Firmly Decided

Genesis 41:14-32

14So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh. 15Pharaoh 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.” 16“I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”

17Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18when out of the river there came up seven cows, fat and sleek, and they grazed among the reeds. 19After them, seven other cows came up—scrawny and very ugly and lean. I had never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt. 20The lean, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first.  21But even after they ate them, no one could tell that they had done so; they looked just as ugly as before. Then I woke up.

22“In my dream I saw seven heads of grain, full and good, growing on a single stalk. 23After them, seven other heads sprouted—withered and thin and scorched by the east wind. 24The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none of them could explain it to me.”

25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. 27The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine.

28“It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, 30but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. 31The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. 32The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.

Prediction

Did you watch it? Have you desired the Toronto Raptors team to win the NBA (National Basketball Association) championship this year? Toronto Raptors is the only NBA Team in Canada or outside the USA as of now.

Most pundits, who’re experts in basketball, predicted that Toronto Raptors will not become champion this year. But, some individuals predicted that Toronto Raptors will be champions. What is your prediction? What are you basing your prediction? What percentage does prediction offers to certainty of result?

Prediction has similarity to prophecy. A prediction is usually based on some logical foundation. A pundit or expert may predict the result of a basketball match or result of election based on previous experience, trends or analytics.

In comparison, a prophecy tells what exactly may happen or occur in the future without any logical reason. A prophet foretells events on the basis of some inner intuition or spiritual inspiration alone.

Many so-called experts in sport analyze statistics and records available, and predict but cannot control the outcome of a game because of intangibles that may affect the result. Freak accidents are unexpected factors which may prevent the realization of prediction. In contrast, a prophet of God may not detail each part of an event or occurrence but the overall result would certainly be fulfilled.

Warning: Anyone can be a victim of deception. Are you aware of false prophets predicting events they assume may happen? Don’t just believe anyone. Anybody can pretend and act like a prophet. Be prayerful, be filled and be empowered by the Holy Spirit to discern if a prophet was sent by God or not.

It has warned us in 1 John 4:1, 1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

How can we test if prophecy is false or not? If you have sincerely accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, the Lord has given you the Spirit of Christ who would tell you personally and help you discern the truth. God’s word is the standard to measure or determine if a message is true or false.

Acts 17:11 says, 11Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

We should not rely on human logic or reasons to believe or ignore a prophecy. We rely upon the Lord, His Spirit and His word for godly truth.

Pharaoh the king of Egypt sought help for the interpretation of his dream.

The magicians and wise men of Egypt can’t interpret his dreams, and the chief cupbearer told Pharaoh about Joseph. Surprisingly, when Pharaoh told what he heard about his ability to interpret dreams, Joseph replied that he can’t.

1. Reply

14So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh. 15Pharaoh 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.” 16“I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”

When Joseph replied that God will give the answer that Pharaoh desired, he exemplified intentional approach of talking about God. Joseph was very quick to take that opportunity to let Pharaoh hear about God, and that God has the power to interpret dream. Indirectly, he implied that God was with him.

Pharaoh admitted that wise men and magicians in Egypt cannot interpret his dreams. When he mentioned what heard about Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams, it suggests that, he needed Joseph’s help to interpret his dreams.

Interestingly before Joseph was presented to Pharaoh, he shaved and had changed his clothes. Was Pharaoh selective of who he dealt with? Was a person in prison clothes not appropriate to stand before the throne of the king of Egypt? Was it an insult to the majesty of Pharaoh? Was it a protocol or royal customary decency to dress up appropriately when presented to Pharaoh?

King Xerxes

It’s not an isolated case. It’s traditional practice to dress up appropriately when coming into the presence of a king. Before King Xerxes chose Esther as the next queen, candidates were presented but not just as they were. They were prepared and trained in royal propriety and decorum. It stated in Esther 2:12-14:

12Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics. 

