Tag Archives: Joseph

Easter – Foreshadows of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection (DEVOTION)


PAINTING - Road to EmmausTime

10 minutes
Description

This devotion shows how God left clues to Jesus’ death and resurrection in the pages of the Old Testament.  God had a plan to restore us to relationship with Him from the very beginning.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 3:14-15; 22:6, 13; 37:23-24; 41:39-43
  • Exodus 12
  • Exodus 17:1-7
  • Numbers 21:4-9
  • Joshua 2:17-20; 6:23
  • Jonah 1:17-2:10
  • Daniel 6:15-24
  • Luke 24:13-35
  • John 10:10

 

Materials

·       Slide deck – “Easter – Foreshadows of Jesus Death and Resurrection – Slide Deck” (available on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com/downloads/)

·       Projector and screen

Preparation

·       Practice the script.

Procedure

  • (Show slide 1)
  • “It was Sunday, and there was despair and confusion among all of Jesus’ disciples.”  
  • “The one that they had put their hopes in had been crucified by the Romans, but the women had gone to the tomb that morning and found that his body was missing.” 
  • “They came back with an incredible story about the stone being rolled away from the tomb and angels, who said that Jesus was alive!”
  • “Two of the disciples were on their way to Emmaus and talking about all that had happened when a man joined them.” 
  • “When they told him what they had been talking about, he told them that they were foolish and slow to believe what the Prophets had said about the Messiah.” 
  • “Then, he began to explain to them what Moses and the Prophets said about Jesus.”
  • “Of course, the man was Jesus, as the two men found out later that day.” 
  • “They said that their hearts had burned within them as Jesus opened the Scriptures to them.”
  • “I wish I knew exactly what He had said to them, but I’m pretty sure I know at least a part.”
  • (Show slide 2.)
  • “I’m sure He told them about Isaac, Abraham’s promised son, that God asked him to sacrifice.” 
  • “He probably pointed out that Isaac himself carried the wood that he would be sacrificed on up the hill just as Jesus had carried His own cross.” 
  • “I’m sure He pointed out how Isaac willingly allowed himself to be bound and placed on the wood just as Jesus had willingly allowed Himself to be nailed to the cross.”
  • (Show slide 3.)
  • “Then, I’m sure that Jesus pointed out that God provided a ram in the thicket as a sacrifice instead of Isaac.” 
  • “He probably told them that Jesus was the sacrifice that took our place and that the thicket would one day be used to create a crown of thorns for the Lord.”
  • (Show slide 4.)
  • “After that, I bet He told them that Jesus was the rock in the wilderness that Moses struck and from which issued a stream of water that saved the people.” 
  • “He probably pointed out that Jesus was struck to save the people, too, and that streams of living water came from Him.”
  • “Whoever drank the water that Jesus offered would never be thirsty again.”
  • (Show slide 5.)
  • “Then, He might have reminded them about the bronze serpent that Moses put on a pole when poisonous serpents attacked the people.”
  • “Whoever had been bitten by the snakes could look on the bronze serpent and be healed just as any who had been poisoned with sin could look to Jesus’ death on a cross and be saved from death.”
  • (Show slide 6.)
  • “After that, He might have reminded them of the Passover in Egypt, when they had to sacrifice a lamb without defects and spread its blood over their doorframe so that the Angel of Death would pass over them that night.” 
  • “He would have told them that Jesus was the perfect Lamb of God, whose blood covered and protected them from death.” 
  • “And just as no bone of the lamb could be broken, no bone of Jesus’ was broken as He hung on the cross even though the legs of the two thieves were broken to hasten their deaths.”
  • (Show slide 7.)
  • “Jesus might have told them that the red cord Rahab hung out her window protected her and her family during the destruction of Jericho just as His blood protects those who trust in Him.”
  • (Show slide 8.)
  • “Then, He might have asked them to remember Joseph, who was the favorite of his father and who had a magnificent robe that his brothers stripped off of him as they threw him into an empty well while they decided whether or not they would kill him.” 
  • “In this way, Joseph was like Jesus, who was killed by His own people and put in a tomb in the ground.”
  • (Show slide 9.)
  • “I’m almost positive He told them once again about Jonah, who spent three days in the Belly of a giant fish and then was spit out onto dry land.” 
  • “And He would have reminded them that Jesus told the Pharisees and the teachers of the law that they would be given no sign except the sign of Jonah.”
  • “Though Jonah was thrown into the sea and certain to die, He rose alive from the depths again, just as Jesus was buried for three days and then rose to life again.”
  • (Show slide 10.)
  • “Jesus might have pointed out that Daniel was also thrown to certain death in the lion’s den but that the stone was rolled away in the morning to reveal that Daniel was still alive.” 
  • “In the same way, the stone was rolled away from Jesus’ tomb in the morning, and Jesus rose again to life.”
  • (Show slide 11.)
  • “Finally, I’m sure that Jesus wouldn’t have neglected to mention that Joseph spent several years in an underground prison but was raised to the right hand of Pharoah just as Jesus spent three days in an underground tomb but then rose to be seated at the right hand of God the Father.”
  • “Jesus had hours and hours to talk with these men, and He likely shared with them many more connections to His life from the Old Testament than these, but I hope that you can see Jesus’ arrest, death and resurrection were not a surprise to God.”
  • “He had a plan for rescuing us from before time began, and He left a trail of breadcrumbs throughout the Old Testament to show us how intentional His plan was.”
  • “As far back as page 3 of the Bible, God told us how Satan would strike out at Jesus but that Jesus would crush his head. (Genesis 3:14-15)” 
  • “Jesus did this at the cross, and because of His sacrifice, death has been defeated.  Jesus came so that we could have life and that we could have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)”
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Potiphar Says (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge teaches that we don’t always get to choose our circumstances, but we always get to choose our attitude about those circumstances.  It highlights Joseph’s way of handling his enslavement to Potiphar in Genesis 39:1-20.  The activity is based on the game of Simon Says.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 39:1-20

 

Materials

  • Egyptian headdress for participants to wear as they play the role of Potiphar (1 per group) – OPTIONAL
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Potiphar Says – Challenge Card (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Ziplock bags – gallon size – 1 per group

 

