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Gen. 41:1-57 - God Is In Control - Part 1
We have been looking at Joseph, particularly beginning in ch. 37, in the sense that he gives us just a tremendous picture of the person and works of Jesus Christ, a foreshadowing or type of Christ.
In that; we know he was a shepherd, we know that he was sent by his father to his wayward brothers, and his brothers then rejected him, betrayed him, sold him for shekels of silver. He was 30 when he was exalted under Pharaoh, even as Christ was 30 when He began His ministry. We know that Joseph was surrounded by 2 criminals even as Christ was surrounded on either side of the cross by 2 criminals, and on and on and on... We could just go into staggering detail, and we’ve seen that develop.
However, I think that probably the most important way that Joseph is like Christ is that, despite very adverse circumstances coming into his life over which he had no control, he never allowed those circumstances to really mold or shape his character. He remained faithful regardless of the adversity that came into his life.
This is how he was most like Christ. Joseph was able to remain faithful because he did not place his confidence in people, but placed it steadfastly into the hands of his God. He had an iron understanding that God is sovereign, that God is in control, that God is ruling over and orchestrating the affairs of his life.
And what we are able to lay hold of in all that - is that is how God has really chosen to make Himself exceptional. That God is made exceptional, not when all is well and we are doing okay, but rather when all is NOT well and we remain faithful - THAT is when God is made exceptional in the eyes of others.
When we come to an understanding that our lives are NOT a series of random events, but that God is working in and ALLOWING some of these difficult things, and ALLOWING these unique experiences to really shape and set up who He has created us to be IN HIM! That is when, we are walking in faith, will reveal to the lost and to the loved ones around us, that God is indeed exceptional. And that's how, really throughout the Scriptures, God has chosen to reveal Himself to the lost and to draw the lost to Himself.
That’s what we discover in the great men and women of the faith that are recorded in Heb. 11.
Now, the really practical side that we’ve seen as well here for us through all of this, is that it was really the strength in Joseph’s character that held at bay the disillusionment and the bitterness and the anguish that has the tendency to really consume most of us.
There are alot of people in these days that sort of live their lives with this whole idea that: “The real problem that I have in my life is that I just never get my big break. And when I get my big break, when my ship comes in, well THAT’S when everything’s gonna be great!”
Well, where we pick up our story this morning, we will see Joseph getting a big break. But what we need to ask ourselves though, is: “Did Joseph’s life get turned around because his ship had finally come in?
OR Was it really the position of Joseph’s heart, the attitude of Joseph that had created an environment that God could then come in and work in? (Matt. 6:33). I would say to you that if Joseph’s attitude had not been what it was, that his big break would not have come.
I think that oftentimes we can become so consumed with things apart from where our hearts should really be with God, that we can kinda get the cart before the horse. So, rather than being captured and consumed by that which we can’t control, if we simply turn our hearts first towards God, we might discover then, the ground is ripe for God to come in and really work in our lives and really exalt us, as well as work in a very powerful and dramatic way in our lives as well.
And that’s what we’re about to discover happening here with Joseph in ch. 41.
Vs. 1-8 - “When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile, when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank. And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.
He fell asleep again and had a second dream: Seven heads of grain, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted—thin and scorched by the east wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream.
In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.”
2 years have now gone by between the end of ch. 40-41. He’s been in prison for at least that long. Yet we’re able to see here God is totally in control, God’s timing is perfect. So, here’s Pharaoh, he has this dream. He goes back to sleep and has essentially the same dream but in a different form.
Now this Hebrew word for “troubled” means “to beat repeatedly.” So the guy is literally beat down here, no doubt this has left a pretty disturbing impression on him.
We have to recognize, of course, that not all dreams come from the Lord. Solomon tells us that dreams are many times the result of the day's activities. (Ecc. 5:3). So the activities of our day will often sort of spark the dreams that we have at night. So clearly not all dreams are from the Lord, in fact, many of them come from the enemy as well.
This culture here is really into the occult and into the elevation of dreams as we’ll discover. But THIS particular dream, however, IS from the Lord. Part of really any pagan idolatrous culture which we’re involved with here in Egypt is the elevation of anything other than the True God. They were deep into the occult and all kinds of crazy stuff, one of which was the elevation of dreams.
What is amazing to me, Egypt is really the womb that God is seeking to plant the camp of Jacob into in order that He might bless and multiply this family and turn them into the nation of Israel. So Egypt is going to be the womb where God develops His people into a nation (Ex. 1:7, 12, 20).
So here’s this pagan culture that elevates dreams, and God now, the whole time has been working and moving in the man’s life, that he might step in at such a time as this, interpret these dreams rightly, which will, in turn, exalt Joseph over all of Egypt, which will then ultimately produce the transplant of Israel into Egypt, where again, God will multiply them.
So we’re able to see, just backing off of this, how God has just orchestrated Joseph being in prison to interpret the butler and baker’s dreams, in order to now plug him into such a time as this to interpret Pharaoh's dreams, that this covenant promise through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is now going to go forward.
It’s interesting that, here you have these magicians and wise men, Pharaoh calls in the whole cavalry here. He’s beat down, he wants to know what’s going on, he’s wondering if this is some kind of omen or whatever, and here comes the university guys and the dream whisperers and such, and these guys just can’t figure it out. To their credit, they DIDN’T try to GUESS! If they were wrong Pharaoh’s gonna take their head off just like he did to the baker! So these pagan magicians and sorcerers, schooled in astrology, schooled in the occult, obviously under satanic influences, but they can’t understand the dreams.
This lets us know that Satan does not know everything! He doesn’t know the future and we're always giving him too much credit.
So Pharaoh pretty much figures he’s out of luck. Enter the cup bearer, who God now moves in his heart to finally step up to the plate after 2 years - for such a time as this!
Join us next week as we continue with the text. Blessings to you all.