June 12, 2016 – June 18, 2016
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Study Help: The Signs of the Times, February 5, 1880.
“All experiences and circumstances are God’s workmen whereby good is brought to us. Let us look at the light behind the cloud.” My Life Today, 185.
1 GOD’S LEADING
- How did Joseph reveal to his brothers that everything which had happened before came as a result of God’s providence and not by human will? Genesis 45:5–13.
- As Christians, what should we always seek and acknowledge? James 4:13–15; Proverbs 16:9; Matthew 26:39.
Note: “Many are still tested. … They do not hear the voice of God speaking directly from the heavens, but He calls them by the teachings of His word and the events of His providence. They may be required to abandon a career that promises wealth and honor, to leave congenial and profitable associations and separate from kindred, to enter upon what appears to be only a path of self-denial, hardship, and sacrifice. God has a work for them to do; but a life of ease and the influence of friends and kindred would hinder the development of the very traits essential for its accomplishment. He calls them away from human influences and aid, and leads them to feel the need of His help, and to depend upon Him alone, that He may reveal Himself to them. Who is ready at the call of Providence to renounce cherished plans and familiar associations? Who will accept new duties and enter untried fields, doing God’s work with firm and willing heart, for Christ’s sake counting his losses gain?” Patriarchs and Prophets, 126, 127.
2 THE GOOD NEWS
- How sweet are God’s ways if we only wait for them? Genesis 45:14, 15. What did Joseph’s brethren have to confess?
Note: “They [Joseph’s brethren] humbly confessed their wrongs which they had committed against Joseph, and entreated his forgiveness, and were greatly rejoiced to find that he was alive; for they had suffered remorse and great distress of mind since their cruelty toward him. And now as they knew that they were not guilty of his blood, their troubled minds were relieved.
“Joseph gladly forgave his brethren, and sent them away abundantly provided with provisions, and carriages, and everything necessary for the removal of their father’s family, and their own, to Egypt.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 151.
- What event reveals Joseph’s great love for his younger brother? Genesis 45:16–23. Why did Joseph offer a caution as his brothers departed? Verse 24.
Note: “He [Joseph] was afraid that they [his brothers] might enter into a dispute, and charge upon one another the cause of their guilt in regard to their cruel treatment of himself.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 151, 152.
- How did Jacob react to the news that Joseph was still alive, and what grievous sin did the brothers have to confess after all those years? Genesis 45:25–28.
Note: “The sons of Jacob returned to their father with the joyful tidings, ‘Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt.’ At first the aged man was overwhelmed; he could not believe what he heard; but when he saw the long train of wagons and loaded animals, and when Benjamin was with him once more, he was convinced, and in the fullness of his joy exclaimed, ‘It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die’ (Genesis 45:26, 28).
“Another act of humiliation remained for the ten brothers. They now confessed to their father the deceit and cruelty that for so many years had embittered his life and theirs. Jacob had not suspected them of so base a sin, but he saw that all had been overruled for good, and he forgave and blessed his erring children.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 231, 232.
3 JACOB REGAINS HIS SON
- What should we learn from the way Jacob wanted to be sure of God’s blessing before leaving the promised land of Canaan? Genesis 46:1–7.
Note: “He [Jacob] commenced his journey with gladness of heart, and when he came to Beersheba he offered grateful sacrifices, and entreated God to bless him, and make known to him if He was pleased with their moving into Egypt. Jacob wanted an evidence from God that He would go with them. [Genesis 46:2–4 quoted.]” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 152.
“We are to come to the Lord with all our burdens, seeking wisdom from above to guide us at every step.” The Signs of the Times, August 15, 1892.
- Why did God desire His people to move to Egypt? Genesis 46:3; 12:1, 2; Psalm 105:17, 20–24.
