Our current Rotation covers the Old Testament story of Joseph and his brothers. It’s the story with the fancy coat.
It is a familiar story of family struggles: favoritism, bragging, sibling rivalry, and brothers gone bad. We’ll only catch a glimpse of it but it is also the story of God having a greater plan. Things can look pretty bad, but God is never far away. Recalling Joseph’s story can help us get through our own difficult times.
Read the scripture together as a family (it’s in Genesis 37:1-36 and 39:1-5.)
Use the following to read a passage and then discuss the question(s)/do the activities. Do this over the course of several days!
* = a review question!
|Read in Genesis||Discussion question|
|37:1-2a *||Where have we heard of Jacob? (We studied about him and his brother Esau in Oct. & Nov. 2012.)
Can you draw out the family tree? Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and…
Bonus question for 3rd grade & up: what does the little “a” mean in “37:1-2a”?
|37:1-2b||How would you like to have a brother who told bad stories about you?
Has anyone ever told a bad story about you?
Was the story true??
|37:3-4 *||How many children did Jacob have?
(Ans: Here + one daughter.)
What other reason might there be as to why Joseph was Jacob’s favorite child? (Hint and Hint)
|37:3-4 *||What kind of upbringing did Jacob have that sort of explains his picking of favorites? (Hint)
Ask your child(ren) which traits of your family, they might like to pass on to their children.
|37:3-4||Have a family-draw: Grab some paper and markers or crayons. Have everyone create their own rendition of what Joseph’s coat looked like. While drawing, talk about jealousy. Does everyone know what the word means? Tell me about a time when you felt jealous. What did you do with your jealous feelings?
Be sure to spend time explaining your drawings.
|37:5-11||Describe a strange dream that you’ve had. Do you suppose that Joseph could have told his dreams in a way that didn’t sound like bragging? Try re-writing Joseph’s story of his dreams in a friendlier way.|
|37:1-11 *||Where have we “seen” God in this story so far?
Even though God isn’t specifically mentioned in chapter 37, think back to the stories of Jacob and Esau. What happened that makes you certain that Jacob shared his “God-stories” with his sons? (Hint)
|37:12-17||Jacob seemed unaware of his sons thoughts about Joseph. What could Jacob have done about the brewing troubles?
How do you solve issues in your family?
|37:18-22||Have you ever had to talk a group out of a bad idea? Did Reuben’s strategy to save Joseph work? (Hint)
Reuben was the oldest. Do you suppose that is why he offered this alternative idea? Adults: if you had siblings did being oldest mean anything special?
|37:23-28||Have you ever heard the expression “it’s the pits?” How does that expression apply to this story? (Hint) Have you ever felt like you were stuck in a pit? Why? What (or perhaps who) helped you out of that pit?|
|37:29-35||Do you know why people in Bible times tore their clothes? It was a sign of mourning. (As well as putting on “sackcloth” and ashes.) What are signs in our culture that someone is sad?
When the brothers saw how upset Jacob was, how do you suppose they kept their secret? Adults: share a time when you were growing up & pulled a fast-one.
|37:36 & 39:1-5||What do you suppose Joseph’s prayers sounded like when he was in the pit? When he was being taken to Egypt? When he found God was with him in Egypt? How have your prayers sounded recently?|
What have you learned together as a family?
Jacob gives Joseph the coat, an image in the public domain courtesy of OldBookArt.com.