Faith Quest

Joseph: Forgiveness and Redemption

May 22 – June 12, 2005

Creation Station


Scripture:  Genesis 37, 42-44, 45:1-15, 46:1a, 47:27-28, 50:15-21


Key Scripture Verse:  Genesis 50:20 [Joseph said] “You tried to harm me, but God made it turn out for the best, so that he could save all these people, as he is now doing.”  (Contemporary English Version)


Memory Verse: “Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good.”  Romans 12:21 (CEV)


Offering:  PC USA - Sudan



·         God works through the actions of humans to accomplish God’s will.

·         We are called to forgive those who hurt us as Joseph forgave his brothers.



1. Learn that although Joseph was sold to Egypt, and it seemed like a bad thing, it was really a good thing because many lives were saved from starvation.

2. Understand that Joseph forgave his brothers.

3. Recognize that Joseph saw God’s work in all that happened.

4.  Children will create a hieroglyphic drawing of one of the dreams.



Welcome and Introductions:

1.  Welcome the children and introduce yourself.  Wear your nametag. Make sure that everyone is in the right classroom!  Children will either already have name tags on, or will get a nametag from their shepherd. Make sure that you know everyone’s name and greet the students individually. Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week that may not know you.


2. Start the “lesson time” with prayer. Perhaps: Dear Lord, open our hearts, our ears and our minds so that we may learn to show your love and caring for others.  Amen.


Bible Lesson:

1.  The story about Joseph is a very long one, so we will listen to a summary.  This story is from the first book of the Bible, Genesis, and it took place close to 4000 years ago.


Joseph was next to the youngest son of Jacob.  Jacob treated Joseph and his brother Benjamin as favorite sons.  Joseph took advantage of his father’s love and did things to make his ten older brothers angry and envious.  He tattled on them.  He wore a fancy coat that was more special than anything his brothers had.  He also told them about dreams that suggested that someday Joseph would rule over them.  In one dream they were out in the field, tying up bundles of wheat.  Suddenly, Joseph’s bundle stood up and his brothers’ bundles gathered around and bowed down.  In another dream the sun, the moon and eleven stars came down from above and bowed to Joseph.  Knowing what dreams meant was a gift that God had given Joseph.

            One day when Joseph was 17 years old, his brothers made plans to get rid of him.  At first they were going to kill him.  Instead, they had a chance to sell him for twenty pieces of silver to a passing caravan of traders.  They kept his fancy coat and put some blood from a goat on it.  When they showed it to their father, Jacob, he believed that a wild animal had killed Joseph. 

            The traders sold Joseph in Egypt where he became known for using his gift to explain dreams.  Several years later, the king (Pharaoh) of Egypt had two troubling dreams and he was told that there was a young Hebrew who could tell what dreams meant.  Joseph was sent for and the king told him that the first dream was about seven healthy cows coming out of the river.  Then seven skinny cows followed and ate the healthy cows.  His second dream was about seven full heads of grain being eaten by seven skinny ones.  Joseph told the king that both dreams meant that there would be seven years of good weather and crops followed by seven years of drought and poor harvests.  Joseph suggested that someone be appointed to save a large amount of each good year’s harvest in storehouses so that there would be enough in the bad years.  Pharaoh decided to put Joseph in charge as governor.

            The drought extended outside of Egypt to Canaan.  Jacob and his eleven sons were suffering.  Jacob heard about Egypt having so much food stored away.  He decided to send all his sons except Benjamin to buy grain from Egypt.  When they arrived in Egypt, Joseph recognized his brothers, but they thought he was an Egyptian.  He dressed and spoke as an Egyptian.  He used an interpreter to speak Hebrew to them.  He could understand them when they spoke to each other but they didn’t realize that he was their brother.  He troubled them with questions about their father and missing brothers.  He was excited about being with family after all those years but he was not sure if he could trust these brothers so he didn’t let them know who he was.  He said that he would sell them grain but one of them would have to stay in Egypt to prove that they were telling the truth about the missing brothers.  He said that the one who stayed behind would be freed when they showed him Benjamin.  So, Simeon stayed behind and grain was loaded onto donkeys for the trip back to Canaan.  Joseph also ordered that their money be returned and hidden in the grain.

