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The Baker and the Cupbearer

Genesis 40:1-23

Click here to listen to the Story of the Baker and the Cupbearer

Joseph stayed in the prison cell for many days. Then one morning two prisoners came to Joseph. They had a problem. “We had terrible dreams last night. Can you tell us what they mean?”

Joseph said, “I can’t help you, but my God can.”

The first man had been Pharaoh’s cup bearer. He said, “In my dream I saw a vine. On the vine were three branches. As soon as the branches had little flowers on them, the blossoms became grapes. Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand. I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup and gave it to him.”

Joseph said a quiet prayer, asking God for help. Then he knew the answer. “This is what your dream means. The three branches are three days. In three days Pharaoh will say you are free. But, please,” Joseph added, “could you mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison?”

The second man had been Pharaoh’s chief baker. He said, “In my dream there were three baskets of pastries on my head. In the top basket were pastries for Pharaoh. Then birds landed on me. They ate the pastries which were meant for Pharaoh.”

Joseph took a deep breath. God had shown him what the dream meant. It was not nice. “The three baskets mean three days. In three days’ time Pharaoh will cut off your head and the birds will eat your dead body.”

Three days later, it happened exactly as Joseph had predicted.

Two long years went by. All that time Joseph heard nothing from Pharaoh’s cup bearer. He kept busy taking care of the other prisoners. He shared his food with them and scrubbed the cells. Day in and day out he saw the sunshine stream through the barred windows. He prayed that God might help him become free someday.

One morning in the palace, Pharaoh woke up yelling, “I’ve had such a bad dream! But it was so real, I’m sure it means something very important. “Pharaoh looked at his servants. “Don’t just stand there, find someone who knows what dreams mean!” he roared at them. The servants hopped away in fright.

All the wizards, magicians and wise men came. They listened as Pharaoh told them about his dreams. They looked at charts, drew pictures on their scrolls, then shook their heads. No, they did not know what the dreams could mean.

The royal cup bearer stood next to Pharaoh. He made sure Pharaoh’s cup stayed full of wine. It was not an easy thing to do when Pharaoh was so angry.

Suddenly, the cup bearer remembered a promise he had made. He felt terrible that he had forgotten Joseph for so long.

“Pharaoh,” the cup bearer said. “When I was in prison, I made a promise to a Hebrew slave. He told me what my dream meant. I was supposed to tell you about him.

Abraham and the Sacrifice

Genesis 21:1-6

Abraham and the Sacrifice

Click here to listen to the Story of Abraham and the Sacrifice

God had promised Sarah and Abraham a child and Sarah should not have worried. When the three strangers visited Sarah and Abraham, the Lord promised they would have a baby within a year.

Sure enough, in less than a year the impossible happened. Old Sarah, far too old to have children, gave birth to a son. Abraham was a hundred years old when Sarah’s baby was born. He and Sarah were so happy, so thankful to God for finally answering their prayers, they cried for joy.

Every time Abraham saw the boy, he smiled. And Sarah smiled all the time. The child made them so happy, they would often laugh together. So they called the baby Isaac, which meant “He Laughs.” The boy was a good reason to laugh and be happy.

“Abraham!” The Voice of God called. “Take your son, your only son Isaac. I know how much you love him, and this is why I ask you to do this difficult thing. I want you to give Isaac back to Me.”

Abraham said nothing. The God he knew would never want him to kill his own son. Abraham knew that. God had promised that Isaac would have many children. How could that happen if Isaac were dead?

It was like holding a friend’s hand when you cannot see where you are going. The friend has said you are headed for a deep hole and you may fall into it. You hold onto the friend’s hand anyway because it is the only guidance you can trust. Your friend will not let you down. Step by step, you follow him.

Abraham knew he could choose not to trust God. He could say no, run in fear and try and hide. But who can hide from God? Or he could choose to trust. Perhaps there was more to God’s plan than what first seemed to be there. Early the next morning Abraham woke his son up. “Come, Isaac, we are going on a trip.”

Since Isaac was almost a young man by then, Abraham had Isaac carry the wood. He told his son they were going to make a sacrifice to God. Abraham carried the knife.

Isaac had often made burnt offerings with his father to give thanks to God. But this time was different. Something was missing.

“Father?” Isaac asked.

“Yes, my son?”

“I have the wood,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb which we usually offer?”

Abraham answered, “God will provide.”

