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Genesis 41





 

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The story of Joseph is one of my absolute favorites! It’s a story of HOPE. Yes, there is so much suffering that Joseph has to go through and so much of it is out of his control. What I love the most is seeing the goodness and provision of God throughout Joseph’s suffering. It reminds me of the verse in 1 Peter chapter 5, verse 6 that says, “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”


In chapter 41 of Genesis. We finally see God’s plan for Joseph come to fruition. It’s been two years between chapter 40 and chapter 41. Two years that Joseph sat in prison because of the cup bearer’s selfishness! The dude completely forgot about Joseph in like a day. You would think that Joseph’s interpretation of the two men’s dreams coming to pass before his very eyes would be a nice reminder that he was supposed to tell Pharaoh about him, but obviously it wasn’t. It’s not until two years later, after Pharaoh has two dreams in the middle of the night, that cause him great upset that the cup bearer is like, “oh yeahhhh…I promised to remember that dream interpreter dude.”


In verse 9 it says, “Finally, the king’s chief cup-bearer spoke up. “Today I have been reminded of my failure,” he told Pharaoh. “Some time ago, you were angry with the chief baker and me, and you imprisoned us in the palace of the captain of the guard. One night the chief baker and I each had a dream, and each dream had its own meaning. There was a young Hebrew man with us in the prison who was a slave of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he told us what each of our dreams meant. And everything happened just as he had predicted.”


Pharaoh sent for Jospeh IMMEDIATELY and he was quickly thrust before him. What’s so cool to me is that Joseph had no idea that this was coming, after all, it had been two years since Joseph’s chance at escape from this prison. He had no warning that he would be rescued from prison and thrust before the most powerful ruler and questioned. Our most important opportunities in life can come when we least expect it. 


Even though Joseph had no idea this crucial moment in his life was coming, he was ready. He was prepared. How? Because he kept himself in right relationship with God. It wasn’t Joseph interrupting dreams because of HIS skill and HIS wisdom. It was because he was connected to the Lord, the Wise One, the Keeper of all knowledge. And he made sure to give credit to God before he did anything else. In verse 15 shows us this. It says, “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.”


After this, Pharaoh goes straight into telling Joseph about his dreams. No pause. No contemplating this God that Joseph is giving credit to. It’s not lost on me that, while the Egyptians believed in a god for just about everything, Pharaoh did not know anything about Joseph’s God. He was so desperate for the truth of these dreams and what they meant that he trusted this Hebrew man, a slave and prisoner of 13 years, to interpret these dreams for him through this God he had never heard of. I just think that’s pretty amazing.


Joseph not only interprets Pharaoh’s dreams, but he gives him a 14 year plan for Egypt and how to save them from the famine. Without this plan, Egypt would go from prosperity to ruin. It would completely crumble. In verse 33, Jospeh says, “Therefore, Pharaoh should find an intelligent and wise man and put him in charge of the entire land of Egypt.” And that’s exactly what Pharaoh does. 


Let’s quickly read verses 37 through 44. “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.” Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.”


And just like that, Jospeh was brought out his suffering and into his purpose. There was finally a purpose for his pain. I can’t even imagine how he felt in that moment as the goodness of God flooded over him.


Pharaoh then gave Joseph an Egyptian name and the daughter of a prominent Egyptian leader for a wife. He was trying to make Joseph look more Egyptian. Trying to help him fit in better with the culture and some of this was probably to protect his reputation as Pharaoh, not to mention the fact that Joseph was a nomadic shepherd; an occupation that the Egyptians very much disliked. Placing a Hebrew to be second command of all of Egypt is HUGE deal and would not have been accepted by everyone. 


In tomorrow’s chapters, we will see that Joseph looks so Egyptian that his own brothers do not recognize him. But make no mistake, even though Joseph by all appearances looked Egyptian, he was still the same godly, Hebrew man that Pharaoh promoted to prominence. His new position and Egyptian family did not change who he was. I think we can take a note from Joseph here. Most of us work secular jobs and are surrounded all day, every day by non-believers. People who are watching us. Just because we are in a secular culture doesn’t mean that we have to become like that culture. On the contrary, it means that we need to be so full of God’s spirit that we rub off on the culture. On the people around us. 


The chapter ends describing that everything Joseph predicted with God’s help did in fact come to pass just as he said it would. Verse 49 says, “He piled up huge amounts of grain like sand on the seashore. Finally, he stopped keeping records because there was too much to measure.” And when the 7 years of famine hit, people came from all over to buy grain from Joseph. Crops were the only source of food for people then. There weren’t any grocery stores. What people grew and raised was what they ate and survived off of. This famine wasn’t just in Egypt. The last verse of the chapter states that the famine was severe all throughout the world!


So to wrap up our Dwell this morning, I want to look at a few application points that we can take away from this chapter. The first one is to always be ready. You never know when the moment is going to come that God will pull you into your purpose. We have to stay diligent and in right relationship with the Lord, no matter what suffering or issues we are going through. The only way we are going to be ready for God to use us at any given moment is to stay connected to Him. 


The second thing I want us to take away is that we should always be on the lookout for people around us who are in desperation. Pharaoh’s desperation caused him to be open to what God wanted to tell him through Joseph. And just like Pharaoh, we interact with desperate people everyday, but sometimes in order to notice it, we have to be looking for it. We have to pay people attention. Let’s ask the Lord to show us these people so we can be His hands and feet. So we can show them the love of Jesus. 


And lastly, let’s pray that God would help us to be able to be in the world, but not of it. We have to be in the world in order for His love shine through us to other people, but we have to take care not to become more like the world. This can be tricky. We have to protect ourselves but also reach out to the lost and broken. 


As you continue about your day, remember that God is good and He does good. We don’t always feel it in the midst of our circumstances, but just like He was with Joseph all 13 years of his slavery and imprisonment, He is also with you. He hasn’t forgotten you and he certainly isn’t allowing you to go through suffering to punish you. He’s refining you and preparing you for what’s next. And we will see the proof of that in Joseph’s life as the next few chapters of Genesis unfold.  

 

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