Such preparation for the bride of King Xerxes illustrates the preparation of the church as bride of Christ the King of kings. The congregation of believers is the church, the bride of Christ the Lamb of God. During the Wedding of the Lamb of God, His bride, the church will be dressed up in fine linen, bright and clean.

It says in Revelation 19:7-8, 7Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 8Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)

Some people assume that they can come before the Lord, just as they are. Human are natural sinful. Just as we are in our sinful nature is never acceptable to God so that we need the intervention of Christ. When we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, we were clothed with the righteousness of Christ.

It says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

As believers in Christ, we don’t come before the Lord just as we are in our sinful nature. Instead, we have the confidence to come before God because we’ve been clothed in Christ’s righteousness when we trusted Him as Savior.

The practical proof of trusting Christ as Savior is to trust Him as Lord.

When Joseph was brought from dungeon, shaved and changed clothes before presented to the king of Egypt, it practically illustrates believers who were redeemed from the dungeon of eternal punishment. When we repented of our sins, the Lord cleansed us from sin, and clothed us with Christ’s righteousness to be presented before the King of kings at Wedding of the Lamb of God.

Accordingly, Joseph told Pharaoh that he cannot interpret dreams but assured that God will give him the answers he desired. What does it imply when Pharaoh recounted to Joseph every detail of his dreams?

2. Recount

17Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18when out of the river there came up seven cows, fat and sleek, and they grazed among the reeds. 19After them, seven other cows came up—scrawny and very ugly and lean. I had never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt. 20The lean, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first.  21But even after they ate them, no one could tell that they had done so; they looked just as ugly as before. Then I woke up.

22“In my dream I saw seven heads of grain, full and good, growing on a single stalk. 23After them, seven other heads sprouted—withered and thin and scorched by the east wind. 24The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none of them could explain it to me.”

Pharaoh recounted in his dream that he was standing on the bank of Nile when fat cows came out and grazed among the reeds. Nile River was the source of water in Egypt, and reeds grew along the riverbank. People may harvest reeds to feed cattle but not necessarily pasture cattle along the riverbank.

Pharaoh was not amused when fat cows grazed among the reeds but he was disturbed when ugly cows ate the fat cows. The storyline in his 1st dream was similar to his 2nd dream, when good grains were swallowed by thin grains.

The magicians may have given their ideas but the wise men did not agree with them. Was it because God has intended it for Joseph to interpret them?

If we say yes, does it mean we can agree that events and circumstances surrounding us have been prepared by the Lord as necessary and essential part of His plans specifically for us, individually or corporately?

It reminds us in 1 Samuel 2:7, 7The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.

It also say in Psalm 75:7, 7It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.

When Joseph told Pharaoh that God can give him the answers he desire, Pharaoh recounted the details of his dreams. Pharaoh indirectly accepted that he was helpless, and that he was willing to trust the God of Joseph to reveal the interpretation of his dreams. Did God prepare Pharaoh’s heart to believe Him?

When Pharaoh recounted his dreams after Joseph told that God can help him, it implies Pharaoh’s has an open mind. His openness to seek help from a young Hebrew foreigner and prisoner, such is the attitude of a person prepared by God to accept his need of a Savior and to believe the good news about Christ.

Like Joseph, we must point others to our Savior. Joseph was brought out of prison to tell Pharaoh the good news that God can help him. Similarly, we were brought out from the dungeon of eternal punishment to tell to others the good news that God can help them spiritually and practically.

Spiritually, you might still have doubt of your eternal life. Ask God to give you faith or increase your faith, and keep asking God until your doubt goes away.

Practically, what is it that bothers you most often? Some are bothered about employment. Others are bothered about health, physical or mental health. Still some are bothered by their financial future. Health and finances are basic concerns that the government may try to address.

Election time is just around the corner! Pray that that God would let political candidates who have better programs for health and finances be elected. Whoever will be elected, keep praying regularly for local, national, international officials, that God will give them wisdom to govern their respective constituents.

