(Write “Opportunity Knocks” on the board.)
1. What are some examples of ways we might use this phrase?
2. What do we mean when we use this phrase?
3. Is anyone willing to share a time when you have had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and either took advantage or passed on it?
4. What factors determined your response? Name some of the reasons why we might miss out on or pass on an opportunity that comes our way. (Fear—I’m not skilled enough; I just don’t think I can do it; I’m not prepared; I don’t want that responsibility; etc.)
Last week’s session ended with Joseph being thrown in jail after Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him. Today we will see how God sends an opportunity to Joseph inside that jail cell.
We will see how dreams are a great part of Joseph’s life once again.
Briefly relate the events recorded in Genesis 40:1-41:14 to bring the class up to today’s focal passage.
A Problem! Read Genesis 41:15-21
1. Who is Joseph quick to give credit for interpreting dreams? (We still find Joseph as a humble young man. He seems to be the same regardless of his circumstances.)
We know that Joseph had been in prison for more than three years!
2. After being accused of attempted rape and imprisoned, Joseph could have selfishly taken the credit, feeling as if he was due. What excuses do people give for not giving God the credit He deserves?
There are at least four applications we can draw from Joseph’s experience: First, the world’s wisdom, as wise as it may be, doesn’t have all the answers. Second, in times of adversity, we must keep on serving the Lord. Third, God rewards faithfulness. Fourth, we can point to God as the source of wisdom when called on to address difficult situations.
3. After all that Joseph had been through, even most recently when the cupbearer forgot him, why did Joseph continue to honor God in his actions? (Joseph could have been bitter and angry toward God about his circumstances, but he chose to give God glory for providing interpretations to dreams. Joseph became better not bitter! He continued to be faithful in the little things even when he could not see the end result of how God would eventually use him.)
We can be faithful to God in our everyday decisions even if we can’t yet see how God will use our obedience for His glory.
4. Can you recall a time in your life when you have experienced one or more of these four applications?
5. How can the way we look to God as the source of wisdom in difficult encounters or situations be a witness to those around us?
Joseph pointed to God as the source of his wisdom. That same wisdom is available to us today. Now let’s see what became of Joseph’s opportunity to interpret Pharaoh’ dream.
(Fill in the events found in verses 22-32.)
A Plan! Read Genesis 41:33-36
1. What were the details of God’s plan Joseph relayed to the Pharaoh? (Impose a high tax during the years of plenty, 20%; build storage facilities in all major cities; store all of the excess; hold the grain until the seven years of drought come so the people will not starve.)
God had given Joseph wise council for Pharaoh. Notice that Joseph didn’t give up “the floor,” he simply kept on speaking, giving wise advice. He had Pharaoh’s full attention!
2. When representing God’s interest, especially before unbelievers, what characteristics should we seek to display? (Humility, love, concern for the whole group, etc.)
3. When we consider the following areas of life, would we exhibit different characteristics in different areas: Work, School, Community, and Social Life?
Have someone read from your PSG, pg 114 the paragraph beginning: “God sometimes places..”.
4. How does a person discern the difference between an opportunity and a distraction?
5. What is the difference between an opportunity and a distraction? (I’ll admit that I don’t always approach disruptions like this but we should look for what God is trying to do when we have a disruption. God may just have a divine opportunity for us.)
6. When we find ourselves in tough situations, how does it help to look for God at work in the circumstances? (We generally want to make everything about us, but God has a greater purpose.)
Isn’t it remarkable that Pharaoh trusted this Hebrew jailbird!
We see Joseph using the wisdom God provided to lay out a survival plan for the time of famine. We will see God’s hand on Joseph’s life in a bold way in these next verses we examine.
A Place! Read 41:37-40
God has provided here a surprise ending to a situation that no one saw coming!
1. How did God ultimately place Joseph in a strategic position? (Before Joseph’s imprisonment, he was in charge of Potiphar’s house. Then the warden put him in charge of the prison. Then he became in charge of Pharaoh’s house. Truly, “the Lord made everything he did successful”.)
Sometimes God places us in strategic positions to be His ambassadors so that we can share about Him at opportune moments.
2. What did Pharaoh giving Joseph full authority over the Egyptian people reveal about Joseph? About God? (Pharaoh recognized God’s hand on Joseph. If God blessed Joseph, Pharaoh wanted his people to be a part of that blessing by allowing Joseph to lead the Egyptians.)
In the lives of believers, the Holy Spirit’s presence sets us apart (Eph. 1:13).
As we submit our lives in obedience to God and allow Him to work through us, people are drawn to the Holy Spirit in us. They will seek us out for wisdom on how to live as Pharaoh sought Joseph.
3. How can you see that God has used lessons you have learned during challenging times in your life to prepare you for where you are today?
4. How can you see God at work in those lessons you learned?
Summarize and Challenge!
1. What does it mean to be faithful to God in the little things in your life?
2. How can you honor God with the amount of responsibility He has given you right now?
Tell the story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettigger. In 1975, a benchwarmer for Notre Dame Football by the name of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettigger was put in the game in the last 27 seconds. In the only play of his career, he sacked the quarterback and went on to receive fame, immortalized in the 1993 film by his name Rudy. Despite many challenges, Rudy worked hard to secure a spot on the team. Once on the team, he continued to practice faithfully though playing time in a game was highly unlikely. Yet when he got his moment, Rudy was ready because he had been so diligent to work hard in practice.
3. What steps are necessary to be ready for that kind of opportunity? (Apply oneself in practice; listen to instructions; although it seems unlikely that you would get to play, be faithful in all aspects of preparation. Rudy isn’t the only person to prove themselves ready when called upon in difficult circumstances.)
4. Are you ready for the next assignment God may have for you?
5. How can you be committed to God in all things this week?
Father, help us to be faithful to You in our day to day life so we are ready for the next assignment You have for us, big or small!