Joseph: 20/20 Vision (Part IV)
God Has A Plan
A lot can happen in two years. Presidents change, laws change, jobs change, living spaces change, people die. Think about where you were two years ago and how your life has changed in that time. In chapter 41 of Genesis we pick up with Joseph two years after he correctly interpreted the prisoners’ dreams and was forgotten by the cup-bearer. Joseph isn’t mentioned until verse 12 as the chapter opens explaining two dreams that Pharaoh had. In the first dream, seven skinny cows eat seven fat cows; in the second, seven thin grains are swallowed up by seven plump grains—and just like the prisoners two years before, no one can tell Pharaoh what it means.
“The next morning Pharaoh was very disturbed by the dreams. So he called for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. When Pharaoh told them his dreams, not one of them could tell him what they meant. Finally, the king’s chief cup-bearer spoke up. ‘Today I have been reminded of my failure,’ he told Pharaoh.” (Genesis 41:8-9)
Upon hearing that Pharaoh has had dreams that his magicians and wise men can’t interpret, the cup-bearer remembered the Hebrew man in prison, the one who said interpreting dreams is God’s business. He told Pharaoh about Joseph, and in verse 13 he was sure to say, “Everything happened just as he predicted.” Pharaoh sent for Joseph at once.
“Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I had a dream last night, and no one here can tell me what it means. But I have heard that when you hear about a dream you can interpret it.’ ‘It is beyond my power to do this,’ Joseph replied. ‘But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.’” (Genesis 41:15-16)
Again, Joseph did not point to himself but confidently to God. A foreigner among people who do not worship or recognize God as God, Joseph boldly said that he couldn’t do it, but God could. In America, we have “In God we trust” written on our money and our government buildings; our freedom of religion is protected in our Constitution and yet we often fail to speak up in such a way with such confidence about our God. Let us pray for the confidence in God that Joseph had.
Pharaoh told him the dreams and Joseph explained that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. He then told Pharaoh what he should do about it, going so far as to tell him to appoint supervisors over the land and to collect one-fifth of the crop. He was a prisoner telling Pharaoh what to do. His confidence and assurance was in God. Listen to Pharaoh’s response:
“Joseph’s suggestions were well received by Pharaoh and his officials. So Pharaoh asked his officials, ‘Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?’ Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are. You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours.’” (Genesis 41:37-40)
Pharaoh said that Joseph was obviously filled with the spirit of God. Wouldn’t that be nice to hear someone say that of you? To behave or speak in such a way that it is obvious to people that you are filled with God’s spirit is something we should all strive for. And then Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of everything, saying that only he, Pharaoh, would rank higher than Joseph. Joseph went from prisoner to second in Egypt over the course of a bold conversation. Look what God can do when we trust Him, when we are bold and courageous.
This chapter does not end with a twist; things continue to improve for Joseph. His plans were put into action and the grain was saved; he married and had two sons, declaring that “God has made me forget all my troubles….” God had a plan for Joseph the entire time. There was a reason he was given the dreams that finally pushed his brothers over the edge, there was a reason that Reuben and Judah spoke up against killing Joseph, that he was falsely accused and imprisoned, that he was put in charge of the prisoners, that he would interpret their dreams, that the cup-bearer would forget about Joseph until the very moment he was needed. God has a plan for all of us and He is often working behind the scenes. It is not always for us to know, but it is for us to have faith in God, know that we are His masterpiece, and He has a plan.
We will conclude our study on Joseph next time by looking at the final four chapters of Joseph's life and see his first dreams finally come to fruition. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.