40 Bible Stories Devotional, Day 4: Joseph Interprets a Dream

The Story of Josephjoseph-interprets-pharaohs-dream-1-GoodSalt-prcas2865

Genesis 41:15-40

So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.

 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”

 “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”

 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, when out of the river there came up seven cows, fat and sleek, and they grazed among the reeds. After them, seven other cows came up–scrawny and very ugly and lean. I had never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt. The lean, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first. But even after they ate them, no one could tell that they had done so; they looked just as ugly as before. Then I woke up.

 “In my dreams I also saw seven heads of grain, full and good, growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads sprouted–withered and thin and scorched by the east wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none could explain it to me.”

 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind:They are seven years of famine.

 “It is just as I said to Pharaoh:God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.

 “And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.”

 The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?”

 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.



Joseph was not prepared to meet Pharaoh.  This was not a scheduled appointment.  He was brought up out of the dungeon.  He had to shave and change clothes because the filth that he was accustomed to would have been improper for the presence of Pharaoh.  Though Joseph had interpreted dreams for others in the dungeon, I wonder if there was any fear in him as he prepared to stand before Pharaoh knowing that Pharaoh was ruthless.  What if he could not interpret this dream?  What would happen to him then?  He did not know the dream.  He had not been given an advance copy to read.  In that very moment Pharaoh began to speak Joseph still did not have what he needed to succeed.  God had given Joseph no clue of what was about to happen.

I would have been sweating bullets.  I don’t mind telling ya!  But this is how the Lord works.  He gives us what we need in the very moment we need it and not a moment before.  This is God’s way.  His word is a lamp unto my feet (Psalm 119:105).  It does not say His word is a lamp unto tomorrow, next week, or even next year.  The Lord is never surprised but that He might receive glory, He gives us what we need at just the right time.  It keeps us from being tempted to take credit for what He has done.

God prepared Joseph to trust Him each moment.  He did not carry sorrow for the past nor fear for the future, but trusted that the Lord would give to him exactly what he needed at just the right moment.  If we can learn to trust the Lord like this, He will also take us out of the dungeon and into the palace.

How well do you trust God in the moment?


Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;

they shall mount up with wings as eagles;

they shall run, and not be weary;

and they shall walk, and not faint.


Pastor Lee is the Lead Pastor at CrossRoads Community Church in San Antonio, Texas. His message focuses on the healing power of Scripture through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is the Father of three awesome sons and he is madly in love with his wife, Amy. And his favorite past time is losing golf balls in the rough while attempting to play a round of golf.

Posted in 40 Bible Stories Devotion, Spiritual Growth, Waiting on the Lord Tagged with: , , , ,
5 comments on “40 Bible Stories Devotional, Day 4: Joseph Interprets a Dream
  1. Greg Woolsey says:

    I love this report of Joseph’s faith and honor to God!

    Your point, that God gives us what we need the moment we need it, reminds me of what Chuck Swindoll said about his expirience with his dad. Before sunrise when they went clamming, in the shallow water near the ocean beach, they they would hold their lantern and it would light up only near their feet, just for their next step.

  2. Lee Young says:

    I love that illustration. I think it is perfect.

  3. Kathy Gillaspy says:

    To wait for the Lord, I still work at this daily, but hearing this old story again gives me renewed energy to wait for his message.

    I love you dear one … kiss my family for me.

  4. Melissa Martinez says:

    This was a great reminder on how I should trust God; down to the very minute!!!! I love the example of the lantern on the beach. I’m going to use this example with my girls. I can’t tell you Pastor how much I enjoy these daily studies.

  5. Susan k says:

    Amen Pastor, these real stories help with reality of life’s challenges.

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