Genesis 41 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional

“Pharaoh said to Joseph, ’I have had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said about you that you can hear a dream and interpret it.’ ‘I am not able to,’ Joseph answered Pharaoh. ‘It is G_d who will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.’” Genesis 41:15-16

I believe some clarification may be needed to help us appreciate the dynamics of this verbal exchange between Joseph and Pharaoh. First off, in Egyptian culture Pharaoh was considered to be a god. Not only was he thought to be a god among gods; it was assumed he was the central deity, the “God of gods” so to speak.

It was uncommon for a prisoner/slave to exchange words with this “man/deity”, yet notice Joseph’s casual banter. He is basically schooling Pharaoh. Joseph’s message, that G_d would provide the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream, indirectly exposed something maybe only Pharaoh himself knew: Pharaoh was no god. If Pharaoh was “God above all gods”, why couldn’t he interpret his own dreams? Furthermore, wouldn’t any other “god” whom Pharaoh consulted, immediately assume authority over him…proving he wasn’t the “God of gods”?

We live in an era where image is everything. The basic celebrity promotions game is summed-up like this: Spotlight the good and conceal the bad. Joseph deflected praise that would have elevated his image in the eyes of the Egyptians. Perhaps, he learned a lesson from his brothers’ response to the coat of many colors. Joseph understood that image only gets you so far. But the L_rd can sustain and exalt a man beyond human circumstances.

Eventually, all men must produce results to back-up their images, and it is possible for a man’s charisma to gain them access to places where his character cannot keep him. Put another way, talk is cheap. Joseph knew that men are unable to interpret prophetic dreams. Only G_d can explain the prophecy to them, because only G_d gives true prophetic messages.

What can we learn from Joseph today? 1) G_d has a plan for you, and it may involve unjust opposition and suffering. 2) Despite our circumstances, we are still required to act with humility, wisdom, and integrity. 3) Never assume that G_d will respond to your requests in any particular way, even when you entreat Him with your whole heart.

We can only assume the facts: G_d is Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, and His character never changes.

~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Shuvah Yisrael
Daily Devotional, Thursday, February 20, 2014