Relevant Passages: Genesis 30-50
The story of Joseph is one of the longest and most dramatic continuous narratives in Scripture. Key experiences in his life suggest tantalizing topics for discussion and exploration:
- Parents, children, siblings: Joseph’s relationship with his father and his brothers. Though the fact that Joseph grew up in a polygamous home makes it more difficult to draw parallels to our modern experience, what cautions, warnings, and insights do his early years suggest for us today?
- Arrogance and destiny: Joseph’s relationship to his dreams of destiny. How should one deal with a sense of destiny or calling so that it inspires instead of irritates?
- Exile and courage: Joseph’s exile from family. What enabled Joseph to keep his vision intact even though he was a slave in a foreign land? Are there clues here that can help more ordinary mortals who do not has such a high calling as his?
- Temptation and Resistance: Joseph and his master’s wife. With each successive disaster, or potential disaster, Joseph adheres to the right. Is his story too good to be true? Too good to be helpful, or is there simply good inspiration here to go and do likewise?
- False accusation, neglect, and hope: Joseph in prison. How can Joseph’s prison experience help us to keep on keeping on when the outlook is dreary?
- Power, position, and compassion: Joseph as ruler over Egypt. Joseph used his position as ruler to benefit the people and the nation. Was he a benevolent dictator? Is there still a place for such dictator’s today?
- Forgiveness and providence: Joseph and his brothers. Though he had the power to annihilate his brothers, Joseph chose to forgive them, seeing in the whole experience God’s providential leading: “Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good” (Gen. 50:20). Is such a generous attitude a natural endowment or the result of long hours of prayer? Or can it be either one or both? Do some people simply forgive more readily than others, a genetically endowed gift? If so, how should we relate to people who have difficulty forgiving?