Posted 10/12/2002 10:25:01 PM
Getting a Perspective
Joseph had two key things going for him:
He's in the third "up" of his wild ride to the top of Egypt:
- Up and around as dad's favorite son Gen 37:3
- Down in the pit and sold as a slave Gen 37:23-28
- Up in charge of Potiphar's household Gen 39:4-5
- Down in the dungeon for refusing to sin Gen 29:19-20
- Up as responsible for the prison Gen 39:22
- Down for two more years in prison because of a forgetful butler Gen 39:23
- Up at Pharoah's side to lead Egypt through famine Gen 41:43
Although, the downs were specifically the means for the ups, so where would Joseph be without his trials?
Anyway, he's in prison, and the Lord is kind to him and "gave him favor in the sight of the jailkeeper." Hmm? God's not only working in Jospeh's life, He's able to freely do as He wishes in those around Joseph, too. With Potiphar, God got his attention by blessing Joseph with prosperity. With the jailkeeper, there isn't much of a way for Joseph to earn a position first, so God gives that position to him. Joseph takes the on the responsibility admirably, and again is able to accomplish his work without supervision. Once he got the job, God remained consistent, and continued prospering Joseph.
Now, just so you don't get the idea that this was just a walk in the park, look the timeframe here. Joseph was 17 when he arrives on the scene in Gen 39:1. Within a short while, he's a servant in Egypt, and ends up in prison. The next age the Bible gives us is that he is 30 years old as he stands before the Pharoah of Egypt and is declared ruler of the land. So, 13 years as a slave and/or prisoner! All because of a life filled with God's faithfulness to him, as well as Joseph's faithfulness to God.
Dreams and Interpretations
This is also the period of interpreting dreams. The dreams he has back when he was at home were his; God didn't provide him with an interpretation at this point. He has to live faithfully to see his dreams come true. The dreams of his prisonmates, and that of Pharoah, were different. These were somebody else's dreams, which God gave him the interpretation for. The Bible records many instances of dreams and visions, but Daniel, Joseph, and a soldier in Gideon's army Judg 7:13-15 are the only ones recorded to whom God gave interpretations for other people's dreams. This is also interesting, because God commands in the law that his people are not to be involved in interpreting omens Deu 18:10, a part of witchcraft. The Chaldean wise men in Nebuchadnezzar's court were good at coming up with "interpretations" of their own for the king's dreams Dan 2:4, but fell short when they had to somehow know the dream, too!
Then we get into the New Testament, and we get some instruction about the interpretation of tongues 1Cor 14:5, 26-28. The last mention of interpreting is in 2Pe 1:20, where God makes it clear that prophecy and its interpretation are not a matter of guesswork, but are the special work of the Holy Spirit. Joseph knows this, too, that interpretations are from God Gen 40:8.
Give Credit where Credit is Due
This all comes back around to Joseph's character; he was God's man. Pharoah called him up out of prison because he'd heard from his butler that this guy could give him an explanation for his troubling dreams. Joseph defers to God as the source of interpretations, and proceeds to answer Pharaoh with an accurate interpretation of his dreams Gen 41:25-32, and followup with wise advice on what to do Gen 41:33-40. God gives interpretations, but apparently Joseph's recommendation for action was his own, as that is not recorded as being God's directions. His 13 years plus of experience have developed his skills to a level a country could honor.All verses in this article