Preparation

  • Create the headdress (OPTIONAL)
  • Print out the Challenge Card document.
  • Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag (one per group).
  • Put the headdress in the Ziplock if it will fit or tape it to the bag if needed.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “Potiphar Says” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
  • “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.”  (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared kits.)
  • “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a Challenge Card, and an Egyptian headdress.”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and read the Challenge Card.” (Allow them to read the Challenge Card.)
  • “This challenge is about Joseph from the Bible.”
  • “He was his father’s favorite son but his brothers’ least favorite sibling.”
  • “In fact, they hated him so much that they sold him into slavery!”
  • “A passing band of Ishmaelites bought Joseph and took him to Egypt, where they sold him to a man named Potiphar, one of Pharoah’s officials.”
  • “How many of you think being a slave would be really unfair and not much fun?”  (Take responses.)
  • “Let’s play a game like ‘Simon Says’ that will help us understand a little bit what it’s like to be a slave.  It’s called ‘Potiphar Says.’”
  • “Everyone stand up.”
  • “I’m going to be Potiphar for the first round.”  (Or pick one of the participants to be Potiphar. Have “Potiphar” put on the Egyptian Headdress.)
  • “Potiphar is going to ask you to do several things.  If he says ‘Potiphar says’ before the thing you are asked to do, then you should do it.”
  • “However, if he doesn’t say ‘Potiphar says’ before the thing he asks you to do, you shouldn’t do it.”
  • “If you do something when he doesn’t say ‘Potiphar says,’ you have to sit down.”
  • “The last person standing gets to be ‘Potiphar.’”
  • “Is everyone clear on the rules?”  (Check to make sure everyone is clear.)
  • “Okay, let’s play:”  (Play a round of ‘Potiphar Says.’ If you are leading, you can ask the participants to touch their noses, raise their hands above their heads, hop on one foot, etc…  Mix up the times you say, ‘Potiphar says,’ to try to catch them off guard.  The rounds will go quickly, so let several participants be “Potiphar” before you finish.)
  • “That was fun!  Probably a lot more fun than Joseph had following Potiphar’s orders, don’t you think?”
  • “But you know what really impresses me about Joseph?”
  • “Even though the whole thing was unfair…even though he had lost his family and his home and his country and his freedom, Joseph still had a great attitude about the whole thing.”
  • “He could have kicked the dirt and complained about how unfair it all was, but he didn’t.”
  • “He did his job the best he could.  In fact, he did it so well that Potiphar put him in charge of everything!”
  • “Joseph kept trusting in God and doing the best he could.  He made the best of a bad situation, and God blessed him.”
  • “And because Joseph was blessed, Potiphar’s entire household was blessed.”
  • “And you know what?  The same thing can happen with you!”
  • “In your life, you will be in bad situations sometimes.  You will be in unfair situations sometimes.”
  • “You may not be able to do much about the bad situation, but you can choose your attitude.”
  • “If you choose to keep trusting in God when things are bad, He will bless you and everything and everyone around you!”
  • “When someone has a great attitude in a bad situation, it really gets peoples’ attention.”
  • “They wonder why you have such a great attitude, and they will probably even ask you about it.”
  • “When they do, that is your opportunity to tell them about how wonderful God is and how you can trust in him to use ALL things in your life for your benefit.”
  • “So, everyone try to be like Joseph in Potiphar’s house – keep doing your best and trusting in God, and then watch and see how He will bless you and those around you!”  (When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards).  The Rhyme Time is to help them recognize that even when life isn’t fair, God is watching over them.  He won’t allow more struggles that they are able to handle with His help, and if they do their best, they will have His blessing.)

Debriefing Questions

  1. What would be the most difficult thing about being a slave?
  2. Do you ever have to do things you don’t want to do, because someone makes you do them?
  3. How can you be more like Joseph in those situations?

 

Rhyme Time

Even when life is so unfair,

God won’t allow more than I can bear.

 

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Choices, Coping skills, Energizer, Game, Hardship, Joseph, Object Lesson, Overcoming obstacles, Waiting on the Lord

Let Go, Let God, Get Free! (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge teaches how bitterness, unforgiveness, hatred and resentment create a trap for us and how forgiveness and turning things over to God (especially when we are having a hard time forgiving in our own power) gets us free from the trap.  It uses Chinese finger traps to illustrate the point.

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50 (Particularly Genesis 50 when Joseph forgives his brothers)
  • Colossians 3:13

 

Materials

  • Finger traps – 1 per person with several extras in case they break (they are notoriously poorly made – You can order them through anyone you like, but they are cheaply available through Oriental Trading. Order early, because it may take a few weeks for them to arrive. Approximately $10 for 72, plus shipping and handling.  The link to Oriental Trading: http://www.orientaltrading.com/ui/search/processRequest.do?Ntt=finger+trap&x=0&y=0&requestURI=searchMain&Ntk=all&Ntx=mode%2Bmatchallpartial&N=0)
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Let Go, Let God, Get Free – Challenge Card (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Ziplock bags – any size – 1 per group

 

Preparation

  • Print out the Challenge Card document.
  • Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag (one per group).
  • Put enough finger traps into each Ziplock bag for each person to have one (and maybe a few extras).
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “Let Go, Let God, Get Free!” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
  • “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.”  (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared kits.)
  • “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a Challenge Card.”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and read the Challenge Card.” (Allow them to read the Challenge Card.)
  • “Colossians 3:13 says, ‘Put up with each other. Forgive the things you are holding against one another. Forgive, just as the Lord forgave you.’” (NIRV)
  • “This challenge is about how bitterness, resentment, hatred and unforgiveness become a trap for us.”
  • “How many of you have ever seen a Chinese finger trap before?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Let’s say that this finger trap (hold up a finger trap for everyone to see) is bitterness, resentment, hatred or unforgiveness.”
  • “When you are feeling these emotions toward someone, it’s like putting your fingers in the trap.”  (Demonstrate for them.)
  • “Sometimes you want to get free from these emotions, but you can’t.”  (Pull your fingers apart.  The finger trap should tighten up on them and prevent your fingers from getting free.)
  • “You might even want to forgive that person, but the trap of bitterness, resentment, hatred or unforgiveness won’t let you go.”  (Demonstrate trying to pull your fingers out again.)
  • “These are times when it may not be possible for you to forgive that person.  It’s just too hard.”
  • “So, here’s what you should do.”
  • “First, LET GO! – This means, stop trying so hard to do what you can’t do on your own.”
  • “Next, LET GOD! – This means, let God do what you can’t do.  Pray to Him, and tell Him what you are struggling with.  Ask Him to give you His love and His forgiveness for that person.”
  • “Finally, GET FREE! – It’s like a miracle!  When you stop trying so hard and let God do what you can’t do, you get free!  The bitterness, resentment, hatred or unforgiveness will disappear as God replaces it with His love and His forgiveness.”
  • “Let me show you what I mean with this finger trap.”  (As you demonstrate, say the three steps out loud.  First show them that trying in your own power just makes the trap tighter.  Then, LET GO! – Push your fingers together so that they meet in the middle of the trap.  LET GOD! – Ask someone else to hold the finger trap (they are representing God), while you carefully and slowly pull your fingers out.  GET FREE! – Show the group that your fingers are free from the trap of bitterness, resentment, hatred and unforgiveness.)
  • “See how it works?”
  • “When I can’t do it myself, I stop trying and just pray that God will change my heart for me.  Then I get free!”
  • “So what are the three steps again?”  (Let the group tell you several times what the three steps are in order – LET GO! LET GOD! GET FREE!)
  • “Want to try it on your own?” (Pass out the finger traps and let them play with them.  Try to get them to go through the three steps and say them out loud several times.)
  • (When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards).  The Rhyme Time is to help them recognize that God can help them forgive.)

 

Debriefing Questions

 

  1. Why is it important to forgive people when they hurt you?
  2. Why is it so hard to forgive people sometimes?
  3. Do you think these three steps will work for you?  Why or why not?