Note: “The promise had been given to Abraham of a posterity numberless as the stars, but as yet the chosen people had increased but slowly. And the land of Canaan now offered no field for the development of such a nation as had been foretold. It was in the possession of powerful heathen tribes, that were not to be dispossessed until ‘the fourth generation’ (Genesis 15:16). If the descendants of Israel were here to become a numerous people, they must either drive out the inhabitants of the land or disperse themselves among them. .… Egypt, however, offered the conditions necessary to the fulfillment of the divine purpose. A section of country well-watered and fertile was open to them there, affording every advantage for their speedy increase.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 232.
- How was Jacob’s dying wish granted? Genesis 46:29, 30.
Note: “Thither [to the land of Goshen] came Joseph in his chariot of state, attended by a princely retinue. The splendor of his surroundings and the dignity of his position were alike forgotten; one thought alone filled his mind, one longing thrilled his heart. As he beheld the travelers approaching, the love whose yearnings had for so many long years been repressed, would no longer be controlled. He sprang from his chariot and hastened forward to bid his father welcome.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 233.
4 SEEKING NO REVENGE
- Why did Jacob make Joseph swear to carry his body back to the land of Canaan? Genesis 47:27–31; 17:8.
- What did Joseph’s brothers fear when Jacob died—and why? Genesis 50:14–18.
Note: “After the burial of Jacob fear again filled the hearts of Joseph’s brothers. Notwithstanding his kindness toward them, conscious guilt made them distrustful and suspicious. It might be that he had but delayed his revenge, out of regard to their father, and that he would now visit upon them the long-deferred punishment for their crime. They dared not appear before him in person, but sent a message: ‘Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin.’ … This message affected Joseph to tears, and, encouraged by this, his brothers came and fell down before him, with the words, ‘Behold, we be thy servants.’ Joseph’s love for his brothers was deep and unselfish, and he was pained at the thought that they could regard him as cherishing a spirit of revenge toward them. ‘Fear not,’ he said; ‘for am I in the place of God?’ (Genesis 50:16–19).” Patriarchs and Prophets, 239.
- Explain why Joseph was not resentful nor revengeful. Genesis 50:19–21; Romans 12:17–21.
Note: “When Joseph’s brethren acknowledged their sin before him, he freely forgave them, and showed by his acts of benevolence and love that he harbored no resentful feelings for their former cruel conduct toward him.” The Signs of the Times, February 5, 1880.
“One of the most common sins, and one that is attended with most pernicious results, is the indulgence of an unforgiving spirit. How many will cherish animosity or revenge and then bow before God and ask to be forgiven as they forgive. Surely they can have no true sense of the import of this prayer or they would not dare to take it upon their lips. … If, in all their daily intercourse, Christians would carry out the principles of this prayer, what a blessed change would be wrought in the church and in the world! This would be the most convincing testimony that could be given to the reality of Bible religion.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 170, 171.
5 THE PROMISED LAND
- What prophetic promise did Joseph give to his loved ones just before he died, and who was called to fulfill that promise? Genesis 50:22–26; Exodus 3:1–10.
Note: “[Exodus 3:2–10 quoted.]
“The time had fully come when God would have Moses exchange the shepherd’s staff, for the rod of God, which he would make powerful in accomplishing signs and wonders, in delivering His people from oppression, and in preserving them when pursued by their enemies.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 188.
- Why was this promise so important to Joseph and his descendants? Genesis 17:7, 8; Hebrews 11:13–16.
Note: “God gave to Abraham a view of this immortal inheritance, and with this hope he was content. ‘By faith he sojourned in the Land of Promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God’ (Hebrews 11:9, 10).
“Of the posterity of Abraham it is written, ‘These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth’ (verse 13). We must dwell as pilgrims and strangers here if we would gain ‘a better country, that is, an heavenly’ (verse 16). Those who are children of Abraham will be seeking the city which he looked for, ‘whose builder and maker is God.’ ” Patriarchs and Prophets, 170.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 How can believing in God’s providence change our attitude in life?
2 Why is it far better to confess our sins earlier rather than later?
3 List the reasons why God led His people to Egypt.
4 What sin too often destroys the love and peace between siblings?
5 Where was the faith of the patriarchs focused?
Copyright © 2015 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.