Children’s Study – Joseph, Part 4 Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dreams

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Joseph – part 4 Joseph interprets the Pharaoh’s dreams

Last time we saw how the Lord made has given Joseph the ability to interpret the chief butler’s and the chief baker’s dreams. We saw that his interpretation came to pass as the butler was restored to his former duty but the baker received a death sentence.

Gen 40:20 (KJV) And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants.
Gen 40:21 And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand:
Gen 40:22 But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them.

We also learned last time what these dreams meant. We learned that this is the story of our old man who is doomed like the chief baker. At the same time, the death of our old man means the birth of our new man. This is like a second life to the chief butler as he was taken out of prison and restored as the chief butler to the pharaoh.

But the Lord decided to test Joseph’s faith some more as he made the chief butler forget about Joseph.

Gen 40:23 (KJV) Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.

It would be two years after the butler’s return to his duty that he would remember Joseph.

Gen 41:1 (CEV) Two years later the king of Egypt dreamed he was standing beside the Nile River.
Gen 41:2 Suddenly, seven fat, healthy cows came up from the river and started eating grass along the bank.
Gen 41:3 Then seven ugly, skinny cows came up out of the river and
Gen 41:4 ate the fat, healthy cows. When this happened, the king woke up.
Gen 41:5 The king went back to sleep and had another dream. This time seven full heads of grain were growing on a single stalk.
Gen 41:6 Later, seven other heads of grain appeared, but they were thin and scorched by the east wind.
Gen 41:7 The thin heads of grain swallowed the seven full heads. Again the king woke up, and it had only been a dream.
Gen 41:8 The next morning the king was upset. So he called in his magicians and wise men and told them what he had dreamed. None of them could tell him what the dreams meant.

It is understandable why the king was upset. His dreams are indeed disturbing, and they are weird to say the least; cows eating cows and grain eating grain. He called in his magicians and wise men, but none of them could tell him what the dreams meant. You are probably guessing right now that Joseph would know what these dreams meant. However I want you to notice the contrast. These wise men are the king’s advisers, and they couldn’t tell him what his dreams meant. These magicians used sorcery, enchantments and divination, but they couldn’t see what the Pharaoh’s dreams meant. These wise men and magicians are symbols of false ministers who claim to be wise and powerful, but their power and wisdom are nothing compared to the wisdom given to Joseph.

Gen 41:9 The king’s personal servant said: Now I remember what I was supposed to do.
Gen 41:10 When you were angry with me and your chief cook, you threw us both in jail in the house of the captain of the guard.
Gen 41:11 One night we both had dreams, and each dream had a different meaning.
Gen 41:12 A young Hebrew, who was a servant of the captain of the guard, was there with us at the time. When we told him our dreams, he explained what each of them meant,
Gen 41:13 and everything happened just as he said it would. I got my job back, and the cook was put to death.
Gen 41:14 The king sent for Joseph, who was quickly brought out of jail. He shaved, changed his clothes, and went to the king.

Things are looking up for Joseph! He must have spent his darkest hours in those two years in prison. Can you imagine your prediction coming true and yet being forgotten by the butler for two more years? This story, as well as all the stories in the bible, should be an encouragement for us. You kids are young, and you probably have not gone through the worst times of your life yet, but I hope you remember Joseph’s story when you go through them.

Gen 41:15 (KJV) And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it.
Gen 41:16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.

This is the attitude that we must have. “It is not in me.” Joseph acknowledges that it is God who gave him the wisdom to know the meaning of the butler’s and the baker’s dreams, and it will be God who will give him the wisdom to interpret the pharaoh’s dreams.

Gen 41:17 (CEV) The king told Joseph: I dreamed I was standing on the bank of the Nile River.
Gen 41:18 I saw seven fat, healthy cows come up out of the river, and they began feeding on the grass.
Gen 41:19 Next, seven skinny, bony cows came up out of the river. I have never seen such terrible looking cows anywhere in Egypt.
Gen 41:20 The skinny cows ate the fat ones.
Gen 41:21 But you couldn’t tell it, because these skinny cows were just as skinny as they were before. Right away, I woke up.
Gen 41:22 I also dreamed that I saw seven heads of grain growing on one stalk. The heads were full and ripe.
Gen 41:23 Then seven other heads of grain came up. They were thin and scorched by a wind from the desert.
Gen 41:24 These heads of grain swallowed the full ones. I told my dreams to the magicians, but none of them could tell me the meaning of the dreams.
Gen 41:25 (KJV) And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do.

First, Joseph tells the Pharaoh his dream is one, meaning both dreams have the same meaning. Then, he tells the king that God is showing the Pharaoh what He is about to do. “The dream is one” is a statement with a very important meaning and the elect are very familiar with it.

The dream is one means every story in the Bible tells the same one story. It is the story of the old man being destroyed as the new man is born and grows into a mature child of God.

Look at the creation of the earth.

Gen 1:1 (KJV) In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

It starts as a mass “without form and void”. There is no life in it and darkness covers it. Then we are told “the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters”.

