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?



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?


Please begin by reading about Joshua’s life-changing encounter in Joshua 5:13-15, then choose some of these questions to help you process the passage and apply the message that Steve Hong preached to New Hope this past Sunday. You can find that message here.


Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. What stood out to you from this past Sunday’s sermon? Did anything confuse you? What struck you as especially helpful or convicting?


  1. Look closely at the questions that Joshua asks and the responses he gets from the man with the sword (the pre-incarnate Christ himself!). What does this teach you about how you should pray?


  1. Are your requests to God generally more concerned with your own desires and comfort, or with God’s glory and purposes? How can we seek God’s glory and his purpose in prayer?


  1. Serving “the commander of the army of the LORD” involves engaging in his mission to rescue people who are lost in their sins. How are you praying for and seeking the salvation of unbelievers in your family, your circle of friends, your neighborhood, or elsewhere?


  1. If Jesus Christ is “the commander of the army of the LORD,” how should that affect the way we view and respond to his commands? What has the Lord of Hosts commanded you to do that you are hesitant to do?


  1. The Old Testament calls God “The Lord of Hosts” over 200 times. Look at some of the Psalms that use this name for God, and read them in their context. What do these passages tell you about God?

Psalm 24:10

Psalm 46:7-11

Psalm 84:8-12


  1. Are you discouraged or overwhelmed in your fight against sin and against “spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6)? Please read Joshua 6. How does this historical event shed light on our own battles if we are enlisted in the army led by Jesus our commander? How should this affect the way we view our own sins? (Also read Romans 8:31-39!)


  1. As you see Joshua’s experience with the army of the Lord, what insight into your heart/life does it give you? (e.g., What are the motives of your life goals?  Where does God fit in?  What kinds of questions can you ask yourself as you pray?)


  1. Joshua fell onto his knees when he realized who he was confronting. He also offered complete obedience, even though it meant putting himself and his own plans at risk. Have you done the same? What would it take for you to do the same?


In Genesis 38 the story of Joseph’s family continues with more family dysfunction, lies, abuse, and cold-blooded sin. In some ways it’s a horribly tragic episode, but it’s also a story of courage and of God’s grace.


After years of abuse and neglect, a woman named Tamar finally emerges victorious. After years of violence, cruelty, and guilt, a man named Judah is finally called to account for his sins. In fact, he may be starting down a long road toward true repentance. And in all of this, God is steadily pushing forward his plan to rescue, heal, and bring peace, not just through Joseph but, ultimately, through Jesus Christ.

Here are some questions to help you process and respond to Genesis 38: Read the rest of this entry »

January 2018 marks the beginning of a new NHF sermon series on the life of Joseph. We’re calling it “Joseph,” but it’s not really the story of just one man; it’s the story of a family and the epic history of a nation. God willing, as we study this narrative, we’ll glean wisdom and insight into many aspects of life. More than that, we’ll see that woven through the entire narrative is an even more important plot line: God’s plan to rescue the world through someone greater than Joseph, a man named Jesus, the Son of God himself. 

This past Sunday we were introduced to Joseph’s family and, well, it’s a train wreck. Thankfully, God likes to use messed up families to accomplish his perfect purposes! That was good news for Joseph, and it’s good news for us.  Read the rest of this entry »