Pharaoh’s Dreams, Genesis 41

Pharaoh paced. There would be no rest until he discovered the meaning of these two dreams. Not even the purring fountain or musicians could console him. Surely his blood-kin gods sent him a message. For these were no ordinary dreams. But no one could interpret the vivid scenes that haunted him.

Then the chief cupbearer brought to his attention a young Hebrew slave whom he met in prison. This Joseph guy—whom the cupbearer forgot about the past two years—supposedly interpreted not only the cupbearer’s dream, but also the head baker’s dream. Each with complete accuracy. And both dreams, according to the cupbearer, involved him!

What do I have to lose? My gems are smarter than all the magicians and wise men combined!

“Merkha, fetch Joseph immediately!”

Pharaoh’s servants hastily retrieved Joseph from Potiphar’s dungeon. With clean clothes and a freshly shaven face, Joseph stood humbly before Egypt’s king. Pharaoh measured the Hebrew from head to toe. Although he was white as a sheet from lack of sunlight the past 13 years, his calm manner intrigued him. And his eyes shimmered with intelligence. Pharaoh liked that he didn’t twitch or shuffle his feet like so many others in his presence.

“I have heard that you interpret dreams. Is this true?”

“No Sir, I can’t interpret dreams.” Joseph didn’t cower under his piercing gaze. “But my God can.”

“Alright then,” Pharaoh sat on the edge of his gold engraved throne. “Here are my dreams: I was standing on the bank of the Nile. Suddenly, seven healthy, well-fed cows came up from the river and began to graze among the reeds. Seven other cows—scrawny and sick—snuck up behind them. I’ve never seen such gaunt cows in all of Egypt! The sickly cows ate up the seven healthy ones.  But no one could tell they had eaten them. For they looked just as scrawny as before.”

Pharaoh inhaled deeply. “In my second dream I saw seven healthy, full heads of grain growing on a single stalk. Behind them, seven other heads of grain sprouted. But these were withered, thin, and scorched by the east wind. The withered heads of grain swallowed the seven good heads.”

A servant wiped the beads of perspiration from Pharaoh’s forehead. “No one in all of Egypt can tell me the meaning.”

Joseph looked Pharaoh directly in the eyes and spoke in a quiet, respectful tone. “Pharaoh had the same dream twice. God has told Pharaoh what he’s going to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years. It’s all the same dream. The seven thin, sickly cows that came up behind them are seven years. The seven empty heads of grain scorched by the east wind are also seven years. Seven years of famine are coming.”

Joseph paused a moment to let the news soak in.

“God has shown Pharaoh what he’s going to do. Seven years are coming when Egypt will have plenty of food. But then seven years of famine will follow. The plenty in Egypt will be forgotten as a severe famine ruins the land. God will send it very soon. This matter is irrevocable, as signified by your recurring dream.”

Incredible. This Hebrew clearly spoke truth. “What shall I do Joseph?”

Joseph’s gaze rested on the vegetable garden outside Pharaoh’s window. “Look for a wise, experienced man to put in charge. Then appoint managers throughout Egypt to organize during the plenty years. They should collect all the food produced in the good years ahead and stockpile the grain under your authority, storing it in the towns for food. This grain will be used later during the seven years of famine. This will save your country from the famine’s destruction.”

Genius. Surely this man has the spirit of the living God in him!

“I’d say you’re the perfect man for this job. From now on, you’re in charge of my affairs; all my people will report to you. Only as king will I be over you. Your name shall be Zaphenath-Paneah, for God speaks and He lives! I also give you Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On (Heliopolis) to marry.”

Pharaoh motioned for Merkha. “Place a gold chain, robe, and signet ring on Joseph. Give him my second-in-command chariot to ride among the people.”

And Joseph took up his duties over the land of Egypt. Joseph was thirty years old when he went to work for Pharaoh the king of Egypt. As soon as Joseph left Pharaoh’s presence, he began his work in Egypt.”                -Genesis 41:45-46 (MSG)

Before the years of famine came Joseph had two sons with Asenath. He named his firstborn Manasseh (Forget), saying, “God made me forget all my hardships and my parental home.” He named his second son Ephraim (Double Prosperity), saying, “God has prospered me in the land of my sorrow,” (vs. 50-52).

Before the years of famine came Joseph had two sons with Asenath. He named his firstborn Manasseh (Forget), saying, “God made me forget all my hardships and my parental home.” He named his second son Ephraim (Double Prosperity), saying, “God has prospered me in the land of my sorrow,” (vs. 50-52).

You may read Genesis 41 here: Bible Gateway.

