On May 19, 1780, the sky darkened around noon over New England. Many feared it was a sign that the end of the world was imminent. In the Connecticut State Counsel someone called for adjournment, thinking the Final Judgment was at hand. One legislator, Abraham Davenport, responded: “I am against an adjournment. The day of judgment is either approaching, or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause of an adjournment: if it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish therefore that candles may be brought.”
Joseph made the case to Pharaoh that the leadership of Egypt needed to prepare for the famine to come. The fact that this dream had been given in two variations underscored that the matter had been firmly decided by God and would happen soon (v. 32).
Egypt relied on the fertility of the Nile River for growing grain. Its regular cycle of flooding ensured that fertile soil was always available. Famines were not unheard of, but they were rare. Seven years of famine would have been beyond consideration. Yet, God has revealed to Pharaoh that famine was inevitable.
In verses 33 through 36, Joseph went beyond interpreting Pharaoh’s dream to give him advice about what should be done. As one commentator noted, “The strong predestinarian content of the speech is combined with a strong summons to action. The fact that God has determined the matter . . . is precisely the reason for responsible leaders to take measures!”
Joseph’s God-given wisdom was displayed in his ability not only to interpret dreams but also to give sound advice. Pharaoh at once recognized God’s hand on Joseph and placed him in a position of great authority.
As Christians, we know certain truths about the future. Jesus will return one day. The faithful will be redeemed. That knowledge of what God is going to do should not lead us to complacency but rather should motivate us to take responsible action. What steps are you taking to act responsibly and faithfully in light of what God has promised to do?