The Restored Orchard

Deeper Roots – Genesis 41:8-36

photo of an open book on a tree s roots

A humbled and open heart is fertile soil for God’s seeds of wisdom to be planted. Establishing deeper roots requires analyzing God’s word to discover truths, values, and lessons for application to our lives. Periodically, a scripture or passage calls for further exploration, like Genesis 41:8-36.

The next morning Pharaoh was very disturbed by the dreams. So he called for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. When Pharaoh told them his dreams, not one of them could tell him what they meant.

Finally, the king’s chief cup-bearer spoke up. “Today I have been reminded of my failure,” he told Pharaoh. 10 “Some time ago, you were angry with the chief baker and me, and you imprisoned us in the palace of the captain of the guard. 11 One night the chief baker and I each had a dream, and each dream had its own meaning. 12 There was a young Hebrew man with us in the prison who was a slave of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he told us what each of our dreams meant. 13 And everything happened just as he had predicted. I was restored to my position as cup-bearer, and the chief baker was executed and impaled on a pole.”

14 Pharaoh sent for Joseph at once, and he was quickly brought from the prison. After he shaved and changed his clothes, he went in and stood before Pharaoh. 15 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream last night, and no one here can tell me what it means. But I have heard that when you hear about a dream you can interpret it.”

16 “It is beyond my power to do this,” Joseph replied. “But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.”

17 So Pharaoh told Joseph his dream. “In my dream,” he said, “I was standing on the bank of the Nile River, 18 and I saw seven fat, healthy cows come up out of the river and begin grazing in the marsh grass. 19 But then I saw seven sick-looking cows, scrawny and thin, come up after them. I’ve never seen such sorry-looking animals in all the land of Egypt. 20 These thin, scrawny cows ate the seven fat cows. 21 But afterward you wouldn’t have known it, for they were still as thin and scrawny as before! Then I woke up.

22 “In my dream I also saw seven heads of grain, full and beautiful, growing on a single stalk. 23 Then seven more heads of grain appeared, but these were blighted, shriveled, and withered by the east wind. 24 And the shriveled heads swallowed the seven healthy heads. I told these dreams to the magicians, but no one could tell me what they mean.”

25 Joseph responded, “Both of Pharaoh’s dreams mean the same thing. God is telling Pharaoh in advance what he is about to do. 26 The seven healthy cows and the seven healthy heads of grain both represent seven years of prosperity. 27 The seven thin, scrawny cows that came up later and the seven thin heads of grain, withered by the east wind, represent seven years of famine.

28 “This will happen just as I have described it, for God has revealed to Pharaoh in advance what he is about to do. 29 The next seven years will be a period of great prosperity throughout the land of Egypt. 30 But afterward there will be seven years of famine so great that all the prosperity will be forgotten in Egypt. Famine will destroy the land. 31 This famine will be so severe that even the memory of the good years will be erased. 32 As for having two similar dreams, it means that these events have been decreed by God, and he will soon make them happen.

33 “Therefore, Pharaoh should find an intelligent and wise man and put him in charge of the entire land of Egypt. 34 Then Pharaoh should appoint supervisors over the land and let them collect one-fifth of all the crops during the seven good years. 35 Have them gather all the food produced in the good years that are just ahead and bring it to Pharaoh’s storehouses. Store it away, and guard it so there will be food in the cities. 36 That way there will be enough to eat when the seven years of famine come to the land of Egypt. Otherwise this famine will destroy the land.”

Genesis 41:8-36 NLT

Our Deeper Roots passage in Genesis shows us that we should let God be God. Our scripture selection begins with the Pharaoh of Eygpt summoning magicians and wise men to help interpret troublesome dreams. None of the people he called could tell him what the dreams meant. So finally, the cup-bearer spoke up and recalled Joseph’s gift for interpreting dreams. At once, the Pharaoh sent for Joseph to come and interpret his dreams. Once Joseph arrived, he told the Pharaoh that he had no power to interpret dreams, but God did. So Pharaoh began to share his dreams with Joseph. He had two distinct, yet similar dreams of seven cows and seven heads of grain. As Pharaoh shared his dreams, Joseph responded by telling Pharaoh that God had sent the dreams in advance of what God was getting ready to do. God was getting ready to send bounty for seven years and then famine for seven more years. And God also sent a solution to the problem in more ways than one.

Only God can accurately give meaning to divine experiences. It’s clear that Pharaoh’s dream was a God-given dream. It caused him enough agitation that he needed answers. He went to all of the magicians and wise men and they failed him. It was only after all the others had failed, that the chief cup-bearer remembered Joseph. When Joseph arrived, he acknowledged where His gift came from before he used it; he maintained a posture of reverence to God. Joseph shared that the dream was a foreshadowing of times to come; 7 seasons of bounty and seven of famine. But what’s more, is that God gave the solution to the problem through Joseph. God gave a warning via dreams to Pharaoh, provision to interpret it accurately via Joseph, and He also released a divine strategy for navigating both seasons of feast and famine. Talk about perfect timing and alignment.

God’s plans are far greater than anything we could ever imagine. His timing is impeccable. This is why we must allow God to be God and allow Him to give meaning to our experiences. Joseph’s two dreams set him off down a path that he probably would have never thought up in his wildest imagination. He gets to a place where he’s been imprisoned twice, and interpreted two prisoners’ dreams, plus two of Pharoah’s dreams. At this point, Joseph recognizes only God’s hand and divine timing could be at work. In this moment, he remains yielded to what God wants to do through him; the saving of many lives from famine. Joseph doesn’t insert his own ideas or words into something God-given and divinely appointed. He allows God to give context to the situation that he’s in; He allows God to be God.

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