NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passage: Genesis 39:20 – 40:23
— How have you seen God use the circumstances of your life, including your struggles, to prepare you for His purposes?
— What experiences or situations do you presently face that God might be using to prepare you for some purpose in the future?
— How can you encourage others to look for God’s working in their past or present struggles?
Food for thought:
You don’t remember it but when you were quite young and just learning to walk, you fell frequently. Perhaps like me, you do remember the immediate pain of skinned knees and palms as you learned to ride a bicycle. But you surely didn’t stop trying to master the art of walking, nor I hope, the joy of bike riding. God used those uncomfortable experiences to build in you skills and abilities, at least some of which you most likely still use.
If you will think about it, you know God didn’t stop using the circumstances of your life when you were in elementary school. Indeed, He still uses your life experiences to prepare you for His purposes, though perhaps you haven’t stopped to recognize His hand in your circumstances. It’s easy to acknowledge that falls are a necessary part of learning to walk or ride a bicycle. It is somewhat more difficult to see our adult “falls” as accomplishing anything positive in our lives.
But that’s exactly what Joseph recognized about his falls. They prepared him in a way neither he nor his family could have ever imagined. There he was, rocking along in a pretty good life when his jealous brothers jumped him and threw him into a dry cistern. Fall one. Fall two came in short order as his brothers sold him into slavery. Still reeling from these first two falls, Joseph found himself in servitude to the captain of Pharaoh’s bodyguard where fall three caught him; he was falsely accused of making advances to his owner’s wife and thrown in prison.
You know the rest of the story. Joseph became second only to Pharaoh in command in Egypt. Through God’s direction, he led the country to store up grain during years of abundance that they might survive during years of famine, which provided for Joseph’s family as well. The Bible doesn’t tell us when, but sometime along the way, Joseph realized God’s hand was at work: “God planned it for good” (Genesis 50:20).
What work is God doing in your life if you will but recognize it?
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at www.lifeway.com/masterwork.