JOSEPH APPOINTED TO A HIGH POSITION

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    [Genesis:41:37-57].

    Lesson No.: 
    36
    Class: 
    Junior
    Memory Verse: 

    “I have been young, and now am old;  yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread" (Psalm 37:25).

    Notes: 

    Divine Revelation
    The wisdom of Joseph appealed to Pharaoh. He believed the interpretation Joseph gave of his dreams, and agreed that it would be good to prepare for the lean years that were to come after the years of plenty. In Pharaoh's conduct this heathen king showed more wisdom than many men manifest today. The Word of God tells us of the judgements that are going to fall upon the earth; and has given us many signs of things to come before our Lord returns, but men refuse to prepare to meet God. When they stand before Him on the Judgement Day, they will be without excuse, because the Word of God has given the sinners hundreds of warnings, and has placed His faithful followers as watchmen on the wall who have taken up the cry to warn the ungodly of impending doom, but they refuse to heed the warning.

    In the patriarchal days the people did not have the Bible for instruction, so God often spoke to men through dreams, just as He did to Pharaoh. Sometimes God spoke to the prophets in this way, and through visions, but in our day God has spoken through His Son, and we have the Bible for our guide ([Hebrews:1:1-2]). Occasionally, God may still give one of His children a dream; but many people who are going around telling of special revelations from Heaven are false prophets, and their dreams are not from God. There were some such prophets in the time of Moses. But he said, through the inspiration of God, if they dreamed a dream or per formed a miracle contrary to the Lord's command, "Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deuteronomy:13:3). If we have the love of the truth in our hearts, the Spirit will reveal His will to us, and we shall not go after false dreamers.

    Joseph Promoted
    Pharaoh recognised that God was with Joseph, and decided there could be no better person than he to undertake the tremendous task of saving enough food during the seven years of plenty to care for the people of the land through seven years of famine. Even the people from other countries were to come to Egypt to buy food when the famine struck their lands.

    The tide of Joseph's fortune had turned. No longer was he to suffer the hatred of his brothers; no longer did he have to serve as a slave or languish in an Egyptian prison. He was made the second ruler in the land. In Pharaoh's own house Joseph could tell people what to do, and they had to obey him. No man could "lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt" unless he had Joseph's permission.

    The gold chain that was put upon Joseph was a token of authority and the ring was probably the one with the king's signet, which he used to sign his business papers. Joseph was even given power to sign the king's letters!

    Joseph's Faithfulness
    Joseph was still a comparatively young man to have such great honours thrust upon him, but they did not turn his head. He was faithful in the work he had to do, and God helped him to do it right. He received a personal reward, too, in that the king gave him a name of honour, gave him a wife, and within seven years he had two sons. He must have had a happy home, because he said that God had made him forget his sufferings and even his father's house. God will always reward His children if they are faithful through the hard places. "The toils of the road will seem nothing when we get to the end of the way."

    Plenty, Then Famine
    God fulfilled His Word just as Joseph had prophesied, and the land brought forth great crops, which were stored up in every city to such an extent that no one could tell how much there was.

    Then came the seven years of famine. What a terrible time of suffering that would have been if there had been no preparation made! And what a terrible time of suffering it is going to be for those who fail to prepare to meet their God! They will know of the bliss of the righteous, but for them there will be nothing but weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.

    We learned that when God called Abraham out of an idolatrous country and set him apart as the father of a new nation He could call His own, He set a pattern. Abraham fulfilled his part in the plan; then came Isaac, and later Jacob. God had promised that the Messiah would come through the line of Abraham, and thus far the line has not been broken.

    God could see that a terrible famine was to come upon all the earth -- and what if His chosen people should starve to death? What would happen to His plan? But God is all-wise, and He will let nothing hinder His work.

    Israel's Preservation
    Perhaps there was no other country that was fertile enough to raise sufficient crops to feed the people through seven years of famine. So in Egypt God provided a place that would succour His people and keep them alive, and He made a way for them to be there.

    No one would ever have thought when Joseph was sold into Egypt that it was a link in God's chain of preservation for His chosen people at a time when they were threatened with extinction. How good God is to His people! "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgements, and his ways past finding out!" (Romans:11:33).

    Questions: 

    1. Did Pharaoh recognise the Spirit of God in Joseph?
    2. What did Joseph do to prevent a famine?
    3. Pharaoh said to the Egyptians, "What he saith to you, do." Who spoke similar words in the New Testament?
    4. Why did Pharaoh call on Joseph to interpret his dreams?
    5. Were Pharaoh's dreams coming to pass according to Joseph's interpretation?