God’s Plan Is a Work of Art

Scripture: Genesis 39-41

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review the story of how God used Joseph’s challenging past to prepare him for his important position.
  • Students will use the basics of backstitching to trace a hieroglyphic image. Students will relate this to how God uses what looks like a messy life on the back, to make a purposeful work of art.

Guiding Question: Even when life is challenging and messy, how does God use our experiences to make it something purposeful? How is this like backstitching?

Materials: yarn, thin burlap, plastic needles with an eye that is big enough for the yarn to go through, examples of hieroglyphics, dark markers, example of a tapestry or backstitch

Procedure: Review how Joseph endured many challenges such as being sold by his brothers into a foreign land and being unjustly sent to prison. Often difficult challenges happen in life and we do not always understand why they happen. However, God uses the difficult times in life to help make our lives beautiful and purposeful so that we can better serve Him. Imagine what would have happened during the famine if Joseph had not been sold to Egypt or met the cupbearer in prison so that the Pharaoh could hear about him. Explain that we do not always understand why bad things happen, but they can work for the greater good. Sometimes are lives can be like that too.

Show students an example of a backstitched fabric. Even though the back looks like there were a lot of mistakes and knotted messes, when it is finished and turned over, it is a beautiful work of art. Our lives can seem messy at times, but God has a purpose for it.

Teach students how to backstitch their own work of art. For first-time sewers, it is best to use plastic needles, a simple image, yarn, and burlap. Show students the Egyptian hieroglyphics alphabet and explain that it was a form of writing in ancient Egypt. Students can choose one to draw on their burlap with marker. They can then follow the drawn lines to backstitch. Teach students the basic stitch to go over their marker line. Here is a short online tutorial of the basics: https://youtu.be/7tIBhcK1QXk.

Additional Questions:

  • How are God’s plans for our life like back stitching?
  • What would have happened during the famine if Joseph had not experienced his trials?
  • How does Joseph’s story change your ideas about trials?
  • How can you pray to God during difficult times?
  • Do we always know why bad things happen?

Supplemental Activity:
Have students research other stories in the Bible of characters who struggled and had bad things happen to them. Encourage students to list the character’s challenges and the resulting good that happened due to their trials. You may even want to have each student research a different character and present it to the group. Other possible characters are: Moses, Daniel, Shadrach Meshach and Abednego, Esther, Abraham, Jacob, Elijah, David, Job.

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