In our passage this week, Genesis 41:1-46, we finally see the narrator taking his major turn in events. In Genesis 39 and 40, we see Joseph rise in power and then fall in prison/remain in prison. At the end of Genesis 40, Joseph is in no better circumstances than he was in chapter 37. In chapter 41, we are taken to Pharaoh and hear about his two dreams (1-7). We then sit back as the advisors to the Pharaoh are unable to explain what Pharaoh’s dreams mean (8). The chief cupbearer finally remembers (9-13). Joseph is summoned.
Joseph’s first words to Pharaoh are those of contradiction. Pharaoh exaggerates what he has heard about Joseph’s abilities to interpret dreams. Joseph could have waited in submissive silence, but he spoke up. Joseph will not accept the credit, he ensures the Pharaoh that God is the one with the answers.
After hearing Pharaoh’s dreams, Joseph, with God’s direction, is able to tell Pharaoh what God is revealing through the dreams. There will be seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine. After completing the interpretation of the dreams, Joseph’s job was complete; but Joseph took a chance. Joseph continued speaking to Pharaoh, offering him next steps. For speaking out of turn, Joseph could have been sent back to prison; but God was with Joseph, allowing him favor. Pharaoh realized that Joseph’s recommendations were advisable. He also realized that God was with Joseph and he was the man for the job.
God had given Joseph the words to say when it mattered most (had God not given him the words to say, I can only imagine how differently this story would have turned out!) God often gives us words to say in our everyday lives. We have to decide if, like Joseph, we will be obedient and speak out when it’s uncomfortable or if we will stay silent. Those times when we feel a knot in our stomach and the Holy Spirit is encouraging us to say something, we can honor God and speak the truth He has given us to say or we can stay silent because it is easier. With silence, we may miss out on blessings…but maybe, if we take a chance and are obedient, maybe we too will be elevated to what God has next for us!
Let’s err on the side of obedience!