Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. For the past few weeks, we have been studying the life of Joseph and his family. Up to this point, how has the life of Joseph and the hearing of God’s word preached affected or changed how you view your day to day life circumstances?
  2. Read Chapter 42 together as a group. What are some details that you noticed this time around that are particularly striking to you in light of the sermon last week? What are some things you would have wanted to know more about?
  3. The first point of the sermon addressed the honesty and lies of the brothers. While at first glance innocuous, the answer the brothers gave Pharaoh carried much more weight in light of who they were really speaking to. What are some ways you yourself feel convicted of the manner and way in which we speak to others, while God knows our every thought and deed. What is the mercy of God given to us in these types of situations?
  4. Secondly, we looked at the mercy of God in our guilt. All of us at one time or another have felt guilty or covered up sin. What are some ways God has spoken to you or taught you in your guilt, and what has been uplifting yet perhaps painful instruction God has done for you in his mercy? Perhaps and if you are feeling the conviction of God, what is some guilt or sin you need to be forgiven of even now? What is the hope and mercy that is held out to us in Christ? 
  5. Thirdly and finally, God’s mercy in our ignorance. Tons of things have happened and are happening that have brought us to the place where we are now. God’s mercy is new each morning. Do you struggle with this knowledge? What are some things in the sermon that you found helpful, confusing, or need clarifying in regards to this point? What comfort do you feel in knowing that God is in control of all things and is working all things for your good?

 

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This past week we reached a turning point in the story of Joseph and his family. The Hebrew son who was framed and forgotten is finally remembered and redeemed. In Chapter 41, Joseph is not just freed from prison; he is elevated to the place of ruler, second only to Pharaoh in the Egyptian empire.

Interestingly, Joseph doesn’t get to this position of honor and authority by grasping for it, or by leveraging his abilities. Instead he gets there by continuing to serve people and God. He exercises patience, not self will. He displays meekness, not ambition. He humbles himself, and God exalts him (Matthew 23:12; James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6). Then God uses him to bring rescue to countless people.

The Lord has been active in Joseph’s story at every step. In fact, he has even used every event in Joseph’s life to transform this once arrogant boy into a servant who leads from a place of utter dependence on his God.

So much can be learned from this episode in the life of Joseph, but on Sunday we focused on the sovereign Lord who stands at the center of the story and thought about how he calls us to respond and relate to himself. Here are some questions to help you respond to that message.  Read the rest of this entry »

This past Sunday brought us to Episode 4 in the story of Joseph. Here are three points that guided us through. Because God is present with him…

  1. Joseph serves others in spite of his past hurts.
  2. Joseph still believes in the power and trustworthiness of God.
  3. Joseph waits for deliverance and justice.

Please read Genesis 40 and use some of the following questions to help you respond to the chapter and to Sunday’s message.  Read the rest of this entry »

Last Sunday we read Episode 3 in the story of Joseph. We saw a 17 year old young man who had been jumped by his brothers, kidnapped, and trafficked to a foreign land, where he’s bought by a government official. His father thinks he is dead. No one is looking for him. Yet the narrator tells us 4 times in this chapter that “the LORD was with Joseph.” Even in this place of alienation and isolation, the intimate, relational, covenant presence of God was a reality for him. That means that God was not just “there”; God was there to protect, comfort, guide, teach, and use Joseph.

 

Here are the three points that guided us through Episode 3:

  1. God is present in the successes and prosperity. (v. 1-6a)
  2. God is present in the lowliness and disappointments. (v. 6b-21)
  3. God is present to accomplish HIS purposes. (v. 22-23)

 

And here are two points of application (or takeaways) we gleaned from this episode:

  1. God’s presence frees you to work and serve where you are.
  2. God’s presence frees you to resist temptation and pursue holiness.

 

Questions for reflection and discussion

Please read Genesis 39 before considering these questions.

  1. If God is omnipresent (he is everywhere), what does it mean that “the LORD was with Joseph”? See also Matthew 28:18-20; Revelation 21:3; Psalm 23:4; Deuteronomy 31:8. What do these passages teach you about what it means for God to be present with someone?

 

  1. Have your circumstances or experiences ever caused you to doubted God’s presence with you and for you? When things are going badly, do you ever think, “I’m trying to obey God and follow his will, why is nothing going my way?” If so, what errors does this reveal about the way you understand God’s presence or how you understand the Gospel? Please read 1 Peter 2:20-22. How doe this verse help you to understand your suffering? How does Psalm 23:4 help?

 

  1. Do you struggle to find contentment and purpose in your current circumstances? How can a deeper awareness of God’s sovereign presence in your life help you to work and serve where you are right now, rather than pining for a future reality?

 

  1. What opportunities do you have to work and serve God and others right now? (Think about contexts like your household, your workplace, your church.) In what ways is God using your current areas of work and service to bless others? In what ways might God be using your current areas of work and service to prepare you for future areas of work and service?

 

  1. What do you look to most often for motivation to resist temptation? Think about specific temptations you commonly face. Perhaps it’s temptation to laziness, to impatience or anger, to jealousy, to lust, to judgmentalism and harsh criticism. Maybe it’s temptation to anxiety. Whatever it is, in what ways might your go-to motivations prove inadequate in the long run? How can a deeper awareness of the loving, providing presence of your God help you to better resist these temptations?

 

  1. Although Joseph was a slave and then a prisoner, in what ways was he actually more free than the man who imprisoned him or the woman who sexually assaulted him? What does this show you about the freedom that is yours if you are a child of God?