Joseph Study | Day One
By: Brittany Green | Meet Joseph
Click here to type in your answers to today's study.
Have you ever met someone and instantly recognized his or her potential to impact this world? These types of people have the capacity to dream big and showcase strength to achieve their goals. They are determined. Willing. Able. Whether or not they see the magnitude of their promising ability, you confidently know they will allow nothing--their family history, temptations, or discouragement--to hinder their pursuit of living out Christ's call on their life.
Joseph was this type of person. His life was full of adventure, heartbreak, betrayal, privilege, competition, family drama, pretty clothes, and disappointment; more importantly, hope and redemption. After intently studying the life of Joseph over the past few weeks, I was able to learn a great deal from his life. And I think you will definitely be able to relate to him, as well!
As we study his life over the next few weeks, I hope you’re excited and stick with me as we dive into not only his personal account, but his family's. They’re some of my favorite people in the whole Bible. After all, they have quite a story of scandal, betrayal, and more twists than a rollercoaster. What else could you ask for in a Bible study?
Before we dig in, here are some starting thoughts:
#1 - It’s my hope that you go through this study with a physical Bible, pen, and journal in your hands. Maybe even some colored pencils at times! I’m a visual person, so I’ve got to write, draw, circle and map out things if I’m going to learn them. Ultimately, incorporate study skills that help you learn and connect with God best over the next few weeks. If that's doodling and drawing, great! For others, it might look like making lists and checking them twice. Either way, make sure you fully understanding the passages we are studying.
#2 - Know we're all in this together! (Cue High School Musical Music.) Gather your girls and do this together. Also, post on Twitter + Instagram using #mintedtruth while we go through this series.
#3 - I’ve been praying for each and every one of you as you start this study! I'm asking for God’s continued faithfulness to be evident in your lives. Just as He had huge plans for Joseph in the most unconventional ways, He has a plan for you. And it’s my hope that we come to know this truth and His presence more and more over the next few weeks!
Take a moment to list some of the things you already know about Joseph:
Before we dive fully into Joseph’s life, let's get a little bit of his back story. Here’s what we know:
- Joseph’s story is found at the end of the book of Genesis.
- His family is a little crooked and crazy. We almost need a family tree diagram to get all the names and stories straight!
Briefly, here’s how the story goes: God chose this guy named Abraham (Father Abraham, anyone?) to be the father of many nations. This was going to be God’s chosen people. Abraham and his wife, Sarah had a son in their old age named Isaac. Isaac married Rebekah who had two sons: Jacob and Esau. Esau is a great guy and all, but we’re going to zone in on Jacob’s family.
Jacob marries two women. It’s quite a scandal and a mix-up, but he marries Leah and Rachel. They’re sisters, to make the scandal even juicer. (Feel free to read that story for yourselves in Genesis 29.) Between Jacob and his wives, they have 12 sons and a few daughters. 12+! Can you imagine? Joseph is one of those children.
So if it’s helpful, fill in the little family chart to the side or write your own just to keep them all straight.
______________________ + Sarah
\ ______________________ / + Rebekah
\ Esau + ______________________ / + Leah, Rachel, and Two Other Wives
\ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ + Joseph /
Looking at Joseph’s family, we find a big contrast between people who live obediently and righteously and those who do their own thing. For instance, Jacob, Joseph's dad whose name means “deceiver,” struggled all his life. God uses him in mighty ways, but he’s a conniver, struggler, fighter, and ultimately tricks his brother out of his birthright and blessing. Jacob even wrestles with God Himself! Yet God still gives him the covenant promise and makes his family the nation of God’s own people. He does this because God’s promises are a gift of grace and nothing anyone earns or deserves.
Read Genesis 35:9-12. What does God change Jacob’s name to?
This is significant for many reasons:
1. Name change signaled a new way to live and a new promise from God.
2. Israel is both Jacob’s new name and the name of the Nation of God. How cool is it that the entire nation is named after this guy who struggled through life, but ultimately sought out God’s grace and salvation? The Bible is made up of ordinary people who make messes, but ultimately who God uses despite them.
3. It’s important to note this name change because the rest of Genesis uses the names interchangeably. So sometimes he’s called Jacob and others Israel. If you need to take a sticky-note and write “Jacob=Israel” and stick it where you can see it in your Bible, go for it! I did.
Today and tomorrow we’ve got to lay the foundation for the rest of our study. If not, the significance of Joseph’s story won’t mean as much. He’s more than just a guy who had some bad stuff happen to him and then God made it turn out okay. He’s a crucial part of the Christian history story.
Part of that foundation includes adding and explaining some new words!
Covenant – These are promises God makes with His people. One of the biggest covenants effecting Joseph’s story was when the Lord promised Abraham his family would be God’s people, amount to more than the stars in the sky, and be blessed by God while also blessing other nations. This is significant because our perfect God is making a promise that He will never ever break with an imperfect man!
Righteousness – Righteousness describes someone who is acting or living according with divine, moral law; they are free from guilt or sin. Righteous people are only those who walk with God in a relationship with Him. He is the one who makes us righteous, so therefore, we choose to continue to act accordingly.
Sovereignty – God is in control. He has authority and supreme power. He’s ruling on the throne!
Though we are defining a lot of new words, passages, and people, hang in there. The adventure is coming!
Let’s close for the day by flipping over to Hebrews 11.
Read Hebrews 11:39-40.
Prior to this, the author had listed several heroes from the Old Testament. Abraham, Jacob and Joseph are among those.
Take heart! None of these people’s stories ended how they thought it would. But, it got better! The road that Joseph took was hard. It doesn’t seem to take the path it should. Yet, God uses it to bless them more than they can imagine by using them to further His kingdom.
This is the story that trickles into your life and my life today. God is working and it’s going to work for our good!
Take some time to write in your journal or pray about those things you think that aren’t going your way. Pray that God will use them for His good and for your peace during it.