“Praise God, everybody!… His love has taken over our lives” (Psa. 117:1,2, The Message). Generous God, I now generously and joyously praise You.
Read GENESIS 41:1–16
When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile, 2 when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. 3 After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank. 4 And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.
5 He fell asleep again and had a second dream: Seven heads of grain, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. 6 After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted—thin and scorched by the east wind. 7 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream.
8 In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.
9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I am reminded of my shortcomings. 10 Pharaoh was once angry with his servants, and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard. 11 Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. 12 Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream. 13 And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was impaled.”
14 So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.
15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”
16 “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Without us, God will not: without God, we cannot” (unknown). This snappy saying seems rooted in verse 16!
Fascination with dreams unites hard-nosed scientists and zany postmodern hippies. In between are writers of dream dictionaries who interpret thousands of symbols, as well as ordinary folk who awake saying, “I had the strangest dream…” We are fascinated by the thought processes of an unconscious, uncontrolled mind. Many believe that dreams bring announcements from Almighty God, or other deities, or the dead, explaining the present and predicting the future. Stories abound, especially in the Middle East, of Jesus appearing in dreams, marking a turning point in the person’s spiritual search.
When Pharaoh has two connected dreams, underlining a significant message, he needs urgent expert interpretation. Why are gaunt cows eating fat cows? How can thin ears of corn consume healthy ones? Scientists and magicians, the wise and the whacky are summoned and, astonishingly, no one has an explanation. No one even invents one. Then
the forgetful wine steward has a flashback, perhaps recalling his own anxiety after an alarming dream. Joseph is dressed, shaved in conformity to Egyptian convention and hauled to the throne room: “I hear you can interpret dreams,” gasps an expectant, desperate king.
“I cannot do it… but God will” (16). What an opening line! The over-confident 17-year- old whose speech was full of “I” and “me” has weathered into a humble 30-year- old pointing boldly to God. He establishes that it is God who interprets dreams: not technical experts, not Freudian analysts, not individuals with a sixth sense, not him. He risks everything on the God he has grown to trust. He has already experienced
the Almighty’s discernment in dreams and now he is ready to put his life on the line. He has waited years for this: now is the God-appointed moment. He is ready. He is fearless. He is confident in the One who has never forgotten him.
Do your dreams—when you are awake or asleep—have anything to say to you?
Mighty God, forgive me for my ongoing confidence in myself. Stretch me and bring me back to relying on Your strength.
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