Friday, March 6, 2009

From Prison to Prime Minister

praiseman Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command.Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you."
Genesis 41:39-40

In one day Joseph moves from being a prisoner to a prime minister. This is a dramatic work of God and it was worth all the waiting, the suffering, and the faithful witness. When the cupbearer remembers what Joseph did for him, he is immediately summoned from prison to stand before Pharaoh. There, he interprets the prophetic message of Pharaoh's dreams and the king takes note of the wisdom that Joseph entails with the interpretation of them.

But all the wonder of the story is focused on the God of Joseph. His interpretation of the dream lets Pharaoh know that he is convinced that God is bringing about both the outstanding bumper crops and the future famine. Egypt would respond to the sovereign act of God by preparing and administrating well. And Pharaoh quickly sees in Joseph the man to head up just such a project. But in picking him, it is clear that the king acknowledges God. Joseph is wise because God has shown him these things. And that is what the king recognizes and rewards.

So it is that any event, whether boon or bane, blessing or trial, must be seen as coming from the purposeful hand of an Almighty, Sovereign God. I long to be prime minister, but God is equally concerned that I am faithful while in the pit of prison. And if any good comes of this life, it is because God brings it about in me or through me.

I need the lessons of Joseph's faithful life. Of course, at this point in Genesis, God is just beginning to make things move in blessing for the faithful young Hebrew man. It would still take many years for God to restore his relationship with his family and repair those broken relationships. The young man would become the wise man of Egypt in the interim. And he would excel in the great times as well as in the hardships. Those are the lessons I need to learn.

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