“March 7–13. Genesis 37–41: ‘The Lord Was with Joseph,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Old Testament 2022 (2021)
“March 7–13. Genesis 37–41,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2022
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Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Life teaches us that lesson clearly, and so does the life of Joseph, the son of Jacob. He was heir to the covenant God had made with his fathers, but he was hated by his brothers and sold into slavery. He refused to compromise his integrity when approached by Potiphar’s wife and so was cast into prison. It seemed that the more faithful he was, the more hardship he faced. But all this adversity was not a sign of God’s disapproval. In fact, through it all, “the Lord was with him” (Genesis 39:3). Joseph’s life was a manifestation of this important truth: God will not forsake us. “Following the Savior will not remove all of your trials,” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught. “However, it will remove the barriers between you and the help your Heavenly Father wants to give you. God will be with you” (“A Yearning for Home,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 22).
Time and again, good fortune seemed to abandon Joseph, but the Lord never did. As you read Joseph’s story, ponder questions like these: What did Joseph do to stay close to the Lord during his times of trial? How was the Lord “with him”? (Genesis 39:2–3, 21, 23).
You might also ask similar questions about your life. What evidence have you seen that the Lord has not forsaken you in your times of trial? Consider how you can share your experiences with family members and future generations (see 1 Nephi 5:14). What can you do now to prepare yourself to remain faithful when you face trials in the future?
Elder David A. Bednar taught, “Revelations are conveyed in a variety of ways, including, for example, dreams, visions, conversations with heavenly messengers, and inspiration” (“The Spirit of Revelation,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 88). The Lord used dreams to reveal truths to Joseph, Pharaoh’s chief butler and baker, and Pharaoh. The Lord also revealed to Joseph how to interpret these dreams. What can you learn from Genesis 37:5–11; 40:5–8; 41:14–25, 37–38 about receiving and understanding revelation from the Lord? For instance, what can you learn from Joseph’s example when revelation seems difficult to understand? (see Genesis 40:8; 41:16).
Ponder how the Lord is revealing His will to you. What are you doing to act on revelation the Lord has given you? How are you seeking additional guidance from Him?
See also Russell M. Nelson, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018, 93–96; Michelle Craig, “Spiritual Capacity,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2019, 19–21.
When you are being tempted, Joseph’s example can give you encouragement and strength. As you read about his experience in Genesis 39, notice things Joseph did to resist temptation. For example:
He “refused” the advances of Potiphar’s wife (verse 8).
He recognized that sinning would offend God and others (verses 8–9).
He “hearkened not” to the temptation, even though it continued “day by day” (verse 10).
He “left his garment … and fled, and got him out” (verse 12).
With Joseph’s example in mind, consider making a plan for avoiding and resisting temptation. For example, you could think of a temptation you face, write down situations to avoid, and make a plan to rely on Heavenly Father when the temptation arises (see 2 Nephi 4:18, 27–33).
Situations to avoid:
Plan to respond:
This account of Joseph’s strength when faced with temptation is preceded by a very different account about his older brother Judah, found in Genesis 38. What do chapters 37, 38, and 39, taken together, teach you about chastity?
If you had been one of Joseph’s brothers, what could you have done to keep jealousy from weakening your relationship with him? How would it help us to “speak peaceably” to each other? (verse 4).
The videos “The Refiner’s Fire” and “After the Storm” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org) relate the experiences of people who found strength by turning to the Lord during their trials. Maybe you could watch one of them and talk about what Joseph might say if he were to make a video about his experiences. You could sing together “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus” (Children’s Songbook, 78–79) and look for advice your family could share with Joseph as he faced his trials.
Reading these verses could provide an opportunity to discuss the law of chastity with your family. Here are some resources that could help with this discussion: Jacob 2:28; Alma 39:3–9; “Sexual Purity” (in For the Strength of Youth , 35–37); “Sexual Intimacy Is Sacred and Beautiful” (in Help for Parents , AddressingPornography.ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
What do we learn from these verses about how the Lord blessed the people of Egypt through Joseph? What can we learn about preparing for future emergencies? Discuss what you can do to be better prepared as a family. For ideas, see Gospel Topics, “Emergency Preparedness,” topics.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “Jesus Is Our Loving Friend,” Children’s Songbook, 58.