Genesis 41:37-57

Daybreak for Students

Genesis 41:37-57

OVERVIEW
DAYBREAK
Genesis 41
And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the spirit of God is? — Genesis 41:38

If God is controlling our lives, those around us should be able to see that there is something different about us. This was true in the life of the young man who worked with Chic Beasley many years ago. Chic testified, “I was just a railer and a blasphemer when I came to God. I operated a big saw in a manufacturing plant. We worked on a bonus system; the faster you could put that material through, the more you made. I was pretty hard to get along with. I used to curse, rant, rave, throw things around, and act like a fool.

“A young man, sixteen years of age, from the Apostolic Faith Church, came to work across the machine from me, and the life he lived convicted me of my sins. As I watched him day after day, his life preached a silent sermon to me. One day I went around the machine and asked him, ‘What church do you belong to?’ He said, ‘I don’t belong to any church; I’m just a Christian.’ Then he began to tell me a wonderful story. He told how God could come into my life and save me. He told me about the Apostolic Faith people, and I attended a service for just one purpose — to see what God would do for me.” Chic prayed and God saved him and changed his heart . . . because a young man had the Spirit of God on his life. 

In our text today, God’s Spirit was evident in the life of Joseph. Upon hearing Joseph’s plan for the preservation of Egypt, Pharaoh uttered the words recorded in the focus verse. How remarkable that even a pagan ruler could identify the source of Joseph’s wisdom! And the Spirit of God clearly continued to help Joseph, giving him the needed knowledge and organizational skills to implement the fourteen-year national survival plan he had detailed to Pharaoh.

Whatever our roles in life, we want the Spirit of God to shine through us, motivating kind words, merciful acts, a compassionate spirit, and wise advice. Perhaps we are facing challenges that seem way beyond our ability to handle. On the other hand, maybe the day ahead seems mundane and completely insignificant. Whatever the case, God’s Spirit can permeate our days and everything in them. 

Are you letting His Spirit shine out of you in every endeavor, no matter how large or small? Think through a typical day in your life. Mentally review your interaction with family, coworkers, classmates, or other associates. What can you do to make sure that each of them will recognize you as a person “in whom the spirit of God is”?

BACKGROUND

Because of Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams, as described in the previous portion of this chapter, Pharaoh and his servants decided that Joseph was the person to supervise the amassing and distribution of food stores. 

Joseph was thirty years old at this time (verse 46), and had been in Egypt for thirteen years. In the space of one day, he was elevated from prisoner to second in command of the entire nation of Egypt. Even though the Egyptians were idolaters, they had known of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob for many years. Pharaoh realized that it was this God who had revealed both his dream and its meaning to Joseph. 

Pharaoh commanded that the Egyptians give Joseph respect and follow his directions. This authority was denoted in several ways. Joseph was given Pharaoh’s signet ring which was used to sign documents by impressing it into clay or wax. He was clothed in “fine linen,” and the gold chain on his neck was an official badge of his position. He was assigned the second chariot for public occasions, and the people were to show him honor (verses 42 - 43). 

Joseph was given the name Zaphnathpaaneah. Various meanings for this Egyptian name have been suggested by historians, including, “the one who furnishes nourishment to the land,” “abundance of life,” and “revealer of secrets.” Joseph was also given the daughter of a priest as his wife (verse 45). This marriage elevated Joseph’s social standing because the priests were the top caste in the country. The city of On, which the Greeks named Heliopolis, still exists today as a suburb of Cairo. Joseph had two sons, whose names were also significant (verses 51-52): Manasseh (“one who forgets”) and Ephraim (“double fruit”).

One author says, “The life of Joseph as the Prime Minister of Egypt was a very splendid one . . . His palaces would consist of numberless rooms opening into spacious courts, where palms, sycamores, and acacia trees grew in rare luxuriance. Rare perfumes rose from vases of gold and bronze and alabaster; and the foot sank deep in carpets covering the floors.”(1) Although Joseph lived in luxury, had a wife who was the daughter of an idolatrous priest, ruled in a heathen country, and was surrounded by people with no belief in the true God, he maintained his faith in God. 

Pharaoh’s dreams were fulfilled, and Joseph organized the storage of grain as the land brought forth “by handfuls” (verse 47). Eventually so much was stored that they lost count of the exact amount. When the famine began, Joseph sold of this store to the Egyptians and also to foreigners. 

AMPLIFIED OUTLINE

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II.   The early history of the chosen race
     D.   Joseph
           5.   Joseph’s sojourn in Egypt
                 c.   As an administrator
                       (1)   The effective ministry of Joseph (41:37-57)
                              (a)   His appointment (41:37-46)
                              (b)   His oversight (41:47-49)
                              (c)   His family (41:50-52)
                              (d)   His plenty in famine (41:53-57)

A CLOSER LOOK

  1. Why did Pharaoh call for Joseph?

  2. Why do you think Pharaoh believed Joseph and placed him in such a responsible position?

  3. How can we be sure our lives glorify God in every circumstance?

CONCLUSION

We want others to see by our attitudes and actions that the Spirit of God is in us.


1.    Meyer, F. B., “Joseph, Chosen of God,” Good News Publisher, 1968, page 29.