Joseph and Pharaoh’s Dream (Week 11, Part 6/7) Genesis 37–41 | Mar 7 – Mar 13 – powered by Happy Scribe
In the Book of Genesis, we get to know Joseph pretty well. He proves himself through both thick and thin, and his lows are as magnificent as his highs. Joseph undergoes some serious character development over the course of the narrative, but some things stay consistent when on top. As a favorite child or ruler of Egypt, he can be a bit of a CAD, sharing dreams which, though true, understandably evoke the envy and ire of his brothers. Even his adoring dad reprimands him.
He also makes his brothers sweat when they turn up in Egypt desperate for food. But despite his foibles, the most consistent quality Joseph manifests wherever he is and whatever befalls him, is a determination to do his best and be trustworthy. He does not curse his unjust fate, but rather in every situation, no matter how seemingly dire, he makes the best of it by being his best self. His resilience and integrity earned him respect as a slave, respect as a prisoner, and ultimately place him at the very top of the Egyptian hierarchy, at the moment when he’s most needed by both his family and the world. Joseph experiences one of history’s most spectacular reversals of fortune, rising from rags to inconceivable riches, and there’s no lottery involved.
Upon hearing his Butler’s account of Joseph’s inspired dream interpretations, Pharaoh summons Joseph from prison immediately. Now, Joseph was about 17 when he was sold into slavery by his brothers. He served in potufar’s house long enough to become a trusted manager and was then in prison for long enough to become a trusted manager in the prison Barrow summoned Joseph when he was 30 years old, which means he was likely incarcerated for at least ten years, serving a sentence for a crime he did not commit. Imagine yourself in that scenario, sold into slavery by your own brothers, falsely accused and imprisoned, locked away for a third of your life because of cruel choices made by others, then called to assist someone you knew had a habit of sentencing people to death, depending on their mood. How would you respond?
I love what Joseph does when he’s called. He bathes, he shaves, he puts on new clothes. Sometimes I have a tendency to run out, just as is when something or someone important calls for my attention. But Joseph pauses. He prepares himself to meet the moment with poise and dignity.
Joseph is a reminder to us that we are always representatives of our heavenly Father, no matter the circumstances. Joseph never forgets this. When he arrives at the court, the Pharaoh compliments Joseph, greeting him by saying, hey buddy, I heard you can interpret dreams. That’s why I brought you here. Joseph replies immediately, saying, no, I cannot.
But God can, and God will interpret your dreams through me. Joseph boldly gives credit to God. May we ever do the same? Learning from the mighty example of humility and honesty that Joseph gives us, Pharaoh relates his dream once again. The cows healthy and fat.
Coming up out of the river is interesting. Why do they come up out of the river? Is it perhaps the river of life yielding abundance. And at times spewing forth devastation? As Joseph’s story keenly illustrates to us, fortunes, good or bad.
Are not always related to the virtue or vice of those whom they be. Paul Joseph, continuing to credit God as the real interpreter of the dream. Unfolds the meaning of this strange dream to Pharaoh. His Kingdom shall see seven years of extraordinary plenty. Followed by seven years of wretched famine.
Then Joseph, fold as ever offers an inspired strategy to counter the devastation foretold by Pharaoh’s dream. By earning Pharaoh’s trust. Joseph is able to save a nation along with his entire family. Which just so happens to be the raw material for another great nation. The House of Jacob, also known as Israel.
Joseph, now renamed Zafnathana, is given all the tools and power he needs to execute God’s plan to save Egypt and ultimately, Israel as well. Joseph exacts a double tithe of grain during the seven years of plenty he has led to Ashinath, a young woman from a blue chip family. And they have two sons, Iran and Manassa. This all happens before the bad years are upon them. When the seven years of light do arrive, Joseph and Pharaoh are ready.
Egypt’s silos are overflowing with grain. For Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea very much until he left numbering for it was without number. In the last verse of Chapter 41. We are left with this stunning example of basic economic theory. Scarcity.
And all countries came to Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn because that the famine was so sore in all lands. What arousing demonstration of God’s power to work wonders through one diligent faithful servant. We may not save nations through our efforts to be faithful and diligent to listen to the spirit and hearken unto it. But we can do our part. Which in the end is no more or less than Joseph did.
How can we be as ready to serve and save as Joseph? The poet Christ rosette offers an answer. What can I give him? Poor as I am? If I were a Shepherd, I would bring a lamb him.
If I were Wiseman, I would do my part. What can I give him? Give him my heart.