Genesis – First, God
We all have “senior moments” when we forget details or nuggets of wisdom that may solve our current issues if only we remembered what it was at the right time. The cupbearer in our story went back to life as it was and forgot a very important request of Joseph. Mm, we all do it.
The real truth is this kind of forgetfulness is not reserved for seniors above 60 years of age. In our busy world, our work can take over every part of our being. Sometimes we work to merely finish the day’s tasks. We look in awe for the “Fridays” of life when we can stop the routines. This causes us to slip into survival mode as opposed to thriving and dreaming of doing life in ways that rise above mediocrity. Life can evolve into a slippery slope of routine that leads nowhere. We imprison ourselves with this form of thinking.
We slip into routines that make our days look like all the other days. We wonder why we can’t get ahead of the “game” of life. We look forward to better days when today might be the best day of our lives. We wish away a lot of days in our lives waiting and dreaming for days of vacation, a family event or anything that will be better than mere survival of this day.
Wait! Oh, I remember…This is not what God wants from us and for us! He has a plan, a will, a purpose for us that will knock our socks off when we listen expectantly for His will to be done in our lives. In the meantime, in the wait, we trust, we work hard to please Him, and we humbly allow Him to work on us as He develops His character in us. We live life with wonder of how great God is and what He will do next to reveal Himself to us. Each day is new with God the Creator of all days. We look forward with anticipation and expectancy, full of hope, knowing He is in control.
Joseph is living day to day, making the most of his days, knowing God is with Him. God is blessing Joseph right where he has him. Everyone who connects with Joseph knows something is different about him. They can trusts him. They come to him for wisdom. They come to him because he knows God and it shows in his life.
Do our lives show that we know God intimately?
Does our behavior and work habits show that we love God and love to please Him in our work?
Do we follow God with expectation that He will lead us to what is best for us?
Are we confident, no matter what is happening around us, that it is God who is at work in our lives?
Genesis 41, The Message
1-4 Two years passed and Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile River. Seven cows came up out of the Nile, all shimmering with health, and grazed on the marsh grass. Then seven other cows, all skin and bones, came up out of the river after them and stood by them on the bank of the Nile. The skinny cows ate the seven healthy cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.
5-7 He went back to sleep and dreamed a second time: Seven ears of grain, full-bodied and lush, grew out of a single stalk. Then seven more ears grew up, but these were thin and dried out by the east wind. The thin ears swallowed up the full, healthy ears. Then Pharaoh woke up—another dream.
8 When morning came, he was upset. He sent for all the magicians and sages of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but they couldn’t interpret them to him.
9-13 The head cupbearer then spoke up and said to Pharaoh, “I just now remembered something—I’m sorry, I should have told you this long ago. Once when Pharaoh got angry with his servants, he locked me and the head baker in the house of the captain of the guard. We both had dreams on the same night, each dream with its own meaning. It so happened that there was a young Hebrew slave there with us; he belonged to the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams and he interpreted them for us, each dream separately. Things turned out just as he interpreted. I was returned to my position and the head baker was impaled.”
14 Pharaoh at once sent for Joseph. They brought him on the run from the jail cell. He cut his hair, put on clean clothes, and came to Pharaoh.
15 “I dreamed a dream,” Pharaoh told Joseph. “Nobody can interpret it. But I’ve heard that just by hearing a dream you can interpret it.”
16 Joseph answered, “Not I, but God. God will set Pharaoh’s mind at ease.”
17-21 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile. Seven cows, shimmering with health, came up out of the river and grazed on the marsh grass. On their heels seven more cows, all skin and bones, came up. I’ve never seen uglier cows anywhere in Egypt. Then the seven skinny, ugly cows ate up the first seven healthy cows. But you couldn’t tell by looking—after eating them up they were just as skinny and ugly as before. Then I woke up.
22-24 “In my second dream I saw seven ears of grain, full-bodied and lush, growing out of a single stalk, and right behind them, seven other ears, shriveled, thin, and dried out by the east wind. And the thin ears swallowed up the full ears. I’ve told all this to the magicians but they can’t figure it out.”
25-27 Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s two dreams both mean the same thing. God is telling Pharaoh what he is going to do. The seven healthy cows are seven years and the seven healthy ears of grain are seven years—they’re the same dream. The seven sick and ugly cows that followed them up are seven years and the seven scrawny ears of grain dried out by the east wind are the same—seven years of famine.