 

Rhyme Time

Jesus helps me to forgive; Holding a grudge is no way to live!

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Joseph and Jesus (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge uses a two-sided puzzle, with the image of Joseph on one side and the image of Jesus on the other.  It makes comparisons between Joseph (of Genesis) and Jesus and shows how Joseph was a preview (or “type” or “shadow”) of Jesus that helps us to understand the events of Jesus’ life better.  There are 26 comparisons, which are listed for your reference in the table at the end of this lesson.

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50

 

Materials

  • Card stock paper – 2 sheets per group (Alternatively, you can use posterboard, but you will then need to glue the puzzles to the posterboard.  This might cause you challenges with aligning the front and back puzzles.)
  • Puzzle sets – 1 per group (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Joseph & Jesus – Puzzle,” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  It would be best if these documents were printed in color.)
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Joseph & Jesus – Challenge Card,” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Glue
  • Ziplock bags – 1 per group
  • Scissors or cutting tool
  • Transparent contact paper (or laminating paper – 2 sheets per group (approx. 12”x10”) – OPTIONAL
  • Single hole punch – 1 to share – OPTIONAL
  • Twine – 1 roll to share – OPTIONAL
  • Prizes for the winning group – OPTIONAL

 

Preparation

  • Print out the puzzle pages.
  • Print out the Challenge Card document.
  • Glue a “Jesus” puzzle to a “Joseph” puzzle back-to-back, and allow them to dry fully.  (Do your best to get them exactly aligned. You might want to place a heavy object on them while they are drying to prevent curling – especially if you live in a humid environment.)
  • Cut out the puzzle pieces along the lines on the puzzle pages.  (The lines should match up front-to-back.)
  • Mix the pieces up, and place each set of puzzle pieces into a different Ziplock bag.
  • Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag.
  • Cut the contact paper or laminating pages to the approximate size listed above, and put two sheets into each Ziplock bag. (OPTIONAL)
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “Joseph and Jesus” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
  • “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.”  (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared puzzles.)
  • “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a puzzle in it.”
  • “This puzzle is tricky, though, because there are pictures on both sides!”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and begin putting your puzzles together.”
  • “Be sure to read the words on each side of the puzzle out loud before you add it to your puzzle.”  (Let them begin.  You can offer a prize for the fastest team to get their puzzle together if you want, but you might not want to because it could make them rush through and fail to read the descriptions on each side of the puzzle pieces.  When they finish, you can help them laminate the puzzle pieces if you want to.  Just peal off the protective paper, and carefully lay a sheet of the clear contact paper on top of the puzzle.  Then, flip it over and do the same for the backside.  Punch a hole in the top, and use the twine to add a loop that you can use to hang the puzzle.  This will allow them to see both sides.  When they are finished with the puzzle, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards.  The Rhyme Time is a reinforce to help them remember that the events of their lives can be used by God in a big way.)

 

Debriefing Questions.

  1. What do you think about all the comparisons between Joseph and Jesus?
  2. Why do you think God made them so much alike?
  3. God used Joseph’s life in a big way to tell us about what Jesus would be like.  Do you think God could use your life like that?  Why or why not?

 

Rhyme Time

God has a purpose, a plan and a dream.

My present struggles are more than they seem.


 

JOSEPH

JESUS

A Miraculous Birth

Joseph’s mother, Rachel, wasn’t able to have children until God answered her prayers. (Gen 30:22-24)

A Miraculous Birth

Jesus’ mother, Mary, was visited first by an angel and then by the Holy Spirit.  She gave birth to God’s only Son. (Luke 1:26:38)

A Shepherd

Joseph tended his father’s sheep. (Gen 37:2)

A Shepherd

Jesus said he was the Good Shepherd. (John 10:11)

His Father’s Favorite Child

Jacob gave his son Joseph a colorful robe. (Gen 37:3)

His Father’s Favorite Child

Jesus was the son in whom the Father was well pleased. (Matt 3:17)

His Greatness Was Prophesied

Joseph had two dreams about his brothers bowing down to him. (Gen 37:5-7, 9)

His Greatness Was Prophesied

The Old Testament tells us over 100 prophesies about Jesus.

Obedient to His Father

Joseph obeyed his father and went to check on his brothers. (Gen 37:12-14)

Obedient to His Father

Jesus obeyed His Father by coming to earth as a man. (John 7:28-29)

Sent to His Brothers, But They Weren’t Where They Were Supposed to Be

Joseph looked for his brothers in Shechem, but they were in Dothan. (Gen 37:14-17)

Sent to His Brothers, But They Weren’t Where They Were Supposed to Be

Jesus came to earth for the Jewish people, but they were living sinful lives. (Rom 3:9-20)

Hated by His Brothers Because He Claimed to Have Authority Over Them

Joseph’s brothers hated him, because he had dreams about ruling over them.  (Gen 37:8)

Hated by His Brothers Because He Claimed to Have Authority Over Them

The Jewish leaders hated Jesus, because He claimed to be the Son of God. (John 15:25)

Brothers Plotted to Kill Him

Joseph’s brothers wanted to kill “the dreamer.” (Gen 37:18-20)

Brothers Plotted to Kill Him

The Jews at the head of the church pressured Pilate to crucify Jesus. (Mark 15:11-14)

Robe Taken from Him by His Enemies

Joseph’s robe was taken by his brothers. (Gen 37:23)

Robe Taken from Him by His Enemies

Soldiers took Jesus’ robe and gambled to see who would get it. (Matt 27:35)

Put Into the Earth

Joseph was thrown into an empty well. (Gen 37:24)

Put Into the Earth

Jesus was laid in an empty tomb. (Matt 27:59-60)

Visited by Foreigners Carrying Resin and Myrrh

While Joseph was in the well, a caravan of Ishmaelites came from Gilead with spices, balm (a resin) and myrrh. (Gen 37:25)

Visited by Foreigners Carrying Resin and Myrrh

Jesus was visited by wise men from the East who brought gold, frankincense (a resin) and myrrh. (Matt 2:11)

JOSEPH

JESUS

Sold for Silver Pieces – the Price of a Slave

Joseph’s brothers sold him to the Ishmaelites for 20 pieces of silver. (Gen 37:28)

Sold for Silver Pieces – the Price of a Slave

The chief priests paid Judas 30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus. (Matt 26:14-15, Exodus 21:32)

Robe Dipped in Blood

Joseph’s brothers dipped his robe in blood to fool their father. (Gen 37:31-33)

Robe Dipped in Blood

Revelation pictures Jesus as a warrior with a robe dipped in blood. (Rev 19:13)

Taken to Egypt

Joseph was taken to Egypt by slave traders. (Gen 37:28)

Taken to Egypt

Jesus was taken to Egypt by his parents.  (Matt 2:13-15)

Tempted by the Evil One

Joseph was tempted by Potiphar’s wife. (Gen 39:7-12)

Tempted by the Evil One

Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. (Matt 4:1-11)

