Please turn to Genesis 41:38-57. In the first part of this chapter, Joseph was called before the Pharaoh to explain the meaning of the dreams that the magicians were unable to interpret. After being given the ability to interpret the dreams by God and providing specific recommendations for addressing the predicted famine, we can only imagine that Joseph was potentially hoping for a grant of amnesty from Pharaoh. However, something absolutely unbelievable occurs. In God’s providence, Joseph was placed in charge of the land of Egypt. This passage teaches us several important lessons and can easily be divided into three sections. First, in verses 38-45, God exalts Joseph in the way of faithfulness by making him the second in command of Egypt. Next, in verses 46-52, Moses describes God’s blessings on Joseph’s private life and provides a glimpse into his personal pain. Finally, in verses 53-57, Moses discusses Joseph’s administration during the famine in Egypt and foreshadows future blessings for him.  

I. God exalts Joseph in the way of faithfulness. 

In Genesis 41:38-45, Pharaoh turns and counsels with his advisors after Joseph interprets his dreams and offers an unsolicited plan for how he ought to respond to God's providence in the time of plenty and in the famine. Specifically, Pharaoh says to his advisors, “Can we find a man like this in whom is the Spirit of God?” in verse 38. Then, Pharaoh turns back to Joseph and appoints him as the vizier of Egypt. It is really an amazing thing to see Pharaoh do this. After all, Joseph is a foreigner in the land. However, Pharaoh shows a great deal of wisdom for a natural man in appointing Joseph who has clearly distinguished himself as a person of wisdom. Now the suddenness and the drama of Joseph's exaltation here reinforces in his heart that this could only have happened by the providence of God. This is very clear in the way Joseph responds in the next section. He knows that it is only the one true God that could have brought about a turn of events like this. God works in His own way, in His own time, and for His own glory. God expects us to be faithful, patient, and to trust in Him. That is exactly what Joseph did. He was a faithful servant who did what God placed in his path. Joseph was patient and waited for God to reveal His plan. Joseph also continued to trust in the Lord throughout the different circumstances in his life. Moses shows us in this passage how God brought glory to Himself in Egypt in the way He used Joseph in the interpretation of the dreams and in how Joseph conducted himself in the way of faithfulness. 

II. Joseph's blessings and personal pain. 

In Genesis 41:46-52, Moses gives us a description of the administration of Joseph during the time of plenty. In verse 46, Moses writes that Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh. John Calvin has provided two important reasons for the inclusion of this important detail. First, Moses includes Joseph’s age to show us how dramatic it was that God would place him in this position of authority. God, in His sovereignty, had done something that was extraordinary by placing a thirty-year-old man over the whole nation of Egypt. Secondly, Moses tells us Joseph’s age to remind us just how long he had been a slave, an exile, and a prisoner away from his own family. Joseph was seventeen years old when he was sold into slavery and almost half a lifetime has passed since he had seen his father or his brothers. 

Furthermore, Moses describes some of God's blessings in Joseph’s private life including marriage and the blessing of two sons. However, he also gives us a glimpse of Joseph's personal pain. In verse 51, Joseph named the firstborn child Manasseh and said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.” In verse 52, He named the second child Ephraim and said, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” Joseph sensed how God had blessed him, and we see it in the names of his sons. Joseph recognized that God had blessed him beyond all belief. He could not have dreamed of this kind of blessing, responsibility, or authority. But both of the names also tell us about Joseph's pain. Although Joseph demonstrates a sincere trust in God's providence and a measure of contentment at this point in his life, we also see a form of resignation. Joseph has resigned himself to ache in that one area of his life for the rest of his days. The best that Joseph can hope for is to forget about his father’s house. However, God is going to show Joseph that His plan is better than he could ever have imagined. Joseph’s life reminds us that, in His love and grace, God desires to bring blessing where trouble and hardship exist.

III. God advances the good of His people.

In Genesis 41:53-57, we move from Joseph's administration in the time of plenty to Joseph's administration in the time of famine. Moses also shows us in these verses that God is willing to do unbelievable things to advance the good of His people. Specifically, Moses tells us in this passage that God plunged Egypt and the entire ancient near eastern world into a seven-year cycle of famine and starvation in order to bless the family of Jacob. The history of these nations is merely a backdrop to God's plan of redemption. In other words, we receive a clear picture of God's providence in the story of Joseph. And we see the way that God rules the world for the sake of His people. 

It is also important to notice what Pharaoh says in response to the cries of the people for bread in the last part of this passage. In verse 55, Pharaoh says, “Go to Joseph. What he says to you, do.” These words sound strikingly similar to another verse in Scripture. There was also a time right before the first miracle of the Lord Jesus Christ in Canaan when Mary, having had a conversation with Jesus, turned to the servants of the household and said, “Do whatever he tells you” in John 2:5. Mary knew that Jesus was greater than Joseph, and that He could speak reality into being. Joseph was able to answer that particular compliment from Pharaoh because he had planned for seven years. Jesus, within Himself, has the power to fulfill His Word because He is God. That truth teaches us that, in the midst of our own providential struggles, we should flee to Christ who speaks for the good of His people. May God teach us to trust in His providence and learn to walk by faith rather than by sight.