Planning for Good Times and Bad
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream last night, and no one here can tell me what it means. But I have heard that when you hear about a dream you can interpret it.” “It is beyond my power to do this,” Joseph replied. “But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.” Genesis 41: 15-16
Our story takes place in the land of the pyramids, the Sphinx, vast deserts, and the Nile valley. Egypt had stood as a world power for a millennium by this point in time.
Pharaoh, the immensely powerful leader, had a surprising dream that petrified him. In this dream seven ugly, gaunt cows ate seven fat, sleek cows. Then seven thin, scant ears of corn swallowed seven full, silky ears. Certainly, this is a weird dream in any age. However, dreams were once studied in Egypt to predict the future.
Pharaoh gathered his magicians and wise men for interpretation, but to no avail.
Pharaoh’s cupbearer remembered a uniquely gifted slave in prison. Pharaoh called Joseph, the Hebrew slave, to interpret his dream.
“This will happen just as I have described it, for God has revealed to Pharaoh in advance what he is about to do. 29 The next seven years will be a period of great prosperity throughout the land of Egypt. But afterward there will be seven years of famine so great that all the prosperity will be forgotten in Egypt. Famine will destroy the land.” Genesis 41: 28-30
Egypt was going to have seven prosperous years, then seven destructive years. Pharaoh immediately set the nation’s vast economic and agricultural machine into an excited pace. He was missing a leader.
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are. You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours.” Genesis 41: 39-40
The nation thrived for seven abundant years. Joseph performed a detailed accounting of the country’s income, expenses, and projected future needs. Egypt did not increase its lavish spending; it “lived beneath its means.” The country wisely stored 20% of all that it grew and earned.
Famine struck a prepared Egypt, yet it destroyed the surrounding nations. Impoverished people trekked into Egypt begging for help. The nation profited greatly and solidified their power for future generations, all while helping their neighbors.
Countries, corporations, and individuals should constantly plan for the future. No one expects a dream to give them guidance. However, scripture tells us to plan wisely expecting good times and bad. We can all analyze our income, expenses, and project our future needs. Egypt was in a position to thrive in the worst of times because of the wise foresight and planning of its new lieutenant, Joseph.
November 1, 2010
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Posted on Mon, November 1, 2010
by Chris McAlpin