s dreams impact his brothers? (They hated him more.)
Jacob didn’t try to hide the fact that he loved Joseph more than all the others.
2. Was there any question as to what the implication of the two dreams was? (Everyone recognized the fact that these dreams indicated his parents and all of his brothers would one day bow to him with their faces to the ground.)
Without a doubt the indication was that Joseph would have position and power over his brothers some day!
God does speak through dreams and other means, but the most common way God communicates today is through His Word.
3. How can we best use God’s Word as the test for all truth? (We should hold to this key doctrine on The Scripture: The Holy Bible is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error, for its matter based on 2 Tim. 3:16-17.)
“How you say it matters.”
4. The Bible reveals that Joseph told his brothers about his dreams. It doesn’t tell us how he said it. What should be our attitude in sharing God’s truth with others? (It should be spoken in love—genuine love not mockingly. Eph. 4:15)
5. Joseph’s brothers saw him not as a brother, but as an enemy. Is jealousy avoidable?
6. How can jealousy be minimized in relationships, especially between believers?
The pattern of dysfunctional family relationships continues here.
Read Genesis 35:12-18—make any appropriate comments.
Joseph’s telling of his dreams watered the seeds of jealousy that were growing in his brothers’ hearts. The distance from Hebron to Shechem is fifty miles and another fifteen miles to Dothan.
What Happens to Your Dreams Now? Read Gen. 37:19-24
Joseph’s brothers’ deep seated hatred found an outlet for expression. Verse 19 can be literally translated, “Oh look, here comes that dream expert.”
1. What emotions do we see expressed in this passage? (Hatred, anger, and no doubt fear on Joseph’s part see Gen. 42:21.)
Joseph probably questioned how the dream he had would be fulfilled. God’s path for us may be different than what we anticipate, but He will always fulfill His purposes for us.
2. Finally Reuben spoke up and offered an alternate plan but he had ulterior motives, he planned to rescue him later. Are there any things Reuben could have done to diffuse this situation?
3. What actions can be taken to diffuse jealousy?
4. How can our own agendas and desires cloud our view of others God chooses to use in a specific way?
We see Joseph’s brothers acting out the full measure of their jealousy and hatred. Now let’s see how God worked even in these cruel circumstances.
What Do We Gain? Read Genesis 37:25-27
1. How did jealousy impact Jacob’s family? (Joseph was separated from his family for many years, and his father thought he was dead. Jesus even had to rebuke Peter for his jealousy over John’s relationship with Jesus—John 21:22.)
God does not what us to be jealous of His plans for other believers because He has a unique plan for each of us. Rather than allowing jealousy to divide us, God wants us to “rejoice with those who rejoice” (Rom. 12:15).
2. What did the brothers gain by selling Joseph to the Ishmaelite traders? (Initially they gained twenty pieces of silver, but ultimately, they gained nothing. Rather than gaining their father’s attention, they lost their father to devastation and consumption with grief.)
3. How do you see God at work in the midst of these brothers’ plans? (It was no small miracle that this caravan just happened to be passing at this precise moment.)
4. In what ways do we see God at work in Joseph’s life at this point? (Just think all of the different events that had to be coordinated to make this happen! Israel sending Joseph at the right time. The brothers were not at Shechem. The caravan’s perfect timing. Etc!)
5. How does knowing God is in control give you endurance to face opposition and jealousy from others?
Summarize and Challenge!
1. How are you comforted knowing God’s plans will ultimately be accomplished as you remain committed to Him?
No matter the circumstances God is in control and knowing that helps us at all times, but especially when we walk through challenging seasons of life. The fact that God is in control doesn’t mean there will not be difficult times but that God is with us through those times.
2. How can we encourage each other at all times, easy and difficult?
3. How does Keeping God’s plans in mind change the way we pray for each other?
Pray for God to bless those you may consider to be enemies, even if they are fellow believers.
If you have a hint of jealousy in your heart, pray that God would help you remove it!