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B'resheet/Genesis 41:15 "I dreamed a dream, and to interpret there is not one"
In the previous verses we have read that one night Pharaoh, the absolute monarch of Egypt, held by his subjects to be at least semi-divine, had a dream. Not only was he unable to understand it, but after asking all his advisors and court magicians, "there was no-one who could interpret the dream for Pharaoh" (41:8). Pharaoh is troubled: here is an important message from heaven, specially for Pharaoh, delivered personally and very vividly, but Pharaoh cannot understand it and he cannot find anyone in his regular circle who can tell him what it means. So, Yosef is sent for, after the Chief Cupbearer's (belated) testimony and, after a quick shave and change of clothes, is ushered into the royal presence. The text gives us an insight into how desperate Pharaoh is: in front of his whole court, he admits to a Hebrew slave, just dragged in from his own prison, that he dreamed a dream and cannot find anyone to interpret it. The whole spiritual force of Egypt is bankrupt.
Later, at a low point in the spiritual life of our own people, we find Isaiah saying, "So the word of the L-rd to them will be, 'Order on order, order on order, line on line, line on line, a little here, a little there'" (Isaiah 28:33, NASB). Amos paints an ever starker picture: "The days are going to come, declares the Almighty L-rd, when I will send a famine throughout the land. It won't be an ordinary famine or drought. Instead, there will be a famine of hearing the word of the L-rd. People will wander from sea to sea and roam from the north to the east, searching for the word of the L-rd. But they won't find it" (Amos 8:11-12, GWT). In Rav Sha'ul's day, the situation was still the same: "For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom but we preach Messiah crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles" (1 Corinthians 1:22-23, ESV). In all ages and times, people are seeking G-d but not understanding what they are hearing; they try to interpret what G-d says to them using the standards and methods of the world but it makes no sense to them.
This need that man has to hear from G-d is why Kefa the Shaliach writes, "Always be ready to make a defence to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 3:15, NASB). We must be ready to share and explain what G-d has done for us because "a natural man does not accept the things of G-d; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually appraised" (1 Corinthians 2:14, NASB). Our part is to show patience and concern, to explain without criticising and not making people feel embarrassed when they have confess - like Pharaoh - that their spiritual state is bankrupt.
Further Study: Romans 10:14-15; 2 Corinthians 5:19-20
Application: How can you be ready today to share with those around you and help to explain their confusion? G-d can use the simplest words to touch people's lives but you have to be prepared to say them.
© Jonathan Allen, 2004
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