Accused of a Crime He Didn’t Commit

Joseph was accused of flirting with Potiphar’s wife. (Gen 39:13-19)

Accused of a Crime He Didn’t Commit

Jesus was accused of blasphemy. (John 10:30-39)

Punished with Two Criminals

Joseph was thrown into prison, where he met two men who had offended Pharaoh. (Gen 40:1-4)

Punished with Two Criminals

Jesus was crucified between two thieves. (Luke 23:32-33)

Given Authority Over Everything

Joseph was given authority over everything in Potiphar’s house and in the prison.  (Gen 39:4-6, 22-23)

Given Authority Over Everything

Jesus has been given authority over everything in heaven and on earth. (Matt 28:18)

Exalted to the Second-Highest Place

Joseph was raised to sit at the right hand of Pharaoh and rule Egypt. (Gen 41:41-44)

Exalted to the Second-Highest Place

Jesus was raised to sit at the right hand of God, the Father. (Heb 1:1-4)

Began His Greatest Work at the Age of 30

Joseph began ruling Egypt at the age of 30. (Gen 41:46)

Began His Greatest Work at the Age of 30

Jesus began His ministry at the age of 30. (Luke 3:23)

Became the Source of Bread for the World

Joseph provided grain for Egypt and other nations during the famine. (Gen 41:53-57)

Became the Source of Bread for the Whole World

Jesus is the Bread of Life, given for all people. (John 6:35)

JOSEPH

JESUS

Took a Gentile (non-Jewish) Bride

Joseph married Asenath, daughter of Potiphera.  (Gen 41:45)

Took a Gentile (non-Jewish) Bride

Jesus is the bridegroom, and the Church (made up of all believers) is His bride. (Eph 5:22-33)

Alive After “Death”

Joseph’s brothers and father thought he was dead, but they were surprised to learn that he was actually alive! (Gen 45:25-28)

Alive After “Death”

Jesus died and was buried, but He rose again on the third day.  (Matt 28:5-7)

Not Recognized By His Own People

Joseph’s brothers did not recognize him when they first met him in Egypt.  (Gen 42: 8)

Not Recognized By His Own People

Jesus was not recognized as Savior by the Jews.  (Rom 11:1-21)

 

Forgave Those Who Mistreated Him

Joseph forgave his brothers. (Gen 50:19-21)

Forgave Those Who Mistreated Him

Jesus forgave those who nailed Him to the cross. (Luke 23:34)

Saved Many Lives

Joseph told his brothers that God allowed him to suffer so that he could save many lives.  (Gen 50:20)

Saved Many Lives

Jesus came into the world to save sinners. (1 Timothy 1:15)

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Fortunately-Unfortunately (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge teaches what happens to us is not as important as how we respond to what happens to us.  If we trust God with even our “unfortunate” events and circumstances, He can use everything for our good.  Participants will tell a story and take turns making the events of the story either “fortunate” or “unfortunate.”

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50
  • Proverbs 3:11
  • Romans 8:28

Materials

  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Fortunately-Unfortunately – Challenge Card (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Ziplock bags – any size – 1 per group

 

Preparation

  • Print out the Challenge Card document.
  • Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag (one per group).
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “Fortunately-Unfortunately” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
  • “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.”  (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared kits.)
  • “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a Challenge Card.”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and read the Challenge Card.” (Allow them to read the Challenge Card.)
  • “This challenge is about how God can make good things come out of bad situations.”
  • “We’re going to play a short game called, “Fortunately – Unfortunately.”
  • “First, we have to select the person who will start the game.  I want everyone to hold up one finger.”  (Make sure everyone holds up a finger.  Then have them do the following.)
  • “Now point that finger straight up in the air as high as you can make it go.”
  • “I’m going to count to three.  When I say, ‘three,’ I want everyone in the group to point at the person you think should start the game.”
  • “Ready?  Okay, One….Two….Three!”  (If any groups end up with a tie for the number of fingers pointed at different people, have them do it again until the tie is broken.)
  • “Alright, this person is going to start you off by telling the first part of a story.”
  • “They will tell you about 15-20 words about any topic they want, but the story has to start with, ‘Once upon a time…’”
  • “For example, ‘Once upon a time, there was a man who liked to eat pickled porcupines…’”
  • “Then, that person will stop right there, and the person on their right will pick up the story where they left off.”
  • “But before they tell anymore of the story, they have to say, ‘Unfortunately…’ and then share something unfortunate about the situation or person.”
  • “They will tell about 15 words of why things are so unfortunate, and then they will stop.”
  • “The next person will pick up the story where they left off, but he/she will start by saying, ‘Fortunately…’  Then they will tell us what is so fortunate about the situation.”
  • “This keeps going with each person alternating their stories to be ‘fortunate’ or ‘unfortunate.’”
  • “You will keep going around your group until I say to stop, so you will probably have several tries at making up ‘fortunate’ and ‘unfortunate’ parts of the story.”
  • “The only other rule is that you can’t kill anyone in the stories.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions before we get started?”
  • “Alright, those of you who were picked to start, begin your stories!”  (Allow three to five minutes for storytelling, then ask them to finish the part they are on and turn their attention back to you.)
  • “The point of this game is that there are always two ways of looking at the things that happen in our lives.  You can view almost anything as either fortunate or unfortunate.”
  • “If you search for it, even something very bad can have a fortunate side, particularly if you are willing to trust God with it.”
  • “Romans 8:28 says, ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
  • “The Scripture says that God will works in ‘some’ things for our good, right?”  (The kids should answer, ‘NO!’)
  • “Oh, it says, God works in just the fortunate things, right?” (The kids should answer, ‘NO!’)
  • “In just the things where we make good decisions?”  (‘NO!’) 
  • “What does it say?  …God works in ALL things for the good of those who love Him.”
  • “Sometimes when ‘unfortunate’ stuff happens to us, it’s God’s discipline in our lives, because the Bible says in Proverbs 3:11:  ‘My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.’”
  • “But that means that even when God is disciplining you for your sin, He is doing it for your good!”
  • “And it’s even better if you admit that you sinned and ask for forgiveness.  Then God can really use it for your good!”
  • “He uses EVERYTHING that happens in your life to be a blessing to you!”
  • “So, even when something happens that looks bad, it’s a great idea to praise God for it.  That shows that you trust Him to use it for your good.”
  • “It’s less important what happens to you than how you respond to what happens to you.”
  • (When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards).  The Rhyme Time is to help them recognize that God can use everything to bless them and prepare them for His good work.)

 

Debriefing Questions

  1. Do you think the things that happened in Joseph’s life were fortunate or unfortunate?  Why?
  2. Are there things in your life that looked unfortunate at first but turned out to be fortunate?
  3. How could you look at bad things in your life in a positive way?

 

Rhyme Time

God has a purpose, a plan and a dream; My present struggles are not what they seem!

