Lesson Focus Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Hebrews 13:5b - I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Joseph the Interpreter of Dreams (Genesis 40:1 - 41:36) Though the Egyptian magicians claimed credit and glory for themselves, Joseph consistently gave all glory to his God for all of the many blessings he had received. This included his ability to interpret dreams.
Again Joseph is wronged when Pharaoh's chief butler is restored to his position, but forgets all about him. He languishes another two full years in prison, and yet we are given no indication that he is anything but faithful to his God. It is often a relatively easy thing to remain faithful during times of brief hardship. Joseph here gives example of patient, humble service in the face of prolonged, terrible, and unjust affliction.
Joseph had to shave his beard prior to appearing before Pharaoh. To come before Pharaoh with a beard would have been an offense. The Egyptians allowed their beards to grow only when in mourning, while the Hebrews shaved their beards only when in mourning.
It took courage for Joseph to tell Pharaoh that God will give him an answer to his dreams since Pharaohs typically regarded themselves as gods.
Joseph as Second in Command in Egypt (Genesis 41:37-57) Because of his demonstration of wisdom in interpreting Pharaoh's dreams, Joseph was given a position second only to Pharaoh himself. (We might compare his office to Britain's Prime Minister, who is subject only to the King or Queen.)
God gave Joseph not only the ability to interpret dreams, but also the wisdom to rule Egypt. Thus Joseph was finally allowed to see why God had allowed such hardship to come into his life.
Countless lives were saved through his actions, most notably the life of his family, through whom the Savior would be born.
Bible Story Joseph Interprets Dreams Genesis 41
Read from your Bible. Ask students to find it in a Bible too. Those that can read can follow along. Choose the passages you would like to read aloud. Use visuals to help tell the story.
Joseph was in jail. He stayed in jail TWO YEARS! During that time he loved God with all his heart.
One day the king had a dream. No one could figure out what it meant. Suddenly the drink taster remembered that Joseph told him exactly what would happen to him—two years ago.
The king sent for Joseph and told him the dreams. The king shared how he dreamed about 7 fat cows that grazed by the river. Then, he saw 7 ugly, thin cows that came out of the river and ate the 7 fat cows. This dream was puzzling to the king.
Next, the king told Joseph about another dream he had that night. He saw 7 heads of grain on one stalk. They were healthy and good. Then, 7 thin and dry heads of grain on a stalk eat the 7 healthy heads of grain.
Joseph boldly told the king that he could not interpret his dreams but God would help him understand them. Joseph told the king that there would be 7 years of lots of food then 7 years without much food (there would be a famine.)
When the king heard Joseph’s answers, he knew that God had brought him to help their country. He put a beautiful robe on Joseph and gave him a ring and gold necklace. He even got to ride in a chariot! The king put Joseph in charge of collecting extra grain for the hard times that would come.
Sure enough there were 7 great years. During that time, Joseph collected the grain and stored it in warehouses like silos. There was so much grain that they could not measure how much they had!
During that time, Joseph got married and had 2 sons. He named the first one Manasseh which means “God has helped me forget my problems” and the second one was named Ephraim which means “God has been good to me through my sufferings.”
After the 7 good years came, 7 hard years came, just as God showed Joseph. The famine was so severe that the people cried out to the king to help them. The king told them to come and receive help through Joseph. Everyone came to Egypt to buy food for their families.
During all the hard times Joseph went through, he was never bitter or mad at God. He even told the king about God! Joseph trusted God in good times and hard times. God took care of him.
In our life, we may have friends or family that are going through hard times. We can help them see that God is still with us and cares for us during the hard times. Just as God took care of Joseph, He will help us through the hard times.
Another thing to remember is that Joseph gave God the credit for understanding the dreams. He knew that his help came from God.
Prayer Dear Lord Jesus, we know we are tempted to sin daily. Please help us to overcome those temptations and not sin. We also know that we will have troubles and hard times in our lives. We thank You for always being with us, ready to help us in those hard times. We also thank You for dying on the cross for us to forgive all of our sins. In Your name we pray, Amen.
Discussion Questions: 1. What was Joseph able to do for the baker and wine server in prison? (He was able to interpret their dreams – the wine taster would be free again and hired back and the baker would be killed.) 2. What did Joseph ask of the baker and wine server after he told them what the dreams meant? (He asked them to remember him and tell the Pharaoh so that he could be let out of prison.) 3. Did they remember? (No.) 4. When Pharaoh started having dreams, who did he go to? Could they explain the dreams? (Everyone around him, but no one could help. Then the wine taster remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh about him.) 5. What were the dreams of the Pharaoh about? (Skinny cows and fat cows, full heads of grain, and skinny heads of grain.) 6. When Joseph was asked if he could tell what the dreams meant, what did he say? (I can’t explain your dreams, but God can.) 7. What did the dreams mean? (That there would be 7 years of good crops, and 7 years of famine and bad crops in Egypt. Pharaoh should plan ahead for the 7 bad years now.) 8. What did Pharaoh do for Joseph? (He was so impressed that he made him second in command in Egypt, under only the Pharaoh so that food could be stored for the bad years.) 9. How did Joseph’s time in prison turn out to be a blessing for the people of Egypt? (Discuss together. Help the children understand that sometimes we think things in life are not good and don’t understand why they must be that way, only to find out later that God meant them for good.)
Bible Challenge Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Hebrews 13:5b - I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Read this passage from your Bible. Ask students to locate it in a Bible too. Help them learn this verse.
Look up the following passages. Discuss how these passages apply to Joseph and his experiences in Egypt. Then explain in a few sentences each how these passages also apply to us today in our lives.
Closing Prayer Lord Jesus, I know You are always with me, guiding me, protecting me, and making all things work out for my good. Please give me strength to overcome temptation, for without You I am helpless against the attacks of the devil. Please help me to give all glory to You for the gifts and abilities with which You have blessed me. Please forgive me all my sins and keep me forever as Your child and heir. In Jesus saving name. Amen.
Game Leaping the Nile
What You’ll Need: Yarn
What You’ll Do Place 2 long pieces of yarn on the floor about 1 foot apart to represent the Nile. Have the children try and jump the Nile without falling in. Move one piece of yarn farther, making the river wider and have the kids try again. Repeat several more times, making the river wider each time until none of the children can make it across.
Talk About It: Tell the children that today’s story takes place in Egypt, which has one of the largest rivers in the world called The Nile.
God gave Joseph a very special ability and He helped him to use it to help others. Because he was willing to help others, he became a ruler in Egypt. God gives each one of us special abilities to help others. God made you just the way he wanted to make you. You are different than every other person. What matters the most is that you use the special abilities that God gave you to help others just like Joseph did.
Closing Activity Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Hebrews 13:5b - I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Pray: Dear God, thank you for loving me and taking care of me. Thank you for all the people who are a blessing to me. Thank you for sending Jesus to take away my sins. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.