August 25, 2013 – August 31, 2013
“Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation: and Thy right hand hath holden me up, and Thy gentleness hath made me great.” Psalm 18:35.
Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 209–223; Testimonies, vol. 6, 219, 220.
“One day’s experience had been the turning point in Joseph’s life. Its terrible calamity had transformed him from a petted child to a man, thoughtful, courageous, and self-possessed.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 214.
1 LOVED AND HATED
- Relate the history concerning Jacob and Rachel’s first son. Genesis 30:22–24.
Note: “Pure, active, and joyous, the lad [Joseph] gave evidence also of moral earnestness and firmness. He listened to his father’s instructions, and loved to obey God. The qualities that afterward distinguished him in Egypt—gentleness, fidelity, and truthfulness—were already manifest in his daily life. His mother being dead, his affections clung the more closely to the father, and Jacob’s heart was bound up in this child of his old age. He ‘loved Joseph more than all his children’ (Genesis 37:3).” Patriarchs and Prophets, 209.
- What main events characterized the first seventeen years of Joseph’s life? Genesis 37:1–11.
Note: “As the lad [Joseph] stood before his brothers, his beautiful countenance lighted up with the Spirit of inspiration, they could not withhold their admiration; but they did not choose to renounce their evil ways, and they hated the purity that reproved their sins. The same spirit that actuated Cain was kindling in their hearts.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 210.
2 COURAGE FROM CRISIS
- Relate the traumatic event of Joseph’s young manhood. Genesis 37:13, 14, 23–28.
Note: “He [Joseph] was seized and his coat stripped from him. Taunts and threats revealed a deadly purpose. His entreaties were unheeded. He was wholly in the power of those maddened men. Rudely dragging him to a deep pit, they [his brothers] thrust him in, and having made sure that there was no possibility of his escape, they left him there to perish from hunger, while they ‘sat down to eat bread’ (Genesis 37:25). …
“As he saw the merchants the dreadful truth flashed upon him. To become a slave was a fate more to be feared than death. In an agony of terror he appealed to one and another of his brothers, but in vain. Some were moved with pity, but fear of derision kept them silent; all felt that they had now gone too far to retreat. If Joseph were spared, he would doubtless report them to the father, who would not overlook their cruelty toward his favorite son.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 211, 212.
- In his sudden change of circumstances from favored son to slave, what firm decision did Joseph adopt? Genesis 39:1–3.
Note: “He [Joseph] had learned in a few hours that which years might not otherwise have taught him. His father, strong and tender as his love had been, had done him wrong by his partiality and indulgence. This unwise preference had angered his brothers and provoked them to the cruel deed that had separated him from his home. Its effects were manifest also in his own character. Faults had been encouraged that were now to be corrected. He was becoming self-sufficient and exacting. Accustomed to the tenderness of his father’s care, he felt that he was unprepared to cope with the difficulties before him, in the bitter, uncared-for life of a stranger and a slave. …
“Joseph believed that the God of his fathers would be his God. He then and there gave himself fully to the Lord, and he prayed that the Keeper of Israel would be with him in the land of his exile.
“His soul thrilled with the high resolve to prove himself true to God—under all circumstances to act as became a subject of the King of heaven. He would serve the Lord with undivided heart; he would meet the trials of his lot with fortitude and perform every duty with fidelity.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 213, 214.
3 THE YEARS OF SEPARATION
- What can we learn from the way Joseph stood firm for righteousness’ sake? Genesis 39:4–12.
Note: “If we were to cherish an habitual impression that God sees and hears all that we do and say and keeps a faithful record of our words and actions, and that we must meet it all, we would fear to sin. Let the young ever remember that wherever they are, and whatever they do, they are in the presence of God. No part of our conduct escapes observation. We cannot hide our ways from the Most High. Human laws, though sometimes severe, are often transgressed without detection, and hence with impunity. But not so with the law of God. The deepest midnight is no cover for the guilty one. He may think himself alone, but to every deed there is an unseen witness. The very motives of his heart are open to divine inspection. Every act, every word, every thought, is as distinctly marked as though there were only one person in the whole world, and the attention of heaven were centered upon him.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 217, 218.
- How does Inspiration summarize the dealings of God with His servant Joseph? Genesis 39:13, 14, 19–23; Psalm 105:16–22.
