Prime Minister Joseph

Genesis 41:41-49

41So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and people shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.

44Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.” 45Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.

46Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt. 47During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. 48Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. 49Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.

Thai King Proclamation

On June 11, 2019, the king of Thailand officially proclaimed the candidate he has endorsed to be Thailand’s prime minister. The candidate that the king of Thailand endorsed as prime minister of Thailand was the Royal Thai Army general who served as prime minister after he led a military coup d’etat that toppled an elected government in 2014.

What is the power of a prime minister compared to the power of a king?

Prime minister is the head of the government while a king is chief authority over a country and people. A prime minister is either elected or appointed by the king, and the king has the power to appoint or dismiss a prime minister.

Joseph interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh, and presented a sensible plan. Then, he encouraged Pharaoh to appoint an administrator to execute the plan he elaborated. Pharaoh King of Egypt appointed Joseph as administrator of Egypt. The political term ‘prime minister’ best describes the office of Joseph in Egypt.

Nobody opposed the appointment of Joseph as prime minister of Egypt. Pharaoh and his officials sensed the wisdom of Joseph. Genesis 41:37-38 says, 37The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. 38So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?”

Pharaoh asked his officials if they know someone who has the Spirit of God, and they understood it very well that it was rhetorical which they did not need to answer. Nonetheless, they may have perceived that Pharaoh has already decided to appoint Joseph as prime minister to administer the plan.

It says in Genesis 41:39-40, 39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40You 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.”

Pharaoh observed that Joseph possessed godly discernment and godly wisdom. Since nobody in Egypt was wiser than Joseph, Pharaoh ordered that officials and ordinary citizens would obey Joseph. Nobody dared to disobey. And from that time on, Joseph was appointed to govern the entire nation of Egypt.

1. Appoint

41So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and people shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.

Did the Egyptians hold an installation ceremony for Joseph as prime minister? It’s possible that Pharaoh ordered a preparation to celebrate such grand event. Officials and ordinary citizens may have been required to attend the proclamation ceremony to make Joseph’s appointment official. Can you agree?

When Pharaoh transferred his signet ring from his finger to Joseph’s finger, it signaled the transfer of Pharaoh’s authority to Joseph. The signet ring was an official seal of the throne which Pharaoh used seal of approval for business transactions, official documents, proclamations, laws, or decrees.

When legislators make a law, an ordinance or a decree, Joseph would seal them with the signet ring of Pharaoh. If there’s a need for authorization from the king, they would go to Joseph to put a seal of approval. Joseph was authorized to approve or decline anything. Yes anything, except things linked to kingship.

Part of the installation ceremony, Joseph was dressed in robes and gold chain that symbolized the dignity and power of his office. He was given a special chariot as his service vehicle. Special chariots may have been used as dignitary vehicle for high ranking officials at that time. And, Joseph’s dream came true!

Joseph had dreams that people will bow to him was fulfilled eventually.

How did it happen? God must be at work around Joseph, ey? What will God do for us if we resolve to trust in the Lord just as Joseph had faith in God? Good or bad events are essential parts of God’s plan in our life. Do you agree?

We ask: “What is God’s plan for me?” The overall picture of God’s plan for believers is to shape us into the image of Christ, to have similar behavior and essential nature of Christ. Yet, God has created us very uniquely, and given us different spiritual gift, why? Each believer participates in His kingdom uniquely according to spiritual gifts. We are assigned to different ministry assignment. Christ declares in John 15:10, 10If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

To keep God’s command is not just one-time obedience. It’s lifetime commitment that continues to eternity. Yet in actuality, we haven’t been very consistent obeying God, why? Sometime we want to obey the Lord. At other times, we disregard the Lord. Apostle Paul explained a similar conflicting habit.

In Romans 7:18-25, 18For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Can you identify with Paul? What do you normally do when you are alone or when there are no known believers around you or when you are on your vacation or leisure time? When you are inside the church building, it is possible that your mind is also somewhere else, thinking about household chores, maybe.

Such common pattern of practice proves that we haven’t reached our goal of spiritual maturity to be like Christ, just yet. What should/can we do?

We ask God to increase our faith and wisdom to live a Christ-like lifestyle.

Young people or adults want to display their new high-tech gadgets. Some would update their social media account about their new dress, adventure, food they ate lately. Some people photoshop/edit pictures to appear like they have taken selfies from popular tourist spots or they have done incredible or amazing things. Pastors post ministry pictures on social media to appear like they have accomplished something admirable or worthy of praise.

As a young man, Joseph could have been very proud. When Joseph brought food to his brothers, he dressed in ornate robe in the field. Why? He can’t resist the idea of making his brothers more envious of his robe.

At the proclamation ceremony as prime minister, when he was dressed in robes of fine linen and put gold chain around his neck, Joseph may have been reminded of his ornate robe that cause his brothers to be hostile of him. He certainly learned not to be proud of things that cause envy. And as a result, the people of Egypt pledged their allegiance and willing submission to his orders.

Joseph was a foreigner, young Hebrew and former prisoner. Would you elect him as your prime minister? But when they shouted, “Make way,” it implied that they did not protest his appointment to be their prime minister.

