God Meant it Unto Good — Joseph, part three

“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” Genesis 50:20 KJV

from Genesis 41:

Two years passed and Pharaoh himself had dreams which needed interpretation. In one, he had been standing by the Nile, when there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, grazing in the marsh grass. Then seven other cows came up after a while.

These cows were ugly and gaunt and stood by the other cows on the bank of the river; and the ugly cows ate those that were good. Pharaoh awoke then, but fell asleep again and dreamed of a stalk, with seven ears of grain, which had grown fully as grain should.

Then, similarly to the first dream, seven ears of grain that were thin and scorched sprouted, which swallowed up the full grain ears. Pharaoh was troubled about these dreams and called for all Egypt’s magicians and wise men who might interpret, to calm his fears.

But none of them could tell the meaning of the things Pharaoh had dreamed. Then the cupbearer, at last, remembered Joseph again–and he ventured to tell Pharaoh of the Hebrew youth who had sorted out some dreams, when he was in prison back then.

So Joseph was taken from the prison, cleaned up and given a change of clothes, to stand before Pharaoh regarding this need. Joseph said, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” After hearing a retelling of the dreams, Joseph began to proceed.

He told Pharaoh that the dreams of the cows and the ears of grain were one and the same–both referred to a coming event. There would be seven years of abundance in Egypt, but then there would be seven years of famine–this was what the dreams meant.

Then Joseph told Pharaoh to search for a man who was discerning and wise to oversee the affairs of the country for this time. Pharaoh noted a “divine spirit” in Joseph and quickly determined that if anyone was discerning and wise, Joseph was prime.

So Pharaoh set him over all his house and over all the land. Except for the throne, Joseph himself would be in command. Pharaoh put the signet ring from his own hand onto Joseph’s hand, put a gold necklace on him, and clothed him with linen garments of the finest brand.

Joseph rode in the second chariot, and the people shouted, “Bow the knee!” to this one who ruled over Egypt as far as the eye could see. Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath-paneah and gave him a bride, Asenath–all this was from God, through Pharaoh’s decree.

Now Joseph was thirty years old when he went out to take command over the great planting, harvesting, and storing that was to come. For seven years, the land produced abundant grain, “like the sand of the sea.” And, in time, Joseph could no longer measure its sum.

Asenath bore him two sons–Manasseh, “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” Then Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” His faith in God had been tested and had come out as gold.

After seven years of abundance, the famine did come about. Pharaoh told the Egyptians to go to Joseph and do as he would tell. But the famine was severe in all the earth, and all people were coming to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, for the price at which he’d sell.

P. A. Oltrogge

The story of Joseph will be continued in the next post.

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