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Sabbath Bible Lessons

The Life of Joseph

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Foreword

We live in an age of unprecedented wickedness. The Bible aptly compares our day to the days of Noah. Human beings eat and drink, marry and are given in marriage without regard to a future judgment. Yet the judgments of God are falling around us, warning us of an impending crisis.

Surrounded by a similar degree of wickedness and worldliness, Joseph lived a pure and holy life. Most of his life was spent in Egypt, the greatest nation of his time. He lived through varying circumstances, yet he was faithful wherever he was called. His life of faithfulness amidst difficult, trying surroundings is an example for us.

“Especially was Joseph subject to the temptations that attend great changes of fortune. In his father’s home a tenderly cherished child; in the house of Potiphar a slave, then a confidant and companion; a man of affairs, educated by study, observation, contact with men; in Pharaoh’s dungeon a prisoner of state, condemned unjustly, without hope of vindication or prospect of release; called at a great crisis to the leadership of the nation—what enabled him to preserve his integrity? . . .

“A shepherd boy, tending his father’s flocks, Joseph’s pure and simple life had favored the development of both physical and mental power. By communion with God through nature and the study of the great truths handed down as a sacred trust from father to son, he had gained strength of mind and firmness of principle. . . . Loyalty to God, faith in the Unseen, was Joseph’s anchor.”—Education, pp. 51-54.

Joseph proved faithful wherever he was called, whether in adversity or in prosperity. God permitted great trials to come upon him, and though the way was rough and long, Joseph was faithful to the end. Through studying his life, we can see how we too can be overcomers. Joseph was a type of Christ, especially in the way he bore adversity.

Joseph was rewarded for his faithfulness. He was elected the prime minister of Egypt. After his death, he was also given two portions among the twelve tribes (Ezekiel 47:13). The twelve tribes are specifically mentioned by John as he describes the 144,000. This group of the redeemed is represented by the twelve tribes of Israel, and Joseph and one of his sons are both included. (Revelation 7:4–8.)

“The history of Joseph . . . is an illustration of what [God] will do for those who yield themselves to Him and with the whole heart seek to accomplish His purpose. . . .

“But such a character is not the result of accident; it is not due to special favors or endowments of Providence. A noble character is the result of self-discipline, of the subjection of the lower to the higher nature—the surrender of self for the service of love to God and man.”—Ibid., p.57.

The General Conference Sabbath School Department

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