Read Genesis 41:15-36
15Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it."
16"I cannot do it," Joseph replied to Pharaoh, "but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires."
17Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18when out of the river there came up seven cows, fat and sleek, and they grazed among the reeds. 19After them, seven other cows came up — scrawny and very ugly and lean. I had never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt. 20The lean, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first. 21But even after they ate them, no one could tell that they had done so; they looked just as ugly as before. Then I woke up.
22"In my dreams I also saw seven heads of grain, full and good, growing on a single stalk. 23After them, seven other heads sprouted — withered and thin and scorched by the east wind. 24The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none could explain it to me."
25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, "The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. 27The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine.
28"It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, 30but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. 31The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. 32The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.
33"And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. 34Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. 36This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine." (NIV)
We see in this passage the importance of dreams and visions. God works using dreams and visions to speak to his people. We may like to hear a voice straight from God, but God has chosen to speak directly not as often as he uses dreams and visions. And I think one of the reasons is that when God sends a dream of a vision, it is shared to fully understand the significance of it. It is a community that ends up sharing the vision and not just one person.
Joseph also pointed out that God will give an answer to our dreams. This is important, but again, the answer comes in the form of sharing with others. God put us in this world together and he does so much to show us we need each other as we walk in faith.
We also see in this passage the use of Spiritual Gifts. Joseph has been given the gift of discernment. God has gifted him with the ability to discern things on a deeper level for the betterment of the community. God gives us Spiritual Gifts to be used by the body of believers to be able to function as one.
Paul said this about Spiritual Gifts: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good… to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits…All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.” (1 Cor 12:7-11) Notice that Paul says they are given for the common good. Joseph’s interpretation will end up being for the common good of not only the Egyptians, but the Jewish people who are just becoming a people.
Joseph is also been given the gift of Knowledge and Wisdom. We see this in verses 33-36 where he lays out a plan. He not only understands the problem, but puts forth a plan to address the problem. We see that this gift has served Joseph wherever he went. His understanding of situations has helped him advance no matter how difficult the situation he finds himself in.
It is said that those with the Spiritual Gift of Wisdom are needed in times of uncertainty to help a group by guided by God through those uncertain or difficult times. Joseph will end up guiding the people of two lands through a very trying time.
We also see that Joseph freely uses his Gifts. He does not ask anything in return from Pharaoh. He simply stands on the faith in God that God will use him for good. I think this is a wonderful place to live our lives from. When we can give freely of ourselves without worry or need to be repaid, then I believe God will bless us in ways we never imagined. Joseph is about to be blessed in a way that he never imagined. God will do great things for us if we just get out of the way sometimes.
Do you recognize Spiritual Gifts God has given you? We all have at least one, if not more. How have you used your Gifts? Do you find unexpected blessings sometimes when you are serving God in simply ways?
Blessings and Peace