Genesis 41 — God loves famine, this I know…
As I’ve been reading the Bible, I just keep thinking to myself, "How do I know this Yahweh is really great, the best god of all? I need more convincing! If only God could do something, like correctly predict and cause a worldwide famine for 7 years, to show how great he is, then I would certainly worship him!"
Well, my wishes have come true. God’s new sidekick, Joseph, interprets more dreams, this time ones that Pharaoh has. Pharaoh has these weird dreams, with fat cows eating skinny cows, good and bad grains, and so on. For some reason, he and his people can’t make heads or tails of the dreams. The cupbearer finally gives Joseph his due and tells Pharaoh about him.
Our humble Joseph tells him that it is God and not he who can interpret dreams. Apparently God doesn’t want to tell Pharaoh directly what the dreams mean, or heck, even make the dreams’ message clear enough that he can figure it out on his own. Joseph tells Pharaoh that God will cause 7 years of abundance, followed by 7 years of famine.
So basically, since Joseph says it’s God who’s doing the dream-reading, it means that God is predicting that God will cause a famine. Wow, that’s pretty amazing! He’s a regular Kreskin ! Pharaoh believes Joseph and figures since he’s on God’s side, might as well make Joseph his second-in-command, ruling over all in Egypt but Pharaoh. Prison-slave to second-in-command, not a bad promotion! Pharaoh renames Joseph "Zaphenath-Paneah" (it must have been really confusing keeping people straight in those days with all these renamings!).
Joseph goes to work having people save up food during the 7 years of plenty. But as Job could tell us, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Not only Egypt, but "all the other lands" (verse 54, NIV) are struck with a famine. Since only Pharaoh, Joseph, and the Egyptians were warned to prepare for the famine (why couldn’t the rest of God’s beloved Israelites, or the rest of the world, be warned by Joseph or God?), Egypt’s the only place in the whole world apparently that has enough food, according to the Bible. Now that’s a famine only God could cause. This lets Pharaoh and Joseph make a killing by charging money for the food they’ve saved up, since everyone around comes to get food from them to avoid starving.
Now that’s what I call good Christian values: don’t warn anyone about an approaching 7-year famine, hoard food, and charge starving people for it!! I peeked ahead, and it gets even better in Chapter 47. But for now, I’m going to call it a day and leave famines and family reunions to another day.
PS Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. All rights reserved.
Thursday, May 28, 2009