 

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Filed under Abundance, Attitude, Challenges, Daily walk, Expectations, Failure, Hardship, Joseph, Paradigm Shift, Scarcity

Bloom Where You Are Planted (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge makes the point that we can make a choice to honor God even if difficult situations.  Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers, but he was such a trustworthy slave, that Potiphar put him in charge of everything in the house.  When Joseph was accused by Potiphar’s wife and thrown into prison, the prison warden soon put everything under Joseph’s authority, because Joseph was so faithful in how he handled his responsibilities.  Participants will plant flowers in a mixture of gravel and water jelly crystals to show that you can still bloom when you are in a bad place.

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50
  • John 4:10-14

 

Materials

  • Water Jelly Crystals – (You can order them from Steve Spangler Science for approximately $40 plus shipping and handling. (2.27 kg (5 pounds)
    Item #: WSAC-900) Order early, because they may take up to two weeks to receive. It’s important that the crystals are clear and not colored.  You can find these crystals at http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/product/1283.
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Bloom Where You Are Planted – Challenge Card (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Small, potted flowers (preferably seedlings with some leaves but before they bloom, but this is flexible) – 1 per person
  • Small, clear, plastic cups – 1 per person
  • Gravel – enough to fill each plastic cup about ¾ full
  • Ziplock bags – gallon size – 1 per group
  • Scoops or large plastic spoons – 1 per group
  • Gallon jug of water – 1 per group

 

Preparation

  • Divide the water jelly crystals evenly so that you have the same amount for each group, and place them in Ziplock bags.
  • Add a scoop or large plastic spoon to each bag for scooping out crystals.
  • Add enough plastic cups for each person in each group.
  • Divide the gravel evenly among the groups, and put it into a bag or some other container for each group.
  • Set aside enough flowers for each person in each group.
  • Print out the Challenge Card document.
  • Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag (one per group).
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “Bloom Where You Are Planted” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
  • “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.”  (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared kits.)
  • “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a Challenge Card, cups, water jelly crystals, and a scoop or spoon.”
  • “Each group will also have some flowers, gravel and water.”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and read the Challenge Card.”
  • “You will then take the small seedlings out of their planter and shake off the soil so that all you have is the plant with exposed roots.”
  • “This represents Joseph, who was taken out of the good soil of his home and family.”
  • “Next, take a handful of gravel rocks and a handful of water jelly crystals, and mix them together.”
  • “Then, put them into your clear, plastic cup.”
  • “This represents the bad soil that Joseph was planted in when he was sold into slavery by his brothers and then again later when he was thrown into prison for something he didn’t do.”
  • “Plants can’t usually grow in rocks, because they need nutrients from the soil and something to hold the water when it rains.”
  • “That’s why we added water jelly crystals.  They hold water and help the roots to get the refreshing water that they need to grow.”
  • “So here’s the secret reason why Joseph was able to continue to grow even though he was in a bad place.”
  • “God was with him.”
  • “The water jelly crystals represent God’s presence in Joseph’s life.”
  • “Plants need normal water to thrive, but people need LIVING WATER, which is God’s Word and presence, to thrive.”
  • “Jesus says in John 4:10 that we can ask Him, and he will give us living water.”
  • “Then, He says in John 4:13-14 that ‘Everyone who drinks (regular) water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water (Jesus) gives them will never thirst. Indeed, the water (Jesus) gives them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’”
  • “That means that if you depend on Jesus, you will have eternal life with Him in heaven.”
  • “Put your finger into the gravel and water jelly crystals and make a hole for the seedling to be planted in.”
  • “Then, plant the seedling in the gravel, and move the gravel and water jelly crystals around the root.”
  • “Finally, add some water to about halfway up the cup.”
  • “Now, let’s set these aside.  We’ll watch them during the week (or weeks) to see if they thrive in their new soil.  They may even bloom!”
  • (When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards.  The Rhyme Time is a reinforce to help them remember that if they continue to trust God, He will make even difficult situations a blessing for them.)

 

Debriefing Questions

 

  1. Do you think the flower will bloom where you planted it?  Why or why not?
  2. Why do you think Joseph was able to succeed in difficult situations?
  3. How could you “bloom” when you find yourself in a difficult place?

 

Rhyme Time

If we trust Him and obey,

God makes bad things go OUR way!

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Filed under Abundance, acceptance, activity, Challenges, Character, Choices, Coping skills, courage, Daily walk, Hands-on, Hope, Joseph, Object Lesson, Overcoming obstacles, Scarcity, struggles, Transformation, Waiting on the Lord

God’s Permissive Will (OBJ LESSON)


Time

45 minutes
Audience

Children, Teens, Adults

 

Description

This object lesson teaches about how God’s permissive will works with God’s unchangeable will.  It uses the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and his brothers to illustrate how God allows us to make choices but brings even our bad choices and sin into alignment with his perfect will in the end.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 2:16-17; 37-50
  • Numbers 23:19
  • Deuteronomy 30:15-20
  • Joshua 24:14-15
  • 1 Samuel 15:29
  • Malachi 3:6
  • Romans 8:28
  • Hebrews 6:17
  • James 1:17

 

Materials

  • One red rope – about 15-20 ft long
  • Five ropes (any color other than red) – about 15-20 ft long each
  • Printout of the file, “JJ  – God’s Permissive Will – Choices Cards (OBJ LESSON).” It can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.
  • 70 clothespins
  • Large paper clip or rubber band
  • Bag to hold clothespins, Choice Cards and ropes

 

