I’d love to tell you how busy I’ve been in the last few weeks, but that would require me to have actually been exceptionally busy. Big changes have been I’m now a regular gym go-er rather than an irregular one (regularity and consistency are not in my list of qualities unfortunately). I reorganised my bedroom so that my desk is now tidy enough to use, my furniture is now arranged so that there is room in my room. (A brief note on my desk, it’s clean tidy and ready to use, although I’m not actually using it, despite the fact it is trying to lure me over to it’s smooth wooden surface…)
I have now relocated to the desk. It’s awesome.
So Genesis 41, this is a really, really nice section, there’s a lot to look at but I’m going to focus on humility, confidence and arrogance.
Those of you who have met me, or seen me from a distance are probably aware that I’m pretty confident, that I often struggle to understand the meaning of the word humble, let alone personify it, as for being arrogant that’s been a near defining feature of my personality for far to many years.
Then diving into Genesis 41 gives us a nice role model, we see how Joseph is doing pretty well, and could legitimately be full of his own self importance, maybe a bit down in the dumps about prison and his brothers selling him as a slave, but apart from that he is truly winning life. We see really clearly how dependant Joe is on God in verse 16 ”
16 “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.””
Joseph doesn’t play to his own strengths and skills here, he gives all the glory to God! I’m reminded of when the song “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” which is beautiful and you should listen to it. Joseph then interprets Pharaoh’s dream. I’ve never spoken to a monarch of any description, but I imagine being brought before Pharaoh was similar to being brought before the head teacher when you’re a very small child. Fear, awe and uncertainty one can only assume that said emotions would be magnified exponentially when meeting with the absolute ruler of the land, a man who was controlling the greatest civilisation on the planet at the time.
To be asked to interpret the man’s dream is scary enough, I don’t know about your experiences but often when God is talking to me I’m racked with doubts like “It’s probably just the echo’s of my concious” “What if I’m going a little bit crazy” “This is ridiculous why would I want to do that?” sometimes it gets to the extend when I’m like “Are you serious God? Really!?”
Riddled with doubts. Joseph must have felt some of that, but I don’t think he could have shown it. Pharaoh was somewhat taken with Joseph. We know Joseph spoke with humility, respect and deference to the Pharaoh and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think he spoke with confidence. Joseph had been protected and supported by God his whole life, now would be a bad time to have a crisis of faith.
Joseph explains the dream, and then gets presumptive, he dared to tell Pharaoh what do to! If you’ve ever told your boss/teacher/parents that they should change the way they do something, you’ll probably have been told to “not be cheeky” or “Shut up and get on with your work” or maybe just given a blank stare until you sat down and shut up. People don’t like to be told how they should do things when they consider themselves in charge, so to have a convict tell the ruler of a nation how to run his kingdom, is a little bit presumptive don’t you think?
Acting in the confidence that can only be brought by the presence of God, Joseph goes on to do everything except name himself as the man to do it. He basically describes himself as the man Pharaoh would want to do it.
Caught up in Joseph’s charisma Pharaoh hears Joe out, and concludes that it’s a pretty good plan. So he discusses with his officials, and then turns back and tells Joseph “you do it.”
Joseph is put in charge of the entire nation. Second only to Pharaoh. That is he went from a prisoner to the prime-minister… in an afternoon.
It just goes to show if you have confidence in the Lord, if you trust in Him to be in control, then people see that, and react to it!
So Joseph, now he’s confident but not arrogant, he knows that he’s right, but doesn’t rub it in your face. He’s humble, he knows that God has big plans for him, but he makes sure that people know the glory is God’s glory, that it’s not because Joseph is a great guy this happens, it’s not because Joseph is smart and can work out the meaning of dreams, rather he tells people that it is God who is the main event, and Joseph is just a tool in the Lord’s hand.
Before Joseph when to Egypt, he was arrogant, in the musical he sings “I look handsome, I look smart/ I am walking work of art” Which I think wonderfully sums up that for me. He was blindly confident, he assumed everything would go his way, and then his brother’s sold him as a slave – no foresight, just blatant, misplaced self-confidence. Not a sign of humility anywhere.
The contrast in one person is phenomenal! No wonder his brothers don’t recognise him in the coming chapters. Joseph has gone from self-confidence to having an astounding God-confidence, and it clearly pays off for him.
I guess it highlights one thing in particular, the Christian God is a God of transformation. Nobody stays the same after they start living His way. Weaknesses and faults become strengths and features. Like a sculptor taking a rough block of marble, He works slowly but you can see the changes, and something plain and undervalued can become a beautiful work of art.
Thanks for reading!
How deep the Father’s Love for Us
Nichole Nordeman – How Deep the Father’s Love for Us (spotify)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLDLU2QnFjM (a youtube link to a different version)