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Sunday, August 16, 2020

Joseph and his Brothers

The church color for this Sunday is still green - for many weeks!

This one's the eleventh Sunday.

Here are the readings:
This week, we're wondering about this Old Testament lesson: Genesis 45:1-15

First, a little more of the story: Joseph was the youngest son, and all the older sons were sure that Joseph was their father Jacob's favorite. (For one thing, Joseph's dad gave him a special present, a beautiful coat of many colors.)

Joseph told his brothers about some dreams he had - it sounded like one day the brothers would bow down to Joseph! That made the brothers madder than ever, and they decided to kill Joseph. But then they came up with another plan. They put him in a pit, and were going to leave him there.

But some travelers passed by, heading to Egypt, and the brothers sold him to them, as a slave, for 20 pieces of silver. The brothers went home and told their father that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal, and they showed him a piece of Joseph's beautiful coat, covered in blood (goat blood, not Joseph's. A trick.)

Many years passed, and Joseph had many adventures. Because Joseph was good at understanding dreams, he was trusted by the king of Egypt - the Pharaoh. He grew up to become well-respected, the most important person in the court of Egypt.

In those days, all the land suffered from a famine. Because of Joseph (and his dreams!), Egypt had put aside enough food for everyone's survival. His brothers learned of this and traveled to Egypt to try to buy food. The important person that they bowed down to and begged from was Joseph, but they didn't recognize him.

Joseph recognized them! He used the power of this position to play some cruel tricks on them, and even put them in jail for three days; but then. . .

(. . . and now we're caught up: here's today's Bible story!)

1Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, ‘Send everyone away from me.’ So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. 3Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?’ But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come closer to me.’ And they came closer. He said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither ploughing nor harvest. 7God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

9Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, “Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. 10You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. 11I will provide for you there—since there are five more years of famine to come—so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.” 12And now your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my own mouth that speaks to you.

13You must tell my father how greatly I am honored in Egypt, and all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here.’ 14Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, while Benjamin wept upon his neck. 15And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.
Phew! How do you feel about this story?
Are there many people in your family? Where do you fit in?
Did you ever receive a special present?
Have you ever wanted something that someone else owns?
How have you felt when someone else got all the attention?
What happens when someone is jealous?
More dreams. . . what have you been dreaming lately?
What do you think about Joseph's brothers' plan? Did that really get rid of him?
Has something ever happened that seemed really bad but turned out to be good?
Joseph and his brothers forgive, at last. How does it feel to forgive? To be forgiven?
Want to read more? Here are two books to discover:

Joseph, by Brian Wildsmith: click here to hear the book read aloud!

The Coat of Many Colors, by Jenny Koralek; illustrated by Pauline Baynes (she drew the original illustrations for The Chronicles of Narnia).
Reuben, Simeon, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naftali, Gad, Asher, Levi, and. . . JOSEPH! Those are all of the brothers in this story.
Click on the picture to print it out.
Make Joseph's coat beautiful with many colors (maybe even glitter!). Make it . . . technicolor!

You could cut out everyone & tape to popsicle sticks. Tell the story!

And tell me how you are feeling these days. How are you? Send me a note!

I'm sending prayers for your health and well-being, peace, love - and joy! - Linda