08 Jacob and his sons - God saved them from famine

UNIT #: 

Focus on God will take care of his people. He will fulfill his promise to us.

Bible Passage: 

Genesis 47:1-11

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

47 So Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan; they are now in the land of Goshen.” From among his brothers he took five men and presented them to Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” And they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, as our ancestors were.” They said to Pharaoh, “We have come to reside as aliens in the land; for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks because the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. Now, we ask you, let your servants settle in the land of Goshen.” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land; let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know that there are capable men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.”

Then Joseph brought in his father Jacob, and presented him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many are the years of your life?” Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my earthly sojourn are one hundred thirty; few and hard have been the years of my life. They do not compare with the years of the life of my ancestors during their long sojourn.” 10 Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from the presence of Pharaoh. 11 Joseph settled his father and his brothers, and granted them a holding in the land of Egypt, in the best part of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had instructed.

Teacher’s Preparation: 
  • Familiarize yourself with the biblical passage for this chapter. Some of the questions you can ask are:
    • Have you ever heard of what a famine is?
    • What would be some reasons for a famine? (Lack of Rain, Crop failure, Heat, insects, etc.)
    • Does it impact human beings only?


  • These are some of the questions the teacher should understand before teaching the class.
    • What role did God have in this passage?
    • Who was the redeemer for Jacob and his family?
      • At a very high level just think about Jacob’s children and their attitude towards Joseph. What they meant for evil God meant it for good. Even from a redeemer’s perspective Joseph could have held animosity, anger, and hatred toward his brothers and punished them even after inviting them Egypt. What we can learn is that Gods’ providence is unconditional despite our failures. God provided for Jacob and his children despite their moral and spiritual failures. He used an unexpected individual (Joseph) even beyond our understanding to provide grace and mercy just like Christ did for us.
    • Does Joseph’s request of wanting to be treated as an aliens show a sign of weakness? After all Joseph could have requested anything from Pharaoh, and Pharaoh would have granted it.
    • What Parallel can be drawn from New Testaments teachings?
Main Ideas: 
  1. The End of Plenty

Have you ever had too much food to eat? How about too much candy, cake or ice cream? How did you feel? Did you end up wasting some of the food? Through Joseph God was able to save and store food for seven years, when there was plenty of grains. In Chapter 7, you learned about Joseph and his interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream. The dreams that Joseph interpreted has come true and the seven years of plenty has come to an end. The seven years of famine began just as Joseph said. The Bible says that the famine was in all the other lands and also in the land of Egypt. Since Pharaoh obeyed Joseph’s direction on storing food, there was food in Egypt. The other lands did not have food. When the people of Egypt felt the famine, they cried out to Pharaoh. Pharaoh told them, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.” Joseph opened up all the storehouses and sold grains to the Egyptians. Genesis 41 v. 47 says “”


  1. News about Food

Have you ever been Hungry? What would you do when you are Hungry? What if there was no food around you? This happened to Jacob. Remember the dream that Joseph interpreted; there were seven year of plenty and seven years famine. The famine had started and the crops are failing. Jacob and his family does not have food stored away and cannot grow any. God had promised Jacob that he would be with him all the days of his life and not forsake him. Jacob was living in the land of Canaan and the famine was also in that land. Jacob heard from others that there was food available in Egypt. So Jacob sent his sons to Egypt to buy the food from the Egyptians and they were reunited with Joseph.


  1. Joseph Redeems his family

Once Jacob learned that Joseph was alive he wanted to meet him. So Jacob and his whole family traveled to Egypt and were presented in front of Pharaoh. It was through the grace of God that Joseph found favor in Pharaoh’s eye. When Joseph presented Jacob and five of his brothers, Pharaoh asked them what they did. Jacob and five of his sons did not lie but told the Pharaoh that they were shepherds, just as Joseph had instructed them. God provided food and a place to live for Jacob and his family through Joseph. God uses people obedient to his words to serve him, just like Jacob was the vessel used to save Jacob and his children.



  1. How does God provide for you?

Have you ever wondered about the house you live in, the food that you eat, clothes you wear, place of worship and everything else you have? Where did it come from?

Mathew Chapter 6 v 25 – 26, ”

That is why God gave you wonderful parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and siblings. Through your parent God is able to meet all your needs. The jobs that your parents have is because God gave it to them. He is the one that provides the clothing, food, water, house, car and all the things that they need to support you. He also gave us his word, the Bible, so that we can learn and grow in his word. Take some time to reflect on the gifts that God has given and thank him for your parents, loved ones and all the material blessings.


Let’s play some Tic Tac Toe. Split the students into two teams. Have one team represent x and the other 0.Each team gets a turn and if they get the answer correct they can place a x or 0. If a team gets an answer wrong then the other team gets to answer the question. The team that gets wither x or 0 in a row or diagonally wins.

  1. Jacob lived in  ____________________ before going to Egypt.
  2. ___________interpreted the dreams for Pharaoh.
  3. Joseph had ____________________ brothers.
  4. ______________  is our redeemer.
  5. Jacob and sons worked as ___________________.
  6. True/False – Birds have to sow seeds for food.
  7. True/False – Whoever believes in Jesus shall be saved.
  8. True/False – We need to worry about food, water and clothing every day.
  9. True/False – Joseph was the ruler of Egypt.











Lesson Review: 

What should we do when there are seasons of plenty?

Can we learn about forgiveness and sharing from Joseph?

How did God care for Jacob?

Did God show his love for all people through Joseph?


Values for Life: 

Can you see how Christ redeemed us just as Joseph was able to save his family from the famine?  Without Joseph, Jacob and his children could not be in the presence of Pharaoh. Remember that Christ's death and resurrection is the ultimate sacrifice that provides forgiveness and a new life to us. Just like the famine (where there is no food for survival), we as human beings are born as sinners and fall short of the glory of God. In front of God we are sinners and cannot spend eternity with him because of our sins. When we trust in God and accept Christ as our Lord and savior, and live our lives according to his word then God sees us as new creation in Christ and allows us to be in the presence of God.

Life Response/My Decision: 

Remember that God loves us. Even though several of Joseph's brothers were wicked and hurt Joseph, God worked through Joseph to forgive them and provide for the entire family. No matter what the challenges in life is, remember to trust in God and do according to his will. When we are obedient to God and trust in him, he will meet our needs and may use us to help others.

Memory Verse: 

Psalm 145:9

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Lord is good to all,
    and his compassion is over all that he has made.

Closing Prayer: 

Ask any of the Children to pray and remember to thank God for all his blessings.

scope and sequence