Joseph Saves His Family – Genesis 42 - 46; 50

Have you ever struggled to forgive someone who has wronged you? We can imagine that Joseph may have fought feelings of revenge when he came face to face with his brothers - the same ones who had ignored his cries of distress many years earlier when they sold him to a caravan of traders. 

Do you suppose that during those endless days, sitting in prison, Joseph had ever imagined how he would get even with his brothers if he got the chance? We do know that when he first saw them, he put them all in prison for three days (Gen. 42:17). By the end of those three days, however, it appears that Joseph’s focus was not on revenge but on trying to be reunited with Benjamin, the only brother with whom he shared the same mother, Rachel. Did he expect the other brothers to be glad for a chance to get rid of Benjamin, the same way they had gotten rid of him? If so, he must have been surprised to witness the vigor and passion with which they defended Benjamin, the way they pleaded for his life, and the concern they showed for their father. 

By the time their father had died years later, it’s obvious Joseph had come to terms with the pain he had experienced in his life, noting that what his brothers “had intended for evil, God had used for good, the saving of many lives.” This kind of acceptance of suffering can be the result only of total submission to God and total trust in God’s faithfulness and goodness. It’s the kind of submission and faith that’s easy to talk about but hard to live. It’s the same submission that was modeled perfectly by Jesus when He gave up the splendor of heaven to come to earth to suffer death on a cross so that we could become children of God!


  • Activity Act It Out - this is a great passage to act out. There are plenty of parts for everyone. If you don’t have many “actors,” just break the story up and keep changing the parts you are playing. Encourage kids to consider what various characters are feeling and thinking at key points in the story. You may want to use a children’s Bible to help you condense the story.

2. DISCUSS THE STORY (some possible answers in italics)

  • What did you like about this passage?

  • What didn’t you like about this passage?

  • What do you learn about God from this passage? 

- God’s plans are perfect.

- God can help us forgive people who have wronged us.

- God can work everything together for good.

  • What do you learn about people from this passage?

- People can learn to forgive one another.

- People can carry feelings of guilt and shame for many years.

- People can repay evil for good.


  • What do you learn about yourself from this story?

- I can trust God to change my heart so that I can forgive, too.

- I am so thankful that Jesus humbled Himself and came to earth to save me.