Joseph: Fruitful in Suffering

Joseph was forgotten by Pharaoh’s cupbearer and was remembered by God.  After two years, God jogged the memory of the cupbearer, and we see God’s plan unfold as Joseph is installed into Pharaoh’s courts.  God made Joseph fruitful in the land of his suffering…

1 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 riverbank. 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 heads of grain, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. 6 After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted—thin and scorched by the east wind. 7 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. 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.

14 So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon.

25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, 30 but seven years of famine will follow them.”

39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.”
Genesis 41:1-40

Joseph is a simple follower of God.  He obeys God’s voice in his life and he reveres God fully.

He wouldn’t let temptation get in the way of his path, and some of the mistakes of his youth have matured him into a servant whom God is going to use to save a nation.

Before the famine came, Joseph had two children, Manasseh and Ephraim.  He named them such because God made Joseph forget all his trouble and all his father’s household, and because God made him fruitful in the land of his suffering.  Profound.

I think that Joseph’s humble reverence and obedience to God fed directly into God making him fruitful in the land of his suffering.  And even more profound is that God’s timing was literally years long in working in Joseph’s life of suffering.  This confounds our emphasis on immediacy in today’s world.  And it proves again that God works wonders in his timing and for his glory.

We could stand to gain from taking a page from Joseph’s book as we wait on God.


Marc Kinna

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3 Responses to Joseph: Fruitful in Suffering

  1. Merryn says:

    “God made him fruitful in the land of his suffering”… I needed to hear those words tonight. I have been struggling with despondency, having trouble believing (in action) that God still has plans for me to prosper. Each day seems to run into the next and I get snappy easily, feeling bitter about all my former dreams or opportunities that now seem washed up and dried up and wondering if I could possibly do anything of worth. I think God is speaking to me through your blog post, reassuring me that He is working even when ir doesn’t seem obvious

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