Summary: God has plans. God is at work. And sometimes we’re called upon to help others see and to hear from God.
God in the Ebb & Flow of Life:
God Is Whispering
Scripture Text: Genesis 41.1-32
In today’s Bible-story, Pharaoh is confused. Although he has not-been sleep-walking, …he has been dreaming! Problem-was, …he didn’t know what the dreams were-all-about!
Joseph helps him with all-that. Joseph was familiar with the landscape of dreams ~ …he’s had his own, …and he’s also helped others understand their-dreams. But, as this chapter of Joseph’s life unfolds, …there’s one-particular-thing he-says that puts all-this-stuff into perspective.
Pharaoh calls-him-in and says that he’s heard that Joseph can interpret-dreams. And here’s what Joseph says:
"I cannot do it," Joseph replied to Pharaoh, "but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires." (Gen 41.16)
“I cannot… but God will give…” There’s a lot of stuff in this chapter that we could zero-our-attention in-on; …but, I-think what-God-wants us to give-an-ear-to, …is the whispering of God.
The whispers of God can be heard in a variety of places, ...and in all kinds of circumstances. I think God whispers everyday through the stunning-beauty of sunrises and sunsets. I think that God is whispering to us through the warm-embrace of our spouse, …and in kisses-on-the-forehead by parents. I think God whispers through Christian-songs on the radio; …and in the feeble-attempts of pastors to preach and give-words-of-counsel.
God whispers in all kinds of ways, and at all kinds of times ~ …but-the-thing-about-whispering is that you either sit-up and take-notice, …or it slips-past and you don’t-even-know how it could’ve changed-your-world!
God whispered in this-segment of Joseph’s life ~ …follow-it with me, …if-you-will:
I. God, Whispering in the Stillness
Pharaoh has a dream. Just like the baker and the cup-bearer, last-week ~ …God wanted to speak to him through a dream. So, he had these-two-dreams of fat-and-skinny-cows, …and plump-and-desperate stalks of wheat.
Frued might want to explore Joseph’s relationship with his mother; …other-psychologists might want to investigate his feelings of weakness and diminishing-power ~ ...but-Joseph recognized that Pharaoh’s dreams were not-so-much-about-him, …as they were about God and what God was going to do.
When you look at the timing-and-method of how God spoke to Pharaoh, …you see that God is whispering in the stillness. Sleeping. Resting. Quiet. Maybe God chose this time because Pharaoh wasn’t distracted with the business of running his empire. Maybe God chose to do-this through a dream because Pharaoh’s mind was stilled from plotting-and-planning the next-big-move. Maybe God chose to speak to Pharaoh in the stillness of the night because He knew that Pharaoh would be more likely to hear ~ …but-whatever-the-reason for God choosing to speak to Pharaoh in dreams, the fact-is that in-the-stillness-of-Pharaoh’s-dreams, …God whispered.
There couldn’t-have-been a more “ordinary” time! Every-day, …we experience night-time Every-day, …we lay-our-heads on-the-pillow. Every-day, …we have an opportunity to shut-out the busyness and to quiet-the-demanding-voices ~ …every-day we have the stillness of night, …and sleep, …and the possibility of dreams.
There couldn’t-have-been a more “ordinary” time for God to speak to Pharaoh. But, even in the ordinary, …we can still miss it. We can overlook, …or dismiss God’s Voice. Whether it’s the beauty of the sunset, …or the voice-of-conscience ~ …we can overlook or ignore God’s Voice.
Maybe we’ve heard it before ~ …and we don’t want to hear it again. Maybe we’re surprised by it ~ …and we’re afraid of what it might mean. Maybe we’re just set in our ways ~ …and don’t wanna be interrupted.
But, God whispers. He whispers in moments of stillness ~ just-like, when he spoke to Pharaoh through dreams…
And-although Pharaoh didn’t completely get-it, …he listened. He paid-attention. He realized that he needed to find someone to help him understand the whispers. When God whispers, You might be taken-by-surprise; You might be startled; You may not fully-understand. When God whispers, …don’t be afraid to listen, …don’t-be-afraid to ask others for help.
God whispered to Pharaoh through dreams, …and Pharaoh listened ~ …and that’s-how Joseph enters-the-story.
II. God, Whispering in the Darkness
God doesn’t-just whisper in the stillness; …but God also whispers in the darkness.
We’ve followed Joseph’s journey. He was seventeen when we met him ~ …tattling on his older-brothers. Joseph: …favored son, …alienated-brother, …loved-and-hated, …betrayed-and-enslaved, …hard-worker and fall-guy ~ …Joseph’s life has been something-of-a-roller-coaster. But, at this particular point in his life, …he’s been in prison for quite-a-while. How long?... We’re not quite sure. But-we-know that it’s been two-years since he interpreted the cup-bearer’s dream and asked him to do something to help him get out of prison. Two years of waiting. Two years of toiling away in a dungeon. Two years of being forgotten. Joseph has been living in a very “dark” time. The clouds have hung low; …there’s been very-little to celebrate.
But-still, God is whispering. Many-years-before, …God gave Joseph a dream: …a dream about stalks of wheat bowing down; …a dream about the sun, moon, and stars bowing down to him ~ …God was whispering through those dreams, …telling Joseph what-would-be.