Lesson 24 第二十四课

God promoted Joseph

God took Jacob’s family into Egypt.

1.                  God spoke to Pharaoh through dreams.

Read Genesis 41:1-8

1 When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream. In his dream, he was standing by the Nile River. 2 Seven cows came up out of the river. They looked healthy and fat. They were eating some of the tall grass that was growing along the river.
3 After them, seven other cows came up out of the Nile. They looked ugly and skinny. They were standing beside the other cows on the riverbank.
4 The ugly, skinny cows ate up the seven cows that looked healthy and fat. Then Pharaoh woke up.
5 He fell asleep again and had a second dream. In that dream, seven heads of grain were growing on one stem. They were healthy and good.
6 After them, seven other heads of grain came up. They were thin and dried up by the east wind.
7 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up. It had been a dream.
8 In the morning he was worried. So he sent for all of the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams. But no one could tell him what they meant.

   Pharaoh was the king of Egypt.

   God spoke to Pharaoh about the future through dreams.

In the dreams, God showed Pharaoh what was going to happen in the land of Egypt. Pharaoh didn’t understand the meaning of the dreams and was troubled because he knew that the dreams were showing him something important.


Although God spoke to people in the past through dreams, that is no longer His usual way of speaking to people. It is possible for God to speak through dreams but is rare. Do you know why? Ever since God’s Word has been completely written down, God has spoken through the Bible.

Does God still know what will happen in the future? Yes! God still knows everything about the future. He teaches what He wants us to know about the future through the Bible.

   Pharaoh did not know or worship the true and living God.

The Egyptians worshiped the things God created instead of God. They worshiped the sun, moon and stars, as well as animals and creeping creatures. They also worshiped the Nile River which was a large river in their country. But even though the Egyptians did not worship Him, God planned to use this king and his people to fulfill the purposes of God.

God is Ruler over all people even though they may not know or worship Him. He can use anyone in whatever way He chooses to fulfill His purposes.

God is the Creator of all people. He is the giver and sustainer of our life. He has made us, and we rightfully belong to Him. God can do whatever He wishes with us. But because God is righteous, everything that He does to people is always right.

2.    Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams.

Read Genesis 41:14-16, 25-37

14 So Pharaoh sent for Joseph. He was quickly brought out of the prison. Joseph shaved himself and changed his clothes. Then he came to Pharaoh.
15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream. No one can tell me what it means. But I’ve heard that when you hear a dream you can explain it.”
16 “I can’t do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh. “But God will give Pharaoh the answer he wants.”

25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Both of Pharaoh’s dreams have the same meaning. God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years. And the seven good heads of grain are seven years. Both dreams mean the same thing.
27 “The seven thin, ugly cows that came up later are seven years. So are the seven worthless heads of grain that were dried up by the east wind. They are seven years when there won’t be enough food.
28 “It’s exactly as I said to Pharaoh. God has shown Pharaoh what he’s about to do. 29 Seven years with plenty of food are coming to the whole land of Egypt.
30 “But seven years when there won’t be enough food will follow them. Then everyone will forget about all of the food Egypt had. Terrible hunger will destroy the land. 31 There won’t be anything left to remind people of the years when there was plenty of food in the land. That’s how bad the hunger that follows will be.
32 “God gave the dream to Pharaoh in two forms. That’s because the matter has been firmly decided by God. And it’s because God will do it soon.
33 “So Pharaoh should look for a wise and understanding man. He should put him in charge of the land of Egypt.
34 “Pharaoh should appoint officials to be in charge of the land. They should take a fifth of the harvest in Egypt during the seven years when there’s plenty of food. 35 They should collect all of the extra food of the good years that are coming. Pharaoh should give them authority to store up the grain. They should keep it in the cities for food.
36 “The grain should be stored up for the country to use later. It will be needed during the seven years when there isn’t enough food in Egypt. Then the country won’t be destroyed just because it doesn’t have enough food.”
37 The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and all of his officials.

Joseph did not have the ability to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, but he trusted in the Lord to give him the interpretation. God never fails those who trust in Him. God gave Joseph understanding of the dreams so he could explain to Pharaoh what would happen in Egypt.

3.    God put Joseph in a position of leadership in Egypt.

God had shown Joseph through his dreams as a youth that he would become a leader and ruler. Joseph was still a prisoner in Egypt, so it seemed impossible that he would ever become a leader. But God was in control, and He had not forgotten Joseph.