Preparation

  • Print out “JJ – God’s Permissive Will – Choice Cards.”  (There are 35 pages.)
  • Cut each of the pages in half down the line in the middle to make 70 separate Choice Cards.
  • Put ropes in your bag
  • Put the clothespins in your bag so that you can carry them during your lesson.
  • Put the Choice Cards in numerical order (the numbers are on each card) with #1 on top and all the rest following.
  • Clip or rubber band these cards together, and put them in your bag.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “God’s will is difficult to understand.”
  • “In some parts of the Bible, it says that God’s will never changes.”  (Have volunteer(s) read one or more of the following Scriptures out loud: Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 6:17, James 1:17.)
  • “But we know from other parts of the Bible that God allows us to have free will – meaning, He lets us make choices.”  (Have a volunteer(s) read one or more of the following Scriptures out loud: Genesis 2:16-17, Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Joshua 24:14-15.)
  • “This is sometimes called ‘God’s permissive will,’ which means that God gives us permission to choose to do something different than His will.”
  • “These Scriptures make me wonder how God’s will can always stay the same even though we do things that are not in His will.”
  • “Why don’t our bad decisions mess up God’s perfect and unchanging will?”
  • “I’m going to show you how this all works.”  (Ask for two volunteers.  Give them each one end of the red rope, and have them stretch it out as far as it will go across the room.)
  • “Let’s say that this is God’s unchanging will.”
  • “It stays the same no matter what.”
  • “On this end, we have ‘Before time began,’ and on the other side, we have ‘Eternity.’”
  • “God’s will is outside of time.  It was here before time began and will continue on after time ends.”
  • “This rope represents our free will.”
  • “There was a time in the Garden of Eden when God’s will and man’s free will were tied together.”  (Tie the two ropes together near the ‘Before time began” end.)
  • “But that didn’t last long, because Adam and Eve chose to do something against God’s will when they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.”
  • “Whenever people step away from God’s will by using their free will to do something wrong, it looks like this.”  (Ask for another volunteer to come up and hold the “free will” rope away from the “God’s Will” rope.  Leave the two ropes tied together, but have the volunteer just hold the rope a few steps away from the “God’s Will” rope.)
  • “That first sin was followed by many more, and I don’t have time to tell you about all of them.”
  • “Instead, I’ll focus just on one family – the family of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.”
  • “I’m picking this family, because they are God’s chosen people, the ones He made a promise to bless.”
  • “The story started with God making a promise to Abraham.  Abraham was old and didn’t have any children, but God promised to make him the father of many nations.  His son Isaac was the child of that promise.”
  • “At this point, Abraham’s free will was lined up with God’s will, so the two ropes are together.”  (Have volunteer who has the “free will” rope come back to the red “God’s will” rope and hold both ropes together.  Pull out Choice Card #1 from your bag.  Show it to the audience. Clip the two ropes together using a clothespin.  Anytime a Choice Card says, ‘GOD’S WILL – BOTH ROPES’ at the bottom, clip the two ropes together.)
  • “Isaac grew up and got married.  His wife Rebekah couldn’t have children, so he prayed for her.  God answered his prayer and gave them two children, Esau and Jacob.”
  • “What do you think?  Was Isaac’s free will still lined up with God’s will at this point?”  (Listen to responses.)
  • “Sure it was!  Isaac wanted what God wanted, and God blessed him with two children.”  (Show Choice Card #2, and use the clothespin to clip the two ropes together.)
  • “Esau and Jacob fought with each other in their mother’s womb, and God told Rebekah that Jacob would one day rule over his brother Esau.”
  • “Do you think it God’s will that the babies fought in the womb?”  (Listen to responses.)
  • “I don’t know for sure if babies know enough to use their free will, but let’s say that it could be possible.”
  • “That means that their free will separated from God’s will.”  (Have ‘free will’ rope volunteer take a step away from the ‘God’s will’ rope so that the two ropes separate.  Make sure he/she doesn’t pull hard on the rope and rip the Choice Cards that are already on it.  Use a clothespin to clip Choice Card #3 to just the ‘free will’ rope. Draw out Choice Card #4, and show audience.)
  • “Jacob’s name in Hebrew means, ‘He deceives,’ and it’s a great name for Jacob.  He was one of the trickiest people in the whole Bible.  The first trick we know about is when he convinced his brother, Esau, to sell him the birthright of the firstborn son in exchange for a bowl of stew!”
  • “The birthright of the firstborn son was a special privilege given to the boy who was born first, and it made him the leader of the family when the father died.  It also gave him twice the inheritance of the other children, so it was pretty important.”
  • “Now we know that God said Jacob would one day rule over Esau, but I’m pretty sure this is not how God planned for it to happen.”
  • “God didn’t need Jacob to trick Esau.  God would have made His will come true without tricks.”
  • “So, this choice that Jacob made was definitely away from God’s will!”  (Clip Choice Card #4 with a clothespin to just the ‘free will’ rope.  If you have lots of participants, you could give the choice card to a volunteer and have him/her clip it and then stand by it to represent that choice.  There will be 70 choices total, so you might have each volunteer represent several choices.  Draw out the remaining Choice Cards in numerical order while telling the story of God’s chosen people.  The cards are listed below for your reference along with important story elements.)
  1. REBEKAH AND JACOB – Tricked Isaac into giving Esau’s blessing to Jacob (It wasn’t enough that Jacob stole the birthright from Esau; he felt he had to steal his blessing, too.  (The blessing was a special gift from the father that helped a child to know what his or her future would be like.)) FREE WILL ROPE
  2. ESAU – Threatened to kill his brother, Jacob (Esau was so mad when he found out, that he promised to kill Jacob as soon as their father died.) FREE WILL ROPE
  3. REBEKAH – Tricked her husband, Isaac, into sending Jacob away to find a wife among her brother’s people (Now we know where Jacob learned to be so tricky.  His mom was a trickster, too!  She saved Jacob’s life by sending him where Esau couldn’t get him.  It’s good that she saved Jacob’s life, but she didn’t trust God to help.  Instead, she told a lie.  That’s away from God’s will.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  4. GOD – Promised land to Jacob in a dream and told him that he would have many descendants (God met Jacob while he was running away and renewed the promise that He had made to Abraham and Isaac.)  BOTH ROPES
  5. JACOB – Fell in love with Rachel as soon as he saw her (When Jacob arrived at the land of his relatives, he saw a girl named Rachel and fell in love with her.  God wants us to fall in love.  This was lined up with God’s will.)  BOTH ROPES
  6. JACOB – Worked for Laban for seven years in order to marry his daughter, Rachel. (It was the custom for these people at this time that a man would pay a woman’s father for the privilege of marrying her.  Jacob didn’t have any money or property, so he worked for seven years as payment.  This was honorable behavior.)  BOTH ROPES
  7. LABAN – Tricked Jacob into marrying Rachel’s older sister, Leah (Jacob wasn’t the only tricky person.  His uncle Laban wanted to marry his oldest daughter off before Rachel got married, so he tricked Jacob into marrying her. That’s definitely away from God’s will.)  FREE WILL ROPE (have volunteer step away from ‘God’s Will’ rope to hold ‘free will rope’ and show the distance between the two.  You might want to have them step in the other direction from the first time in order to make the best use of space.)
