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Gen. 41:1-57 - God Is In Control - Part 2
- Read part 1 here.
Last week we saw Pharaoh had a couple dreams and called out his calvary of magicians and wise men to interpret his dreams for him. None of them could do so. We now pick up the story in vs. 9...
Vs. 9-13 - “Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I am reminded of my shortcomings. Pharaoh was once angry with his servants, and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard. Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream.
And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: "I was restored to my position, and the other man was impaled.”
Prov. 21:1 - “In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water, that he channels toward all who please him.” And he does so now here with Pharaoh's cupbearer. Again just see the Lord in absolute control!
It’s interesting. What do we know about the Spirit of God? He is the convictor of sin (John 16:8).
So here’s the butler, he uses the word for “fault” or “offenses” or “failure” there in vs. 9, and this lets us know that forgetting about Joseph was intentional, it didn’t just slip his mind. He said this is sin. So through conviction now, God moves upon his heart just at this time for him to spill the beans on that.
Vs. 14-16 - “ So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon.When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.
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.”
Now, there seems to be a universal quality among those used of God that there will come opportunities to take credit and boast. And this was such an opportunity for Joseph! He could have said: “Ya man, I’ve kinda got this cosmic connection, I know what’s going on, God just happens to tell me stuff...”
He could have used this opportunity to really elevate himself, but rather than that, he uses it as an opportunity to elevate and exalt God.
And again, these aren’t just black letters on white pages, get yourself into the story here. Here’s this guy's chance. He’s been in prison for who knows how long, and now, out of nowhere, he’s got an appointment with the President in the oval office. And they tell him he’s gotta shower and shave, “man, Pharaoh wants to see you.”
So, just the boldness of this man. You mean to tell me you’re going to waltz in there and tell this multi-pagan deity worshipping Pharaoh that the God of Israel’s going to tell you what’s going on!? And that the God of Israel is going to tell him what to do? Now THERE’S a way to blow this whole deal and land yourself right back in prison.
But again, man, Joseph just absolutely understands that God is in control, and again he places his confidence, not in people, but just steadfastly upon the Lord and he goes in there and just elevates his God.
Now, mark also here, look at this from another angle; What a great witness. Again, God is made exceptional in the eyes of others when they see faithfulness despite adversity. Easy to talk about God in the Whitehouse, right? Not so easy to talk about God in the outhouse. Here’s this guy who’s been in prison for how long, and he’s all talking about God here?
When you are on the ropes and going through some real “stuff” and you are there elevating God in and through all that - it is in that hour that you’re gonna make an impact like no other opportunities that you are gonna get in life. Those of you in particular who are going through some tough times, listen - well above and beyond, far greater than any difficulty you might be experiencing, there’s a great reward that you will harvest through the ages to come, and we need to make that connection. Go meditate on 2 Cor. 4:17 this week if that’s you.
So Joseph - he invests in this hour - God is with him - the payoff is there - notice now beginning in vs. 17... And he’s just repeating the dreams he had, so we’ll go down to vs. 24.
Vs. 24-33 - “The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none of them could explain it to me.”
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.
“And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt.”
“Look for a discerning and wise man...:’ let’s pause here. Not only is he giving him the interpretation, now he’s telling the most powerful man in the world what to do! This is boldness!!
Vs. 34-38 - “Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance.
They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.”
The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?”
Again, notice that not only does he give him the interpretation, but in a very bold step, he gives counsel to the most powerful man in the world. Remember, just a few moments before this dude was spending life in prison because of a false rape charge alleged by the original Desperate Housewife. All of a sudden he’s standing before this guy and God has given him just this incredible boldness.
We discover here that the source of boldness, in vs. 38, was the Holy Spirit And now the Holy Spirit, giving him boldness, now puts forward this plan. Here’s what the dream means and here’s the course of action that you need to take. It’s interesting that this is the first mention in Scripture of the H.S. empowering an individual to perform a certain task.
We read in the book of (John 14-16, and Acts 1:8), we recognize that the Holy Spirit can come upon an individual to give that person the ability or capacity to do that which God has asked them to do. God will not ask us to do something that He does not then give us the ability to do!
Within the Church today in our culture, our relationship with the Holy Spirit is really neglected to a significant degree, and that neglect is really a function of one of 2 extremes that we tend to go to regarding the Holy Spirit.
At the one extreme is what we’ll call the “Timothy Syndrome.” Where God has empowered us with certain gifts, but we just get so caught up in this narrow view, we get so captured within the day to day routines and the drudgery of life, that before we know it, swerve right off the path of recognizing He HAS gifted each of us uniquely with spiritual gifts.
Where we need to be reminded, as Timothy was reminded, “Stir up the gifts and the callings of God that the Lord has set within you, begin to stoke the fires of the Spirit of God, and get busy fulfilling what God has called you to get busy doing.” (2 Tim. 1:6).
The other extreme that we tend to go to, and we find this especially in charismatic and pentecostal circles, is really the “Corinthian Syndrome.” Where there is such a mis-weighted emphasis upon the gifts and such a disorder in the exercise of them that it just becomes very silly and it's nothing more than fleshly emotionalism. (1 Cor. 14).
Now, both of those extremes are really neglect. Here, though the H.S. has come upon this man Joseph, he interprets the dream in boldness and with great wisdom.
Join us next week as we start finishing off this chapter. Blessings to you all.