- The Explore the Bible lesson for Feb. 17 focuses on Genesis 41:15-21, 33-40.
According to writers of The Innocence Project, DNA fingerprint tests first were used in 1984 by British Geneticist Alec Jeffreys and now are used to solve crimes as well as to identify unknown family members. Before the DNA testing was available, some innocent people were sentenced to prison, and some even received the death penalty. Today, the criminal justice system in the United States is transformed because of the DNA testing used to solve crimes, protect the innocent and vindicate those who are wrongly convicted.
A Problem (Genesis 41:15-21)
Joseph was wrongly convicted and confined to prison when Potiphar’s wife accused him of attempted rape. Joseph told Potiphar “He could not do such a wicked thing and sin against God” (Genesis 39:9). As a result of the accusation, he was thrown in prison. However, the Lord gave him favor with the warden. Joseph was given the responsibility of supervising all of the prisoners and the activities. Because the Lord was with him, Joseph was successful in all he did (Genesis 39:22-23).
On one occasion, Joseph interpreted dreams of Pharaoh’s butler and baker after they were confined to prison; the butler would be free and the baker would be killed. Three days later, the dreams came to pass for the butler, who was released from prison, and the baker, whom the king ordered to be killed. Joseph was careful to recognize and give God credit for the dreams as well as the interpretation. Before the butler’s release, Joseph made one request; remember me when you are released, but the butler did not remember Joseph when he was restored (Genesis 40:20-23).
On another occasion, Pharaoh needed someone to interpret two of his dreams. Disturbed about the dreams, he asked if there was anyone in the kingdom to interpret the dreams. Finally, the butler remembered Joseph as an interpreter of dreams. Joseph made it clear to Pharaoh, “I cannot do it, but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires” (Genesis 41:16).
God is able to use the believer in all kinds of circumstances. When we are faced with difficulties, for ourselves or others, we must recognize that God’s wisdom helps us make the best decisions. We must remain humble before God and never miss the opportunity to share with others that God is the source of all wisdom.
Share with each other some difficult times and how God’s wisdom helped you to overcome.
A Plan (Genesis 41:33-36)
Regardless of the cost, Joseph chose to remain faithful and obey God. While he faced the rejection of his brothers, they threw him in a cistern and sold him into slavery. However, God favored him and placed him in the house of Potiphar to rule. Later, he faced the anger of Potiphar when his wife wrongly accused him of attempted rape. As a result, he was thrown into prison. While in prison, God favored him by allowing the warden to place him over the prisoners and their activities. Also, his gift to interpret dreams was used when the butler and the baker needed answers.
Through all of his difficulties, Joseph remained obedient to God’s will and was given favor with Pharaoh to interpret his dreams regarding the seven years of prosperity followed by seven years of famine (Genesis 41:25-27). This unique gift of interpreting dreams and the gift to present a plan to prepare for the famine came directly from God. Joseph could have stopped with the interpretation of the dreams, but he revealed a plan to Pharaoh that would save the whole world from famine (Genesis 41:33-36).
Choosing to obey God may cause hardships and oppositions. God promises to be with the believer and stand by every word he has spoken (Isaiah 55:10-11). As believers, we should embrace our spiritual gift, remain faithful to God, and then watch him work through us in specific situations.
How have you helped others to overcome hardships by allowing God to use your spiritual gift?
A Place (Genesis 41:37-40)
Joseph could have given up during the prison experience. Instead, he remained faithful to God by using his spiritual gift to help others. Joseph learned to recognize God in every way, to remain humble and faithful during the transitions, and to give him credit for everything. Pharaoh recognized something was extraordinarily special about Joseph. To Joseph’s surprise, Pharaoh assigned him to carry out the plan to save many people from famine. Above all, God was honored through Joseph as he moved into this new role.
While God may use dreams to share his plans, he also uses Scripture to accomplish his purposes. Scripture equips us for every good work. “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteous, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
God reminds the believer, in the story of Joseph, to be confident in knowing he will equip them to accomplish his purposes in their lives. In difficult times and in times of false accusations, we must consistently rely on the wisdom of God to protect and use us for his service.
Margie Clayton is minister of education at Berean Tabernacle Baptist Church in Liberty.