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26. Joseph, from Prisoner to Prince

June 25, 2009

Text:   Genesis 40:1-41:57

Key Verse:   Genesis 40:8; 41:16

Outline:                 I. The Cupbearer and Baker’s Dreams/Interpretation      Gen. 40:1-23

                                 II. Pharaoh’s Dreams/Interpretation      Gen. 41:1-36

                                 III. Pharaoh Frees Joseph to be a Prince      Gen. 41:37-57

Context/Discussion/Comments:

     Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker end up in prison with Joseph, who is also a prisoner but their overseer. One night they both have dreams and are troubled by what they mean. Joseph notes their concern and, being familiar with dreams, offers to interpret them. Both explain their dreams to Joseph who proceeds to tell the cupbearer that he will return to serve Pharaoh in 3 days but the baker will be hanged in 3 days. This comes to pass as Joseph predicted on Pharaoh’s birthday. Joseph had asked the cupbearer to remember him before Pharaoh but he forgot.

     Two more years pass and then Pharaoh has two dreams. The first dream was about cows [fat and gaunt] and the second was about grain [strong and weak]. Pharaoh calls his wise men and magicians to interpret the dreams but they cannot. But this triggers the cupbearer to remember Joseph to Pharaoh. Pharaoh calls Joseph before him to interpret his dream. Joseph says he can’t but his God can. So Pharaoh proceeds to tell Joseph his dreams. Joseph tells Pharaoh his dreams foretell 7 years of abundant food followed by 7 years of severe famine. Joseph continues by recommending a wise man be appointed to take control of Egypt’s food supply, setting aside a portion of each harvest for the next 7 years in order to sustain them through the 7 years of famine. Pharaoh sees the wisdom of this plan and elevates Joseph from being a prisoner to second in command and responsible for their survival for the next 14 years. Joseph is given Pharaoh’s signet ring, fine robes, a gold chain, and a wife. Joseph is only 30 years old when this takes place and he begins to serve Pharaoh, putting his survival plan into motion. Joseph has two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, named to remind him of God’s blessing upon his life. Because of Egypt’s up-front planning, they were able to supply food to all the surrounding countries during the famine.

Lessons/Applications:

     1. Patient and steadfast faith in God enables [frees] us to be used for His Glory, making God known before men.

     2. Never fail to give credit to God for the talents He has given you and thank Him for the opportunities to use those God-given talents.

     3. We who have faith in God, who read His Word, and know the future must use our God-given wisdom to warn our fellow men and to initiate ways to brings God’s love to sustain others.

     4. Faithfulness to God is the only surefire way to move from feeling imprisoned in this world to feeling freed to be a blessing to others.

     5. God never forgets to reward His faithful servants with special tasks on earth and with His Presence for eternity.

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