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The Faith of Joseph

Blog title card; topic is the life of the Bible character Joseph
The Faith of Joseph

When the Gentiles encountered Jehovah, Part 3: Pharaoh and Joseph In both the Old and New Testament, God often communicated to His people and to Gentiles through dreams. Of course, if no one could interpret those dreams, they were of no value. God sent prophets like Daniel and Joseph for that very reason. The principle we see on more than a few occasions in Scripture is that, when God speaks, it is only His people who can properly articulate His message. The language of Heaven is best interpreted by the citizens of heaven.

Consider the case of Joseph, the Hebrew slave with God’s favor and the prophetic gift. He remained in Pharaoh’s prison two longer than he could have after interpreting the baker’s and butler’s dreams. To his credit, the chief butler could have remained silent even after he remembered. For two years after his imprisonment he had been in the presence of the king without remembering the plight of the young Hebrew man who had interpreted his dream. However, when Pharaoh’s dream recalled his memory, he stated with transparency, “I do remember my faults this day” (Genesis 41:9).

Let us rewind the story. I believe that Potiphar knew Joseph was innocent: you do not get to become Captain of the Guard without understanding how to navigate pragmatically. Potiphar could see the blessing that God bestowed upon Joseph, and certainly he knew what kind of person his wife was. Was this really the first time Mrs. Potiphar had done this? I believe the wrath of the Egyptian was kindled, as Genesis 39:19 says, because it meant the end of the blessings that God had given to him. Further, for the Captain of the Guard to kill a foreign slave would have been less than nothing. It makes sense, then, that though Potiphar knew Joseph was innocent, he had to maintain the ruse, quite possibly because of his station. Therefore, into prison Joseph went. It should be noted that this was the same prison into which the butler and the baker were incarcerated; apparently Joseph was not placed in the worst block of the prison.

The chief butler confessed to Pharaoh that he had forgotten about Joseph, then recounted his story. Since his interpretation had come true for both the butler and the baker, Joseph was brought before the king. This is what Scripture records: Pharaoh admitted, "I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace” (Genesis 41:15,16).

Only recently have I realized how anti-peace this world is. To say nothing of the wars that have raged through the history of the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve, so very many things in our culture vainly promise us what is most elusive: rest, peace, pleasure, satisfaction, security, and safety. It was the great G. K. Chesterton who said that “meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain. Meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure.” What I have learned in my short life is that the things most precious to us—hope, joy, peace, love, and delight—are not native to the world of sin. These wonders are exported material from a place that we see only dimly now, but, for the child of God, where we will dwell eternally. Those precious things come to us when we have fallen on the Cornerstone and been broken to pieces. They are His gifts to us, a promise of better things to come. In this life, what greater pleasure could we have than the peace that comes to us from being justified before an Holy God, the God that gave Joseph the words to say before Pharaoh?

In this age, so many find themselves in the same position as that ruler of Egypt: they have great wealth, position, privilege, authority, and power. They would say they need nothing. What they do not have is the message from God that can save their lives. If you belong to the God of Joseph, you have that message. Joseph’s interpretation gave Pharaoh peace. The message of the Christian declares that Prince of Peace who has left for a time but might return at any moment.

In a whirlwind of events, Joseph explained the dream to Pharaoh and is not only released from prison but also made second to the king in authority. Pharaoh’s wise response and obedience to God’s message declared by God’s man saved his kingdom, and surely the lives of millions of others. Less than a decade later, Egypt was the only place to go to buy bread and live. In the pluralistic culture of the West, the believer in Jesus Christ must not fear to declare that the Bread of Life is the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life. This is the message that has saved the souls of millions. We need only proclaim it. When the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, he said, “Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do” (Genesis 41:55). The message of the Gospel, this message we must proclaim and which is so necessary for a world starving for truth and peace must be: Go unto Jesus; what He saith to you, do. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all might come to repentance.


The above article was written by Ben Reed. He is member of NorthStone Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. To offer him your feedback, comment below or email us at

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