A Troubled Spirit


Can you imagine Aristotle using a cell phone, typing an email, or conferring with Plato via Skype? They were the most revered intellectuals of their time, but they would likely need some tutoring from a modern-day eight-year-old if called upon to send a text. The marvels of today’s technology have made communication remarkably quick and easy­—maybe too quick and easy.

  • When was the last time you spent totally quiet, unplugged time communicating with God about his take on a big decision, a heavy problem, or a damaged relationship?


1 After two whole years, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the Nile, and behold, there came up out of the Nile seven cows attractive and plump, and they fed in the reed grass. And behold, seven other cows, ugly and thin, came up out of the Nile after them, and stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile. And the ugly, thin cows ate up the seven attractive, plump cows. And Pharaoh awoke. And he fell asleep and dreamed a second time. And behold, seven ears of grain, plump and good, were growing on one stalk. And behold, after them sprouted seven ears, thin and blighted by the east wind. And the thin ears swallowed up the seven plump, full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream. So in the morning his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was none who could interpret them to Pharaoh.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Pharaoh’s dream occurred two years after the end of chapter 40, when Joseph had been falsely imprisoned. Who were the principle players in the first dream (vss. 2-5)? The second dream (vss. 6-7)?
  2. What was Pharaoh’s reaction to these dreams? What did he do in response?
  3. The magicians of Egypt and all its wise men could not or would not interpret the dream. Why do you think this was true?
  4. When you receive bad or troubling news as Pharaoh did, what is your first reaction, and to whom do you instinctively run for answers?


Egypt was the leader among ancient civilizations, but Pharaoh did not know Jehovah, so he turned to the best of his human resources. What he failed to understand was that the wisdom of this world is folly to God (1 Corinthians 3:19). Thousands of years later, are we so unlike Pharaoh? In a situation where your “spirit is troubled,” do you grab some sort of technological device to seek human wisdom? Do you exhaust human resources before you finally call on God? We like to believe we depend on God, but what would the patterns in our lives show about whom we call on first?

  • Ask God to convict you the next time you lump his wisdom in with all the other counsel you’ve sought in a troubling situation.
  • Pray to develop a pattern of seeking him first.

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