Parashat Mikeitz (From the End)
Beresheet (Genesis) 41:1–44:17
In my most recent blog entry, A Matter of the Heart, I wrote about how Joseph’s actions revealed a humble heart towards God, despite the terrible injustices he suffered. I also wrote that from a human perspective, it seems reasonable that Joseph had every right to be angry and bitter against God who allowed those things to happen. Yet, Joseph never cursed God or turned against Him. Throughout the entire account, Joseph’s heart remained steadfast and tender towards God, and I believe God rewarded Joseph’s faithfulness to Him.
Our reading this week begins with the story that not only connects us to last week’s parasha but also supports my assertion that God rewarded Joseph’s faithfulness. Just as a reminder:
Joseph was sold to Potiphar who was Pharaoh’s chamberlain and chief of the slaughters, and was the target of Potiphar's wife’s lustful advances. After refusing her, Joseph was thrown into jail as a result of her false accusation that Joseph tried to rape her.
The scripture portion this week contains Pharaoh’s famous mysterious dream (Genesis 41:1–8) and the fact that none of the dark magicians and sages of Egypt could interpret it. We read:
Then the chief cupbearer spoke to Pharaoh, saying, “I would make mention today of my own offenses. Pharaoh was furious with his servants, and he put me in confinement in the house of the captain of the bodyguard, both me and the chief baker. And we had a dream on the same night, he and I; each of us dreamed according to the interpretation of his own dream. Now a Hebrew youth was with us there, a servant of the captain of the bodyguard, and we related them to him, and he interpreted our dreams for us. To each one he interpreted according to his own dream. And it came about that just as he interpreted for us, so it happened; he restored me in my office, but he hanged him.”
Genesis 41:9–13 NASB
This passage reminds me, once again, that it is all about God! It is all about His timing and it is all for His glory. In God’s perfect time the chief cupbearer remembered that he had forgotten Joseph, which, as it turns out, was actually in Joseph’s favor. If he had not forgotten Joseph, who is to say if Joseph would have been available to interpret Pharaoh’s dream? We see that all things work according to God’s plan — not ours.
The second thing I’d like to point out from this passage is Joseph’s humility to give God alone the credit. We find two key verses that show us Joseph’s heart with regard to God in this story:
Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give an answer that will bring peace to Pharaoh.”
This it is the word that I have spoken to Pharaoh: what God has shown to Pharaoh what He is about to do.
We don’t find any arrogance in Joseph but rather a humble heart; Joseph knew that God alone would give the answers to Pharaoh, that He alone knows the future, and that only God could bring peace to Pharaoh’s troubled heart. He gave glory to God in every situation, and never took the credit for himself.
And in Pharaoh’s response we find that even he acknowledged the greatness of Joseph's God; Pharaoh himself was considered not only the most powerful man of that time but also as a type of god in Egypt. His response is all the more significant when he says:
Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom the spirit of God?” So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are.”
Genesis 41: 3–89
I cannot help but think of the amazing parallel between Joseph’s life and that of Yeshua. Yeshua always deferred to the Father, and He also made it clear that the Father was above everything. One particular example of this occurs when He spoke to His disciples about the end times:
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”
However, unlike Pharoah, the people did not acknowledge that Yeshua's power and authority came from God the Father. We see this in the book of Mark:
And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands?”
Lastly, I would like to close with a very important point that I think we tend to miss when we study this important story. In Genesis 43:3, we find this incredible statement: Judah spoke to him, however, saying, “The man solemnly warned us, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you” (Genesis 43:3). I believe that this is true for my people, Israel, who will not be able to see God’s true face unless they are accompanied by Yeshua, our brother. Please join me in prayer that my Jewish brothers and sisters will acknowledge Yeshua as our brother and truly come to know God, our Father.
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