2 – Understanding God’s Intention Behind Pain
Key Scripture: The Story of Joseph – Genesis 37-50
“Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors, But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.” – Genesis 37:3-4
“Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.” – Genesis 37:5-11
“They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him…” – Genesis 37:18
“the Lord was with Joseph…” – Genesis 39:2, 21, and 23
“But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” – Genesis 50:19-21
There is intent in God behind the content of life.
1. Rely on God’s sufficient love and grace.
“Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.” The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” – Genesis 41:51-52
“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” – Psalm 63:1-3
“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
2. Realize that God wants to use you to impact your family.
“And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” – Genesis 45:5-8
Action steps to help you live out these truths: (taken from Romans 12)
- Pray “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble and keep on praying.” – Romans 12:12
- Seek peace “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” – Romans 12:18
- Choose a different response “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor… Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” – Romans 12:9-10,14
1. Have you ever wished for a different family/parents? Or perhaps thought someone else’s parents were better? In what ways?
2. What can we learn from the story of Joseph?
3. Do you believe that “there is intent in God behind the content of life”? Why or why not?
4. Read Romans 12:9-18. Which phrases stand out to you as you think about your relationship with your family/parents?
5. How might God be calling you to pray for, seek peace or choose a different response in the life of your family this week?