By Norman P. Grubb
Again, marvelous, this level of life! Not that you start there. Here, Joseph saw his chance. This was the palace. These men had influence. The men had the ear of Pharaoh, the butler: “Could you say a word for me? Could you say I don’t belong to these people, I was stolen? I’m a stranger; I never did any harm in all the time I have been put in this place” (40:14-15). You see the human touch? There was an aching heart all the time. It doesn’t mean you don’t feel…“I don’t like this, it’s awful, yet it’s all right, God.” And the “all right” is what comes out, not the other. The other comes out occasionally for us, that’s all. But you live in the overflow. But underneath there’s the suffering. There is that in this life. But the fact he said that to the butler shows he must always have had it in his mind. He said it to the butler, not the baker, for the Spirit in Joseph obviously showed him the difference.
Three and a half years? You can’t trust anybody, can you, if you see from man’s point of view? How often we say that. Yet, you can trust everybody, because God means each to be what they are. If they’re nasty, God means them to be nasty. (See Rom. 9:17 about another Pharaoh.) Don’t see evil. Oh, rotten, thankless fellow, you can’t trust anybody! No, this is God. If that butler, out of human kindness, had told Pharaoh about this incident when he got righted…and he must have been very excited when he saw the interpretation was true…likely, it would have been a forgotten incident after three and a half years. So the dramatic moment came when it was needed or it wouldn’t have been fresh.
But now the moment arrived. The autocratic Pharaoh was frustrated and angry. “Oh, no, my interpreters, my astrologers, my magicians can’t interpret these two dreams I’ve had.” “Oh, I remember my error”, the butler intervenes. “I remember my fault this day. Pharaoh was wroth with his servants and put me with the baker in ward in the Captain of the guard’s house, and we both had a dream; and there was a young man, a Hebrew, who interpreted our dreams and for each it came true.” Then Pharaoh said, “Here’s a man who can interpret dreams; send for him.”
But Pharaoh had to wait for Joseph! Joseph wouldn’t be pushed around by Pharaoh. He was going to change his clothes and have a shave before he went up. Pharaoh had to wait. This was a poised man. “I’ll look decent.” He knew his stuff. He knew he had what it took. Only when he had got ready did he come up. Then he repeated to Pharaoh very much what he’d said to the butler and the baker. Pharaoh said to him, “I have heard say of thee that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it.” Joseph’s beautiful answer: “It is not in me. God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” You see my proof that this man wasn’t Joseph; he was God in Joseph’s form? After all these years! You wouldn’t say it in a moment like that unless you knew God did that kind of thing would you? And he differentiated: It isn’t in me, it’s God (41:16). But God gives it by me. (Joseph didn’t put that in, I do.)
Because it is by me; God operates by us. But the first point is, it’s not me; it’s God. Then he gave the interpretation…this startling interpretation. Seven full years, overflow of corn and stuff, then seven lean years to eat up the plentiful years. It registered as good sense, the same as the butler and baker’s dream made sense, and Pharaoh says, “That makes sense. Now what shall we do?” Joseph added an interesting point on the doubling of the dream which is true throughout the Bible…“And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God”. The doubling of a statement in the Bible, “Mary, Mary”, “Martha, Martha”, means it’s his special emphasis…so Jesus saying “Verily, verily.”
Now I think this is beautiful…again, detachment. This was a slave…brought out from his dungeon after fourteen years, cleaned himself up, cool as could be…says to Pharaoh, “I don’t do anything, but God does things and interprets dreams. Here are the dreams; here’s the interpretation.” Well, that’s enough, you’d think. But what happened? Joseph then turns around and says, “I’ll tell you how to do it.” You see the organizing capacity? He organized Potiphar’s household, organized the prison household. So it was simple. Oh, I’ll tell you what to do. You do this, Pharaoh. That wasn’t part of the dream. That was God offering Joseph’s own personal gifts! Pharaoh hadn’t even asked him for advice.
I like that. “God will shortly bring this to pass.” Now therefore let Pharaoh look at a man discreet and wise. “Here Pharaoh, take my advice.” I like that. “Come on, Pharaoh, you get the right man to do it.” That’s the way to handle Pharaohs. “Set him over the land of Egypt.” Pharaoh could see it.
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