The Life of Joseph - Lesson 20, Continuing the Life of Joseph in Egypt.
Last weeks verses for review:
Genesis 41:33-37, Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine. And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants.
This weeks verses:
Genesis 41:38-41, And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God (divine spirit) is? And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath showed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.
This Pharaoh recognized a truth.
He recognized that a man in whom God would give the interpretation of dreams must be a man in whom God has confidence for the man has confidence in God.
I can do all things through Christ is a confidence in God.
It is a confidence that God has confidence in one who trusts in him.
Trust in Him and you can do all things that he wills for you to do.
This appears to be what Pharaoh saw in Joseph.
Forasmuch as God hath showed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:
In other words it appears to me that you have God's stamp of approval upon you and as such can there be any one more discreet and wise that you, Joseph?
The God who revealed the dream to you would very likely equip you to carry out this mission rather than any other man.
This astute reasoning reveals much about this ruler, doesn't it?
This king speaks with good sense and without any prejudice against an outsider taking on this most important position.
God certainly moved his heart.
And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.
What would have been Joseph's reaction had he not been to the school of hard knocks for 13 years.
What did his mistreatment by his brothers and his being sold into slavery and his years in prison contribute to his reaction to this sudden elevation in his status?
Oh, How long he had been in God's crucible of fire in preparation for this responsibility!
But every day, every week, every year in the crucible was required in order for him to respond to God's call.
Only a man schooled by adversity and sorrow could meet a sudden elevation like this without pride and self exaltation.
Is it any wonder that so many of our sports heroes fall so easily after being elevated so quickly without suffering through the experiences of life that prepare us for promotion.
Genesis 41:42,43, And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.
As a symbol of this elevation of position Joseph receives the clothing of power.
Pharaoh gives him his signet, which means that Joseph will speak for the Pharaoh.
When Joseph speaks it is as the Pharaoh speaking.
Pharaoh arrays him in vestures of white shining linen, a noble and priestly dress.
Of course the second in command must have a collar of gold about his neck so a gold chain is thusly placed.
But in order to proclaim this appointment Joseph is placed into the second chariot and taken thoughout the land with commands to the people that this is Pharaoh's choice.
Bow the knee, fall down, do obeisance.
It was as if the Pharaoh proclaimed to the people:
If you love me you will keep his commandments.
You wonder what the reaction of Potiphar's wife was when Potiphar came home that night with this story.
Honey, you won't believe what happened at work today!
Honey, you remember that Hebrew slave we had around here some years ago?
I hope your accusation was just for I am to report to him in the morning.
No doubt we will have to go to a reception for him!
Will you be up to it?
Genesis 41:44,45, And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnathpaaneah; (tsof-nath' pah-nay'-akh) and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah (po'-tee feh'-rah) priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.
Pharaoh pronounces that he is Pharaoh.
He means that he has authority to do as he pleases and he pleases that all that goes on in his kingdom will now require the blessing of Joseph.
This in itself is quite remarkable for the Pharaoh to yield so much to this young man.
I am Pharaoh but I yield to Joseph the authority to govern.
This government is to be upon his shoulders.
If you want to lift up your hand, which indicates commerce or work, you must please Joseph.
If you want to lift up your foot and travel about the kingdom you must please Joseph.
So in addition to the signet bearing the royal insignia, the fine linen clothes, the chain of gold around his neck, the second chariot, Pharaoh gives Joseph a new name and a bride, a gentile bride, Asenath.
(She who is of Neith the Egyptian goddess of wisdom)
When we think of Asenath we may think of the church, the gentile bride of Christ for this is just another example of Joseph as a type of Christ.
She was taken from obscurity and she now is to share the lofty position as the wife of the one only answerable to the Pharoah.
Knowing Joseph I believe that he won her to the Lord very soon.
She is not to be Mrs. Joseph, but she is to be Mrs. Zaphnathpaaneah (tsof-nath' pah-nay'-akh)!
To our western ears the name Joseph is just fine but it is not to the ears of the Pharaoh.
For he gives him the name, Zaphnathpaaneah; (tsof-nath' pah-nay'-akh) Pontiac? Accord mentioned 16 times, Ford mentioned only once
Some have interpreted this to mean: "God speaks and lives." Others: "the supporter of life" or "the food of the living."
Others have said it means the "saviour of the world" or the "revealer of secrets."
Genesis 41:46-49, And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt. And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number.
And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.
He was thirty years old, the age of our Lord when he began his public ministry.
So much has happened to Joseph in the last 13 years but it is all according to God's will because we have seen how Joseph had yielded to God's will.
As prime minister, as the one second only to Pharaoh, Joseph must access the kingdom.
He must inventory his holdings and establish himself throughout the land.
He must know what is there, upon which he will build to hold the plenty that God has promised.
And as God promised, the plenty came, the bumper crops continued for seven years.
But Egypt was ready for the evil to come because God was faithful.
God had his servant in place to see that the cities were ready for the bounty.
And those who were appointed to keep records could not keep up with the accounting.
Genesis 41:50-52, And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.
Not only was the land fruitful during the years of plenteousness but God granted Joseph two sons.
We are encouraged that both his sons were given Hebrew names in spite of the fact that Pharaoh gave Joseph an Egyptian name and he had an Egyptian wife.
The name Manassah is a name indicating compensation for past misfortune.
A name which indicates forgetfulness of the misery that Joseph came though, a change of fortune.
The memory of toil and sorrow was replaced by the birth of this son and what he signified.
It would be a suitable name for any son considering the pain and suffering any woman goes though in bearing a child.
In any case this naming of a son indicating forgetfulness reveals to us an event in Joseph's life that was critical to his forgiveness of this brothers.
Most likely his treatment by his brothers of selling him into slavery was a heavy weight in Joseph's life and hindered him somewhat.
But Manasseh was given him by God and Joseph used this gift of God to release himself from past memories which weighted him down.
He refused to let these memories cause him to live as a victim in any sense.
The name of the second son was Ephraim which means fruitfulness.
For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.
Manasseh represented a change in fortune and Ephraim represented a new prosperity.
In the spiritual sense these names remind me of:
Philippians 3:13,14,....forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Forgetting and fruitfulness!
And by naming his sons with Hebrew names Joseph tells us that his faith in the Lord is as strong as ever in spite of his suffering and in spite of his success.