  8. JACOB – Was angry with Laban but agreed to work for Laban for seven more years so that he could marry Rachel, too.  (Jacob loved Rachel very much and still wanted to marry her, so even though he had been tricked, he agreed to work seven more years to pay for her hand in marriage.  That’s pretty romantic, but the problem with it is that God doesn’t want us to marry more than one person.  This is away from God’s will.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  9. LABAN – Tricked Jacob many times in order to make him keep working for him. (Laban wasn’t satisfied with having Jacob work for him for 14 years. Jacob was a talented shepherd, and Laban got rich while Jacob was taking care of his sheep.) FREE WILL ROPE
  10. 14.  GOD – Blessed Jacob by giving him many herds and many children (12 sons and 1 daughter).  (This is the beginning of God fulfilling His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.) BOTH ROPES
  11. 15.  RACHEL and LEAH – Competed with each other to see who could have the most sons for Jacob.  (In their culture, they believed that you were more important if you had more sons.  Leah was able to have six boys, but Jacob didn’t love her.  He loved Rachel, but she couldn’t have children for many years until God finally let her have Joseph and Benjamin towards the end of her life.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  12. JACOB – Ran away from Laban.  Laban chased him, but God warned Laban in a dream not to hurt Jacob.  (I’m not sure if it was God’s will for Jacob to run away or not, but God protected Jacob, so we will say that this was lined up with God’s will.) BOTH ROPES
  13. JACOB – Wrestled with God until God gave Jacob a blessing. (While Jacob was traveling back to the land his family lived in, and angel of the Lord (probably Jesus) came to earth and wrestled Jacob.  Jacob wouldn’t let go until God blessed him.)  BOTH ROPES
  14. 18.  ESAU – Forgave his brother Jacob, because he had been very blessed by God over the years they were apart.  (Jacob was worried about his brother still being mad at him, but he was surprised to find that Esau had totally forgiven him.)  BOTH ROPES
  15. SIMEON AND LEVI – Took revenge on people who hurt their sister, Dinah, by killing all the men in the town.  (When Jacob settled his family in Shechem, a man hurt his daughter, Dinah.  Her brothers took revenge by killing every single man in the town.  Jacob never forgave his sons for what they did.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  16. GOD – Allowed Rachel to die giving birth to Benjamin, Jacob’s youngest child.  (Sometimes God allows bad things to happen, and we don’t understand why.  There are times when we find out later what God was doing, but we won’t know all God’s reasons for what He allows to happen.  We just have to trust Him.)  BOTH ROPES
  17. JACOB – Loved Joseph more than any of his other children.  (Because Joseph was the firstborn child of Rachel, the wife Jacob loved and because some of his other sons had disappointed him, Jacob showed favoritism to Joseph.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  18. 22.  JOSEPH – Told his father about the bad things his brothers had been doing. (Joseph saw his brothers do some pretty bad stuff, and he told his dad about it.  I think it was the right thing to do, but it made his brothers really mad at him.)  BOTH ROPES
  19. 23.  JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Hated Joseph because their father loved him more.  (It was obvious to his brothers that Joseph was their dad’s favorite, so they hated him.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  20. 24.  JOSEPH – Had two prophetic dreams that showed he would one day rule over his family.  (These dreams were from God, because they eventually came true.)  BOTH ROPES
  21. JOSEPH – Told his brothers about his dreams. (I think this was a mistake.  Joseph might have been showing off to his family, and all it did was make them all angry with him and hate him more.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  22. JOSEPH’S BROTHER – Hated Joseph because of his dreams.  FREE WILL ROPE
  23. 27.  JACOB – Made a special coat of many colors for Joseph, because Joseph was his favorite.  (This was another mistake.  The coat was a special coat like the one rulers would wear.  It was a coat for people who didn’t have to work, and it made Joseph’s brothers hate him even more.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  24. 28.  JACOB – Sent Joseph to check on his brothers and bring him back a report. (And another mistake!  Didn’t he realize how much his sons hated Joseph?  The brothers were working, and Joseph was wearing his fancy, no-working coat.  And Jacob sent Joseph to tattle on his brothers – not good!)  FREE WILL ROPE
  25. 29.  JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Threw Joseph in a well and then sold him to some slave traders. (Joseph’s brothers were sick and tired of their little brother, and they decided to get rid of him.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  26. 30.  JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Tore his robe and dipped it in blood.  Then they let their father believe Joseph was killed. (They hid what they did by making Jacob think that Joseph had been eaten by a wild animal.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  27. 31.  MIDIANITES – Sold Joseph as a slave to Potiphar, the Egyptian and captain of the guard for Pharoah. (God is never happy when people are treated as slaves.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  28. 32.  JOSEPH – Served Potiphar faithfully and honored God.  (Suffering can often change your heart, and I think Joseph grew up a lot when he was sold as a slave.  During this time, he learned to trust God and do his best even in a bad situation.)  BOTH ROPES
  29. 33.  GOD – Was with Joseph and gave him success in everything that he did.  (When we are lined up with God’s will, He blesses us and blesses us!)  BOTH ROPES
  30. 34.  POTIPHAR – Put Joseph in charge of everything in his household and trusted him with everything he owned.  (Even people who don’t believe in God can be in line with God’s will sometimes.  Potiphar was so impressed with Joseph that he gave him responsibility for everything.) BOTH ROPES
  31. 35.  POTIPHAR’S WIFE – Tried to get Joseph to kiss her.  (What?!  She was married!  Definitely not in God’s will!)  FREE WILL ROPE
  32. 36.  JOSEPH – Refused to sin against Potiphar and God and avoided Potiphar’s wife whenever possible.  (Good for him!)  BOTH ROPES
  33. 37.  POTIPHAR’S WIFE – Lied about Joseph to her husband and said that Joseph tried to kiss her.  (Oooh….she’s not a good person!) FREE WILL ROPE
  34. 38.  POTIPHAR – Put Joseph in the prison where the king’s prisoners were kept. (It’s interesting that he put Joseph in this special prison for Pharaoh’s prisoners.  That gave Joseph opportunities to meet important people.  Still, Potiphar shouldn’t have put him in prison for something he didn’t do.) FREE WILL ROPE
  35. 39.  JOSEPH – Served the prison warden faithfully and honored God while he was in prison.  (Joseph was put into prison unfairly, but he still chose to trust in God and honor God by working hard.)  BOTH ROPES
  36. 40.  GOD – Was with Joseph and gave him success in everything that he did. (Again, when we line up with God’s will, He blesses us.)  BOTH ROPES
  37. 41.  THE PRISON WARDEN – Put Joseph in charge of everything and everyone in the prison.  (Because Joseph was so trustworthy, the warden trusted him with everything.  God was definitely at work.)  BOTH ROPES
  38. 42.  THE CUPBEARER and THE BAKER – Offended Pharaoh.  (We don’t know what happened, but Pharaoh was mad at two of his top servants.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  39. 43.  PHARAOH – Put the cupbearer and the baker into prison. (It’s hard to know if Pharaoh was being fair or not, but God was going to use it.)  BOTH ROPES
  40. 44.  POTIPHAR – Assigned the cupbearer and the baker to Joseph. (Potiphar was in charge of the prison, and he apparently still had some trust in Joseph.) BOTH ROPES
  41. 45.  THE CUPBEARER and THE BAKER – Both had dreams on the same night, but they were sad because they didn’t know what the dreams meant.  (Sometimes God is the One who gives people dreams.) BOTH ROPES
  42. 46.  JOSEPH – Noticed their sadness, asked to hear their dreams and then interpreted them.  He asked the cupbearer to remember him when he returned to Pharaoh. (Joseph had interpreted his own dreams in the past and knew that God could interpret these dreams through him.  In this case, Joseph told them that the cupbearer’s dream meant that Pharaoh would restore him again in three days and that the baker’s dream meant that Pharaoh would kill him in three days. Joseph asked the cupbearer to remember him and get him out of prison.)  BOTH ROPES
