For me this part of the story is always the big payoff of the last 20-30 chapters, I include Jacob’s life as part of the payoff. We get to see Joseph turn to his brothers and say, “It’s okay, what you intended for evil, God intended for good.” (rough translation of Genesis 50:20).
There have been many times that I have relied on that verse in my life. I haven’t had brothers trying to kill me, but there have been times where people made decisions that were deliberately hurtful, and I can look back and say God has used it for good, even if it was painful at the time. This is an important lesson to teach both my kids and my Sunday School class.
Joseph forgives his brothers activities
After reading the story, one thing I wanted to bring out is praying for our leaders and helping them even if we don’t agree with them. In this particular story Joseph agrees with Pharaoh, but there are plenty of stories throughout the Bible where they do not. To help this I printed off several paper buildings and we built them (actually the kids colored and cut out while I blinked at my computer and drank my breakfast shake). They can be found at this site (many thanks to my fellow American Heritage Girls leader for showing me these buildings at our meeting, I have many plans for them).
We would pick up each building and talk about specific things to pray for each area, some were spur of the moment, “That the books at the library wouldn’t be torn.” But, when it got to bigger issues we had to do some serious talking. What do we pray when we disagree with the person in charge? I don’t agree with our president on many issues, but disagreement does not mean we call names or insult. I take real issue with people calling names because they disagree with them, to my mind that insults the person calling names, it means they can only get their point across by insulting the person, not in an intelligent manner. So, we talked about how we can pray the president has wisdom in a specific decision, endurance in tough times (because being president has to be tough), and protection for our soldiers and the police.
Do I think the kids suddenly got this and will pray amazing prayers? No, but this type of lesson is best done in gentle layers, you can’t pound it into someone’s head to treat others with respect and pray for those you disagree with. It doesn’t work, I may or may not have tried that in my younger days, and all it did was get my blood pressure up.
I had several other activities I want to do this week with the lesson, but we’ve had horrid allergies and I spent several days recently trying to cough my lung out, so we finished off Joseph with a fun card game I found on Pinterest.
I accidentally printed it in black and white, but the game worked just fine that way (find the Joseph in Egypt Playing Cards on Etsy, they used to be free, but are now for sale). They had a lot of fun trying to read the words and get their matches, it also forced Batman to look beyond the initial letter, which he likes to do and then guess.
To see how the story starts head-on over to Joseph’s coat.