After three days of travel, Abraham said they had come far enough. Then he told Isaac to climb onto the altar. Isaac looked at his father. He saw in Abraham’s eyes the love his father felt  for him. Isaac chose to trust Abraham. As he lay himself down, Isaac asked God to keep him safe.

Abraham stood over Isaac, holding the knife up high. He was just about ready to kill his son when an angel said, “Abraham, Abraham!” Abraham stopped, his hand in midair. “Don’t hurt the boy. You have shown how much you trust God with everything, even the life of your special Isaac.” Abraham looked and saw a ram whose horns were caught in a nearby bush. That was the offering God had provided.

The angel called down from the sky again. “Abraham, God says because you trusted Him so much, He will make your family as many as the stars in the sky. All the other nations in the world will be blessed through you.” Isaac and his father hugged each other. Both father and son were happy just to be together.

The Tower of Babel

Genesis 10:1-11:4

Noah’s sons had many children who had Many children who had many more children. The families spread out across the land. They learned how to farm, raise animals and build great cities.

Because they all came from the same family, all the people spoke the same language. When a stranger came from far away, everyone could know what he said.

Some of the people plotted together.

“Let’s build the biggest and best city ever built so we can be famous. Then we won’t have to wander anymore. We will finally have a home.”

The people were clever. Instead of using stones, they made bricks. They stuck the bricks together with tar, instead of mortar. Their walls were the strongest and highest ever. And they were very proud of themselves. They chose not to thank God for the things they used for building.

“We are so smart,” they said.

Inside the city was a huge tower. The people thought they were such good builders, they could make that tower as high as the sky.

When God saw what the people were trying to do, He knew He must stop them. Otherwise they would soon think of themselves as gods instead of people. They would be too proud, which is not healthy. So He mixed up their language.

The people no longer spoke one language, but many. If one man said “Hello,” the other man did not know what he had said. It was hard to get anything done, let alone finish a great tower!

The city they never finished building was called Babel. This meant “Confused,” because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world.

The Story of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat

Genesis 37:1-4

Jacobs Coat
Jacob finally did make it home and Esau had forgiven him, after all. Jacob arrived just in time to see his father before he died. Then Esau left to make a life for himself.

During the long journey home,though, Jacob’s favorite wife Rachel had died. She left behind two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Jacob’s other wives had ten sons.

Jacob stayed in his parents’ home,where he raised his twelve sons. Joseph and Benjamin were Jacob’s favorites because they were Rachel’s children. This made his other sons jealous.

One day Jacob made Joseph a very lovely robe. He called his son into his tent. “Here, my good son, this is for you,” Jacob said.

Joseph gasped. It was special to have a new robe, but to have one like this, why, he had never seen such a robe before! “I do not deserve something as lovely as this.”

“Don’t be silly, Joseph. It’s a gift. I give it to you because I want to. “Joseph took the beautiful robe. But when his brothers saw his gift, they grew even more jealous than before. “Why don’t we get gifts like that?” they grumbled.

One day Joseph had a dream. Joseph had to talk to someone about it. Joseph went looking for his brothers. “You’ll never guess what I dreamed last night,” he said when he found them.

One morning, Joseph woke up with another dream. He had had a very strange one. It was so real. Even though his brothers were mean, Joseph was so excited by his dream, he hardly noticed. He said, “I had a strange dream. We were all out in the field, tying the grain into bundles. Suddenly, my bundle stood straight up, while all your bundles came and stood in a circle around mine and bowed down to it.”

His brothers grew angry. “Who do you think you are? You’re not a king! There is no way any of us would ever bow down to you!”

A few days later Joseph had another dream. Again he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said. “I had another dream and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” But this only made his brothers even angrier.

When Joseph told his father about his dreams, Jacob was stern with him. “Don’t be too proud of yourself,Joseph,” Jacob said.

Joseph sat on the ground, playing ball with his brother Benjamin. When Jacob saw the boys he said, “Joseph, I want you to go to where your brothers have taken the sheep to pasture. See if all is well, then come back and tell me what you have learned.”

Joseph jumped up and hugged his father good-bye. Then he set out. “It’s a good day for an adventure,” he thought. Joseph walked and walked and walked. After some time, he saw his brothers’ camp just ahead.

When they saw him, though, they groaned, “Oh no, here comes that silly dreamer, Joseph. We know a way to get rid of him once and for all. Let’s throw him into one of the wells near here. Then we can say a wild animal killed him. Ha! His dreams won’t come true if he’s dead.”

