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Published by The Salvation Army Pakistan, 2019-05-21 01:21:18



Restoring Broken Dreams:
The Story of Joseph

Day of Prayer for
Victims of Human Trafficking

Sunday School Lesson for Teens

Restoring Broken Dreams:
The Story of Joseph

(Genesis 37, 39-46)


Choose the option that works best for your class.

1. If your teens share freely with each other, simply ask the question and encourage
them to respond. Always be ready to share your own answer to the question.
When teens see you are willing to say something personal, it makes them feel
more confident about sharing something about themselves.

2. If your class is not used to sharing personal information with each other,
consider playing charades. Have the teens write down what they would like to
be on slips of paper. Mix up the papers. Then have the teens choose one and
act it out. If appropriate, have the group guess whose paper it is. Or, the teens
could act out what they actually want to be, if they feel bold enough.

Ask: What are your life dreams and goals?

Encourage response.

Say: Everybody has a dream of what they want to be when they grow up—a dream
about what they want their life to be—even if they think it will never come true.


Ask: Did you know there are a lot of dreams in the Old Testament story of Joseph?
Dreams dreamed. Dreams broken. Dreams deferred. Dreams restored.

Choose the option that works best for your class.

1. If mostly churched, have the teens tell you what they remember about the
story of Joseph. Correct anything that is incorrect and fill in the blanks. Make
sure the following is included:

• Joseph is Israel’s favorite. (Genesis 37:3)

• Coat of many colors makes his brothers jealous. (37:3)

• Two dreams—11 stalks of wheat (Joseph’s brothers) bowing and sun,
moon, and 11 stars (Joseph’s brothers, and his mother and father) bowing.

• Brothers are jealous. First they want to kill him. Then they sell him.

• Joseph sold to Midianites and then to Potiphar in Egypt. (37:28-36)

• Joseph is put in charge of Potiphar’s house, resists the advances of
Potiphar’s wife who frames him, and he is put in prison for something he
didn’t do. (39)

• Joseph was put in charge of the prisoners. He interpreted the cupbearer’s
and baker’s dreams. The cupbearer forgets about him. (40)

• Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, Joseph is put in charge, and the
famine starts. (41)

• Joseph’s brothers come for food. (42)

• The brothers bring Benjamin and Joseph tells them he is their brother. (43)

2. If they are unfamiliar with the Bible, have the class read Genesis 37 aloud, each
teen reading a few verses.

Then say: These are the dreams that started the whole mess.

Ask: What was Joseph’s first dream? Allow response. (Twelve sheaves of grain.
Joseph’s rose and the other eleven sheaves bowed down. This meant his brothers
would all bow to him.)

Ask: How did Joseph’s brothers react when he told them his dream? Allow response.
(They hated him even more than they did before.)

Ask: What was Joseph’s second dream? Allow response. (Sun, moon, and eleven
stars bowed down to Joseph. This meant his mother and father and brothers would
all bow to him.)

Ask: How did Joseph’s brothers and father react when he told them his dream?

Allow response. (His brothers were jealous of him. His father rebuked him but kept
the matter in mind.)

Ask: When he was sold into slavery in Egypt, do you think Joseph wondered
whether God could still make his dreams happen: how could God make a dream
about his family happen if he wasn’t with his family any more? Or do you think
Joseph believed in God more than in his circumstances? Allow response.

Ask: If you were Joseph, what would you be thinking at this point in the story?
Allow response.

Say: Joseph’s dreams are not the only dreams in his story. Let’s look at Genesis 40
and 41 to see the other dreams.

Have the class look up the passages together or assign small groups to read their
passage to themselves and report back to the group. Have one group read Genesis
40 and the other read Genesis 41:1-41. Have them answer the following questions:

• What were the other dreams?

• Who had them? (Cupbearer, baker, Pharaoh.)

• Did they come true? (Yes.)

Say: Each time it looked like things might be going Joseph’s way, something went

• He was his father’s favorite. He got a cool coat. He had impressive dreams.

