The great biblical story of Joseph has been told for nearly 4000 years. It asks: Where is God When Life Isn’t Fair?
Look at Joseph’s life at age 17:
- Favored excessively by his father
- Hated by his 10 older brothers, who had a history of violence and treachery.
- Thrown into a pit in the wilderness
- Sold into slavery and never returned home again.
- His parents were given proof he was dead and no search was instigated
Later, when it appeared his life was improving, he was…
- Stalked by someone powerful and vengeful
- Falsely accused and imprisoned
- Abandoned in jail without friends or defenders
- Forgotten by people who owed him a favor.
To any observer, it would appear that God had abandoned Joseph.
But invisibly God was working behind the scenes to accomplish several things:
- To make sure that his great promises to Abraham would be carried down through the generations, no matter how deceitful, manipulative, and cunning family members were.
- To change the hearts of the people involved, especially in this story Joseph, Judah, and Jacob their father.
- To save the country of Egypt, surrounding nations, and the children of Israel from a widespread famine.
- To set up a story that goes far beyond events of 4000 years ago. It shows God’s involvement in human history and his desire to provide, care for, and love his people, as shown by the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ to save the world.
If you prefer to have a guided study, this beautiful 14-page pamphlet is available. It gives a lot of information about biblical times, meanings of Hebrew words, historical facts, as well as discussion questions.
This is the best Bible study our small group has done in the past two years.
- What was the coat/robe of many colors?
- Why is the story of Judah and Tamar right in the middle of the story of Joseph?
- Why was Joseph favored over his brothers?
- What is the meaning of the term “bad report” and why is it important?
- What is the purpose in suffering?
- Why are the Twelve Tribes in the Bible different from the Twelve Sons of Israel?
- What is the significance of the six dreams in the story?
- What was astonishing about Joseph’s claim “Do not interpretations belong to God?”
- What was the purpose of each of Joseph’s tests?
- What was the significance of a verbal promise in the ancient world of that time?