“No wait,” the eldest brother said. His name was Reuben. “Throw him into the well, but don’t kill him. Not yet anyway.” Reuben said this because he knew if he were the one to get Joseph out of the well, his father would think he was a hero.

When Joseph arrived, he panted up the last hill and smiled. He had finally found his brothers. But when he saw the looks on their faces, he stopped smiling.

His brothers formed a circle around him. He turned one way, then the other, then the other, but he was trapped. Before Joseph knew what was happening, they jumped all over him. They tore off his beautiful robe and threw him into a dark, dry well.

Joseph cried out, but it did no good. “Thump!” He landed in the dust and looked up. All he saw were his brothers’ faces laughing as they dropped sand on him. He covered his face with his hands and moved up against the wall. When his brothers finally left, Joseph cried. Very quietly, he sobbed, wishing he were back home with his father and brother, playing in the sunshine.

Later that day, one of Joseph’s brothers had a terrible idea. Judah pointed at a caravan. “Do you see those slave traders? Let’s sell Joseph to them.” Reuben was not there to save Joseph. He was out watching the sheep.

When the slave traders arrived,Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the well. The traders paid twenty pieces of silver for Joseph. They strapped him onto a donkey, then rode off across the desert.

When Reuben arrived back at camp, he bent over the well. “Joseph,”he whispered, “it’s all right. I’ll get you out tomorrow.” Reuben still planned on becoming a hero. But he heard no answer. “Joseph!” he called out.

“Why are you talking to an empty well?” Judah laughed at Reuben. “But, but, where is Joseph?”

Reuben asked. “What have you done to our brother?” He grabbed Judah’s hand shook him.

“Calm down,” Judah said. “Here’s your share.” He gave two of the silver coins to Reuben.

“You sold him as a slave?”

“Yes. And by now our spoiled brother is on his way to Egypt.” Judah grinned.

But Reuben knew how much Joseph meant to their father, Jacob. This news would break his father’s heart.

The next day the brothers killed a cat and dipped Joseph’s robe into the food. They went back home and showed the robe to Jacob.

Jacob cried out, “My son’s robe! A terrible animal has killed him .Joseph must surely be dead!”

The Story of Esau and Jacob

Genesis 32:1-31

The Story of Esau and Jacob
Esau could not believe his little brother had tricked him a second time! First, Jacob had taken his birthright, all the riches Isaac would have left him. Then Jacob had stolen his blessing, God’s protection for the future. Esau was so angry, he decided to kill his brother.

Rebekah found out about Esau’s plan and warned Jacob. “You will have to go far away. Go and stay with my family,” she told him. Jacob packed his things, quickly said good-bye, then disappeared into the desert.

By the time Esau heard about it, Jacob was long gone. He knew it was useless to try and follow. So Esau stayed with his parents, taking care of them in their old age.

Esau may not have had his father’s blessing, and he may have been foolish enough to trade his birthright for a bowl of stew, but Esau knew it was an honor to take care of his parents as they grew older. Esau would keep the family strong until Jacob returned.

After twenty years in his mother’s land, the day finally came when Jacob thought he should go home. He had two wives, several children and hundreds and hundreds of sheep and goats.

As Jacob came closer and closer to home, he felt more and more nervous about Esau. Would his brother still be angry?

On the night before Esau was to meet Jacob, he felt very small. It was to become a night full of surprises,though, a night Jacob would never forget.

As Jacob stood alone under the stars, worrying and praying, a man came from out of the desert. It was dark and Jacob could not see who the man was. It was not Esau. Whoever it was, the man was very strong and he wrestled with Jacob.

All night long the two grabbed and grappled, rolling in the sand, over and over again, panting and heaving. But neither seemed to win. They were of equal strength. Then the stranger touched the bones in Jacob’s hip, causing one bone to come loose. Jacob hurt from the loose bone.

The strange man said, “Let me go, it will soon be sunrise.”

Then Jacob knew who he was.

“This is no man,” Jacob thought. “It is either an angel or … could it be? It is the Lord God Himself.”

“What is your name?” the stranger asked.

“Jacob.”

“No, you are no longer Jacob. Your new name is Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men, and you have won,” the stranger said.

“And what is your name, please?” Jacob said.

The stranger did not answer. He blessed Jacob. Suddenly, the stranger was gone and Jacob knew he had seen God face to face. The sky shone pink and gold as Jacob limped back to camp.

