Ever heard the phrase “when opportunity meets preparation”? Today, we will witness an example of this very concept. God designed the perfect opportunity to reward a faithful, prepared servant, in order to demonstrate his divine plan to save a nation and showcase his supremacy over all. Joseph didn’t look to his circumstances as indicators of God’s goodness or presence. Instead, as the years went by, he faithfully trusted and served, and in a single day, went from dungeon-dwelling prisoner to acting CEO of an empire.
- In what circumstances do you find yourself today?
READ THE WORD: GENESIS 41:9-36 (ESV)
9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “I remember my offenses today. 10 When Pharaoh was angry with his servants and put me and the chief baker in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, 11 we dreamed on the same night, he and I, each having a dream with its own interpretation. 12 A young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. When we told him, he interpreted our dreams to us, giving an interpretation to each man according to his dream. 13 And as he interpreted to us, so it came about. I was restored to my office, and the baker was hanged.”
14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they quickly brought him out of the pit. And when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came in before Pharaoh. 15 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” 16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” 17 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Behold, in my dream I was standing on the banks of the Nile. 18 Seven cows, plump and attractive, came up out of the Nile and fed in the reed grass. 19 Seven other cows came up after them, poor and very ugly and thin, such as I had never seen in all the land of Egypt. 20 And the thin, ugly cows ate up the first seven plump cows, 21 but when they had eaten them no one would have known that they had eaten them, for they were still as ugly as at the beginning. Then I awoke. 22 I also saw in my dream seven ears growing on one stalk, full and good. 23 Seven ears, withered, thin, and blighted by the east wind, sprouted after them, 24 and the thin ears swallowed up the seven good ears. And I told it to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me.”
25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one. 27 The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty ears blighted by the east wind are also seven years of famine.28 It is as I told Pharaoh; God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 There will come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, 30 but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land, 31 and the plenty will be unknown in the land by reason of the famine that will follow, for it will be very severe. 32 And the doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about. 33 Now therefore let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh proceed to appoint overseers over the land and take one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven plentiful years. 35 And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. 36 That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- When Pharaoh sent for Joseph to interpret his dreams, what was the first thing Joseph said to him (vs. 16)? What is significant about his statement?
- In yesterday’s passage, we learned that two years had passed since Joseph had interpreted the cupbearer’s dream. In light of that, what do you learn about Joseph and his readiness to honor God and speak for God after such a long time in a pit?
- Besides the actual interpretation of the dreams, what else did Joseph go on to boldly tell Pharaoh?
- What do you learn about God through these events in Joseph’s life story?
RESPOND TO GOD
Joseph found favor and impressed others most everywhere he went. He continually pointed people to the God of Israel as the source of all wisdom and understanding. And yet, he was enslaved, betrayed, slandered, and imprisoned for years. As he remained faithful in dire and unfair circumstances, God used Joseph in his magnificent, grand plan, and placed him in a position to influence, instruct, and save a godless nation from destruction.
- Pray that day-by-day you will learn to be content, whatever your circumstances (Philippians 4:11-13), realizing that it is a learned skill requiring grace, strength, and insight that only the Lord can daily provide.
- Ask God to increase your faith to believe that he is always at work in your life and in this world.