Pharaoh leaned forward in his throne. “In my dream I was standing by the Nile. All of a sudden seven cows walked out of the river. They each looked like they were carrying twins they were so fat. They were grazing in a lush meadow. Then, seven of the scrawniest cows I’d ever seen walked out of the Nile. They were just hide stretched over skeletons. The seven skinny cows ate the fat cows, but they didn’t get any fatter than when they started. Then I woke up and drifted back to sleep.
“A corn stalk grew up while I watched it. Then seven of the best ears of corn I’ve ever seen appeared. My mouth started watering at the sight of them. But, then seven pathetic looking ears grew next to them and ate the much bigger ears without any impact on their size. I told this to my magicians but they don’t know what they mean. Can you help me make sense of these dreams?”
Joseph smiled. “My God has told Pharaoh what He’s about to do. The seven fat cows and the seven good ears both represent seven years. They’re the same thing. The seven skinny cows and seven small ears are also seven years of famine. God has revealed to you that the next seven years will be times of great plenty throughout all of Egypt. Those years are going to be followed by seven years of such extreme drought that the plenty will be forgotten.
“I suggest you appoint a very shrewd and wise man to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land for the next seven years so we’ll have enough stored away to survive the seven years of famine. He’ll need to select officers to make sure everyone abides by the collection process. Otherwise the dreams are wasted on Pharaoh and his people.”
Pharaoh sat back in his throne. Then he looked around at every person in the room. Everyone was staring at Joseph. “Can we find anyone as wise as this man Joseph? Indeed he is filled with the spirit of God.”
Joseph had one last test before God anointed his appointment. Did you catch what it was here?
You didn’t see it because it’s found in what he didn’t do that made him pass the test.
I’ve heard some of the top radio preachers say that Joseph was declaring his candidacy for the position he described here. I don’t think he had that in mind at all. That’s conjecture based on familiarity with this Bible story.
Joseph had no way of knowing how this was going to play out. All he was doing is telling Pharaoh what his dreams meant and how he should proceed from this point onward. That’s all anyone expected from him here, so that’s what he gave them.
His gift of administration rose up to supply a method of accomplishing the best course of action for the Egyptian government. I think Joseph thought Pharaoh had someone skilled enough in the government already to take the lead from Joseph. All Joseph wanted was a chance to state his case for not being in prison to begin with.
Now do you see the test Joseph passed? He met the need Pharaoh placed before him before he sought to get his own desire met.
The old adage played out even back then: Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
While Joseph was simply looking for a way to get back home God had bigger things in store for him.
The same holds true for you and me today. When we do our best to help others succeed God is watching and waiting to bless us right back.
That may not mean a promotion at work, or it may. You may be passed over for the promotion since you made the other person look so good. God is testing your attitude in this. Will you do the same thing for the next person in that position?
Are you willing to stand out to the point people recognize the Spirit of the Living God resides in you?
Jesus taught us to turn the other cheek when we’re struck on one of them. How much more should we help someone succeed before we look out for our own interests?
No, that’s not what the world is teaching anybody, but Jesus doesn’t call us to live like the world we live in. He wants us living for the world we belong to; His Kingdom.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
This is the verse that the whole Sermon on the Mount swung on. Before this Jesus taught about worrying about having our needs met. After this He taught about dealing with others and getting to Heaven. It’s all about the Kingdom, or it should be, my friends.
Whose needs are you looking out for now?
If you’re still worrying about your own then I hope you do a double take about your priorities.
Joseph had no clue Pharaoh was about to hand him the Egyptian signet ring along with all the power that entailed. He didn’t know Potiphar–along with all the other Egyptians–would soon have to answer to him. He didn’t know he was about to be married and become a father. His desire was to go back to what was familiar.
God not only gave him a position far above all that he could ever imagine, He also placed him in a position to save his entire family and bring them to a place to become a completely separate nation.
God’s ways are not always our ways. His plans are often so astonishing we wouldn’t believe them if we knew them ahead of time.
That’s probably why He doesn’t reveal them to us.
Go ahead. Live life according to God’s ways.
Then stand back a prepare to be amazed. That’s what I plan on doing.
I’ll see you later. Wade