Pharaoh may have been well-respected by his officials that they did not protest when he proclaimed Joseph as prime minister. Furthermore, Pharaoh prevented possible objections from his officials when he addressed and declared the scope of authority of Joseph as prime minister.

2. Address

44Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.” 45Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.

When Pharaoh proclaimed that no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt without any word from Joseph, he addressed the scope of Joseph’s authority and power. Except for Pharaoh, Joseph commanded what the people of Egypt would do or not do. Pharaoh precluded any potential opposition to Joseph.

And, why was Potiphera and his priestly office mentioned in the narrative?

Potiphera may have been very influential not just among religious people but also among Pharaoh’s officials. Joseph became a member of the family of priests because he was married the daughter of a priest name Potiphera.

Moreover, what does the name Zaphenath-Paneah mean which Pharaoh gave to Joseph? Zaphenath-Paneah was probably an Egyptian term which literally translated, “The god speaks and he lives.”

Many temples in Egypt are proof of their spirituality and priests were well-respected and influential group. Pharaoh precluded. He prevented a possible resistance from priests when he gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and when gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On as him wife.

Power, honor, wealth, influence, safety, even personal need, Joseph was really blessed. The life story of Joseph practically represents what we may expect if we personally practice what Christ said in Matthew 6:33-34. 33But seek 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.

Did Joseph worry after he was sold as slave, when he was accused and imprisoned? Have you had life experience worse than Joseph had? Do you wish to experience what happened to Joseph? No you don’t, for sure!

Surely, there are still times when we worry. But each time you sense worry tries to manipulate you, pray earnestly that God would increase your faith and to help you resolve not to sin against him. Worry does not come from God. Worry manipulates us to make immediate move or instant remedy to problems.

Did you know that the Lord Jesus gave the secret of living a worry-free-kind-of-life when He invites us in Matthew 11:28-30, 28“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

How can we uncover the secret of rest in Christ? We take His yoke, His teachings and we walk together with Christ and He guides us. We don’t go faster or slower than Christ because it will hurt us. It looks simple but hard to do. Why? We always want to do thing on our own. That’s when obeying Christ is hard.

It requires faith to be guided by Christ. So, ask God’s help to trust Christ.

Before Joseph was appointed as prime minister, he endured maltreatment from his brothers. When he was sold as slave, it is possible that he was not treated fairly by other slaves of Potiphar who were older and stronger than him.

When he was accused and imprisoned, he certainly was bullied by other prisoners. Yet, with all those challenging times, he resolved not to sin.

He firmly decide not to sin against God. Troubles he encountered served as testing for his faith. And, the Lord prospered him wherever he was situated.

It says in Genesis 39:2, 2The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.

And in Genesis 39:23, 23The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

Again, it requires faith to trust that the Scripture is true. It takes godly wisdom to discern which part of the Scripture is applicable to each individual.

When Joseph was promoted as manager of his master Potiphar and then, as administrator inside prison, those were training grounds for him to rule as prime minister and to administer the abundant food supply in Egypt.

3. Administer

46Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt. 47During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. 48Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. 49Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.

When Joseph was promoted as manager of his master’s properties, he did not take advantage of his privileges. And his master did not bother or concern himself with anything except for his food. Inside prison, the warden paid no attention of anything under Joseph’s care. It showed that Joseph was reliable.

Those two instances when Potiphar and the jail warden trusted in the administrative ability of Joseph, do you agree that the Lord was at work in the life of Joseph and also in the life of Potiphar and also in the life of the jail warden?

The Lord Jesus declares in Luke 16:10-13, 10“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? 13“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

The life story of Joseph practically illustrated what we can expect for us.

We put our trust in God just as Joseph trusted the Lord. Like Joseph, we also encounter harsh treatment from relatives, friends, and other people.

We have to resolve and determine not to sin against the Lord and trust Him to make necessary adjustment, even when it seems difficult sometimes.

Approximately, Joseph’s brothers sold him as slave when he was 17 years old, and he was 30 years old when he became prime minister of Egypt. There were 13 years of ups and downs in his life that he endured as he trusted God.

It says in 1 Samuel 2:7, 7The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. And in Psalm 75:7, 7It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.

Of course, we keep reminding ourselves that we need faith to internalize and apply the relevance of the Word of God in our life. It requires faith to take God’s word seriously so that we may experience that God’s word is really alive.

It says in Hebrews 4:12, 12For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

The Word of God became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ for us to realize that God’s word is alive and active. The lifestyle of Jesus while on earth practically displayed a godly lifestyle we may have when we allow God’s word to dictate and guide our lifestyle. Jesus obeyed God the Father even unto His death on the cross, and that’s the ultimate example of obedience to God.

It says in Romans 8:13, 13For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

The practical illustration of this passage was experienced by Joseph.

When Joseph followed his youthful pride to display his ornate robe that his father Jacob gave him, his brothers became envious of him and they sold him as slave. When Joseph firmly decided and resolved not to sin against God, not to entertain temptation, he has realized and experienced the best life he can have.

Join me and let’s pray that God would increase our faith to firmly decide and resolve not to sin against Him. Let’s trust God will reward our faith in Him, if not in this life, it will be given in the next life in heaven.

It says in Revelation 22:12-14, 12“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

14“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 

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

 

 

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.