Friday, September 30, 2011

Genesis 41:8-40

Pharaoh had two disturbing dreams, and for some reason he required an interpreter. Verse 8 tells us that “he sent for all of the magicians and wise men of Egypt.” Seriously, NONE of them could figure out what these dreams meant?? They seem pretty straightforward to me! Seven fat cows swallowed up by seven “lean, ugly cows”, and seven good heads of grain swallowed up by seven “worthless heads of grain?” None of the wise men could figure that out?? Beth Moore conjectures that they knew what the dreams meant but did not want to be the bearers of bad news, and possibly end up in the dungeon or worse.

So Pharaoh sought the help of Joseph, after the forgetful cupbearer recommended him. Joseph, who understood his place before God, refused to take credit for his interpretation:

Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”

“I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” (Gen 41:15-16)

And Joseph, unlike the fearful magicians and wise men of Egypt, had no trouble telling the truth, as God revealed it to him:

Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine.

“It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon. (vs. 25-32)

Joseph recommended that Pharaoh begin to immediately take action and plan for the famine by appointing commissioners to store up the food during the good years to be ready for the bad ones. Pharaoh recognized a good administrator when he saw one, and, even more importantly, he recognized where the talent came from [just so you know, as an English major it pains me to not write, “. . . from where the talent came,” but it just sounds so stuffy!]:

So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?”

Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” (vs.38-40)

Now, had it been me who had been put in this position of leadership, I’d be thinking, “Oh no! Wait until they find out that I have no clue!” Joseph had just been exalted to a very high position in Egypt. Could he possibly be ready for such authority? Of course he was ready! Not only had God been preparing him for exactly this kind of work through his administrative duties in Potiphar’s household and in the prison, but, by this time Joseph had to be thoroughly convinced that God was with him and would guide him, and that God would never call one of His children to do something without also giving him everything he would need to complete the task. Next, we’ll see just how important Joseph became to the nation of Egypt, and the entire known world of his time.


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