  43. 47.  PHARAOH – Restored the cupbearer and killed the baker, just as Joseph had predicted.  (Exactly as Joseph had interpreted the dreams, the cupbearer went back to work, but the baker was killed.) BOTH ROPES
  44. 48.  THE CUPBEARER – Forgot about Joseph for two years.  (Not cool!  Joseph got him free, and he totally forgot about Joseph.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  45. 49.  PHARAOH – Had two dreams that worried him.  (These dreams were definitely from God.  One was about seven fat cows that got eaten by seven skinny cows, and the other was about seven healthy heads of grain that got eaten by seven sick heads of grain.)  BOTH ROPES
  46. 50.  PHARAOH – Called all his magicians and wise men, but no one could interpret the dreams. (God was saving the interpretation for Joseph.)  BOTH ROPES
  47. 51.  THE CUPBEARER – Remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh about his ability to interpret dreams.  (Finally!) BOTH ROPES
  48. 52.  PHAROAH – Called for Joseph to come to interpret his dreams. (It’s just about to get really good!) BOTH ROPES
  49. 53.  JOSEPH – Interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams and gave him advice about how to prepare for the coming famine.  (Joseph didn’t take any of the credit for his ability.  He gave it all to God, and he helped Pharaoh understand that the dreams meant there would be seven years of plenty of food followed by seven years of starvation.)  BOTH ROPES
  50. 54.  PHARAOH – Put Joseph in charge of all of Egypt, gave him his official ring, robes, chain and chariot and gave him a wife. (Pharaoh realized no one would do a better job than Joseph at saving the country, so he put him in charge of everything!) BOTH ROPES
  51. 55.  GOD – Allowed a famine throughout all of the world.  (A famine is a bad thing, but God allowed it to help many people stop believing in false gods and start believing in Him.)  BOTH ROPES
  52. 56.  JOSEPH – Managed the food in Egypt well so that no one had to starve during the famine. (God gave Joseph excellent management skills, and he saved so much food during the good years that there was plenty of food for everyone during the seven years of famine.) BOTH ROPES
  53. 57.  JACOB – Sent Joseph’s brothers to Egypt to get food for the family.  (It wasn’t just the people in Egypt who couldn’t grow food during the famine.  People all over the world started coming to Egypt, because they were the only ones with food.)  BOTH ROPES
  54. 58.  JOSEPH – Recognized his brothers when they came to buy grain but didn’t reveal his identity.  (Joseph knew that he had to test his brothers to make sure that they had changed.) BOTH ROPES
  55. 59.  JOSEPH – Tested his brothers to see if his younger brother, Benjamin, was still alive.  (First of all, Joseph was worried that his younger brother might have been killed or sold into slavery, so he made his brothers go and get him to bring him to Egypt.)  BOTH ROPES
  56. 60.  JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Returned home to get Benjamin, but they had to leave Simeon, who was put into prison.  (To make sure that they would come back, Joseph made them leave Simeon behind.)  BOTH ROPES
  57. 61.  JACOB – Didn’t want to let his sons take Benjamin, but he finally gave in when they got too hungry.  (Jacob was afraid that the ruler (actually Joseph) in Egypt might keep Benjamin, so he didn’t want to let him go.  In the end, though, they needed the food for survival.) FREE WILL ROPE
  58. 62.  JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Returned to Egypt with Benjamin and two times the money needed to pay for food.  (They returned with twice the money, because Joseph had their money put back in their grain sacks before they left the first time.  That shows that he had forgiven them.  He didn’t want their money, and he didn’t want to get even.)  BOTH ROPES
  59. 63.  JOSEPH – Tested his brothers one more time to see if their hearts had changed.  (Now that Joseph saw Benjamin, he was relieved, but he still wondered if his brothers were the same, evil people that they had once been, so he tested them one more time by sending them back with a silver cup hidden in Benjamin’s sack.  After they had left, he sent his official to find out who “stole” his cup.  He wanted to know if they would sacrifice Benjamin for their own safety.)  BOTH ROPES
  60. 64.  JUDAH – Offered to be Joseph’s slave if Joseph would just let Benjamin and the others go. (To Joseph’s surprise and joy, Judah offered to become a slave in order to free Benjamin.  Judah was the brother who led the others to sell Joseph into slavery, but his heart had changed over the years.)  BOTH ROPES
  61. 65.  JOSEPH – Revealed his identity to his brothers and sent them back to get their father and bring him to Egypt. (When he was sure that his brothers had changed, Joseph told them who he was.  They had dinner together, and he told them the whole story.  Then, he sent them back to get the whole family.)  BOTH ROPES
  62. 66.  PHARAOH – Approved for Joseph’s family to live in the best part of Egypt.  (Pharaoh trusted Joseph so much and was so grateful for his wise leadership that he gave Joseph’s family the best land in Egypt to live in.)  BOTH ROPES
  63. 67.  JACOB – Brought his whole family to Egypt.  (70 people in all!)  BOTH ROPES
  64. 68.  JOSEPH – Reunited with his father and family and received his father’s blessing.  (Jacob was so happy to see Joseph alive!  The two had a great reunion.)  BOTH ROPES
  65. 69.  JOSEPH – Forgave his brothers for the terrible things they had done to him. (Joseph really forgave his brothers.  In fact, he told them that he knew they meant to hurt him, but God allowed it to happen so that he could save many lives.) BOTH ROPES
  66. 70.  MOSES – Led the Hebrews out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. (And that wasn’t the end of the story, because Jacob’s family lived in Egypt for 400 years.  During that time, they were protected from the evil religions that were in the country of Canaan, where they had come from, and they were able to grow from 70 people to over 2 million.  When the time was right and the Hebrews were ready, God sent Moses to lead them out of Egypt and back into the Promised Land of Canaan.)  BOTH ROPES
  • CONCLUSION:
  • “Notice how often people in this story did their own free will apart from God’s will.”
  • “But also notice that God always brought events back in line with His will.”
  • “So here’s the answer to how God can allow us to have free will and sin but still accomplish His perfect will in the end…”
  • “No matter what these people did, God would take it and use it for His purposes.”
  • “Even when they sinned, He turned it around and made it work for good.”
  • “In the end, God brings everything in line with His will.”  (Grab the end of the Free Will rope.  Then go to the “eternity” end of the red rope, and pull on the Free Will rope until it straightens out right next to the red rope.  This shows how God brings everything into alignment with His purposes in the end.)
  • “You’ve probably noticed that the ‘God’s Will’ rope is red.  That’s to symbolize the blood of Jesus, that has the power to bring our Free Will into alignment with God’s Will.”
  • “Satan is a bigger trickster than Jacob, Rebekah and Laban put together, and he constantly tries to get us to pull away from God’s Will.”  (Gently pull several of your volunteers back away from the red rope as they hold onto the “Free Will” rope.)
  • “But no matter what he tricks us into doing, God offers to help us line up with His will if we will just trust in the blood of Jesus.”  (Pull the ropes together again.)
  • “When you accept Jesus’ sacrifice of His own life on the cross as payment for your sins, God brings everything in line with His will.”
  • “He will take all the bad and sinful choices you made and use them in a positive way.”
  • “He will take all the terrible things other people did to you and use them in a positive way.”
  • “And even though you can still make choices that take you away from God when you are a believer…”  (Pull one of your volunteers and the “Free Will” rope away from the red rope.)
  • “If you ask God for forgiveness, He will bring those bad choices back into line with His will.”  (Pull the ropes together again.)
  • “Romans 8:28 says that God will use ALL things for the good of those who love Him.”
  • “God is pretty amazing, don’t you think?”  (Acknowledge responses, thank your volunteers and allow them to be seated.)

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