SUBJECT:GOD’S CALLING IN THE OLD TESTAMENT: God Called Joseph (1 of 5)
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 37:1-36
AIM: 1) To instill in the children a desire to be well-pleasing to their parents and to God and 2) to help the children see that jealousy and hatred can result in evil and harmful acts.
MEMORY VERSES TO CHOOSE FROM: Ephesians 6:1 (Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.); Colossians 1:10a (To walk worthily of the Lord to please Him in all things,…); James 3:16 (For where jealousy and selfish ambition are, there disorder and every worthless practice are.); 1 Corinthians 13:4b (Love is kind; it is not jealous.)
SONG SUGGESTIONS: 7603 (We Love To Please); 9219 BSS David, Song 19 (I’d Like To Honor You); 3408 (I Forgive, You Forgive); 3115 (How Do You Obey God’s Word?); 9527 BSS Vessels Unto Honor, Song 7 (No One Likes To Be Left Out)
CRAFT IDEAS: Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors: prepare scraps of paper or fabric (e.g. felt fabric) in different colors or patterns, which the children can cut and paste into a multi-colored patchwork on a sheet of oaktag with the outline of a coat.
BACKGROUND: Jacob was called by God, just as his father Isaac and his grandfather Abraham had been called. God also called Joseph, the eleventh son of Jacob, when he was a young shepherd. In the weeks to come we will see how Joseph passed through many injustices, temptations and sufferings which would train and prepare him for the work that God had called him to do. At this point in time, Jacob’s twelfth son, Benjamin, was born but Rachel died while giving birth to him (Gen. 35:16-20). Jacob’s father, Isaac, also died and Esau and Jacob buried him (Gen. 35:28-29).
CONTENT: Joseph was born in Jacob’s old age. He was the son of Rachel, Jacob’s beloved wife. When he was 17 years old, Joseph was shepherding his father’s flock with some of his brothers. When he returned, he reported his brothers’ evil deeds to his father.
Jacob loved Joseph more than all his sons and made him a coat of many colors. When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father loved him more, they were jealous. They hated Joseph and could not speak peaceably to him.
One day Joseph had a dream and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. In the dream, his brothers’ sheaves of grain bowed down to his sheaf of grain. The dream revealed that Joseph would one day rule over his brothers. Then he had a second dream and told it to his brothers. This dream was about the sun, moon and eleven stars (representing his father, mother and eleven brothers) bowing down to him. He told the dream to his father and his brothers, and his father rebuked him. Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him but Jacob kept these things in his heart.
One day Jacob sent Joseph to see how his brothers were doing as they were shepherding their father’s flock near Shechem. Joseph obeyed his father even though he knew that his brothers did not like him and were unkind to him. Joseph went seeking his brothers and found them in Dothan. When his brothers saw Joseph coming from a distance, they conspired against him to put him to death. They wanted to slay him and throw him into one of the pits and say that a wild animal had devoured him. The oldest brother Reuben heard the evil plan and wanted to save Joseph. He persuaded his brothers not to kill Joseph but to just put him in the pit. Reuben planned to rescue him later and return him to their father.
When Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his coat of many colors and threw him into the pit. They sat down to eat food and saw a company of Ishmaelites going down to Egypt. Judah suggested that they should not kill their brother, but rather sell him to the Ishmaelites. His brothers consented and they sold Joseph to the Midianite traders for 20 pieces of silver. They brought Joseph into Egypt.
Reuben returned to the pit and when he saw that Joseph wasn’t there he became very distressed and asked his brothers what he should do. They then took Joseph’s coat of many colors and dipped it in the blood of a goat and had it brought it to their father. Jacob recognized the coat and said that a wild beast must have devoured Joseph. Jacob mourned for his son many days and would not be comforted. Meanwhile, Joseph was taken to Egypt and sold again, this time to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard.
SUGGESTED APPLICATIONS TO CHOOSE FROM:
What made Joseph a pleasing child to his father? He was obedient and obeyed quickly, even though it may have been difficult to do so. Ask the children what their attitude and response are when asked to do something that they do not wish to do. Have the children give examples of different ways that they can please their parents.
This story of Joseph and his brothers shows an alarming scene of what jealousy and hatred can result in. Joseph’s brothers of flesh and blood actually wanted to kill him. When we examine Joseph, we find nothing sinful that was deserving of such harsh treatment from his brothers. His brothers hated him because of his favor with God and with their father. We need to see the harm and hurt that jealousy can cause, especially when it overflows into actions. When feelings of hatred and jealousy arise in our hearts, we need to ask the Lord to forgive us. We can ask the Lord to take away these feelings and replace them with love and kindness toward the ones we are jealous of.
Adapted from the Church in New York City’s Children’s Meeting lessons: 3/06/94; 2/20/00; 2/19/06; 2/19/12