This lesson focuses on Joseph’s righteous decisions and reinforces what students learned about him in their daily lessons. Genesis 39 illustrates Joseph’s righteousness and shows how the Lord prospered him in all circumstances.
Read aloud each of the scenarios below. After each one, ask the class to explain what choices are available to them in that scenario and what short-term or long-term consequences may follow those choices.
A friend tells you that it is okay to engage in sexual behaviors outside of marriage when you love and trust each other.
A friend of the opposite gender invites you into his or her bedroom so you can be alone to talk.
Explain that as students study Genesis 39, they will learn from the good choices Joseph made when he was in tempting situations.
Invite a student to read Genesis 39:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened to Joseph after he was sold to the Ishmaelite and Midianite merchants. Ask students to report what they find.
Invite a student to read Genesis 39:3–6 aloud. Ask students to follow along, looking for how the Lord blessed Joseph.
How did the Lord bless and prosper Joseph?
What do you think “goodly person, and well favoured” means? (As students respond, you may need to explain that it means that Joseph was kind and handsome.)
Ask a student to read Genesis 39:7 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for how Joseph was tested. Ask students to report what they find. You may need to explain that the phrase “lie with me” was a command to have sexual relations.
Invite a student to read Genesis 39:8–9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Joseph responded to Potiphar’s wife.
How did Joseph respond to Potiphar’s wife? (Point out that according to the Joseph Smith Translation, “wotteth not” in verse 8 means “knoweth not.” Joseph was explaining to Potiphar’s wife that Potiphar trusted him greatly.)
Based on Joseph’s example, what can our devotion to God give us strength to do? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: Our devotion to God gives us strength to resist temptation.)
What do you think we can do to develop a strong devotion to God like Joseph had?
Remind students that Genesis 39:9 is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to invite the class to recite this verse aloud and then invite a student to recite it from memory.
Ask students to read Genesis 39:10 silently, looking for how often Joseph faced temptation from Potiphar’s wife. Ask students to report what they find.
Ask a student to read Genesis 39:11–12 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what Joseph did when Potiphar’s wife became more demanding. Invite students to report what they find.
What can we learn from Joseph’s example about what to do when we find ourselves in tempting situations? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: If we remove ourselves from tempting situations, then we will have greater ability to resist temptation.)
Point out that one way to remove ourselves from tempting situations is to do all we can to avoid those situations. Invite a student to read aloud the following statement. Ask the class to listen for counsel that they feel they need to apply more fully to their lives.
“Never do anything that could lead to sexual transgression. Treat others with respect, not as objects used to satisfy lustful and selfish desires. Before marriage, do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body. Pay attention to the promptings of the Spirit so that you can be clean and virtuous. …
“Avoid situations that invite increased temptation, such as late-night or overnight activities away from home or activities where there is a lack of adult supervision. Do not participate in discussions or any media that arouse sexual feelings. Do not participate in any type of pornography. The Spirit can help you know when you are at risk and give you the strength to remove yourself from the situation. Have faith in and be obedient to the righteous counsel of your parents and leaders” (For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 36).
How can this counsel help you?
Encourage students to live this counsel so they can be protected from sin.
Summarize Genesis 39:13–18 by explaining that Potiphar’s wife lied and accused Joseph of seeking to have inappropriate relations with her.
Invite a student to read Genesis 39:19–20 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened to Joseph as a result of the lies Potiphar’s wife told about him. Invite students to report what they find.
Point out that although it may have been painful or difficult for Joseph to be cast into prison for a crime he did not commit, being in prison allowed him to escape further temptation from Potiphar’s wife.
Ask a student to read Genesis 39:21–23 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for additional ways Joseph was blessed while in prison.
What principle can we learn from Joseph’s experience? (Students may identify a variety of principles, including the following: If we do what is right, then the Lord will be with us and help us.)
Testify of the truths discussed today, and encourage students to resist temptation as Joseph did.
Invite students to imagine being sold into slavery by their siblings. Ask students to ponder the following questions: How would you feel toward your siblings if you were later reunited with them, but you were then in a position of great power? Would you forgive your siblings? Encourage students as they study Genesis 40–50 to watch for how Joseph reacts to the mistreatment from his brothers of selling him into slavery.