“When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: he was standing by the Nile, 2 when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. 3 After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the river-bank. 4 And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.5 He fell asleep again and had a second dream: seven ears of corn, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. 6 After them, seven other ears of corn sprouted – thin and scorched by the east wind. 7 The thin ears of corn swallowed up the seven healthy, full ears. Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream.8 In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, ‘Today I am reminded of my shortcomings. 10 Pharaoh was once angry with his servants, and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard. 11 Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. 12 Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream. 13 And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was impaled.’14 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.15 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.’16 ‘I cannot do it,’ Joseph replied to Pharaoh, ‘but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.’ NIV
‘ ‘I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires” ‘ (16).
Someone wrote, ‘If the Lord’s going to raise you up let Him raise you up, but whatever you do, don’t raise yourself up.’
That is a very important message. As Pete Scazzero points out in his work on ‘Emotionally healthy spirituality’, there is a tendency in the church to measure success by worldly standards. So we think ‘bigger is better’. But the truth is there are many unknown people, leading small ministries, who are successes in the eyes of God.
Nevertheless, Joseph was one of those who was raised to great authority, responsibility and prominence. He was no longer serving quietly, anonymously in a prison. He now occupied a large stage.
But on the way to getting there he took the opportunity to speak about God in the most natural, easy way. Remember he was speaking to such a powerful man. He was ‘witnessing’ in a pagan (even occultic ) atmosphere. But when the opportunity came his way, he didn’t go into hiding; he didn’t side-step it. He took it with faith, courage and honesty. I’ve often thought about John White’s words that witnessing is primarily about honesty: “This is who I am. I am a believer. I will seek to act and speak accordingly in every circumstance.’
F.B.Meyer wrote: ‘When the heart is full of God, the tongue will be almost obliged to speak of Him…’
Personally, I don’t think we should contrive or manipulate conversations in order to ‘get a word in.’ What I do believe is this: we should live honestly as Christians in the world, and when the open goal- mouth appears (as it surely will) make sure we don’t miss.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ…” (Col.4:2,3).