Joseph’s Test with Pharaoh’s Dreams
Verses 1-7 – Joseph is still in prison, forgotten by the chief butler. That had to be depressing. Have you ever helped someone out and they completely forget you even exist? How do you handle it? Do you complain or do you still depend on God to deliver you like Joseph did?
Verse 8 – Magicians, sometimes called wise men, were common in the palaces of ancient rule. They would study sacred arts and science, read the stars, interpret dreams, predict the future and perform magic. These men had power (Exodus 7:11, 12), but their power was satanic. But here, they had no idea what Pharaoh’s dream was.
Verses 9-13 – Finally the chief butler remembers Joseph and tells Pharaoh.
Verses 14, 15 – Our God is a suddenly God. Just when you least expect it, your answer shows up. Most of the time it is not how you expected it to come. Joseph was suddenly pulled from prison to go before Pharaoh. It was not his ability of the knowledge of interpreting dreams; it was his knowledge of his God. Get to know our God first or in the midst of the crises, then wait with great expectation. Always be ready for the opportunities God will place in front of you.
Verse 16 – Joseph made sure he gave the credit all to God. Be careful to do the same. To take credit ourselves is a form of taking the honor from God. Don’t be silent. God gets all the glory for your victory.
Verses 28-36 – After Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams; he basically told him what was going to happen for the next fourteen years. By giving Pharaoh a plan to keep Egypt alive during a seven-year famine, he just might have saved all of civilization. Some people find detailed planning boring and unnecessary, but planning is taking responsibility. We must learn to take God’s plans and put them into action.
Verse 38 – You may never interpret dreams for anyone, but make sure others see God in you. When you have the spirit of God living on the inside of you, your words should be kind; you should be merciful and you should be able to give wise advice. Do your friends or relatives get this from you? (I’m striving toward that goal.)
Verses 39, 40 – Joseph went from slave to prison to being placed second in command over all Egypt. God says, “The latter is better than the former.”
Verse 45 – Pharaoh gave Joseph an Egyptian name, but we will always know him as Joseph. He may have done this to: 1) play down the fact that Joseph had been a nomadic sheep herder, 2) make his name easier for the Egyptians to relate to or remember, 3) to show he was highly honored by giving him the daughter of an Egyptian official.
Verse 46 – Joseph was thirty years old when he became governor of Egypt. He was seventeen when he was sold as a slave and a little over two years in prison. I’ve heard some say that Joseph spent thirteen years in prison. I don’t believe that is accurate. Joseph was in Potiphar’s house serving him a good while.
Verse 54 – Famines were devastating in ancient times just like they are today. You needed almost perfect conditions to produce good crops because there were no chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides. Any variances in rainfall and insect activity could cause crop failure and then hunger. Lack of storage, refrigeration, or transportation could turn a famine into a desperate situation. This particular famine was severe. Without God’s intervention, the Egyptians would have been wiped out.