GOD’S TIME HAD COME
Lord of Time, You alone give me the gift of time. My times are in Your hands and I need Your guidance to follow Your timely direction.
Read GENESIS 41:1–16
41 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.
‘Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace’.1
Another day, another dream. But this time it really is a game changer. Pharaoh has two dreams that greatly unsettle him, which take place by the Nile, the engine room of Egypt’s economy. We’re familiar with their meaning, predicting seven years of prosperity followed by seven years of famine, but Pharaoh can’t work them out. It’s like me being stumped by a crossword clue only to find it was obvious when I see the answer! Why didn’t I/he get it? Here’s the most powerful man on earth, who’s normally guided by a bevy of sycophants telling him what he wants to hear, totally wrong-footed, isolated, ignorant, and paralyzed into inaction because his advisors can’t tell him what his dreams mean. It powerfully captures the limits of secular authority and the vacuity of secular philosophizing, while demonstrating that the true power behind people’s affairs belongs to the living God.
His advisers having failed (a theme which recurs in Daniel), Pharaoh’s cupbearer suddenly remembers Joseph. Surely we can trace God’s Spirit at work here, reminding the man and moving Joseph’s own dream on to the next stage of its fulfillment. Modern-day hostages know the sudden wrench of fortunes reversed as their captivity ends and they regain their freedom. What a shock it must be for Joseph not only to find himself free but, suitably spruced up, ushered into the presence of Pharaoh himself. Whatever the shock, Joseph keeps his head and, when asked about his ability to interpret dreams, immediately gives the credit to God. Sadly, I remember occasions when I have failed to speak of God when a sudden opportunity presented itself. Yet again, in prison Joseph seems to have guarded his heart2 and draws now on deep wells of godliness rather than sudden inspiration. God’s time has indeed arrived.
Can you recall times when you failed to speak of God? What can you do to ensure you are better prepared in the future?
Sovereign Lord, I remember hearing the saying, “God’s clocks keep perfect time!” I see it here with Joseph. Please keep me trusting Your timely work in my life.
1 Col 4:5,6 2 cf., Prov 4:23
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.