Beresheet (Genesis) 41:1-44:17
Joseph was a man of incredible godly character. In my previous blog entry [Parashat Vayeishev (And He Dwelt)] we learned of Joseph’s remarkable faithfulness to his God in spite of his circumstances and the extreme injustice that he suffered by his brothers and Potiphar’s wife. Joseph’s faith and obedience to God was tested through this temptation to sin with his master’s wife. However, it’s Joseph’s response to her in verse 9 that we see why he was the man who he was: “How then could I do this great evil, and sin against God?” Joseph knew that if he dared to touch his master’s wife, it would cause him to sin against his beloved God, and that grieved him more than anything.
His faith was not in the words that he spoke, but rather in the way he lived; he chose to live righteously before the Lord, even at the cost of the false accusations that followed. Joseph’s refusal to compromise initially cost him greatly, but eventually brought great reward. Living righteously before the Lord can be difficult, and can cause us to lose those things that the world considers important…but in God’s economy, it will bring us blessing and reward!
Our Parasha this week starts with an amazing description of the way it all began to turn around for Joseph…
“Now it happened at the end of two full years that Pharaoh had a dream, and behold, he was standing by the Nile. And lo, from the Nile there came up seven cows, sleek and fat; and they grazed in the marsh grass. Then behold, seven other cows came up after them from the Nile, ugly and gaunt, and they stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile. And the ugly and gaunt cows ate up the seven sleek and fat cows. Then Pharaoh awoke. And he fell asleep and dreamed a second time; and behold, seven ears of grain came up on a single stalk, plump and good. Then behold, seven ears, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouted up after them. And the thin ears swallowed up the seven plump and full ears. Then Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream. Now it came about in the morning that his spirit was troubled, so he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all its wise men. And Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them to Pharaoh.
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.”
Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon; and when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came to Pharaoh.” Genesis 41:1-14 (NASB)
It is important to note that all this took place two years after Joseph was first put in jail. Joseph was always faithful to God in each and every trial that he endured, and we see that his faithfulness was paid off in a great way. In chapter 40, we see how God’s wisdom in Joseph brought him great favor. Joseph was able to interpret difficult dreams, which eventually was his ticket out of jail and caused him to become the second most powerful man in Egypt.
Yet, Joseph never became arrogant. Even here we see that Joseph knew where his wisdom came from and was always faithful to give his God all of the glory:
“And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, but no one can interpret it; and I have heard it said about you, that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” Genesis 41:15-16 (NSAB)
A more accurate way to translate verse 15 from the Hebrew is, “And Joseph replied to Pharaoh to say, ‘Without me, God will answer the peace of Pharaoh.’” Joseph told Pharaoh that it had nothing to do with him, but that rather God Himself is the only one who can give the answer, which would bring peace back to Pharaoh.
There is so much we can learn from Joseph – and God’s character – in this account! But my dear brothers and sisters, I want to encourage you that regardless of your current circumstances, your faithfulness and service to the Lord will bring great reward in the end; keep your eyes on Him and persevere no matter how grim it seems. God does work in ways that we don’t always understand, but we can be encouraged to know that He IS at work!
I am reminded by the wonderful words of exhortation from Colossians 3:
“Col. 3:12 And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of the Messiah rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of the Messiah richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Yeshua, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be embittered against them. Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, that they may not lose heart. Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Yeshua whom you serve.” Colossians 3:12-24
It is He whom we serve! Let us not grow weary in doing good and keep our eyes fixed on Him.
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