Through the Bible in a Year: Genesis 41 to 45

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.

To My Daughter Janelle

You want to skip this next paragraph. I have you extra long margins so it’s easy.

I’m going to dare to use myself as an example here. As I write this, in two days I will begin to receive total body irradiation to treat the acute leukemia I was diagnosed with six months ago. That will be followed by chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, and the most health and life-threatening experience of my life. Doctors say the treatment, not the disease, has a 20 to 30% chance of killing me over the next three months.

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!

Joseph’s Story

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.

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4 Responses to Through the Bible in a Year: Genesis 41 to 45

  1. Joel D. says:

    My thoughts on this are a little different. If you were to consider Joseph’s dreams as a prophesy then I would think that he was doing it to fulfill that prophesy (the story does actually note that they indeed bowed down to him) Genesis 42:9 when he is first speaking to his brothers it says that he remembered his dreams…

    I don’t get trickery out of what he’s doing because of the attitude he displays, having to leave their company multiple times so he could weep.

    thoughts?

    • I don’t think he had a bad attitude. On the other hand, he did trick them. He didn’t tell them who he was, nor that he knew them.

      I hardly think that’s the point of the story, though. Maybe he was doing it to fulfill prophecy, but that seems unnecessary. Surely they would have bowed down to him without being accused of being spies. After all, they were coming in hope of grain to stay alive, and surely bowing would have been expected to the ruler of all Egypt.

  2. Allison Musick says:

    My only question is, (if I’m thinking of the right chapter…I’m a bit ahead, in Exodus 2) why did Joseph play with his brothers when they finally came. Was it purely for fun? Or was he wrestling with his temper/human desire to seek revenge? Was it what God wanted him to do? Is it possible to know why?

    I mean when he played all those tricks on them, giving them their silver back and then hiding his cup in Benjamin’s sack.

    • I think he was just playing tricks on them. I don’t want to suggest that in the commentary, though, as it’s possible I am missing some important spiritual meaning.

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