“March 14–20. Genesis 42–50: ‘God Meant It unto Good,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Old Testament 2022 (2021)
“March 14–20. Genesis 42–50,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2022
Record Your Impressions
It had been about 22 years since Joseph was sold into Egypt by his brothers. He had suffered many trials, including being falsely accused and imprisoned. When he finally saw his brothers again, Joseph was the governor of all Egypt, second only to the pharaoh. He could easily have taken revenge on them, and considering what they had done to Joseph, that might seem understandable. And yet Joseph forgave his brothers. Not only that, but he helped them see divine purpose in his suffering. “God meant it unto good” (Genesis 50:20), he told them, because it put him in a position to save “all his father’s household” (Genesis 47:12) from famine.
In many ways, Joseph’s life parallels that of Jesus Christ. Even though our sins caused Him great suffering, the Savior offers forgiveness, delivering all of us from a fate far worse than famine. Whether we need to receive forgiveness or extend it—at some point we all need to do both—Joseph’s example points us to the Savior, the true source of healing and reconciliation.
As you have read about Joseph, have you noticed any similarities between his story and the atoning mission of Jesus Christ? You might ponder how Joseph’s role in his family is similar to the Savior’s role in God’s family. What parallels do you see between Joseph’s experiences and the mission of the Savior, who was sent “to save [us] by a great deliverance”? (Genesis 45:7).
Reading about Joseph forgiving his brothers for the terrible things they did to him may prompt you to think about someone you are currently struggling to forgive. Or perhaps a difficult test of forgiveness is in your future. Either way, it might help to ponder why Joseph was able to forgive. What clues about Joseph’s character and attitude do you find in Genesis 45; 50:15–21? How might his experiences have influenced him to be more forgiving? What does Joseph’s example suggest about how you can become more forgiving with the Savior’s help?
Notice also the blessings that came to Joseph’s family because of his forgiveness. What blessings have you seen from forgiveness? Do you feel inspired to reach out to someone who has wronged you?
Jacob’s blessings to his posterity contain vivid imagery, but some readers may also find them difficult to understand. Thankfully, the restored gospel gives us some additional understanding. When you read the blessing to Joseph in Genesis 49:22–26, read the following verses too, and see what insights they provide: 1 Nephi 15:12; 2 Nephi 3:4–5; Jacob 2:25; Doctrine and Covenants 50:44.
As you read about Judah’s blessing in Genesis 49:8–12, remember that both King David and Jesus Christ are descendants of Judah. What words and phrases in these verses remind you of the Savior? When you study Judah’s blessing, it may help to also read Revelation 5:5–6, 9; 1 Nephi 15:14–15; Doctrine and Covenants 45:59; 133:46–50.
If you’d like to learn more about Jacob’s sons and the tribes of Israel who descended from them, there is an entry for each in the Guide to the Scriptures (scriptures.ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
Through Joseph’s dreams (see Genesis 37:5–11) and his interpretations of others’ dreams (see Genesis 40–41), the Lord revealed things that would happen days or years in the future. But the Lord also revealed to Joseph what would happen in the coming centuries. Specifically, he learned about the prophetic missions of Moses and Joseph Smith. As you read Joseph’s words in Genesis 50:24–25 and in Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:24–38 (in the Bible appendix), ask yourself how knowing these things might have blessed Joseph and the children of Israel. Why do you think it was important for the Lord to restore this prophecy through Joseph Smith? (see also 2 Nephi 3).
Your family might enjoy acting out the story of Joseph reuniting with his brothers. (“Joseph and the Famine” in Old Testament Stories might help.) Have fun with it—use costumes and props if you’d like. Encourage family members to try to understand the emotions and perspectives of the characters. You might focus especially on the feelings of Joseph toward his brothers and on how they might have felt when he forgave them. This could lead to a discussion about how forgiveness can bless your family.
When Joseph met his brothers again after many years, how did they demonstrate that they had changed since he last saw them? What can we learn about repentance from their experiences?
Genesis 45:3–11; 50:19–21.
Joseph recognized that although his experience in Egypt had been difficult, “God meant it unto good” (Genesis 50:20). Has your family experienced any trials that God turned into blessings?
A hymn about God’s goodness during times of trial (such as “How Firm a Foundation” [Hymns, no. 85]) could enhance this discussion. What details from Joseph’s experiences exemplify what the hymn teaches?
Genesis 49:9–11, 24–25.
What do we find in these verses that teaches us about the roles and mission of Jesus Christ? (For help understanding phrases in these verses, see the material about Genesis 49 in “Ideas for Personal Scripture Study.”)
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “How Firm a Foundation,” Hymns, no. 85.