We last saw Joseph asking the butler to let someone know that he had been unjustly thrown into prison.
But two whole years passed before the butler remembered to tell Pharaoh that Joseph had interpreted his dream. For two long years Joseph lingered in prison without hearing from the butler, without knowing what was going on outside of the four walls of his circumstances. I wonder if he thought that he might be stuck there forever? When our suffering seems endless, we can confuse God’s silence for stillness.
God may be silent, but He is not still.
A couple of years ago, my BH and I decided to test our bravery by going on a hot-air balloon ride. Once in the air, except for the occasional blast of hot air being forced into the giant balloon, we were surprised at how eerily quiet it was several hundred feet above the earth. All the sounds normally associated with movement or traveling weren’t present. We noticed right away that when we looked out on the horizon, we were unable to perceive any movement, even though we were moving quite steadily through the atmosphere. Only when we focused on something directly below us, were we able to see our movement.
There’s no mistaking the fact that God was involved in every aspect of Joseph’s life and that He had chosen him to be in a position of leadership, but the Lord established him in a way that He saw fit ~ by humbling him. Have you noticed that God often changes us, rather than our circumstances? And the way He changes us is through pruning.
None of us likes to be pruned. It hurts when extemporaneous things are cut away from our human nature. But God promises that the cutting away develops more fruit (John 15:2).
Joseph was growing and developing fruit that would literally save a nation. A nation that didn’t know, serve, or love God, yet God loved them so much that He sought to save them by giving Pharaoh a glimpse of the future through two dreams.
Trials are meant to lead to triumph ~ not just in your own life, but in the lives of many.
The effects of Joseph’s trials were far reaching. Besides forming him into a man of high character, his hardships ~ being kidnapped, brought to Egypt, becoming a servant, then prisoner ~ literally brought blessings to those who encountered him. What a humbling thought.
Pharaoh was next on God’s list of lives that would be changed by meeting Joseph. But first, He had to bring Pharaoh to a place of need.
“Now it came to pass in the morning that his (Pharaoh) spirit was troubled and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. And Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them for Pharaoh.” Gen. 41:8
It was a common practice for (pagan) kings to seek answers from “wise men”, magicians, soothsayers, fortune-tellers and the like, whenever they needed help or advice, such as health remedies, or advice about war, etc. It’s quite possible there were hundreds of men to choose from within the king’s court, yet, there was no one who could tell Pharaoh the meaning of his dreams.
Hmmm…what a co-winky-dink! Enter stage left: The butler, who just happened to remember that a certain young man named Joseph, whom he met in prison, was able to interpret dreams (correctly).
We get the distinct advantage of seeing Joseph’s character take shape as we read through the chapters of Genesis. Notice Joseph’s reply to Pharaoh’s request to interpret his dream.
“And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I have dreamed a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said that you can understand a dream to interpret it.’ So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, ‘It is not me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.’” Gen.41:15-16
Wow! The difference between the 17 year-old and the 30 year-old Joseph is stark. Remember how Joseph bragged about his dreams to his brothers (Gen.37:5-10)? And even though his dreams had been given to him by God, he makes no mention of the Lord when revealing them. Nope. It was all. about. Joseph.
At seventeen, Joseph hadn’t waited for the interpretation of his dream before he audaciously blurted it out. The purpose of his dream was in the interpretation, but at the time, Joseph wasn’t interested in God’s purpose ~ he was only interested in his position. Finally, Joseph is ready to give God 100% of the credit He deserves.
Many times, we don’t realize that we’ve done some growing up of our own until we’re able to look back upon a situation and see that our reaction is very different than prior to our season of trials.
After he interprets Pharaoh’s dream,“suddenly”, everything changes for Joseph. He’s given a new name, a robe, a gold necklace, and a ring, all signifying a new identity; one of authority. Then he’s given charge over all of Egypt, placed in a chariot and paraded through the city, where the inhabitants are commanded to bow to him.
It must have seemed like a whirlwind. Or a crazy dream. But it wasn’t really sudden at all. It took the Lord thirteen years to mold Joseph into the leader that he needed to be in order to bring about God’s divine purposes. Try to remember that the next time you see someone become an “overnight success”. You can take it to the spiritual bank that they’ve gone through years of personal development before God entrusted them with a message and/or a ministry.
Do you believe that God is preparing you for a divine purpose and that you are meant to triumph over every trial?
*Next week we’ll look at the re-emergence of Joseph’s brothers back into his life ~ then we’ll either wrap this series up, or take a break from it to focus on Christmas.
Have I thanked you recently for reading, sharing and/or commenting on this blog? Well, thank you!