I don’t do puzzles often, but when I do, I’m amazed at how relaxed I feel. There is a certain quiet and peace that transcends when finding which pieces go together and form a picture. I am oddly fulfilled by the process though it is sometimes arduous. So many trial and errors have to occur before reaching the finished product. It takes time to complete. When it is finished, it’s there to gaze upon and enjoy.
Joseph’s story continues and we start seeing all of the puzzle pieces fit together. The purpose of the challenges and griefs begins to unfold as he is granted an opportunity to utilize the skills that have been lying in wait. This is an exciting part of the story!
S – Scripture: Genesis 41-42
- 41:8 – “The next morning Pharaoh was very disturbed by the dreams. So he called for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. When Pharaoh told them his dreams, not one of them could tell him what they meant.”
- 41:16 – “‘It is beyond my power to do this,’ Joseph replied. ‘But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.'”
- 41:26-27 – “‘The seven healthy cows and the seven healthy heads of grain both represent seven years of prosperity. The seven thin, scrawny cows that came up later and the seven thin heads of grain, withered by the east wind, represent seven years of famine.'”
- 41:32-36 – “‘As for having two similar dreams, it means that these events have been decreed by God, and he will soon make them happen. Therefore, Pharaoh should find an intelligent and wise man and put him in charge of the entire land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh should appoint supervisors over the land and let them collect one-fifth of all the crops during the seven good years. Have them gather all the food produced in the good years that are just ahead and bring it to Pharaoh’s storehouses. Store it away, and guard it so there will be food in the cities. That way there will be enough to eat when the seven years of famine come to the land of Egypt. Otherwise this famine will destroy the land.'”
- 41:38-41 – “So Pharaoh asked his officials, ‘Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?’ Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are. You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours.’ Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.'”
- 41:46 – “He was thirty years old when he began serving in the court of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.”
- 41:57 – “And people from all around came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph because the famine was severe throughout the world.”
- 42:7-9 – “Joseph recognized his brothers instantly, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. ‘Where are you from?’ he demanded. ‘From the land of Canaan,’ they replied. ‘We have come to buy food.’ Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they didn’t recognize him. And he remembered the dreams he’d had about them many years before. He said to them, ‘You are spies! You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become.'”
- 41:24 – “Now he turned away from them and began to weep. When he regained his composure, he spoke to them again.”
O – Observation:
- Joseph is finally remembered by the cupbearer to Pharaoh when no one is able to interpret his dreams of the cows and of the wheat.
- Joseph let’s Pharaoh know where his wisdom and skill come from first, and then goes on to hear the dreams and reveal their meaning. God is the source.
- Pharaoh sees that Joseph is filled with God’s Spirit, is wise and skilled, and appoints him second in command, in charge of all of Egypt during the years of plenty and famine.
- The dreams came to pass and Joseph had prepared the people for what was to come. He rationed out food to everyone in need.
- His ten brothers come up from Canaan to purchase food but don’t recognize Joseph. It’s been 13 years and Joseph remembers them and the dreams he had of them bowing down to him. It all makes sense now.
- God reveals things in his time when we need to know it. He makes all of the things work together for his purpose.
A – Application:
In the previous blogpost, “Grow Where Planted,” I wrote:
“He served and managed the highest ranking officers with unlimited resources. Then, in prison, he managed the lowest of society with, probably, limited resources. He had to adapt to both.”
As Pharaoh’s dreams are interpreted as seven years of plenty and seven years of famine, I start to see the puzzle pieces falling into place in Joseph’s journey. Throughout his 13 years of service and imprisonment, Joseph grew in skill and knowledge in working with many resources and with few. He managed in feast and in famine which prepared him for his next big task when put in charge of all of Egypt to handle this crisis.
Looking further back into his history, Joseph’s own dreams of his family bowing down to him have come into fruition. He is unable to interpret, at the time, what his early dreams mean. When he is sold into slavery and then cast into prison, I’m sure those dreams fell deeper into doubt of ever happening.
So many pieces had to fall into place for Joseph to reach his ultimate purpose. God shaped and molded him along the way and put the right people into the right places in order for it all to work out. All Joseph could do was weep.
Have you ever been so caught up in the moment when it all works out, that you just can’t handle it? The emotions just come over you and you lose it. All you can do is just cry or laugh uncontrollably. There is such a profound release in those moments when we allow ourselves to do that.
We find Joseph weeping when his brothers arrive in Egypt, bow down to him, and ask him for food. All that he has been through has been for this moment. The trials and challenges have all prepared him for this time. Why he looked the way he did, why he was gifted with certain skills and not with others, why there were specific circumstances he had to go through, were all perfectly orchestrated together.
As I have gotten older, I’ve learned how important it is to love, accept, and find out how to use the unique personality traits and natural gifts God has given me. I’m talking about when you peel away all of the layers and are left with who you really are, who God sees and created. The more I explore why I do and think certain ways, or have certain abilities, the more amazed I am with God and excited to be just me. This isn’t to say that we cannot change certain aspects, break bad habits, or desire to be better. I think it actually allows me to do those things better because I can see how God designed me and can more easily shed off what is not supposed to be there.
This also allows me to see the beauty in others. As I become more confident in how God created me differently and will use me differently than others, I can appreciate rather than compare.
Each of us is on a Joseph Journey. We’ve been created and gifted with certain traits and molded into others as we grow. We all have struggles and trials to overcome. Our God is so amazing that he is able to work in ALL of our lives simultaneously. He is able to bring beauty into our darkest of places and use all of our personality quirks for his glory and good.
Why do I get a rush in the school supply section at Meijer? Why does my husband have to eat peanut butter and mayo on a BLT or not eat it at all? Why do I love the feel of the breeze and crisp smell of fall? Why do I feel energized when I lift weights or play volleyball? Why do I hate doing the dishes or dusting my house so much? Why can’t I get into gardening?
Why do I struggle with pride and jealousy and comparison? Why can’t I get over certain things of the past more easily? Why can’t I be more patient and trusting when waiting on the Lord? Why do I have to wrestle with these things everyday? Will I ever be better?
Quirky or common, you were created exactly the way God intended. There is a specific reason you are the way you are. You may have to take some time and grieve the things you are not. But don’t let that take up the space for you to explore the wonderful things you are.
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous–how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” Psalm 139:13-18
God used every bit of how he created Joseph for his Kingdom Purpose. He placed all of the puzzle pieces exactly where they should go. He is going to do the same with you. Take some time and sit with that today. Maybe you will find yourself like Joseph, overcome with how sovereignly God has worked in your life. Maybe you will find peace in other areas. That’s my prayer for you.
P – Prayer:
God, thank you for Joseph’s story. Thank you for the example of how you orchestrate everything together for a purpose. You have created each and every person perfectly and uniquely and give them a reason to be on this earth. Forgive me for the times I haven’t loved the person you have created in me or in someone else. Thank you for your grace and for never giving up on me.
God, I lift up those who are struggling with who you made them to be and where they are at in life. There is so much pain and hurt. God, I pray that you would be near those people today. Help them to see the beauty that you created in them. That you love them and have a purpose for them. Give them hope. Amen.