Monday 4 January, 2015

Genesis 41:14-36

14 So Pharaoh sent for Joseph. He was quickly brought out of the prison. Joseph shaved and changed his clothes. Then he came to Pharaoh. 15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream. No one can tell me what it means. But I’ve heard that when you hear a dream you can explain it.” 16 “I can’t do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh. “But God will give Pharaoh the answer he wants.” 17 Then Pharaoh told Joseph what he had dreamed. He said, “I was standing on the bank of the Nile River. 18 Seven cows came up out of the river. They were fat and looked healthy. They were eating the tall grass growing along the river. 19 After them, seven other cows came up. They were bony and very ugly and thin. I had never seen such ugly cows in the whole land of Egypt. 20 The thin, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first. 21 But no one could tell that the thin cows had eaten the fat cows. That’s because the thin cows looked just as ugly as they had before. Then I woke up. 22 “In my dream I also saw seven heads of grain. They were full and good. They were all growing on one stem. 23 After them, seven other heads of grain came up. They were weak and thin and dried up by the east wind. 24 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told my dream to the magicians. But none of them could explain it to me.” 25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Both of Pharaoh’s dreams have the same meaning. God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years. And the seven good heads of grain are seven years. Both dreams mean the same thing. 27 The seven thin, ugly cows that came up later are seven years. So are the seven worthless heads of grain dried up by the east wind. They are seven years when there won’t be enough food. 28 “It’s just as I said to Pharaoh. God has shown Pharaoh what he’s about to do. 29 Seven years with plenty of food are coming to the whole land of Egypt. 30 But seven years when there won’t be enough food will follow them. Then everyone will forget about all the food Egypt had. Terrible hunger will destroy the land. 31 There won’t be anything left to remind people of the years when there was plenty of food in the land. That’s how bad the hunger that follows will be. 32 God gave the dream to Pharaoh in two forms. That’s because the matter has been firmly decided by God. And it’s because God will do it soon. 33 “So Pharaoh should look for a wise and understanding man. He should put him in charge of the land of Egypt. 34 Pharaoh should appoint officials to be in charge of the land. They should take a fifth of the harvest in Egypt during the seven years when there’s plenty of food. 35 They should collect all the extra food of the good years that are coming. Pharaoh should give them authority to store up the grain. They should keep it in the cities for food. 36 The grain should be stored up for the country to use later. It will be needed during the seven years when there isn’t enough food in Egypt. Then the country won’t be destroyed just because it doesn’t have enough food.”

This story of Joseph’s deliverance is so powerful.  Joseph suffered the injustice of wrongful imprisonment, kept there seemingly beyond due time as well, when suddenly he is summoned from the dungeon to face the Pharaoh.

Joseph, in all the time if his imprisonment had not lost his sense of self and washes, changes his clothes to be presentable and shaves.  When asked about the dreams and his ability to discern their meaning he is straightforward in saying “I cannot do it”.  I am sure this is the exact opposite of what the Pharaoh wanted to hear, but he quickly follows with great faith in saying with the confidence of faith, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer”.  That is faith.

Joseph knew he could not rely on his own abilities – he had to rely on God and he did so with faith filled confidence.

What is your answer to a difficult task, ‘I cannot do it’, but God…

Father help each of us grow in our reliance on you and so be able to testify to the amazing grace and power that You have and which is available to us by faith!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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