Scripture: Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do.” Genesis 41:25 ESV
Observation: As the story progresses, we see just how far Joseph has come in understanding God’s purpose and timing. When he was just seventeen, he naively shared two dreams from the Lord with his family without understanding how they would impact his audience. Thirteen years later, when Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker land in prison and explain to Joseph that they are troubled by dreams that no one could interpret, Joseph confidently contends, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me” (40:8). And when two more years pass and Pharaoh stresses over two dreams that have one in the same meaning, Joseph again gives credit where credit is due (above verse), for Joseph truly understands that he is merely the messenger.
Now fit for his next leadership position, God also grants Joseph the immediate insight and boldness to advise Pharaoh to appoint someone to oversee the storage of surplus grain during this coming season of prosperity and its distribution during the subsequent seven-year drought. And God grants Pharaoh insight regarding his next step. Acknowledging the source of Joseph’s wisdom and discernment, Pharaoh declares: “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command” (41:39-40).
Takeaway: As already noted by Joseph’s example, when given insight from God, whether from dreams, intuition, or words of knowledge, give credit where credit is due: to our Source. Otherwise, if we take credit, it will not go well. For when we take the glory, its weight will be too much for us to bear—specifically when our insights do not provide the desired outcome, or worse, forebode trouble (as did Joseph’s interpretation of the baker’s ill fate). And even when we are the bearers of good news (like that directed to the cupbearer), if we take credit, we set ourselves on a path of insatiable self-aggrandizing that will eventually destroy us. In contrast, when we give God the credit due, he will bear the weight of the outcome, and we will fair well under the longevity of his blessings.
Prayer: Father God, indeed, you are the author of all knowledge given to humankind. With this in mind, would you please help us resist taking credit and instead give you the glory that we might fair well under your abundant provision of grace? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling