Questions for week beginning October 14th

During our current sermon series ‘Joseph: The BIG Picture Guy’ we are posting weekly questions to help you think about the scripture passage. On Week 4 on Sunday 14th October we looked at Genesis 40. Please use some or all of the following questions as you consider the scripture and sermon:

1. V1-4 introduces 4 characters. All have different perspectives and attitudes. Imagine how each one of them may have been feeling.

2. V7 Joseph asks ‘why do you look so sad today?’ His compassionate and sensitive nature are shown by a direct and meaningful question.
How easy do we find it to ask such questions of others? Do you think it is a good thing?

3. V8 Joseph is clear that interpretation belongs to God. He does not claim to own it and points others in God’s ways through his answer. Dreams of the future are also gifts from God and God gives Joseph the gift of interpretation, so Joseph is using the talent/gift God has given him even in bad circumstances.

What Gifts has God given you? How are you using them? (Everyone has strengths and gifts but sometimes they get forgotten, become unused or are overlooked).
How well do we serve others, using our gifts, and happily receive no recognition?

4. The dreams in this chapter are the breaking in of God’s plans and show that Pharaoh was not as powerful as others thought him to be. He was limited as he could not discern what his own dreams meant. Joseph was able to discern and interpret their meaning.
How important is spiritual discernment for Christians today? Knowing God’s will in situations. How do we practise it? How can we get better at it?

5. V14 we see Joseph’s personal story and struggle as he pleads with the cup bearer to remember him and help release him from the prison. He is God’s man but he still needs others to help him.

As Joseph did we also live in a place between knowing God’s love, that he is all powerful and good (and that we are saved through Jesus which Joseph didn’t know), and yet on this earth we are still in need, still suffer and life is not always good.

This is a ‘Big Issue’ for us today. Living in that in-between place, what do you think we need to practise as we wait?

6. What can we learn from the following scriptures about times of difficulty? Psalm 13, Isaiah 49:13-16, Luke 12:4-7.

7. All of us have times of waiting for one thing or another, there are many examples of waiting in the bible – Sarah for Isaac, Hannah for Samuel, David’s time after he was anointed and before he became King, Paul in prison. Can you think of others?

How well do you wait? What character traits do we need to wait well?

Taking Stock/Review
After 4 weeks of this series what character trait do you consider God is calling you to work on in your own life for this season of your life and circumstances? How are you going to go about it? If possible share it with someone who you can be accountable to for its development.

This week’s questions

During our current sermon series ‘Joseph: The BIG Picture Guy’ we are posting weekly questions to help you think about the scripture passage. Week 3 on Sunday 7th October was ‘Living with integrity” and we looked at Genesis 39:1-23. We invite you to use some or all of the following questions as you consider the scripture and sermon:

1. V2 & v20 ‘the Lord was with Joseph’. Do you think that others can see the Lord is with you in your life? How do you think you demonstrate this in your daily living?

2. V9 Joseph resists Potiphar’s wife and exclaims ‘How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?’. How do we recognise temptation for what it is and know that certain actions would be against what God teaches?

3. What are your biggest temptations? How do you deal with them? Do you try to justify them? If so why do you think you do this? If not do you think it doesn’t matter if we give in? After all God loves you?

4. Do you think it benefited Joseph to resist Potiphar’s wife taking into account where he ended up for resisting?

5. Look at Jesus temptation in the wilderness……consider what can we learn about living through difficult situations and resisting temptations for ourselves? Matt 4:1-11. (James 1:13, Matt 6:13, Matt 26:41)

6. How do you think Joseph felt about being in prison? Have you ever suffered injustice, been falsely accused? How did you deal with the emotions? Reflect on times when you have felt you were in a pit/prison. Did you know God was with you?

7. Consider what it means to live with integrity as a follower of Jesus.

8. James 1:2-4. ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.’
Temptation is a fact of life and it is good to have a plan to deal with it when it happens. What is your strategy for dealing with temptation?

9. Other scriptures to discuss or use for personal meditation: Luke 11:4, Matthew 26:41, 1 Corinthians 10:13, 1 Timothy 6:9.

This week’s questions

During our current sermon series on Joseph we are posting questions to help you think about the scripture passage. For Week 2 on Sunday 30th September we looked at Genesis 37:12-36. We invite you to use some or all of the following questions as you consider this week’s scripture and sermon.

  1. What part of your own ‘story’ might cause others to say of you, as the Christian martyr Stephen said of Joseph: “God was with him…” (See Acts 7:9)
  2. Do you think Joseph ‘had it coming’? Even if his actions did not justify the violence he suffered, had he been wise, or righteous, to say and do the things he did? (See Matthew 23:27; Matthew 26:62-66)
  3. V15 finds Joseph wandering in search of his brothers and a man asks him…’what are you looking for?’ Think about this in relation to your own life. How would you answer the question? What are you looking for, seeking, in your life?
  4. The brothers manifest their hatred and hypocrisy in this part of the story; what are the dangers in not allowing God to confront these things in our own lives? (See James 1:19-20; 1 Peter 2:1).
  5. Why do you think the author records the involvement of those he names as Ishmaelites and Midianites? (Genesis 37:28) Was the fact that they were passing by on a trading trip to Egypt just another ‘accident of history’? Is it relevant that these two tribal groups could also trace their ancestry back to “sons of Abraham”? (See Genesis 16:15 and 25:2).
  6. Imagine you are Joseph, rejected and abused by your brothers. How do you think he felt? What reactions and emotions would you expect him to feel? Have you ever been a victim of injustice or know anyone who has?
  7. What qualities do you need to develop in your character in order to stay close to God whatever happens?

This week’s questions

Throughout our current sermon series on Joseph we are posting questions to help you think about the scripture passage. For Sunday 23rd September we looked at Genesis 37:1-11. Please use some or all of the following questions as you consider this week’s scripture and sermon.
• Imagine you were one of Joseph’s brothers. How would you have felt about his dreams?
• What did Jacob do that harmed the brothers’ relationship? How do you think he could have made amends?
• If you could change something in your family……what would it be?
• How do you think God uses dreams today?
• Where is God working in your life even though you cannot see him?
• In verse 11 it says, ‘his father kept the matter in mind’. What do you think was meant by this and why? What will you ‘keep in mind’ from today’s scripture? What does God want you to ponder on, work on that is significant for you?
• How do you see the church family and what is its importance to you?
• Where is God at work in your life today? What are your hopes and dreams?
• In what ways do you think others can see Jesus in your life?
• Have you had dreams that were of God for the future, that have been significant in your life?

On a more personal, individual level:
We have looked at Joseph’s family tree and the family history and generational patterns that were present. You may like to think about your own family tree, write it out, pray over it. Ask God to show you where there are issues that you need him to deal with and pray the Holy Spirit will help you to address them. You may need others to pray with you, please speak to Sally Sago who can arrange this for you.