(12-50) What examples have you seen of God’s sovereignty in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? In Joseph’s life?
(45, 50) Describe the interplay between human actions and God’s sovereignty according to Joseph in 45:5-8 and 50:20. How does that encourage you?
How is the cross the ultimate example of 50:20?
(50) How does Joseph’s belief in God’s sovereignty make it possible for Joseph to forgive his brothers (50:15-21)? How can this belief help you to forgive others?
What else can you learn about forgiveness and reconciliation in this passage?
(48-49) Jacob blesses Joseph’s sons and his own sons based apparently on each son’s character, and yet these blessings are also prophetic. God has a plan for Jacob’s family, and he reveals some of that plan in these blessings. Looking ahead, how do we see God fulfill the following blessings (you may need to consult a study Bible or other Bible resource):
- Ephraim and Manasseh counted as Jacob’s (48:5) –
- Ephraim placed before Manasseh (48:17-20) –
- Ephraim and Manasseh growing into a multitude (48:16) –
- Reuben and Joseph (49:3-4, 22-26, see I Chronicles 5:1-2) –
- Simeon and Levi scattered in Israel (49:5-7) –
- The blessings of Judah (49:8-12) –
(48-49) Jacob twice refers to God as his Shepherd (48:15, 49:24). How does the term “shepherd” convey both God’s care and God’s control? In what circumstances do you need to think of (and turn to) God as your Shepherd this week?