After Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, revealing a seven year period of abundance to be followed by another seven years of famine, he also advised Pharaoh how to navigate the coming devastation. He directed the ruler of Egypt to appoint a manager over the whole land to prepare for the collections and distributions that would be required to survive the years to come.
This unsolicited, yet vital, counsel that Joseph offers is the last piece of the puzzle that brings to fruition the dream from Joseph’s youth. The boy who told his brothers that he would one day rule over them, was about to do just that. Pharaoh, upon hearing Joseph’s advice, realizes that a man in such a position would need to have the Spirit of God. Since Pharaoh has never seen a more clear example of the work of the Spirit of God than the interaction he just had with Joseph, Pharaoh understood that Joseph was the man for the job. With that, Joseph went from despised little brother, to slave, to prisoner, to Pharaoh’s right hand man.
I want to make sure you understand how that happened. There are no bootstraps here. This was not Joseph’s success. God showered Joseph with grace in the midst of great trials, and it was God who led Joseph where he needed to be–who empowered him to face those challenges with peace and faithfulness. While the world cries, “self-made-man,” Joseph knows he is God’s grace-carried man. Are you being carried by grace or are you strangling yourself by trying to pull yourself up by the bootstraps?
“This proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. And Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?’ Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.’ And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.'” – Genesis 41:37-41
“Before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph. Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore them to him. Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. ‘For,’ he said, ‘God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.’ The name of the second he called Ephraim, ‘For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.'” – Genesis 41:50-52