WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday January 8, 2012
FAITHFULNESS IS REWARDED
(GOD uses our devotion for HIS glory)
Joseph’s imprisonment by Potiphar put him into contact with two of the Pharaoh’s top officials who had also been thrown in jail during that time. One day Joseph was able to help the two men by correctly interpreting their puzzling, and prophetic dreams for them (Gen. 40:1-23). Unbeknownst to Joseph at that time, this would set the stage for his release from prison that would come some two years later, when he would be called upon by the Pharaoh himself to help solve his enigmatic dreams, or, as it turned out to be, his visions from GOD.
Two years after Joseph was imprisoned, the Pharaoh had two puzzling dreams that concerned him greatly. In the first dream he saw himself standing on the banks of the Nile River. He saw seven fat, healthy-looking cows suddenly come up out of the river and began grazing on the bank. Then seven other jaunty, ugly looking cows came up out of the river and ate the fat, healthy-looking cows. At that point the Pharaoh awoke from his dream.
A short while later the Pharaoh fell asleep again, only to dream a similarly puzzling dream. This time, however, he dreamed of seven healthy heads of grain on one stalk, having every kernel well-formed and plump. Then suddenly he saw seven other heads of grain, also on one stalk, only these were withered and shriveled by the force of the east wind. Then, just as suddenly, the thin withered heads swallowed up the plump, healthy heads of grain, and the Pharaoh again was awaken to realize it was only a dream.
The next morning the Pharaoh called in all of his magicians and wise men, but none of them were able to interpret his dreams. Then the Pharaoh’s cupbearer, who had served time with Joseph in prison, remembered that Joseph had interpreted one of his dreams while in prison, and, that he had promised to put in a good word for Joseph to the Pharaoh upon his release. He suddenly felt convicted that he had forgotten all about Joseph when he got out jail, and instead, blended back into his old job at the palace, and never gave Joseph another thought until that moment.
After the cupbearer told the Pharaoh about Joseph’s uncanny ability to interpret dreams, he sent for Joseph at once, and he was hastily brought before him. When Joseph heard the details of the Pharaoh’s dreams, he said to him, “Both dreams mean the same thing”. The seven healthy cows, and the seven healthy stalks of grain, represent seven years of prosperity. The seven skinny cows, and the seven withered heads of grain represent seven years of famine in Egypt. The seven years of famine would erase the memory of the previous seven years of prosperity. Having the dream twice meant that GOD had decreed it, and that both these events would soon occur.
Now here’s where Joseph’s faithfulness is rewarded, GOD gave him the solution to the problem, before it physically became a problem. Joseph advises the king to set up a nationwide program by which they would store up one fifth of all the grain collected during the seven years prosperity, so that there would be more than enough food for the people to survive on during the seven years of famine. Impressed by Joseph’s GODly wisdom, and now convinced of his being filled with the SPIRIT of GOD, the Pharaoh put Joseph in charge over all of Egypt, second only to himself (Gen. 41:37-46).
GOD’s plan for Joseph was to teach him humility through the things that he suffered, and HE often has the same plan for each of us. He wanted Joseph to be able to serve HIM in HIS wise plan and purpose for the “Covenant Promise”, and, HE also gave Joseph the privilege to serve in the eventual “Salvation” plan offer for all mankind, which was contained in the first advent of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST.
Being in the will of GOD is always “the right place to be”, and when we abide in that will, even when we are under duress from the pressures of the world, the time is even more right for the LORD’s blessings to be rained down upon us, to ease our oppressed situations.
This passage of scripture serves to remind us that, even when we don’t understand the “why” for the unwanted things in our lives, we must still remain confident that GOD is at work in every life situation and experience, especially in those experiences that are most painful to us. And, although we may not be able to see it at that time, it is during those times, that we are in the best position to serve GOD as completely, as we always should.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
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