“This will happen just as I have described it, for God has shown you what he is about to do.” - Genesis 41:28
When the annual hurricane season comes to the United States, the National Weather Service forecasters watch the developing systems carefully so that the coastal inhabitants of the southeastern states know what to expect. Over the years, more and more people have begun taking these forecasts seriously. This was not always the case. There have always been those who ignore warnings to evacuate areas prone to serious flooding or other natural disasters. In some instances they have paid for their folly with their lives. To be forewarned is to be forearmed, but the forearming is not automatic. Responsible action is required. Beforehand!
Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams points out this truth very clearly. He told the ruler, “God has shown you what he is about to do” (Gen. 41:28). Then, after giving graphic details of the enormity of the impending problem, Joseph added, “My suggestion is that you find the wisest man in Egypt and put him in charge of a nationwide program” (41:33). First, there was the declarative statement concerning God’s intentions. Then came the suggestion about appropriate action. Joseph also told Pharaoh what would happen if he followed through on the suggestions: “There will be enough to eat when the seven years of famine come. Otherwise disaster will surely strike the land, and all the people will die” (41:36). The options were abundantly clear; the choices were unmistakably spelled out.
Pharaoh was forewarned, but would he forearm himself? The record shows that he did, and that he chose Joseph, “the wisest man in Egypt,” to head up the program!
One of the greatest mysteries of the relationship between God and humans is the matter of divine sovereignty and human responsibility. Scripture is full of references to God ruling supremely in the affairs of men, demonstrating unambiguously that he is truly the sovereign Lord. Yet at the same time, God instructs men how to respond to what he says, and he expects them to do so with glad obedience and joyful trust. And their actions are important and significant. Attempts to harmonize these aspects of God’s revealed truth often prove notoriously difficult.
God is going to do what he says he is going to do. As God, he is perfectly free to do it. And he lets people know, hoping they will take the necessary action to be prepared.
Even when the intricacies of philosophical and theological debate lead to unanswerable questions, simple faith that God is as good as his word is possible. And wise, responsible, prompt responses are eminently practical! This does not mean that we should ignore the perplexing questions, but it does mean we should not spend time debating when the time for action is at hand—any more than an approaching hurricane heralds the occasion for a thorough debate on the accuracy of weather forecasters’ predictions!
For Further Study: Genesis 41:25-40
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Men, Copyright ©2000 by Stuart Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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