Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Joseph: Genesis 41:1-40 "By Leaps and Bounds"

Read Genesis 41:1-40.

"Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you." NIV
Wow, what an amazing passage. We go from outlandish, God-given dreams to the rise of Joseph as the second in the land of Egypt. And Joseph's position hinged upon those dreams.

I've never really put much in store in dreams. They are crazy, mixed up, morphing mysteries that never seem to be any part of reality whatsoever. Last night I dreamt I had a bed and breakfast. I pray that wasn't a sign from God because based on the state of my spare bedroom, that's just not happening anytime soon. But for some reason, the chief baker, cupbearer, and Pharaoh all knew they were being given a message and that they needed to understand it.

I find it interesting that God gave the dreams to non-believers in Him. We as believers are always yearning to hear a message from the Father. We pray for His direction through His Word, prayer, other believers, even dreams. So when three people who aren't followers of the one true God receive a personal message, jealousy can rise. But God specifically chose these people to accomplish His purposes through Joseph. Which makes sense after we see the whole picture. God can use believer and non-believer alike to do what He needs to do. In this case He needed people high up in Egypt's rule to get Joseph to the position he needed to be in to do what God needed done.

How often do we live in jealousy because it appears that non-believers are receiving God's blessings more than us? How often do we grumble about the position we are in because we believe we should have a better, more influential, maybe more public assignment? Joseph doesn't seem to possess either of these sins in his life. He receives the fact that they have had a dream, that God is the only One who interprets dreams, and that he is to be the one to share the interpretation and give God the credit. It's all very black and white in Joseph's mind.

Then Joseph seems to take in stride that he just went from a purchased foreign slave to the second in command in the land. I know what I'd be thinking....that just doesn't happen! But with God, anything is possible. I am especially such a realist. Kind of strange for someone who has a really strong faith gifting. But I just expect God to work in the natural world He has created and in the realm where He has placed me. To make things happen that include me outside of either of those realities is hard for me to imagine -- not that He can't, but that He would. But I would hope that if God does so act in my life, that I would have the humility of Joseph to give God all the glory and do as He has commanded to accomplish His purposes -- ones that go way beyond anything to do with me.

A new day is coming for Joseph. We've learned a lot from him in how he handled the dredges of life and circumstances. It will be interesting to see how he handles the prosperity.

Further Thoughts:
  1. Do you possess the humility needed for God to use you? Why or why not?
  2. How has the enemy encouraged a society of control freaks? What has contributed to this in our history as a people/nation?
  3. What kind of person does God want to use? How do we become that person? Support with Scripture.

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