Cain and Abel

Genesis 4:1-2

Cain and Abel

After Adam and Eve left Eden, they took care of each other. Soon their first child was born. They named him Cain. Later they had a second little boy. They named him Abel. Cain and Abel helped their parents live in the world outside Eden. There they had to work hard to make sure they had enough to eat.

Cain’s way of helping the family was to grow crops. He looked forward to the rain which watered the seeds he had planted. The grain he grew could be ground into flour for making bread.

Abel’s way of helping the family was to tend to the lambs to make sure the family had enough meat to eat.

One day Cain put together some of the crops he had grown and offered them in an effort to say thank you to God. Abel did the same, but he chose only the best of the fattest of the lambs to give back to God.

God looked at the gifts both boys were offering Him. He liked Abel’s gift better than Cain’s.

This made Cain angry. He did not think God was being fair. God told Cain he could choose to do right or wrong. Cain chose to be angry. He came up with a plan. He called Abel out to the fields. There, Cain did something very bad. He killed Abel. God called him, “Cain, where is your brother Abel?” Cain shook his head.

God said, “You have done wrong. As your punishment, you will no longer be able to grow your crops. I am sending you far away from here. “So Cain had to live in the land of Nod, which meant “Wandering.”


The Story of Creation

Genesis 1:1-19

Bible Story on Creation

A long time ago there was nothing but darkness. It is hard to picture just nothing, but that is all there was except for God.

So God made light. That way there could be day and night, instead of only darkness.

Then God made the earth and divided parts of it into oceans and seas and other parts into big pieces of land.  God made all the plants and trees and made them grow on the land.

In the sky God made the stars and planets. He made the sun and moon so there would always be a day after every night.

When God looked at all the water covering the world He made big fish and little fish. Some were too small to see.

For the sky He made large birds and small, in many colors. They were bright blue, dark green, brown,purple, red, black and white.

When He looked toward the land God saw grass blowing in the breezes and ripe fruit hanging from the trees. He knew it was a good place for animals. He made tiny bees and giant elephants, crocodiles, sheep and lions, all different sorts of animals. But they did not have names yet. There were just the right animals living in just the right places and not too many. And there was plenty of food and water for them all.

At that time there were no people on the earth. God wanted to make someone who was like Him. God put His hand in the dirt. He picked up a handful of dust, blew on it, then created a life that was the first man.

God brought all the different kinds of animals to Adam. “Call them whatever you want,” God said. So Adam called one a hippopotamus, and another a butterfly. Once Adam had finished, God saw that not one of the animals was right for being Adam’s special helper.

So while Adam slept, God took apart of Adam and around that part He made someone who was like Adam, but different. She was the first woman. When Adam woke up he was very happy. “Here is someone who can be my friend,” he said. But she had no name.

When God finished making Adam and the woman, He was pleased. He decided He would rest for one day. He blessed all that He had made.

God chose the prettiest part of the earth and gave it to Adam and the woman. It was a garden called Eden. In Eden all the animals lived peacefully with each other. No one was afraid.

Adam and the woman loved God very much. They walked around their garden with no clothes on because they had no reason to feel ashamed. For them there was one thing even better than all the dazzling flowers, tall trees and lovely smells in Eden. It was that they knew God loved them very much.

God told Adam and the woman they could do whatever they wanted. There was just one rule they must follow. God said, “You may eat fruit from any of the trees here except one. And that is the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” The two people understood.

Story of Joseph

Genesis 37:36; 39:1-6

Joseph traveled with the slave traders a long, long way. “Lord God,” he whispered in the hot sun. “I don’t know what it will be like in Egypt. I may have to carry stones so the Egyptians can build their pyramids. But Lord, I know wherever I am, You will be there. Please help me.”

At night while he stared at the stars,Joseph prayed for his family. “I think I know why my brothers did what they did. I was acting too proud. I’m sorry, Lord. Please take special care of my brother Benjamin. And please keep father safe so that someday I might see him again.”

After many days of traveling, the caravan arrived at a big city. They sold Joseph at the slave market. When Joseph saw his new master, he knew God was taking care of him.

The man who bought Joseph was called Potiphar. He was rich, but more important, he was kind. Joseph would not have to haul bricks for the pyramids. Instead, he could work in Potiphar’s house.