Read Genesis 41:38-49

38 So Pharaoh said to them, “The spirit of God is in this man. We can’t find anyone else like him, can we?”
39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “God has made all of this known to you. No one is as wise and understanding as you are. 40 You will be in charge of my palace. All of my people must obey your orders. I will be greater than you only because I’m the one who sits on the throne.”

Joseph Is Put in Charge of Egypt

41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I’m putting you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.”
42 Then Pharaoh took his ring off his finger. It was the ring he used to stamp all of the official papers. He put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes that were made out of fine linen. He put a gold chain around his neck.
43 He also had him ride in a chariot. Joseph was now next in command after Pharaoh. People went in front of him and shouted, “Get down on your knees!”
By doing all of those things, Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of the whole land of Egypt.
44 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh. But without your word, no one will do anything in the whole land of Egypt.”
45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah. He gave him a wife. She was Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera. Potiphera was the priest of On.
46 Joseph was 30 years old when he began serving Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. He left Pharaoh’s palace and traveled all over Egypt.
47 During the seven years when there was plenty of food, the land produced more than the people needed.
48 Joseph collected all of the extra food produced in those seven years in Egypt. He stored it in the cities. In each city he stored up the food that was grown in the fields around it. 49 Joseph stored up huge amounts of grain. It was like the sand of the sea. There was so much grain it couldn’t be measured. So Joseph stopped keeping records of it.

When it was time for God to do what He planned, God brought Joseph out of prison and gave him a high position of leadership. God used Pharaoh to put Joseph in charge of the whole land of Egypt. He was second-in-command to Pharaoh.

God always does what He plans. No one can stop God from doing what He plans to do.

4.    Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt for food.

Read Genesis 42:1-20

1 Jacob found out that there was grain in Egypt. So he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?” 2 He continued, “I’ve heard there’s grain in Egypt. Go down there. Buy some for us. Then we’ll live and not die.”
3 So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to Egypt to buy grain there. 4 But Jacob didn’t send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with them. He was afraid Benjamin might be harmed.
5 Israel’s sons were among the people who went to buy grain. There wasn’t enough food in the land of Canaan.
6 Joseph was the governor of the land. He was the one who sold grain to all of its people. When Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground.
7 As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them. But he pretended to be a stranger. He spoke to them in a mean way. “Where do you come from?” he asked.
“From the land of Canaan,” they replied. “We’ve come to buy food.”
8 Joseph recognized his brothers, but they didn’t recognize him. 9 Then Joseph remembered his dreams about them. So he said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see the places where our land isn’t guarded very well.”
10 “No, sir,” they answered. “We’ve come to buy food. 11 All of us are the sons of one man. We’re honest men. We aren’t spies.”
12 “No!” he said to them. “You have come to see the places where our land isn’t guarded very well.”
13 But they replied, “We were 12 brothers. All of us were the sons of one man. He lives in the land of Canaan. Our youngest brother is now with our father. And one brother is gone.”
14 Joseph said to them, “I still say you are spies!15 So I’m going to put you to the test. You can be sure that Pharaoh lives. And you can be just as sure that you won’t leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. I promise with an oath that you won’t leave here. 16 Send one of you back to get your brother. The rest of you will be kept in prison.
“I’ll put your words to the test. Then we’ll find out whether you are telling the truth. You can be sure that Pharaoh lives. And you can be just as sure that if you aren’t telling the truth, we’ll know that you are spies!”
17 So Joseph kept all of them under guard for three days.
18 On the third day, Joseph spoke to them again. He said, “Do what I say. Then you will live, because I have respect for God. 19 If you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here in prison. The rest of you may go and take grain back to your hungry families.
20 “But you must bring your youngest brother to me. That will prove that your words are true. Then you won’t die.” So they did what he said.

5.                 Joseph revealed his true identity.

Read Genesis 43:1-5, 11-17; 45:1-11

There still wasn’t enough food anywhere in the land. 2 After a while Jacob’s family had eaten all of the grain the brothers had brought from Egypt.
So their father said to them, “Go back. Buy us a little more food.”
3 But Judah said to him, “The man gave us a strong warning. He said, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother comes with you.’ 4 So send our brother along with us. Then we’ll go down and buy food for you.
5 “If you won’t send him, we won’t go down. The man said to us, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother comes with you.’”

