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Cultural Catwalk: Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dreams – Genesis 40-41

If we choose to remember one thing from last week, it would be that, “Joseph’s actions in the midst of messy circumstances show that he chose faith as the fixed foundation of his cultural catwalk.” We can all learn from Joseph. How would we deal with a prison sentence for something we didn’t do? Would we be a model prisoner? How would we feel about the justice system? Perhaps, a man who knew Joseph’s story would react with honor — Richard Phillips, for example:

“A Detroit man whose murder conviction was thrown out after he spent 45 years in prison was exonerated Wednesday and won’t face a second trial. Richard Phillips, 71, was upbeat, saying the criminal justice system ‘works – it just didn’t work fast enough.'” [1]

So you see, we can be “Joseph people,” even now!

Remember that the prison warden was impressed with Joseph, and put him “in charge of all those held in prison” (Genesis 39:22). While in prison, Joseph attended to Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer and chief baker. He also interpreted their dreams; they turned out to be true, and affected each man’s life. Read more

Pharaoh started to experience troubling dreams. However, all the magicians and wise men were unable to interpret them …

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 (Genesis 41:10-13).

Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and said, “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” (vs. 15).

As a man whose faith guided him, Joseph knew that his ability to interpret dreams came from God — not himself. He told Pharaoh, “God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires” (vs. 16). After Pharaoh described his dreams to Joseph, he explained, “It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do … 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” (vs. 28, 32). Read more

After Joseph presented God’s plan to endure seven years of famine — to collect and store up the food from the coming good years — so that Egypt wouldn’t suffer during the following years of famine, Pharaoh turned to Joseph for help. Read more

Then Pharaoh said to Joseph:

“Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you. So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and people shouted before him, “Make way! [Bow down!]” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt (vs 39-43).

What a promotion that turned out to be for Joseph! At only thirty years old, Joseph controlled everything and everyone in Egypt. Read more

During the famine, Joseph’s brothers (remember they sold him to a Midianite merchant for only $400.00) left Canaan and traveled to Egypt to buy grain, because their country was experiencing a life threatening famine.

Next week: Joseph meets his brothers

Oh my … that ought to be interesting!


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