• What happened? His brothers got jealous and sold him into slavery.
Dreams crushed.

• Potiphar bought him and put him in charge of his whole household. He resisted
Potiphar’s wife’s advances. He did the right thing.

• What happened? Potiphar’s wife framed him and he got put in prison.
Dreams crushed.

• He interpreted the cupbearer’s and the baker’s dreams. They promised to
remember him and tell the Pharaoh.

• What happened? The cupbearer forgot him and Joseph spent two more years
in prison. Dreams crushed.

• Pharaoh had a dream. Joseph interpreted it. Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of

Say: Given the pattern, if you were Joseph, what would you be thinking at this point
in the story? Allow response.

Do you think Joseph expected this to be how God fixed his broken dreams? Do you
think after all this time Joseph even remembered what his childhood dreams were?
Why or why not? Allow response.

Ask: It is not mentioned specifically in the Bible, but do you think Joseph’s brothers

might have had a dream? What do you think it might have been? Allow response.

Say: Maybe they dreamed they could go back and make a different choice. They
didn’t even know if Joseph was alive. Certainly they didn’t want to think about what
his life was like if he was still alive.

Ask: What about Israel? What do you think Israel’s dream might have been? Allow

Say: Israel dreamed of seeing his son again, even though he believed Joseph was
dead. It was an impossible dream.

Read, or have teens read, Genesis 42:1-9a.

Say: God reminded Joseph of his forgotten, broken dreams right before God fixed
them and made them even better. The story of Joseph continues through chapter
50, the end of Genesis. Read it when you get home.

Say: After reminding Joseph of his dreams, God made two impossible dreams come
true. He gave Joseph’s brothers the chance to repent and He let Israel see Joseph
alive again.

In Genesis 46:30, “Israel said to Joseph, ‘Now I am ready to die, since I have seen
for myself that you are still alive.’” God not only restored Israel’s dream, He made
it better. In Genesis 48:11, “Israel said to Joseph, ‘I never expected to see your face
again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too.’”

God restored Pharaoh’s dream by giving him the wisdom to put Joseph in charge.
God restored Jacob’s dream by keeping Joseph alive. God restored Joseph’s
brothers’ dream by giving them a chance to apologize and repent. God restored
Joseph’s dream by bringing his family back to him and allowing him to provide
for them.

God can take the most broken dreams, even impossible dreams, and make them
whole again. He can make them even better.


Say: Sometimes there are people who are determined not to let our dreams come
true, like Joseph’s brothers. When Joseph told his brothers about his dreams, they
had an extreme reaction: Kill him. Sell him. Lie to our father.

This is a long ago story of human trafficking. Unfortunately, human trafficking is not
only in the past. Even today, literally today, some people’s dreams are turning into
nightmares. Some people don’t even dare to dream any more. Like Joseph, they
are sold. Nobody dreams of working in cocoa fields or brick mills or sweat shops

without getting paid. Nobody dreams of doing sex work. But this is life for too
many in the world.

It comes down to the basic economic reality of supply and demand. As long as
there is a demand, someone will find a way to supply it. Whatever “it” is. Even if “it”
is people.

The United Nations defines “trafficking in persons as the recruitment, transportation,
transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or
other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power
or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits
to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the
purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation
of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or
services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

Ask: Human trafficking is a growing, global problem. What can you do? Allow

Say: Part of the answer is don’t be part of the demand! But what does that mean?
Allow response.

Add as needed:

• Shop fair trade.

• NEVER use pornography.

Say: Another part of the answer is finding out what the signs of human trafficking
are and paying attention. If you think you see something, then say something.

Then, believing that God can restore broken dreams, pray:

• That the trafficked people will be protected and freed.

• That the traffickers will see that they are wrong and stop treating people like
a commodity.

• That those who are buying and using trafficked people will stop.

• That those who are rescuing and providing services for the healing and
restoration of trafficked people will have courage and be protected.


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