When young Joseph woke up in prison one morning, he had no idea that his situation was about to change...literally overnight. He started the day like any other day, with no idea what was ahead. But after two long years, he was ready.
Back in the palace of the Pharaoh, the court magicians had been called in to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. In his first dream, seven healthy, fat cows came up out of the Nile River, followed by seven cows that were ugly and gaunt. The seven thin cows came and ate the seven healthy cows.
In his next dream, Pharaoh saw seven heads of grain, strong and healthy, growing on a single stalk. After them, seven thin heads of grain sprouted and were scorched by the east wind. These withered heads of grain swallowed up the healthy ones.
The court magicians — who were supposed to have the inside scoop on the supernatural world, who presumably should interpret any dream the Pharaoh might have — were speechless. They would have been considered the most intelligent men in the kingdom, the wisest men in the land. Yet they didn’t have a clue.
God was intervening and silencing these men, preparing the ground for Joseph.
Meanwhile, the butler said to Pharaoh, “Excuse me, I just remembered something. I met Joseph in prison. He knows how to interpret dreams. I had a dream, and he interpreted it. It happened just as he said. He also properly interpreted the dream of the former baker. This guy can interpret dreams.”
So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and Joseph was cleaned up and brought into the presence of the most powerful man on earth.
Genesis 41 tells us about their meeting: “And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it.’ So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, ‘It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace’” (verses 15–16 nkjv).
Here was a man who could terminate a life with just one word, yet Joseph still spoke the truth. I think this impressed Pharaoh. Where did this guy come from? Look at his courage. Look at his boldness to say that to someone like me.
This reminds us that the one who kneels before God can stand before any man. It reminds us of Daniel’s bold words to King Nebuchadnezzar and King Belshazzar, Elijah’s courageous stand before King Ahab, and John the Baptist’s daring words to King Herod. They stood up for what they believed, just as Joseph did before Pharaoh.
So Pharaoh told Joseph about his dream, and Joseph interpreted it. He explained that God had revealed to Pharaoh that he would have seven years of plenty and that he was to store up for the following years of famine. He said that Pharaoh should appoint someone wise to rule over these things and make sure they done properly.
Pharaoh thought Joseph would make a great candidate, so he appointed him as second in command over all of Egypt.
Joseph hadn’t dropped any hints. He didn’t pull out his résumé. He just left it in the hands of God.
After all those years, he had learned to simply trust God, knowing it would all work out in the end. If it was part of God’s plan, it would happen. If it wasn’t, it would not.
It had taken 13 years to transform Joseph from a somewhat spoiled young boy into a wise, compassionate world leader. He was elevated to the second most powerful position in the entire kingdom.
There are very few whom God could trust with that kind of responsibility and power. Yet Joseph had clearly overcome the obstacles. He had run the race, and here was the prize. God had prepared him.
We learn many lessons from the life of Joseph. God only crushes in order to create. He bruises in order to bless. He tears down in order to build. He uproots in order to plant.
God is more interested in the eternal than the external. He is more interested in making us holy than He is in making us happy.The beautiful thing is that a fringe benefit of holiness is happiness. Holy people are happy people, not because they are chasing after happiness, but because they are chasing after God and desiring to live lives that are pleasing to Him.
The story of Johnny Cash’s life and spiritual struggles offers hope to anyone who has had trouble staying on the straight and narrow path—and reminds us that God redeems broken lives and makes them whole again. My new book, Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon is a fascinating look at a unique and talented musician and follower of Christ!