The Pharaoh had been given two dreams, and no one could interpret them (See Gen 41:8).
The head cupbearer remembered a prisoner who had interpreted not only his dream, but the dream of the head baker as well two years earlier. Because both dreams came true in exactly the same way that had been predicted, the cupbearer told Pharaoh about Joseph and his ability to interpret dreams. This “convict” was then brought out of prison to interpret the Pharaoh’s dreams.
Isn’t it interesting that no one except this “common criminal” could help the Pharaoh?
Pharaoh was excited: “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.’” (Gen 41: 15, NIV)
Joseph didn’t want to take the credit, however, for he knew that he had no power of himself to interpret dreams: “‘I cannot do it,’ Joseph replied to Pharaoh, ‘but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.’” (Gen 41:16, NIV2)
Joseph gave all praise to our Heavenly Father.
And then Joseph was given the interpretation of the Pharaoh’s dreams, and he relayed these to Pharaoh. There would be 7 years of abundance, but afterwards, Egypt would face seven years of famine. Joseph didn’t stop there, however. God had also given him the solution to the upcoming famine problem, and this he also shared with Pharaoh: “And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.” (Gen 41:34-36, NIV)
Pharaoh was amazed: “So Pharaoh asked them, ‘Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?’” (Gen. 41:38 NI2)
Recognizing the wisdom in Joseph’s words, “Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” (Gen. 41:39, 40 NIV2)
And so it was that the foreign ‘convict’ became second in command in Egypt.
One day, while I was driving with colleagues, someone told me that the French consultant at the school board office was pregnant, and they were looking for someone to replace her for the duration of her year-long maternity leave.
Even though I was driving, as my colleague spoke, I saw a little vision of God. Even though I had never before been in the French consultant’s office, I saw an office, and somehow, I knew that this was hers.
I wondered why I had that little vision. After all, I had no interest in working at the board office. I loved teaching, and I wouldn’t have wanted to do anything else.
The next week, I had to go to the board office for a meeting. As the French consultant was a friend of me, I decided to go by her office after my meeting to say hello. When I opened the door, I was amazed. Her office was exactly the same as the office I had seen in my little vision. How is this possible? Why did I need to know this?
My friend welcomed me and immediately began talking to me about taking her position for the duration of her maternity leave. “I trust you,” she said. “Won’t you consider applying?”
If my Heavenly Father had not given me that little vision, I would never have done it. I would have stayed at my school for the upcoming years until I retired. But God had something different…some better…in mind for me. He wanted me to be the acting French consultant for that year, and recognizing His hand in the situation, I applied. Naturally, I received the position, and as a result, I was able to help people for the duration of the contract. Everyone knew I was a Christian, and I was able to be a witness to the French teachers in all the schools.
I was also surprised at how much I liked that job. However, when the term was over, I was looking forward to going back to teaching. My old position wasn’t available any longer, but God opened the door for me to go into a different, better position, one that I occupied for the remaining years of my career.
Without that dream, nothing would had happened. He is the One who gives us hope is so many ways. I prefer to rely on my Father. He truly knows what is best!
(To access the entire “Hope in the Distance” devotional series, please click here.)