LESSON 9: "The Forgiving Prince"

Big Idea for Parents
In this week’s story, Joseph, the favorite and most dearly-loved of Jacob’s twelve sons, is wronged by his jealous brothers and, eventually, sold into slavery.  Joseph experiences the pain of being far from home and from the father he loves.  He is blamed for things he does not do and is thrown in to jail as an innocent man.  In spite of everything, though, Joseph continued to trust that God loved him and would protect Him.  Years later, after God had richly blessed Joseph and made him one of the rulers of Egypt, he was confronted by the brothers who had acted so maliciously toward him.  They were afraid, knowing they had mistreated him and deserved to suffer; but, just as our Heavenly Father loves us unconditionally, Joseph loved his brothers unconditionally and offered them grace and forgiveness.  God used all of the bad things in Joseph’s life to bring something good … and he would do it again, centuries later, with his own son, Jesus.  That time, however, he would not only grant forgiveness to eleven guilty brothers but to the entire world.

Devotion
Have you ever been jealous of something that someone else has?  If one of your friends gets a new toy or has an extra piece of candy in their lunch box, does it make you feel a little angry toward them?  In today’s story, a father who has twelve sons gives ONE of his sons a beautiful coat – and the eleven other sons get very jealous.  In fact, they get so upset that they do some horrible things to their brother, including selling him to other people!  Read pgs. 76-83 to hear about Joseph, his beautiful coat, his envious brothers, and the way God made good come out of all of his bad!

Questions
How do you think Joseph felt when his father gave him the beautiful robe?  
How do you think his feelings changed when he learned about his brothers’ jealousy toward him?  Would you have felt jealous if you were one of his brothers?
Joseph’s brothers did some very mean things to Joseph, and he eventually had to go to jail for something he didn’t do!  If that happened to you, would you be able to continue trusting God … or would wonder why God was letting those things happen to you?
At the end of the story, Joseph sees his brothers again – and does something amazing.  Rather than punishing them for everything they had done to him, what does he give them?  
Can you think of another Son who forgave his brothers when they mistreated Him?  How did he show them that he loved them no matter what they did?

Prayer  
Dear God,
We praise you for forgiving us when we make choices that are not pleasing to you and are unkind to others.  We thank you for the story of Joseph and the example he is for us of your unconditional love and grace.  Please help us, when others are unkind to us, to treat them with love instead of anger.  Thank you for sending Jesus to forgive the whole world’s sins so that we could live in heaven with you.  In His name we pray, Amen.