28-32 “The meaning is what I said earlier: God is letting Pharaoh in on what he is going to do. Seven years of plenty are on their way throughout Egypt. But on their heels will come seven years of famine, leaving no trace of the Egyptian plenty. As the country is emptied by famine, there won’t be even a scrap left of the previous plenty—the famine will be total. The fact that Pharaoh dreamed the same dream twice emphasizes God’s determination to do this and do it soon.
33-36 “So, Pharaoh needs to look for a wise and experienced man and put him in charge of the country. Then Pharaoh needs to appoint managers throughout the country of Egypt to organize it during the years of plenty. Their job will be to collect all the food produced in the good years ahead and stockpile the grain under Pharaoh’s authority, storing it in the towns for food. This grain will be held back to be used later during the seven years of famine that are coming on Egypt. This way the country won’t be devastated by the famine.”
37 This seemed like a good idea to Pharaoh and his officials.
38 Then Pharaoh said to his officials, “Isn’t this the man we need? Are we going to find anyone else who has God’s spirit in him like this?”
39-40 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “You’re the man for us. God has given you the inside story—no one is as qualified as you in experience and wisdom. From now on, you’re in charge of my affairs; all my people will report to you. Only as king will I be over you.”
41-43 So Pharaoh commissioned Joseph: “I’m putting you in charge of the entire country of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his finger and slipped it on Joseph’s hand. He outfitted him in robes of the best linen and put a gold chain around his neck. He put the second-in-command chariot at his disposal, and as he rode people shouted “Bravo!”
Joseph was in charge of the entire country of Egypt.
44 Pharaoh told Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but no one in Egypt will make a single move without your stamp of approval.”
45 Then Pharaoh gave Joseph an Egyptian name, Zaphenath-Paneah (God Speaks and He Lives). He also gave him an Egyptian wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On (Heliopolis).
And Joseph took up his duties over the land of Egypt.
46 Joseph was thirty years old when he went to work for Pharaoh the king of Egypt. As soon as Joseph left Pharaoh’s presence, he began his work in Egypt.
47-49 During the next seven years of plenty the land produced bumper crops. Joseph gathered up the food of the seven good years in Egypt and stored the food in cities. In each city he stockpiled surplus from the surrounding fields. Joseph collected so much grain—it was like the sand of the ocean!—that he finally quit keeping track.
50-52 Joseph had two sons born to him before the years of famine came. Asenath, daughter of Potiphera the priest of On, was their mother. Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh (Forget), saying, “God made me forget all my hardships and my parental home.” He named his second son Ephraim (Double Prosperity), saying, “God has prospered me in the land of my sorrow.”
53-54 Then Egypt’s seven good years came to an end and the seven years of famine arrived, just as Joseph had said. All countries experienced famine; Egypt was the only country that had bread.
55 When the famine spread throughout Egypt, the people called out in distress to Pharaoh, calling for bread. He told the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. Do what he tells you.”
56-57 As the famine got worse all over the country, Joseph opened the store-houses and sold emergency supplies to the Egyptians. The famine was very bad. Soon the whole world was coming to buy supplies from Joseph. The famine was bad all over.
WHAT WE LEARN and need to remember to forget!
There are some things we need to forget and God reveals that to us through Joseph’s life. Joseph named his first born son, “Manasseh (Forget), saying, God made me forget all my hardships and my parental home.” This gift of “forgetfulness” of all his stepbrothers did to him earlier in his life was given to Him by God. This intimacy Joseph has with God can be ours, too.
When we have been treated unjustly or abused significantly by others, God give us the power to forgive as modeled by Christ on the cross. He has also commanded, not suggested, that we forgive others no matter what they have done to us in order to be forgiven of our own sins. (“We all sin and fall short of the glory of God”…Romans 3:23)
God’s gift of “forgetfulness” means we have no thoughts of revenge and no going back to the scene of the crime to dwell on it or replay it in our minds. It means no holding grudges against each other.
This gift comes as a result of our complete forgiveness of others. This gift has a by product called peace…the peace only Christ can give, the peace of Christ who lives in a forgiven and forgiving heart.
We will see this act of forgiveness and “forgetfulness” played out when Joseph’s brothers come for food in the famine years.
The story of God in Joseph is not over. There is more to learn!
Our story of what God is doing in us is not over!
Dear Heavenly Father,
This story of You in Joseph always brings me back to the peace we all desire and reminds me once more to completely forgive others like you forgive me. Thank you for causing “forgetfulness” in my own life so I could move on with you in peace with no grudge holding and learning from my mistakes. Thank you for forgiving me and forgetting all my sin! I love you with all that is in me.
In Jesus Name, Amen
“They’ll get to know me by being kindly forgiven,
with the slate of their sins forever wiped clean”.
Hebrews 8:10, The Message