Scripture: Genesis 40: 1- 23, 41: 1 – 45 or page 69 – 41 of The Golden Children’s Bible
Target Age Group: 1st through 6th grade
Welcome the children to the classroom and chat with them about their week as they gather around the table.
Pray and ask God to teach the children not just head knowledge, but also heart knowledge.
Have you ever heard the phrase “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”? (Let the children each have a chance to tell you what they think it means.) Lemons are pretty sour, and if you bit into one it would make your lips pucker, wouldn’t it. Yuck! But, you can squeeze the juice out of it, add water and sugar – and what do you have then? Lemonade. Mmmmm. That’s pretty good, isn’t it.
Well, life is like that. Sometimes things don’t go the way we planned them to. And sometimes bad things happen to us. It could make us bitter and angry. But, if we have the right attitude we can make the best of it.
Maybe you don’t like to clean your room, but instead of complaining and dawdling about it, you might put on your favorite music and dance while you clean. Kind of like Mary Poppins, right? You can do that with almost anything you do.
Have the children open their Bibles to Genesis 40 (pages 69 – 73 of the Golden Children’s Bible)
Remind the children that last week Joseph had been working in Potiphar’s house as a slave. Potiphar’s wife lied about him, which caused him to be imprisoned. Let’s see how Joseph made lemonade…
(Read the story to the children because at this age some of the children do not read smoothly, which hinders comprehension for the whole class.)
- Who were in prison under Joseph’s care? Pharaoh’s butler and baker.
- Why were the butler and the baker sad one day? They had had dreams, but nobody could interpret them for them.
- Who did Joseph say could interpret them? God. Joseph gave God all the credit.
- What was the butler’s dream? He pressed grapes into Pharaoh’s cup and placed it in his hand.
- What was the interpretation of the butler’s dream? In three days he would be released from prison and restored to his job as cupbearer for Pharaoh.
- What did Joseph ask him to do when that happened? To mention him to Pharaoh to help to get him released, too.
- What was the baker’s dream? He had 3 baskets of bread on his head, and the birds came as ate the bread out of them.
- What was the interpretation of the baker’s dream? In three days he would be executed and the birds would eat his flesh.
- Did the dreams come true? Yes.
- Did the butler remember to ask Pharaoh for Joseph’s release? No. He forgot about him.
- How long was it before the butler remembered him? 2 years
- What was Pharaoh’s first dream? Seven fat cows and seven skinny cows came up out of the Nile. Then the skinny cows ate the fat cows.
- What was Pharaoh’s second dream? Seven healthy grains were growing on a stalk. Then seven thin heads of grain sprouted and swallowed up the healthy grains.
- Who did Pharaoh send for to interpret his dreams? magicians and wise men of Egypt
- Were they able to interpret them? No.
- Who told Pharaoh about Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams? The cupbearer, who had been in prison with Joseph at one time.
- Who did Joseph give credit to for his ability to interpret dreams? “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”
- What are you good at? (Let each child participate.)
- Who do you think gave you that ability? God. Since God was the One who gave us those abilities, we should always give Him the credit, shouldn’t we.
- How do you think you could use that ability to serve God?
- How old was Joseph at this time? 30 (Genesis 41:46)
- Do you remember how old Joseph was when his brothers sold him into slavery? 17
- So, how many years has he been in Egypt? 13
- Thirteen years was a long time to be a slave and imprisoned. How do you think you would have felt after all of that time being so unfairly treated? Angry, depressed, sad, vengeful, hateful etc.
- Did Joseph get angry with God? No. He always trusted him.
- Did Joseph lash out at other people? No. He was respectful and helpful.
- How do you think that you should react when people have been unfair to you? Patient and kind. Trust God to make it right.
- What was the interpretation of the dreams? Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, but seven years of famine will follow them
- What advice did Joseph give to Pharaoh? Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance to be used during the seven years of famine.
- Who did Pharaoh decide was wise enough to do the job? Joseph
- What gifts did Pharaoh give to Joseph? his signet ring from his finger, robes of fine linen, a gold chain around his neck. He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command. And he gave him a wife.
- Do you think that things would have gone this well for Joseph if he had been vengeful or angry with God? No.
- Let’s pray and thank God for his blessings and ask Him to help us always give Him the credit…
During the remaining class time do activities that help to reinforce what the children have learned. Here are some suggestions…
Memorize the verse.
II Samuel 22: 26a “To the faithful you show yourself faithful”
Make the Joseph in Jail craft. http://www.tomottosoup.com/crafts/crafts.html
Make a story wheel about the dreams that Joseph interpreted. (There are several pages of downloads here.)
Make a chariot for Joseph to ride in out of a small milk carton.
Make a Joseph paper doll to ride in the chariot.
Have the children draw a picture of the fat and skinny cows and the healthy and dried up grain, or color a color page related to the story.
Sing “Count Your Blessings” or “God Will Take Care of You”
Evaluate what the children have learned. While they are coloring or crafting ask each one what they learned today.
Send each child’s parent an e-mail (or a hard copy) of the Parents’ Page.