Day 13  Genesis 41:1- 43 ... Behind the Scenes

Genesis provides a fascinating look at a variety of ways in which God gave guidance to his people.  Sometimes, as with Abraham, he would appear  spectacularly and in person, or send angelic messengers.  For other people, like Jacob, the guidance came in more mysterious forms: a late-nigh wrestling match, a dream of a ladder reaching into heaven.  For Joseph, God’s guidance was indirect, and probably quite mystifying.

God communicated to Joseph not through angels, but mainly through dreams, weird dreams that he would hear about from such dubious sources as jail mates and a despotic Egyptian pharaoh.  Yet it was because God revealed to Joseph the proper meaning of those dreams that he eventually rose to prominence.  Egyptians of that day were fascinated by dreams (Lengthy textbooks on dream interpretations have been unearthed by archaeologists.), and Joseph the dream-interpreter soon found himself at the top of Pharaoh’s government.

In Joseph’s time, God mostly worked behind the scenes.  In fact, on the surface it often seemed that Joseph got the exact opposite of what he deserved.  He explained a dream to his brothers, and they threw him in a cistern.  He resisted a sexual advance and landed in an Egyptian prison.  He interpreted another dream to save a cell mate’s life, and the cell mate promptly forgot about him.

Yet, and perhaps this is why Genesis devotes so much space to him, Joseph never stopped trusting God.  In his trials he learned that while God may not prevent all hardship, he could redeem anything that might happen, even the worst hardships.  Joseph came to see God’s hand in the tragedies of his life.  The hardship of being sold into slavery, for example, eventually turned out for good.  It led him into a powerful new career, and the opportunity to save his own family from starvation.  “So then,” he told his brothers, “it was not you who sent me here, but God” (45:8).  Choking back tears, Joseph tried to explain his faith to the same brothers who had tried to kill him, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good . . .” (50:20).

Point to Ponder: Have you ever experienced God bringing good out of what at first seemed like a disaster?