Week Six: Day 4

    February 15, 2024 | Be God's Light

    The Dreams of Pharaoh Put Joseph in Charge

    Scripture: Genesis 41(NIV)

    1 When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile, 2 when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. 3 After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank. 4 And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.

    5 He fell asleep again and had a second dream: Seven heads of grain, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. 6 After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted—thin and scorched by the east wind. 7 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream.

    8 In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.

    9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I am reminded of my shortcomings. 10 Pharaoh was once angry with his servants, and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard. 11 Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. 12 Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream. 13 And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was impaled.”

    14 So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.

    15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”

    16 “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”

    17 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18 when out of the river there came up seven cows, fat and sleek, and they grazed among the reeds. 19 After them, seven other cows came up—scrawny and very ugly and lean. I had never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt. 20 The lean, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first. 21 But even after they ate them, no one could tell that they had done so; they looked just as ugly as before. Then I woke up.

    22 “In my dream I saw seven heads of grain, full and good, growing on a single stalk. 23 After them, seven other heads sprouted—withered and thin and scorched by the east wind. 24 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none of them could explain it to me.”

    25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to 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; it is one and the same dream. 27 The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine.

    28 “It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, 30 but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. 31 The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. 32 The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.

    33 “And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35 They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. 36 This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.”

    37 The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. 38 So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?”

    39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.”

    41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42 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 around his neck. 43 He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and people shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.

    44 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.” 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.

    46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt. 47 During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. 48 Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. 49 Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.

    50 Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. 51 Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” 52 The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

    53 The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food. 55 When all Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Then Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.”

    56 When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout Egypt. 57 And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.


    Two years is a long time. Stop right now and try to remember what you were doing two years ago. Quickly list off all the things you have experienced in those twenty four months.

    For Joseph, it was two full years of nothing but prison. He had to be wondering if he would ever get out. His teenage dreams that so angered his ten older brothers were nothing but a faded memory. His accurate interpretation of his fellow prisoners’ dreams were over 700 days in the past. How do you imagine that he dealt with all those weeks and months of being forgotten?

    But Pharaoh’s disturbing dreams triggered the chief cupbearer’s memory. Perhaps God gave Pharaoh those dreams so that Joseph would be remembered. Or maybe the dreams were meant to save Egypt from starvation and Israel from extinction.

    So Joseph was dragged from the dungeon, the same Hebrew word to describe the pit his brothers had thrown him into over a dozen years earlier. He was then presented in the palace, all cleaned up and wearing non-prison clothes to hear Pharaoh’s dreams. Not only did Joseph interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, he gave the ruler a strategic plan for the next fourteen years, and a description of the kind of leader it would take to pull it off. Pharaoh believed that Joseph fit the bill.

    With the snap of a finger, Joseph became the second most powerful person in the most powerful nation in the world. His Egyptian street clothes were swapped for regal robes. Prison chains were replaced with a gold chain and a signet ring. His prison cell was exchanged for an imperial chariot, with crowds shouting words of honor as he rode by. Solitary confinement gave way to a royal wedding to a priest’s daughter. It had to be heady stuff for a thirty year old man who had lived a lifetime of ups and downs.

    By the time he was in his late thirties, the whole world was bowing before Joseph, hoping to stave off starvation back at home. For those seven years, Joseph became the most sought after person in the world.

    Previously we wrestled with how Joseph endured being a nobody unjustly sent to prison. Now we must grapple with how Joseph handled being The Man who was tasked with feeding the world and making Egypt rich. My guess is that he handled these two tensions the same way. He put his trust in God.

    Proverbs 2:7-8 says about God, “He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.” God didn’t forget Joseph in his years of imprisonment, nor did He ignore him in his fourteen years of unparalleled success. God is with us in every valley and on every mountain we will traverse.



    Abracadabra and fiddle dee dee
    Magicians and sages play tunes around me
    Dancing and swirling and waving their arms
    Mixing their potions and casting their charms
    Looking at charts and reading the stars
    Shuffling their decks and dealing out cards
    Do they have access to answers for me?
    Abracadabra and fiddle dee dee

    Zippidee do dah and Razzamataz
    I've had a wild dream which is driving me mad
    Symbols arrange into new paradigms
    Creatures with strange ways play games in my mind
    Can you see the truth here, or is this a show
    I don't want theatrics, I just want to know
    Stop trying to please me with all of your jazz
    Zippidee do dah and Razzamataz

    Shalom and Selah and Shema, Israel
    I speak for the one God who now all will tell
    This God is the only one able to clear
    The stench of the magic inhabiting here
    With hyssop of truth and the water of love
    This knowledge of mystery comes here from above
    There you will find Wisdom's true Living Well
    Shalom and Selah and Shema, Israel

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