Note: “Joseph suffered for his integrity, for his tempter revenged herself by accusing him of a foul crime, and causing him to be thrust into prison. Had Potiphar believed his wife’s charge against Joseph, the young Hebrew would have lost his life; but the modesty and uprightness that had uniformly characterized his conduct were proof of his innocence; and yet, to save the reputation of his master’s house, he was abandoned to disgrace and bondage.
“At the first Joseph was treated with great severity by his jailers. The psalmist says, ‘His feet they hurt with fetters; he was laid in chains of iron: until the time that his word came to pass; the word of the Lord tried him’ (Psalm 105:18, 19 RV). But Joseph’s real character shines out, even in the darkness of the dungeon. He held fast his faith and patience; his years of faithful service had been most cruelly repaid, yet this did not render him morose or distrustful. He had the peace that comes from conscious innocence, and he trusted his case with God. He did not brood upon his own wrongs, but forgot his sorrow in trying to lighten the sorrows of others.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 218.
4 THROUGH FAMINE AND PLENTY
- What illustrates the need for humble stability of Christian character both in times of prosperity as well as in times of trouble? Genesis 41:41–44; Philippians 4:11, 12.
Note: “The joy of Christ is a pure, unalloyed cheerfulness. It is not a cheap gaiety, that leads to vanity of words or lightness of conduct. No, we are to have His joy, and His greatest joy was to see men obeying the truth. … Plead with God, saying, ‘I make an entire surrender. I give myself away to Thee.’ Then be joyful. The Word is in you, purifying and cleansing your character. God does not want His children to go about with anxiety and sorrow expressed in their faces. He wants the lovely expression of His countenance to be revealed in every one of us who are partakers of the divine nature, for we have power to escape the corruptions of the world.” [Author’s italics.] Our High Calling, 148.
- As Joseph matured, how did he look back on the primary trial of his youth and manifest exemplary Christian forgiveness toward his brethren? Genesis 45:4–8; 50:19–21.
Note: “The life of Joseph illustrates the life of Christ. It was envy that moved the brothers of Joseph to sell him as a slave; they hoped to prevent him from becoming greater than themselves. … So the Jewish priests and elders were jealous of Christ, fearing that He would attract the attention of the people from them. They put Him to death, to prevent Him from becoming king, but they were thus bringing about this very result.
“Joseph, through his bondage in Egypt, became a savior to his father’s family. … So the crucifixion of Christ by His enemies made Him the Redeemer of mankind, the Saviour of the fallen race, and Ruler over the whole world …
“As Joseph was sold to the heathen by his own brothers, so Christ was sold to His bitterest enemies by one of His disciples. Joseph was falsely accused and thrust into prison because of his virtue; so Christ was despised and rejected because His righteous, self-denying life was a rebuke to sin.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 239, 240.
5 A DOUBLE PORTION BESTOWED
- What did Jacob prophesy about Joseph in bestowing upon him the double portion of the inheritance? Genesis 49:22–26; I Chronicles 5:1.
Note: “One of the birthright privileges, which Reuben had forfeited, was to fall to Joseph—a double portion in Israel.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 234.
“The dying Jacob, under the Spirit of inspiration, had said of his best-loved son, ‘Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall.’ And he said, ‘The God of thy Father’ ‘shall help thee,’ the Almighty ‘shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under’ (Genesis 49:22, 25).” Christ’s Object Lessons, 214.
- How did Moses reiterate the blessing upon the tribe of Joseph? Deuteronomy 33:13–17.
- How should we be inspired by the “double portion” inheritance for Joseph, enabling his son also to share in the special blessing? Revelation 7:6, last part, 8, middle part.
Note: “Christianity is a religion of progress. … The cause of God may hold its ground only by great exertion and continual sacrifice, yet it will triumph finally.
“The word is: Go forward; discharge your individual duty, and leave all consequences in the hands of God. If we move forward where Jesus leads the way we shall see His triumph, we shall share His joy. We must share the conflicts if we wear the crown of victory. Like Jesus, we must be made perfect through suffering.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 71.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 Describe the early life of Joseph.
2 How did Joseph make his father’s religion his own?
3 What was Joseph’s focus of attention in prison?
4 In what ways does the life of Joseph parallel the life of Christ?
5 Explain the connection between the cross and the crown.
© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.