            When they got home Jacob saw the money and was told about Simeon being left behind.  He thought that the brothers had sold Simeon.  He also started to wonder about what had happened to Joseph.  He certainly didn’t trust them to take him remaining favorite son back to Egypt, as Joseph had ordered.  But, the next year the famine got worse and the people of Canaan were hungry again.  Jacob had to give in and let Benjamin go with his brothers to get more grain.  Again Joseph tested his brothers with questions and his cup placed in a grain sack.  All the brothers were stopped on the road and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack.  They had to return to Joseph to defend Benjamin.  Then Joseph revealed to them that he was Joseph, the brother that they had sold.  He said not to worry or blame themselves because “God is the one who sent me ahead of you to save lives.”  He told them that there would be five more years of drought and they should bring their father and their families to Egypt where there was plenty of food in storage.

            Joseph’s family left Canaan and settled in Egypt.  Jacob lived with them for seventeen years before dying.  After he died Joseph’s brothers were worried that Joseph might hate them for selling him.  They were afraid that he might want to get even.  They asked him to forgive them and told him that they all worshipped the same God.  Then they bowed down to him.  But Joseph told them, “Don’t be afraid!  I have no right to change what God has decided.  You tried to harm me, but God made it turn out for the best, so that he could save all these people, as he is now doing.  Don’t be afraid, I will take care of you and your children.”



1.  Create!  READ the Bible summary above with expression. 


2.  Tell the children that they will be creating an Egyptian style hieroglyphic drawing showing one of the dreams.  Show them the reproductions of Egyptian scenes.  Point out that these drawings are like writing because they tell stories with pictures.  The Egyptians used a particular style so that no one would have any doubt about what they were seeing.  Hands, feet, noses and hair were always shown in a side or profile view.  Shoulders and eyes were always shown facing forward.  Animals are shown from the side.  Note that water is shown as blocks of blue waves.  Marshy river banks are brown waves.


3.  Ask them to think about Joseph’s and the king’s dreams, four in all.  Each dream tells of actions, so more than one scene must be shown in their drawings.  Note that there are bands of illustrations in some of the hieroglyphic samples.


4.  Steps:  Pass out pastel chalk and paper.  With wet sponges, have Shepherds dampen their papers.  Tell them to divide their paper into a minimum of two sections by drawing a line.  The first part of a dream should be drawn in one section and the second in the other.  Draw people and animals and water in the Egyptian style and color in shapes the way they did.  Some background can be left white, as in the samples.


5.  Clean up!  Involve everyone in cleaning up so that you will have time to share together in the closing. You may want to have a prearranged signal for clean up and tell them at beginning of art project what that will be - perhaps giving them a 5 minute warning and then the final clean up notice to allow those who need a bit more warning that they need to complete whatever they are working on.


6.  Turn out lights and lock the classroom door when leaving.  At the end of the rotation, return examples to the Faith Quest file.


Reflection Time:

1.  Ask the shepherds to pass out journals pages and pencils/markers.  The children should spend a few minutes reflecting upon the morning's lesson – What are some examples of God turning a bad thing into a good thing?  Did Joseph feel sorry for what happened to him and lose faith in God?  How did the dreams come true?  Can you think of a time when you should have forgiven someone?

2.  At 10:40 ask the kids to close their journals and prepare for the closing prayer.



1.  Encourage them to remember that God works for good in all of us and we should forgive those who hurt us.


2.  Tell them that their Pennies will be given to help feed starving people in the Sudan.


3.  Say the Key Memory Verse together (see above). You may want to have this verse printed on a banner and hung in the room, write it on the white board in the room, or have it on slips of paper that each child can take home.


4.  Pray! Ask the children if they have any prayer requests. Thank God for working through Joseph and us to help others.  Ask God to help us to forgive others who sin against us.


Teacher preparation in advance:

1. Read the scripture passage and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Workshop.

2.  Practice reading the Bible story (above) with expression.

3.  Prepare an opening prayer in case nobody volunteers to pray.

4.  Check the art room and the supply closet to see what supplies exist.

5.  Experiment with what the children will be doing. 

6.  Prepare all the materials you will need for the creation process.  Have the materials ready to go.  There will be limited time for the creation process, so do everything you can to conserve time.

7.  Decide how you want to close the lesson.  Prepare a prayer or ask for suggestions.




Pastel or chalk

Heavy drawing or Manila paper

Examples of Egyptian hieroglyphic scenes