Imagine having everything go wrong. Your life feels ruined. The only thing you know is that God is with you.
Is that enough? It seems to be for Joseph. Surely he felt loss. He knew everything happened to him was unfair and unjust. The text never says he doubted God or rejected God. Rather, he remained sure of God's mercy and power. In today's reading, he could have easily taken credit for his abilities. Instead, he tells everyone that what he is able to do, is only because God does it.
DAILY READINGSGenesis 41-42 & Psalm 13
DAILY NOTESGenesis 41:1-8
- Since Pharaoh will recount his dreams to Joseph, the main point of this passage seems to be the passage of time. Once again Joseph finds himself in troubled, forgotten days.
- No one from Pharaoh's court is able to interpret the dreams. This is probably a commentary on the uselessness of foreign gods and religion.
- "Faults" (Read sins) Just his faults that landed him in prison? Or did he consider forgetting Jacob a fault, too?
- Joseph's final ascent. Remember this all began when he was thrown into a pit. Now, he is being brought up from a dungeon, better said, a pit. Although he is shaven and made to changed clothes in order to be presented to Pharaoh, readings can see the connection between the clothes that were torn away from him by his brothers and left with Potiphar's wife.
- Pharaoh recounts his dream to Jacob and adds a bit of commentary. Perhaps it is this commentary that speaks most to Jacob's interpretation.
- Pharaoh may have had two dreams, but they were really telling him one thing.
- Joseph was brought to interpret dreams, not tell Pharaoh what to do. He wastes no time in directing Pharaoh's next step. Bravery? Confidence? Right time, right place? Prayer? How did Joseph know that was what he was supposed to do.
- Joseph is now in power. He is "over" the house of Pharaoh, second only to the ruler himself. Perhaps Jacob's robe was a sign of Joseph's place over his family. Now, for sure, Pharaoh's ring is Joseph's sign that he is a ruler over all of Egypt.
- Although he rides through the land and everyone before him is told to "Bow the knee!" the story isn't complete until his brothers bow down to him.
- One idea is that Jacob asks the brothers why they're twiddling their thumbs, satisfied to stand around looking at each other. There is famine in the land. They should be doing something. If Jacob has heard about grain in Egypt, surely they have as well. But it is by Jacob's command the brothers go to buy grain for their families.
- It's easy to consider that they would not recognize him. He has matured and he is clothed in royal attire (probably jewelry and make up).
- Joseph knew that the time had come for his old dreams to come to fruition.
- On the spot, Joseph begins to devise a plan to hold his brothers. You have to wonder what he's feeling. What kind of emotions is he experience all at the same time?
- At his accusation, the brothers are more than willing to tell the truth about themselves.
- Would they leave a brother behind like they had done before?
- By the brothers not knowing that Joseph understands their language, Joseph is able to see for himself the guilt the brothers carry for what they have done. He is overcome with emotion, but must carry out the test. That's what the money is about in verse 25.
- The impression is that Jacob suspects the brothers had something to do with Joseph's disappearance. Now, they are responsible for Simeon's imprisonment.
- Jacob is not willing to lose another son. He didn't allow Benjamin to go with them before. He definitely doesn't want him to go now.
- If he had known the words, you can imagine Joseph praying this psalm everyday in prison.
Today's reading has a "such a time as this" feel to it. Joseph had endured much. But when it was time, he responded in a way that propelled himself into the courts of Egypt.
Think of how easy it is to get down in the dumps, and want to stay there. Joseph doesn't do that. Even though another accusation and a few more years pass by, he remains certain of the dreams God has given him. So, when he interprets Pharaoh's workers dreams, he quickly tells them to put in a good word for him. Immediately after he interprets Pharaoh's dream, he outlines a plan to avoid the coming famine.
Don't ever give up on God!