Today’s Reading: Genesis 41:17-42:17 (additional reading Psalm 18:1-15 and Proverbs 4:1-6)
Key Verse: “It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. Genesis 41:28
There is a true story of a farmer who was losing a lot of his chicken. Worried, he wrote to the Department of Agriculture: “Gentlemen: Something is wrong with my chickens. Every morning when I come out, I find two or three lying on the ground cold and stiff with their feet in the air. Can you tell me what is the matter?” Eight weeks later he received this letter from Washington: “Dear Sir: Your chickens are dead.”
It’s been said, “To look is one thing. To see what you look is another. To understand what you see is a third. To learn from what you understand is still something else. But to act on what you learn is all that really matters.”
Previously Joseph was a dreamer, a novice, and an underachiever. As a youth, he could not handle all the knowledge, potential, and favours he had. He had no interpretation for his own dreams, offered no solution to the baker and cupbearer, but two years later, he had a simple, practical and effective proposal that made sense, convinced Pharaoh, and transformed Egypt into a rich, powerful, and superior nation.
Joseph no equal in his generation. Pharaoh deemed Joseph wise and understanding (v 39). The biblical expression “wise and understanding” was applied to only one other person – King Solomon (1 Ki 3:12). Joseph rose above and got through the troubles, the turns, and the turmoil in his life.
Given the greatest stage of his life, Joseph gave glory and testimony to God’s work in his life. In his lengthy reply to Pharaoh (v 25-32), Joseph mentioned himself just once, God four times (Gen 41:25, 28, 32), and God’s name before Pharaoh’s name twice (Gen 41:25, “God has revealed to Pharaoh” & v 28 “God has shown Pharaoh”). He punctuated his ending with a double reference to God (v 32, “the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon”).
Two years previously given a lesser stage (Gen 40:14-15), Joseph’s words to the cupbearer was about himself, his origins and his plight, but now he used the opportunity, occasion, and opening with Pharaoh to talk about Pharaoh’s dream, Egypt’s plight, and God’s decree – anything but himself. Joseph eventually understood he was an instrument, a mouthpiece, and a beacon for God’s use.
How often, despite many years of praying, when God has given us central stage, a great opportunity we have forgotten all about Him and started to focus back on ourselves. Sometimes it’s so easy to remember God when things are going bad, but when everything is good we tend to believe that we are great.
Joseph’s advice to Pharaoh, the word “I” never left his mouth. He was unimportant, unnecessary, and unflustered. He told Pharaoh what the dream meant (Gen 41:29-32), how to solve the crisis, and withheld nothing from Pharaoh, including giving away his game plan to Pharaoh. He wasn’t scared of being replaced because he knew God’s calling.
Joseph was a wise and understanding man. The more he told, the more he was trusted; the more he spoke, the more God was glorified; and the more he humbled himself, the more others were blessed. He understood God’s wisdom at work in his life.
- What are some of the lessons/changes that life and time have taught you?
- How can you be less ‘I’ centred and more God centred?
- How can you give glory to God when things are going well in life?
Father, Thank You for Your calling on our life and the way you change us and mould us over time. Help us to become the people You are calling us to be and to point all praise to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen