1. THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD
a. How did Joseph express his belief that he was taken to Egypt in God’s providence? What purpose did he see God fulfilling in him? Genesis 45:5, 7; 50:20.
“Through Joseph the attention of the king and great men of Egypt was directed to the true God.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 222.
b. Since the descendants of Abraham were called to become the “light of the world,” and thus be a blessing “to all nations,” where would they have the best opportunity to become a numerous people in a short time? Psalm 105:17, 23, 24.
“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. And the antipathy they must encounter in Egypt on account of their occupation—for every shepherd was ‘an abomination unto the Egyptians’ (Genesis 46:34)—would enable them to remain a distinct and separate people and would thus serve to shut them out from participation in the idolatry of Egypt.”—Ibid., p.232.
2. JOSEPH’S SUCCESSFUL SERVICE
a. What did Joseph reveal while serving as a slave in the house of Potiphar? Genesis 39:1, 2.
“Arriving in Egypt, Joseph was sold to Potiphar, captain of the king’s guard, in whose service he remained for ten years. He was here exposed to temptations of no ordinary character. He was in the midst of idolatry. The worship of false gods was surrounded by all the pomp of royalty, supported by the wealth and culture of the most highly civilized nation then in existence. . . . He was not ashamed of the religion of his fathers, and he made no effort to hide the fact that he was a worshiper of Jehovah.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 214.
b. What was Potiphar led to realize concerning the source of Joseph’s prosperous administration of Potiphar’s household? Genesis 39:3. Consequently, what did Potiphar do? Genesis 39:4, 5.
“The marked prosperity which attended everything placed under Joseph’s care was not the result of a direct miracle; but his industry, care, and energy were crowned with the divine blessing. Joseph attributed his success to the favor of God, and even his idolatrous master accepted this as the secret of his unparalleled prosperity. Without steadfast, well-directed effort, however, success could never have been attained.”—Ibid., pp.214–217.
c. What promises belong to every faithful and diligent person? Psalms 1:1–3; 128:1, 2; Proverbs 12:24; 22:29.
“Let no one trifle with his responsibilities. If you are not trading upon dollars, but only upon cents, remember that the blessing of God rests upon unwearied diligence. He does not despise the day of small things. A wise use of the littles will bring a wonderful increase. One talent wisely used will bring two to God.”—Counsels on Stewardship, p. 48.
3. JOSEPH’S INTEGRITY
a. How was Joseph’s faith and integrity tested while in the house of Potiphar, and what was Joseph’s response when tested? Genesis 39:7–9.
“Joseph’s answer reveals the power of religious principle. He would not betray the confidence of his master on earth, and, whatever the consequences, he would be true to his Master in heaven. Under the inspecting eye of God and holy angels many take liberties of which they would not be guilty in the presence of their fellow men, but Joseph’s first thought was of God.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 217.
b. Despite Joseph standing faithful to his master, how did Potiphar act to give the impression that he believed the false charges his immoral wife brought against Joseph? Genesis 39:20; Psalm 105:17, 18.
“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.”—Ibid., p.218.
c. Where was the prison? Compare Genesis 39:1 and 41:9, 10. How did God and Potiphar use Joseph while he was in prison? Genesis 40:1, 2, 5, 8, 12–19, 23.
“The king’s cupbearer had professed the deepest gratitude to Joseph, both for the cheering interpretation of his dream and for many acts of kind attention; and in return the latter, referring in a most touching manner to his own unjust captivity, entreated that his case be brought before the king. . . ; but when restored to royal favor, [the cupbearer] thought no more of his benefactor.”—Ibid., p.219.
4. JOSEPH BEFORE PHARAOH
a. How did God work, providentially, to bring Joseph out of prison? Genesis 41:1–7. How did the true God reveal Himself to Pharaoh? Genesis 41:9, 12, 14–16.
b. How did Joseph call the attention of Pharaoh to the true God at the beginning of the interpretation of the king’s dream? Genesis 41:25. Summarize the interpretation of the dream. Genesis 41:26–31.
c. What advice did Joseph give to Pharaoh? Genesis 41:33–36.
“The interpretation was so reasonable and consistent, and the policy which it recommended was so sound and shrewd, that its correctness could not be doubted.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 221.
d. What evidence do we have that Pharaoh started to believe in the true God? Genesis 41:38–41.
“The cupbearer, now filled with self-reproach, endeavored to atone for his former ingratitude, by the warmest praise of his benefactor; and further inquiry by the king proved the correctness of his report. In all the realm Joseph was the only man gifted with wisdom to point out the danger that threatened the kingdom and the preparation necessary to meet it; and the king was convinced that he was the one best qualified to execute the plans which he had proposed. It was evident that a divine power was with him, and that there were none among the king’s officers of state so well qualified to conduct the affairs of the nation at this crisis. The fact that he was a Hebrew and a slave was of little moment when weighed against his evident wisdom and sound judgment. ‘Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?’ (Genesis 41:38) said the king to his counselors.”—Ibid.
5. JOSEPH, A WORTHY EXAMPLE
a. What is one of the first lessons that prospective soul winners should learn from the experience of Joseph? Luke 16:10.
“Faithful attention to duty in every station, from the lowliest to the most exalted, had been training every power for its highest service. He who lives in accordance with the Creator’s will is securing to himself the truest and noblest development of character. ‘The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding’ (Job 28:28).
“There are few who realize the influence of the little things of life upon the development of character. Nothing with which we have to do is really small. The varied circumstances that we meet day by day are designed to test our faithfulness and to qualify us for greater trusts. By adherence to principle in the transactions of ordinary life, the mind becomes accustomed to hold the claims of duty above those of pleasure and inclination. Minds thus disciplined are not wavering between right and wrong, like the reed trembling in the wind; they are loyal to duty because they have trained themselves to habits of fidelity and truth. By faithfulness in that which is least they acquire strength to be faithful in greater matters.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 222, 223.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. When did Joseph realize that his relocation to Egypt was divinely planned?
2. What blessings can a Christian employee bring to a company through his or her faithful work?
3. By divine providence, how did Joseph call the attention of Pharoah to the true God?
4. What suggests that Pharoah started to believe in God?
5. What is one of the first lessons for soul winners to learn from the example of Joseph?