Joseph, Master of Dreams

Error message

  • Deprecated function: unserialize(): Passing null to parameter #1 ($data) of type string is deprecated in css_injector_init() (line 53 of /home/krwester/
  • Deprecated function: unserialize(): Passing null to parameter #1 ($data) of type string is deprecated in css_injector_init() (line 53 of /home/krwester/
Genesis 37-41
Lesson Number: 

Lesson 11

Joseph, Master of Dreams

(Genesis 37-41)

Copr. 2022, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: Have you experienced difficult times in your life and you could not understand why God allowed it? Or, have you experienced difficult times and you understood how your lack of emotional intelligence played a big role in your problems? In our study today, the troubles of Joseph appear largely the result of poor decisions by him and his father. Despite that, God does great things through Joseph. Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and learn more about trusting God!

  1. Snitch
    1. Read Genesis 37:2-4. There is much emotion living inside these three verses. Is it proper to report on the failures of your co-workers?
      1. Read Proverbs 17:9 and Proverbs 9:8. Does this give us some guidance on reporting co-workers?
    2. Look again at Genesis 37:3. If you have a direct line to the top boss, does it make you more likely to report co-workers?
    3. Look again at Genesis 37:4. Is the attitude of the other sons totally the fault of Jacob (Israel)? (The father is not helping anything, but Joseph is taking advantage of his relationship.)
      1. How would you like to be in Joseph’s situation? Would you report bad behavior as “payback” for the hate?
  2. Early Dreams
    1. Read Genesis 37:5-7. How do you think Joseph reported his dream? Modestly? Or, with pride and arrogance?
      1. Why would he report this dream?
      2. Why would God give him this dream?
    2. Read Genesis 37:8. Are you surprised by the brothers’ reaction? Do you think Joseph was surprised?
      1. If Joseph was not surprised, what was he thinking?
    3. Read Genesis 37:9-10. What motivates Joseph to tell his brothers this dream? (Joseph has no common sense. No emotional intelligence. He is aware that this will do nothing good for his relationship with his brothers.)
    4. Read Genesis 37:11. The report that the brothers were “jealous” is much different than the brothers simply hating Joseph and not speaking to him. What would make the brothers jealous? (They would be jealous only if they thought this might come true. They were concerned Joseph would rule them.)
      1. Did Jacob believe the dream?
  3. The Supervisor
    1. Read Genesis 37:12-14. Remember that Joseph is younger than any of the brothers tending the flock. Why would Jacob choose him to report on the job done by the older brothers?
      1. Is Joseph beginning to rule?
      2. Note the location. Does this ring a bell in your mind? (Read Genesis 34:24-26. This is where two of Joseph’s brothers killed all the males in the town. Jacob knows he is sending Joseph to killers who hate him. He probably cannot bring himself to admit this truth.)
    2. Joseph catches up with his older brothers. Read Genesis 37:18-20. Are the brothers still killers?
      1. Do they believe that Joseph’s dreams might come true? (Thinking they might come true is a motive for killing.)
    3. Read Genesis 37:21-22 and Genesis 37:25-29. Not all the brothers are killers. What sets Reuben apart from the rest? (He is the only one who wanted to rescue Joseph and send him back home.)
    4. Read Genesis 37:32-35. Is Jacob right that it would be a “fierce animal” that would do such a thing?
      1. Imagine you are one of the brothers and you are attempting to comfort your father?
  4. The Slave
    1. Read Genesis 37:36, Genesis 39:1, and Genesis 39:5-7. If you were in Joseph’s place, how great a temptation is this? Or, is this no temptation at all, but rather a danger to avoid without getting hurt?
    2. Read Genesis 39:8-9. On what grounds does Joseph reject the wife’s advances? (He cites both a loyalty to his master and a loyalty to God.)
    3. Read Genesis 39:11-15. What motivates the wife to tell this lie? Why would she want to harm Joseph?
      1. Is the motivation demonic? That is, are supernatural forces out to harm Joseph?
      2. There is a movement in the United States that argues in situations like this all women are to be believed. Or, is this situation different?
  5. The Prisoner
    1. Read Genesis 39:19-20. Is there any reason to think that Potiphar doubts his wife’s story? (He puts Joseph in a special prison, where I suspect the worst criminals were not held.)
    2. Read Genesis 39:21-22. The Bible tells us that God showed Joseph “steadfast love.” Is that how you would view your situation if you were Joseph? (Joseph has gone from being the favored son of a rich and powerful man, to a slave who is in prison.)
      1. There are parallels between the lives of Joseph and Jesus. Both suffer as part of a journey to save others. Do you think that Joseph understands this? Is he angry about his youthful arrogance in sharing his dreams - dreams which put him on the path to slavery?
    3. Pharaoh’s cupbearer and his baker are tossed in prison with Joseph for some period of time. Read Genesis 40:9-13 and Genesis 40:16-19. In three days these dreams, as interpreted by Joseph came true. Read Genesis 40:14-15. What opportunity does Joseph seek in this situation?
      1. Is this realistic? Is Pharaoh going to be concerned about justice for a Hebrew slave? (Read Genesis 40:23. It is even worse, the cupbearer forgets Joseph.)
    4. Two years later, Pharaoh has a dream about cows. Read Genesis 41:8-10 and Genesis 41:12-13. What if the cupbearer had not previously forgotten about Joseph? What if Pharaoh had intervened and released Joseph from prison. How would that have impacted the situation here?
    5. Read Genesis 41:14-16. Would you be tempted to leave God out of your response? What does Joseph giving glory to God say about him after all of the discouraging events in his life?
    6. Read Genesis 41:25-30. If you were Joseph, and I told you that you could skip all the terrible things that have happened to you since your trip to supervise your brothers, but the result would be that tens of thousands of people would starve, would you be satisfied with the path of your life?
    7. Read Genesis 41:33-36. You have just been pulled out of prison and placed before Pharaoh. Would you go beyond the dream and suggest to Pharaoh a strategy for the future famine? (The Holy Spirit must have inspired Joseph to continue. Otherwise, it seems like arrogance.)
      1. Do you think that Joseph had himself in mind as that “discerning and wise man?”
    8. Friend, this story teaches us how God will rescue us from our own lack of discretion. It teaches us how we need to trust God with the big picture in life. If we trust Him in our suffering, He will be faithful in His own time! Will you, by the power of the Holy Spirit, determine to trust God?
  6. Next week: Joseph, Prince of Egypt.