Today, my commentary will focus on three things:
"In Whom is a Divine Spirit"
Genesis 41:38 says:
Then Pharaoh said to his servants, "Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?" (NASB)
Similar things to this were said about the prophet Daniel, and he, too, was elevated to power.
We have grown far too used to Christianity. For Pharaoh, to find a man in whom the Divine Spirit dwelt was cause to make that man king of all Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself! For us, to our embarrassment, to claim that we have the Spirit of God means little, if anything at all.
When no one could interpret the dream of the king’s cupbearer, Joseph asked, "Do not interpretations belong to God?" (40:8, NASB).
When Pharaoh called him to interpret a dream that no one else could interpret, Joseph said, "It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer" (41:16, NASB).
What makes Joseph different from us is not a special gift to interpret dreams. What makes Joseph different from us is that he was a real believer in God.
Today, far too often, our "belief" is merely a schoolboy-style agreement that, historically speaking, Jesus died for our sins, we get a free ticket to heaven, and we like the idea of a free ticket. We can’t do what Joseph did because we don’t believe like Joseph did.
Joseph became convinced that God was God. He was convinced that what God was really in control of everything. He was convinced that God could change anything.
Further he was convinced that …
- God was on his side
- God talks to us
If you want to be like Joseph, you are going to have to believe like Joseph. Joseph did not only believe that interpretations of dreams belong to God. He also believed that God could tell him what the interpretation was!
We claim to believe that the Spirit of God dwells in us. It would do us well to read the biographies of Joseph and Daniel so we know what that means!!!
And keep in mind, those of you that are reading this for home school, both Joseph and Daniel were teenagers when God began to do mighty things in their lives.
Joseph’s Extraordinary Grace
We have already discussed the source of Joseph’s extraordinary grace.
Grace is what the Bible names that power that delivers us from sin (Rom. 6:14), empowers us to serve God supernaturally (1 Pet. 4:10-11), and provides whatever else we need from God (Heb. 4:16).
Joseph had the Divine Spirit, and Joseph believed. That was the source of his power.
Yet because I believe God told me to, I have begun a "through the Bible in a year" reading program with all of you.
Yesterday I was asked how I maintain joy throughout all of this treatment (three chemotherapy treatments, nausea, uncontrolled muscle cramps, a low-blood induced heart attack, neutropenic fevers—all in 6 months).
I attribute it to simple, but real, faith; the kind Joseph had. I have asked myself for almost 30 years whether I really believe the things I say. I have lived as though I had every bit of power that Joseph and Daniel had.
And God has proven every bit as reliable for me as he has for Joseph and Daniel.
Among those who are born of women, there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist; nonetheless, the least one in the kingdom of heaven is greater than him. (Matt. 11:11)
If you are in Christ, then your God, and your Divine Spirit, is exactly the same one as the one in Joseph, Daniel, and John. But you belong to ultimate covenant, the fullness of all previous covenants, given to us in King Jesus. Thus, your power ought to be greater, not lesser, than theirs.
I am not a great Christian; probably not even a good one. I’m an American, and I have therefore lived in flabby comfort for far too many of my days to be a really powerful Christian. But I am a Christian, and this means that I talk to God, God talks to me, and "all things work together for good" for me (Rom. 8:28).
Am I bragging? I had better not be! You had better be in exactly the same place I am. Come now! If you are going to be a Christian and study the Bible, then let’s believe it!
Dreams and Prophecy
This is the spot where we talk about God talking to me … and more importantly, to you.
A friend once told me that a good father takes responsibility for his children. It is the father’s job to make sure that the children hear what the father wants. It is not the job of the children to guess the father’s will.
The Bible agrees:
Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. (Matt. 4:4)
That verse is in the present tense. We do not only live by every word that proceeded from the mouth of God 2,000 or 3,000 years ago. We live also by the words that are still proceeding.
We have the same Spirit Joseph had!
Joseph did not offer to interpret dreams because he believed he had the gift of dream interpretation or prophecy. He offered to interpret dreams because interpretations belong to God, and Joseph had an ongoing friendship with God.
God speaks in many ways, and those ways can differ from person to person. If you have an ear to hear, then God will find a way to get his message across to you.
To have an ear you must have two things, and you should already, right now, decide within yourself whether you will offer these two things to God …
- You must be listening. "Seek, and you shall find" (Matt. 7:7).
- You must be willing to obey. This will be harder than you think. Look at how Joseph had to obey!
We did not cover any of Joseph’s story today. His story speaks for itself. It is interesting! I believe that the lessons on this post were important for this section of Scripture. Never let us read about great men of God without finding their secret and seeking to emulate them.