Reflect

Most of us won’t be interpreting kings’ dreams anytime soon. But like Joseph, we may find ourselves thrown into a situation in any given moment. We can ready ourselves to be used by God when we invest in knowing Him more. Like Joseph, do others see God’s Spirit living in us?

Joseph gave Pharaoh a survival plan for the next 14 years. Through careful planning and implementation Joseph prevented not only the Egyptians from starving, but also all the other countries affected by the severe famine.

How can we translate God’s plan for us into practical steps as Joseph did?

Life Through the Spirit, Romans 8:1-11

“You may go free, not guilty!” What would these words mean to you if you were on death row?

The reality is, we are all on death row because we have broken God’s holy Law multiple times. But thankfully, God has made a way to clear our record, declare us not guilty, through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” – Romans 8:12

This verse, along with the rest of this chapter, is one of my favorite passages. In a world of condemning voices and pointing fingers, this verse gives reason to celebrate. Jesus liberates the believer from the old bondage to sin and death!

Two laws are cited in this passage:

  1. The Law of Sin and Death. It lurks around every corner, challenging every good motive, enslaving the one who strives to fulfill the Law through self-determination. Romans 7:14-25 describes its havoc.
  2. The Law of the Spirit. Through Jesus Christ, this law defeats the old law’s grip on sin and death, setting people free. Shepherd’s Notes observes: “Twenty-one times in Romans 8 the Greek word for Spirit or spirit occurs. At least 18 of these are references to the Holy Spirit . . . . We have in Romans 8 Paul’s fullest discussion of the new life of the Spirit.” (For more information on our sinful nature vs. our new life in Christ, see 6:6-8; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:3-15.)

Verse 3 not only explains how the Law of the Spirit sets people free, but also contains the following two doctrines:

The Incarnation

God’s Son, Jesus Christ, became one of us. Paul describes Christ’s coming as “in the likeness of sinful man.”

The Atonement

God achieved our freedom from captivity to sin through Jesus’ sacrificial death (“sin offering”) on the cross. Jesus bore the brunt of the world’s sins. The NIV Study Bible notes: “In Old Testament times, animal sacrifices were continually offered at the temple. The sacrifices showed the Israelites the seriousness of sin: blood had to be shed before sins could be pardoned (see Leviticus 17:11). But animal blood could not really remove sins (Hebrews 10:4). The sacrifices could only point to Jesus’ sacrifice, which paid the penalty for all sins.”

In verse 9, Paul tells his readers that they are not controlled by their sinful nature, but their lives are guided by the indwelling Spirit (Holy Spirit). The Holy Spirit is also God’s guarantee of eternal life for the believer.

So What?

Christians can rise above sin and experience life through the empowerment of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

A Christian is anyone who has the Spirit of God (Holy Spirit) living in him/her. Jesus promised His Spirit to anyone who sincerely trusts Him for salvation and acknowledges Him as Lord.

Although our feelings come and go, we can stand confidently on God’s promises of living forever with Him. (See also Romans 8:23; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:14.)

Have you placed your complete trust in Christ?

 

Five Reasons to Study the Holy Spirit

Although I have experienced the Holy Spirit’s goodness, power and witness in my life, I can’t fully grasp and explain everything about Him. Honestly, I’m not sure I’d want a fully explainable and predictable God. There’s adventure, curiosity, and beauty in His mystery, especially when realizing God’s character is steeped in truth and love.  a0a02b4f6a9ba17d5fcfcd6983b11064

I can imagine the character Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story saying of God’s Spirit: “He’s to infinity and BEYOND!”

After all, He is Co-Creator of the world and of people.

As a student who is dependent upon the Holy Spirit’s guidance, I approach this subject carefully and in awe.

Why study the Holy Spirit?

Herbert Lockyer writes, “It is imperative to grasp the truth of the Spirit for many reasons,” [mainly]:

  1. Because it is a neglected doctrinef05477f27e516a79df01596db16d8e6a
  2. Because it is a misunderstood doctrine
  3. Because it is a perverted doctrine
  4. Because it is a Scriptural doctrine
  5. Because it is a practical doctrine

Realizing that God’s Spirit can never be contained, or placed in a neatly labeled box, my next few posts will be a simple summary of the Holy Spirit’s characteristics and ministry from a biblical view. For a more in depth study, I recommend Herbert Lockyer’s excerpt “The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit” from All the Doctrines of the Bible.

Tony Evans book, The Promise, is also enlightening. Tony writes:

To talk about a relationship with the Holy Spirit is at the same time to talk about a relationship with the Father and the Son. Yet, because the Spirit is a distinct Person in the Godhead with a distinct ministry, we also benefit from His unique ministry . . . . The vast resources of the Spirit are for every individual within the church.”

What is your understanding and relationship concerning the Holy Spirit?

Have a wonderful week!