This is what we have been emphasizing to you kids, that it is God who is making all these things happen. There is not one thing that is out of the control of God.

Then God creates the light and creates the separation between the light and the darkness.

Gen 1:3 (KJV) And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Gen 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

In the story of Adam and Eve, we are given the same message. God is making all of us into His image.

Gen 1:27 (CLV) And creating is the Elohim humanity in His image. In the image of the Elohim He creates it. Male and female He creates them.

From the darkness of the prison cell, Joseph has now emerged into the light and is now ready to tell the pharaoh what God has given him.

Gen 41:25 (CEV) Joseph replied: Your Majesty, both of your dreams mean the same thing, and in them God has shown what he is going to do.

When we read these stories, we shouldn’t put ourselves as the good guy only. We all start out like the bad guys. We are Esau first before becoming Jacob. We are Adam first before becoming Jesus Christ.

Gen 41:26 The seven good cows stand for seven years, and so do the seven good heads of grain.
Gen 41:27 The seven skinny, ugly cows that came up later also stand for seven years, as do the seven bad heads of grain that were scorched by the east wind. The dreams mean there will be seven years when there won’t be enough grain.
Gen 41:28 It is just as I said–God has shown what he intends to do.
Gen 41:29 For seven years Egypt will have more than enough grain,
Gen 41:30 but that will be followed by seven years when there won’t be enough. The good years of plenty will be forgotten, and everywhere in Egypt people will be starving.
Gen 41:31 The famine will be so bad that no one will remember that once there had been plenty.
Gen 41:32 God has given you two dreams to let you know that he has definitely decided to do this and that he will do it soon.

That is also a big statement there. God has definitely decided to change every human being from being a sinful, disobedient child, into a glorious and obedient child of God. And He will do it soon. To some of us, it seems too slow, but this is because we lack patience, and we don’t see the big picture. We must never question God on His timing, we just need to trust Him and that “He has definitely decided to change us and that He will do it soon.”

Gen 41:33 (CEV) Your Majesty, you should find someone who is wise and will know what to do, so that you can put him in charge of all Egypt.
Gen 41:34 Then appoint some other officials to collect one-fifth of every crop harvested in Egypt during the seven years when there is plenty.
Gen 41:35 Give them the power to collect the grain during those good years and to store it in your cities.
Gen 41:36 It can be stored until it is needed during the seven years when there won’t be enough grain in Egypt. This will keep the country from being destroyed because of the lack of food.
Gen 41:37 The king and his officials liked this plan.
Gen 41:38 So the king said to them, “No one could possibly handle this better than Joseph, since the spirit of God is with him.”
Gen 41:39 The king told Joseph, “God is the one who has shown you these things. No one else is as wise as you are or knows as much as you do.
Gen 41:40 (KJV) Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.

The Pharaoh is being used here as a symbol of God, the Father, who has given the authority to Joseph to rule of His people. “Only in the throne will I be greater than you” is God’s relationship to our Lord Jesus Christ.

1Co 15:25 (CEV) Christ will rule until he puts all his enemies under his power,
1Co 15:26 and the last enemy he destroys will be death.
1Co 15:27 When the Scriptures say that he will put everything under his power, they don’t include God (“Only in the throne will I be greater than you”). It was God who put everything under the power of Christ.

Most Christians believe in the trinity. This is the teaching that our Lord has the same status or is “co-equal” with God. But our Lord has never forgotten that it is God who has given Him His power, and, that as a wife is always subject to her husband, He is always subject to God the Father.

Joh 14:28 You have heard how I said to you, I go away and I am coming to you again. If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, I go to the Father, for My Father is greater than I.

Again here’s the big picture, the one dream, the one message behind all the stories in the Bible.

1Co 15:28 After everything is under the power of God’s Son, he will put himself under the power of God, who put everything under his Son’s power. Then God will mean everything to everyone.

In the end, we will be under Christ’s power and God will mean everything to everyone. In other translations, it says God will be “all in all”.

1Co 15:28 And when all things have been subjected unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subjected to him that did subject all things unto him, that God may be all in all.

Notice it doesn’t say God may be all in some, it says God may be all in all.

Let’s read some more of Joseph’s story and Lord willing, we will see the hidden lessons behind them.

Gen 41:41 (ESV) And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”
Gen 41:42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck.
Gen 41:43 And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt.
Gen 41:44 Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”
Gen 41:45 And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphenath-paneah. And he gave him in marriage Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On. So Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.
Gen 41:46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt.
Gen 41:47 During the seven plentiful years the earth produced abundantly,
Gen 41:48 and he gathered up all the food of these seven years, which occurred in the land of Egypt, and put the food in the cities. He put in every city the food from the fields around it.
Gen 41:49 And Joseph stored up grain in great abundance, like the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured.
Gen 41:50 Before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph. Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore them to him.
Gen 41:51 Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.”
Gen 41:52 The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
Gen 41:53 The seven years of plenty that occurred in the land of Egypt came to an end,
Gen 41:54 and the seven years of famine began to come, as Joseph had said. There was famine in all lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread.

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