King Solomon

When King Solomon was installed king of Israel, the Lord appeared to him in a dream. It says in 2 Chronicles 1:7-10, 7That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” 8Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. 9Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

The Lord granted the prayer request of King Solomon. Solomon was considered the wisest and wealthiest king of Israel. God gave everything that King Solomon need to be effective king. The Lord surrounded him with loyal advisers, helpful citizens and blessed him with material thing too.

The success of Solomon was summarized in 1 Chronicles 29:23-25,

23So Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king in place of his father David. He prospered and all Israel obeyed him. 24All the officers and warriors, as well as all of King David’s sons, pledged their submission to King Solomon.

25The Lord highly exalted Solomon in the sight of all Israel and bestowed on him royal splendor such as no king over Israel ever had before.

2 Chronicles 1:15 states, 15The king made silver and gold as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills.

Most of the time, we pray for what we wish to become, but disregard how we may get to the point of life where we wish to be. Solomon did not pray to be popular or wealthy. He asked for wisdom to be effective king. He believed that God made him king. He wanted to be a responsible king, not for personal glory but for the sake of his constituents, and God added everything He needed.

Are you worried about life? Pray to apply practically what Christ said in Matthew 6:33-34, 33Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

To seek His kingdom is to let Christ reigns, rules and lords over our life. To seek His righteousness is to live a lifestyle guided by the righteousness of Christ. We practically know that Christ performs His Lordship in our life when thoughts and actions measure up to the righteousness of Christ written in the Scripture.

Joseph was confident that God will reveal the meaning of Pharaoh’s dreams. Pharaoh recounted the details of his dreams because he trusted that God would reveal the interpretation of his dreams through Joseph.

Such is a practical application of faith in God. There’s no if or buts. Faith does not rely upon human logical reasons or experiences. By faith, we have confidence in the Lord in everything just as Joseph had confidence in God when he told Pharaoh that the Lord will reveal the meaning of his dreams.

3. Reveal

25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. 27The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine.

When the Lord revealed the interpretation Pharaoh’s dreams which were a warning of future economic boom and collapse, it practically illustrates that the Lord is very much concerned about practical things surrounding us. We trust God about our eternal life which is spiritual in nature, and we trust Him with our practical needs to live a lifestyle worthy to be called children of God, right?

But why is it very tough to apply in practical ways the things that we learn from the Scripture? When the Word of God says that we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, He also promised to add practical things we need.

Yet, most often, we found ourselves seeking first the practical things we need and most often very slow seeking Christ to reign in our life. We are also not very conscious of having His righteousness be guiding principle of our life. Why is it hard? Does it mean we’ve little faith? We certainly need increase in our faith.

We often hear repetitive messages from the Lord, why? He loves us, and keeps reminding us of the things we need to apply practically in our life. He cares enough, and wants us to realize that His messages are intended for betterment.

Take Note: Joseph did not simply tell Pharaoh, “God has good news of abundance and warning of severe famine.” He emphasized that the Lord has firmly decided about what He planned to do in the very near future.

28“It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, 30but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. 31The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. 32The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.

The good news of abundance and the warning of severe famine practically illustrate respectively the Good News of abundance and fullness of life in Christ and the warning of unavoidable Judgment Day for those who ignore Christ.

Like Joseph, we seek from God our courage to intentionally talk about His love to individuals He prepared to accept their need of spiritual help, similar to Pharaoh’s admittance of his helplessness when he sought help from Joseph.

Keep praying that God would reveal or make a divine appointment with individuals whom the Lord has prepared to accept Christ as Lord and Savior.

And we as celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we are reminded of the Lord’s command to make disciples, proclaim His death and resurrection until he comes.

The coming of the Lord and the Judgment Day had been firmly decided.

Be intentional like Joseph to tell others about the Good News of Christ.

><((‘> .. ><(((‘> … tmec\2019 … <‘)))>< .. <‘))><

 

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.