Opening Prayer Led by Group Facilitator

Psalm 55

Pray the Psalm together aloud, alternating verses between two sides.  When finished, share reflections on the Psalm as a group

1  Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not yourself from my supplication!

2  Attend to me, and answer me; I am overcome by my trouble.

3  I am distraught by the noise of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked. For they bring trouble upon me, and in anger they cherish enmity against me.

4  My heart is in anguish within me, the terrors of death have fallen upon me.

5  Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me.

6  And I say, “O that I had wings like a dove!  I would fly away and be at rest;

7  yes, I would wander afar, I would lodge in the wilderness,

8  I would wait for him who saves me from the raging wind and tempest.”

9  Destroy their plans, O Lord, confuse their tongues; for I see violence and strife in the city.

10  Day and night they go around it on its walls; and mischief and trouble are within it

11  ruin is in its midst; oppression and fraud do not depart from its market place.

12  It is not an enemy who taunts me - then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me - then I could hide from him.

13  But it is you, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend.

14  We used to hold sweet converse together; within God’s house we walked in fellowship.

15  Let death come upon them; let them go down to Sheol alive; let them go away in terror into their graves.

16  But I call upon God; and the Lord will save me.

17  Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he will hear my voice.

18  He will deliver my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me.

19  God will give ear, and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old; because they keep no law, and do not fear God.

20  My companion stretched out his hand against his friends, he violated his covenant.

21  His speech was smoother than butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.

22  Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

23  But you, O God, will cast them down into the lowest pit; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.

The Dreams and Betrayal of Joseph

Genesis 37

1.       How does Israel contribute to the discord in his family?  How does Joseph?  Are there any precedents in Genesis for fraternal discord?  What lesson is there for a Patriarch in giving favor?  When he is favored?

2.       How are Joseph’s dreams characteristic of adolescence?  How does Joseph’s father respond to his son’s dreams?  What role do dreams and ambitions have in the growth of a Patriarch?  How does a Patriarch respond to a son’s ambitions?

3.       What is Joseph’s response to his father’s mission?  What are the consequences of the father’s mission?  Were you ever sent on a mission by your father? What are your costs of obedience to the Father’s mission?

4.       How has deception been a part of Jacob’s family history?  How have his sons imitated their father?  How have you sought to break any cycles of deception present in your family?

5.       What do you observe about Israel’s mourning for Joseph?  How is Israel's sorrow expressed?  Do you find Israel's sorrow excessive?  How did your father express sorrow?  How can a Patriarch use times of sorrow for the formation of his children? 

Prayer Partners

Discuss with your prayer partner the success/failure of your previous resolution & offer a vocal prayer for one another.