11 Then their father Israel spoke to them. He said, “If that’s the way it has to be, then do what I tell you. Put some of the best things from our land in your bags. Take them down to the man as a gift. Take some lotion and a little honey. Take some spices and myrrh. Take some pistachio nuts and almonds. 12 Take twice the amount of money with you. You have to give back the money that was put in your sacks. Maybe it was a mistake.
13 “Also take your brother. Go back to the man at once. 14 May the Mighty God cause him to show you mercy. May the man let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. And if I lose my sons, I lose them.”
15 So the men took the gifts. They took twice the amount of money. They also took Benjamin. They hurried down to Egypt and went to Joseph.
16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he spoke to the manager of his house. “Take these men to my house,” he said. “Kill an animal and prepare dinner. I want them to eat with me at noon.”
17 The manager did what Joseph told him to do. He took the men to Joseph’s house.
Joseph couldn’t control himself anymore in front of all of his attendants. He cried out, “Have everyone leave me!”

1 So there wasn’t anyone with Joseph when he told his brothers who he was. 2 He sobbed so loudly that the Egyptians heard him. Everyone in Pharaoh’s house heard about it.
3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?”
But his brothers weren’t able to answer him. They were too afraid of him.
4 Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” So they did.
Then he said, “I am your brother Joseph. I’m the one you sold into Egypt. 5 But don’t be upset. And don’t be angry with yourselves because you sold me here. God sent me ahead of you to save many lives.
6 “For two years now, there hasn’t been enough food in the land. And for the next five years, people won’t be plowing or gathering crops. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to keep some of you alive on earth. He sent me here to save your lives by an act of mighty power.
8 “So then, it wasn’t you who sent me here. It was God. He made me like a father to Pharaoh. He made me master of Pharaoh’s whole house. He made me ruler of the whole land of Egypt.
9 “Now hurry back to my father. Say to him, ‘Your son Joseph says, “God has made me master of the whole land of Egypt. Come down to me. Don’t waste any time. 10 You will live in the area of Goshen. You, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and everything you have will be near me. 11 There I will provide everything you need.
“‘“Five years without enough food are still coming. If you don’t come down here, you and your family and everyone who belongs to you will lose everything.””

6. Jacob’s family went down to Egypt.

Read Genesis 45:25-28; 46:5-7

25 So they went up out of Egypt. They came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. 26 They told him, “Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of the whole land of Egypt.”
Jacob was shocked. He didn’t believe them. 27 So they told him everything Joseph had said to them.
Jacob saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back. That gave new life to their father Jacob.28 Israel said, “I believe it now! My son Joseph is still alive. I’ll go and see him before I die.”
5 Then Jacob left Beersheba. Israel’s sons put their father Jacob and their families in the carts that Pharaoh had sent to carry them.
6 So Jacob and his whole family went to Egypt. They took their livestock with them. And they took everything they had gotten in Canaan. 7 Jacob took his sons and grandsons with him to Egypt. He also took his daughters and granddaughters. He took all of his children and grandchildren with him.

Many years before, God had told Abraham that his descendants would go into a country that was not their own. Lets read what God had told Abram.

Read Genesis 15:13

13 Then the Lord said to him, “You can be sure of what I am about to tell you. Your children who live after you will be strangers in a country that does not belong to them. They will become slaves. They will be treated badly for 400 years.

Even though many hundreds of years had passed, God did what He had promised. All that God says in His Word will happen just as God has said.

7.                 Abraham’s descendants became known as Israelites.

From the time Jacob and his family settled in Egypt, they became known as Israelites. They were called Israelites because Jacob’s other name was Israel. You will remember that when Jacob was returning to the land of Canaan from Mesopotamia, God gave him the new name, Israel. From this time on, the Bible often refers to Israel’s descendants as the children of Israel or Israelites.


Questions

1.     God revealed some future events in Egypt to Pharaoh. How did God reveal these events?

2.     Who gave Joseph the ability to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams?

3.     What did Pharaoh’s dreams mean?

4.     What did Pharaoh and the people of Egypt worship?

5.     Why was God able to use Pharaoh and his people to fulfill the purposes of God, even though the people of Egypt did not worship Him?

6.     Why is it right for God to have the authority to rule over all mankind?

7.     What had God shown Joseph in his dreams as a youth?

8.     How did God fulfill the dreams which He had given to Joseph as a youth?

9.     Why did Jacob take all of his family down to live in Egypt?