Garry spoke this morning from Genesis 41:1, 9, 14-16, reminding us of how Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams by God’s help. Finally, after all the ups and downs of his life, Joseph stands before the most powerful man in Egypt and is given the opportunity to save his own life (and that of many others.) It must have been nerve-wracking to be summoned in this way, but in some ways, he has been prepared by God through interpreting the dreams of the cupbearer and baker. (Nothing is ever wasted in our lives!)
Preparation is a key part of God’s work in us. We rarely like this process because it seems mundane and even pointless, but it’s safe to say that it would have been much harder for Joseph to interpret Pharaoh’s dream if he had not already learned to do this beforehand. David fought the lion and the bear long before he fought Goliath (1 Sam 17:32-37). Each time we step out in faith prepares us to do so again. We often say that God does not give us more than we can handle, but the truth is that every time we feel out of our depth and unable to handle a situation, God gives us the strength to do more. This is all part of His growing, testing purpose.
Until this point, Joseph must have felt at times as though his teenage dreams would never be fulfilled. But as he has learnt patience and trust in God no matter what life throws at him, so too we can face whatever life throws at us in God’s strength. Our plans may be thwarted; we may have come to the end of our ability and feel everything is in ruins, but if we are only relying on our own strength, how are we any different to the world? Paul chided the Galatians for beginning with the Spirit and then trying to live life by human effort. (Gal 3:3) We are saved through faith by God’s grace and must learn to live life by putting our faith into action and trusting in God’s grae. No amount of planning, organisation or good ideas can be a substitute for faith. It is not enough on its own. We must do these things, but we must always also leave room for God to work in the realms we do not and never will be able to control (e.g. the weather!) Joseph was at this time brought into a high-pressure situation not of his own making, but God had prepared him for this moment. Yet again, he had to step out in faith (Gen 41:16), freely confessing that he could not interpret the dreams but God could give him the interpretation! Rule God into situations and you will see what amazing things He does as a result.