Bible Insights

With God’s Help Joseph Can Interpret Dreams

God Reveals the Meaning of Dreams to Joseph

Joseph (son of Jacob, in the Old Testament) is in a world of hurt. His life has spiraled downward. The favorite son of his father, his jealous brothers stoop to selling him as a slave to some passing traders.

Joseph ends up in Egypt, a slave to Potiphar, the captain of the guard.

Despite his dire circumstances, Joseph works hard, and his master prospers because of Joseph’s diligence. Potiphar’s wife, however, has eyes for Joseph. She solicits him, but he rejects her overtures.

Embarrassed and angry, she one day pays him back for his integrity. He pulls away from her, again rejecting her advances. In doing so his cloak falls off as he runs to safety. She accuses him of attempted rape, and Joseph ends up in jail.

Again, Joseph makes the best of his situation in prison. Soon the warden puts him in charge of the other prisoners. Joseph succeeds in his assignment, even though he’s still a prisoner.

Joseph Can Interpret Dreams

One night two of Joseph’s fellow prisoners have dreams. Joseph interprets both dreams.

A few days later his explanations occur just as he predicted: one prisoner is executed, and the other is reinstated to his former position with the Pharaoh.

Though Joseph asked the released prisoner to lobby for his release, the man forgets. Joseph languishes in prison for two more years.

Pharaoh Has a Disturbing Dream

Then Pharaoh has a dream. A troubling one. A dream no one can interpret. Then the forgetful man remembers Joseph and recommends him to Pharaoh as someone who can explain the meaning of dreams.

When asked if he can interpret dreams, Joseph says that he can’t. However, he asserts that God will provide the dream’s meaning to him. This is a bold statement to make.

If Joseph doesn’t discern the meaning from God, Joseph’s situation could become even worse.

He risks facing summary execution for further upsetting the Pharaoh.

Yet not only does Joseph explained the meaning of the Pharaoh’s disturbing dream, Joseph also recommends what actions the Pharaoh can take. Pharaoh likes what he hears, releases Joseph from prison, and puts him in charge of everything.

Joseph goes from favorite son, to slave, to prisoner, to the second in command in Egypt. This all happens because he continues to trust God and put him first despite suffering as a slave and then languishing in prison for several years.

In the end God rescues Joseph, putting him in a place of authority to later save his entire family from poverty and starvation.

All this happens because Joseph can interpret dreams—through God’s revelation.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Genesis 39-41, and today’s post is on Genesis 41:14-16.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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