Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Feb 2 2019 - Genesis 41:1-43 – Joseph interprets Pharaoh's dreams

Pharaoh had disturbing dreams and all his magicians and wise men were unable to interpret them. At last, his cupbearer remembers Joseph and, to his shame, the request Joseph had made of him two years earlier. When Pharaoh is told how Joseph interpreted the dreams of his officials he calls for him to be brought to court. After a wash and shave, Joseph appears before Pharaoh.

Again, Joseph makes no claim to be able to interpret dreams by his own power, but he is confident that God can reveal their meaning. So the strange dreams are told to Joseph and he in turn tells Pharaoh their meaning. Joseph tells Pharaoh that God has been gracious in revealing what is about to happen; seven years of abundant harvests will be followed by seven years of famine.

Joseph has done all that was asked of him, but he has more to say. Also, no doubt, at the prompting of the Lord, this foreign prisoner has the temerity to advise Pharaoh of what he should do. He should appoint a wise and trustworthy official to supervise the collection and storage of the excess grain during the years of plenty so that there is food for the people during the years of famine. Pharaoh and all his court immediately recognise the wisdom of this suggestion and that Joseph possesses wisdom given him by God that makes him the most suitable person to take on this great responsibility.

Joseph has been raised up from prison to sit among princes; he has become a great and powerful man in Egypt. He set about building granaries in every city in Egypt to store away grain from the years of plenty so that when the famine came he might be able to provide for the needs of the people. The chapter ends by telling us that, "all the earth came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth" (41:57).

Joseph was a man who knew God. Despite all the troubles that had come his way, he had not become resentful of God nor had he turned away from him. Rather, he had trusted God, grown in character and had gained wisdom by learning from God. With God, there are no wasted years; only years of preparation for new areas of service. God had been preparing this young man to be the means through which he would bring blessing to all the needy peoples of the earth. God's promise to Abraham is being fulfilled.

But let me take you back for a moment to verse 42 where we read, "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 round his neck." What does that remind you of? It reminds me of the parable of the prodigal son and the way in which the waiting father treats his returning son. In Christ, God has blessed us with riches and status beyond that enjoyed by Joseph. We have been lifted out of imprisonment to sin, clothed in garments of righteousness and given the status of children of the living God. We have the promise that we will reign with Christ over all that he has created. Our calling in Christ is to share these blessings with all people on earth.

Loving Father, your word tells me that, "suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope" (Romans 5:3). But I am so often preoccupied with my own comfort rather than your kingdom that the merest discomfort produces dissatisfaction, resentment and bitterness. Lift my eyes and enlarge my vision that I may see and understand all that you have given me in the Lord Jesus Christ. Give me delight in submitting to your will and serving you faithfully wherever you may place me. Enable me to bring your blessing to those in need.

Peter Misselbrook