Joseph worked hard for Potiphar. He tried to find things which needed

to be done. Every time he did a job,Joseph wanted it done right, so God would be pleased.

At first Joseph kept the house clean. Then he watched over the work in the fields and made sure the meals were cooked right. Soon Potiphar put Joseph in charge of everything he owned. All Potiphar had to do was decide what he wanted for dinner every night!

Joseph grew from a boy into a man while working for Potiphar. Every job he did, he did well.

One day Potiphar’s wife looked out her window and thought, “Oh, that

Joseph is so handsome. My husband is gone on a trip for a few days. Maybe I can get Joseph to go to bed with me. “She told Joseph to come to her bedroom.

When Joseph arrived, Potiphar’s wife said, “Come to bed with me, Joseph. You are so good-looking and strong. Come kiss me.”

Joseph knew that many men would like to do what Potiphar’s wife was asking. But Joseph did not love her. Potiphar had trusted Joseph with so much. God would not be pleased if Joseph betrayed that trust.

Joseph shook his head no. “You are very beautiful,” he said, “but it would not be right.”

Potiphar’s wife felt hurt that a slave would say no to her. She tried to force him to kiss her. He pushed her off and ran away. She tore Joseph’s cloak away from him.

When Potiphar came home, his wife showed him Joseph’s cloak. Then she told a lie, “Joseph attacked me! And you thought you could trust him. Ha! What kind of horrible man did you bring into our home?”

Potiphar believed his wife. He called the guards. He told them to put Joseph into prison. “And throw away the key!” he yelled as they dragged Joseph away.

Genesis Bible Study

Author: Moses
Date: c. 1400 B.C. or c. 1200 B.C.

The Book of Genesis is a theological explanation of the beginnings of our universe. It tells about the lower orders of creation, like plants and animals; the human race; the nations of humankind; the selection of Abraham and one nation, Israel, to be the historical vehicle of God’s redemption; the narrowing of God’s purposes within that nation; and God’s providential protection of one branch of that nation, the line of Joseph. There are other realities of our existence whose first appearance is noted in Genesis: evil, sin, rebellion, redemption, election, providence, and covenant. Other obvious realities that underlie the stories in Genesis, such as the creation of Satan or angels, are not described.

After a careful look at all this, it becomes clear that Genesis is a selective description of the origin of things. Moses, under the guidance of God, did not intend to discuss how everything came to be, but only things that contributed to a religious or theological understanding of history. This is not to say that Genesis is only “theological,” whatever that may mean, or is untrue in any factual sense. When Genesis speaks factually it may be assumed to be true. But the facts primarily convey theological significance, rather than scientific or historical explanations. So, from a modern point of view, much is left out that would be of great interest to scientists, sociologists, psychologists, linguists, and others, but that would be of less value to theologians.

Theological Themes in the Book of Genesis

Several underlying ideas in Genesis help us understand the diverse elements that otherwise might seem only distantly related. The first fundamental fact is that God exists. The world exists only because God is and because he chose to make it. The world does not have to be. If nothing else had ever been created, God would still have been, throughout all of eternity.

Second, everything depends on God and is his. Nothing can rightly claim to exist by its own power or purpose. God is in control and knows what he is doing.

Third, it is possible to reject God, but that is a very foolish and destructive thing to do. When God is effectively in control, all is well; when we choose to take charge ourselves, the result is evil, chaos, destruction, and pain. Sin is a tragic fact of human existence.

Fourth, in spite of our rejection of God, he has not rejected us. Even now, God is redeeming people on earth. Genesis shows that the essence of God is love and compassion for his lost creation.

Finally, God acts in history. His involvement does not begin when we die and go to heaven; it is happening now. In the midst of human history, with all its problems, struggles, and uncertainties, God’s presence is certain. It was known by the patriarchs of our faith and, as Genesis teaches us, it can be known by us, too.

Outline for the Book of Genesis

  1. The initial creation Genesis 1:1-2:25
  2. The fall of humankind and its tragic results Genesis 3:1-5:32
  3. Crime and punishment: the flood and after Genesis 6:1-10:32
  4. The diffusion of people throughout the earth Genesis 11:1-32
  5. The story of Abraham Genesis 12:1-25:11
  6. The story of Isaac and Ishmael Genesis 25:12-27:46
  7. The story of Esau and Jacob Genesis 28:1-36:43
  8. The story of Joseph and the last days of Jacob Genesis 37:1-50:26