He wakes from dreams turned into nightmares, startled, trying to get his bearings. Everything seems unfamiliar, yet vaguely familiar. His mind is a mass of confusion, and he feels himself being swallowed up by fear and terror! Immediately the magicians and the wise men of the kingdom are summoned; he must know what these nightmares mean, what the gods are telling him. Pharaoh knows it is of vast importance that he know their meaning, the dreams, the nightmares, were an evil omen. They had to have been a warning involving his kingdoms and future for the dreams focused on two of the gods, cattle and corn! Cattle and corn were sacred mainstays to the Egyptian’s diet, and it was impossible to imagine they would not be available to nourish the people.
Those considered wise, with amazing powers and impressive skills, who had convinced their master they had the ability to discern the meaning of dreams were baffled, confounded. They had struck out, and to put it mildly, theirs was not a good place to be!
In many cultures dreams are believed to bring messages from the gods or the powers “out there” to those here. The dreams might be warnings or possibly encouragement or guidance. Whatever the purpose, one does not ignore a dream and its message, especially a dream sent to the most powerful ruler known in that part of the world. And one absolutely would not want to tell that ruler he didn’t have an answer; that was definitely not going to be good for his health or long term life existence.
“Two years later, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing on the bank of the Nile River. In his dream, seven fat, healthy-looking cows suddenly came up out of the river and began grazing along its bank.” Genesis 41:1,2 New Living Translation
So far so good, this is a great dream! As Pharaoh watches he sees the prosperity of his nation and people enjoying an abundance of blessings.
“Then seven other cows came up from the river, but these were very ugly and gaunt. These cows went over and stood beside the fat cows. Then the thin, ugly cows ate the fat ones! At this point in the dream, Pharaoh woke up.” Genesis 41:3,4 New Living Translation
Pharaoh’s dream had gone from revealing an abundance for all to the catastrophic terror of want and need respecting no one regardless of their lineage, birth, or income, whether free or slave. When disaster strikes it takes out everyone no matter who you might think you are, no matter how much better you think you are than anyone else. What Pharaoh dreamed drove this reality home, whatever the interpretation all were going to suffer!
“Soon he fell asleep again and had a second dream. This time he saw seven heads of grain on one stalk, with every kernel well formed and plump. Then suddenly, seven more heads appeared on the stalk, but these were shriveled and withered by the east wind. And these thin heads swallowed up the seven plump, well-formed heads! Then Pharaoh woke up again and realized it was a dream.” Genesis 41:5-7 New Living Translation
Just to make sure Pharaoh received the message, God sent another dream to reinforce the message sent in the first dream. What would take place was bigger than Pharaoh, Egypt, Canaan, and the then known world. Yet years before, God had chosen the son of a Hebrew nomad to one day become the Second Most Powerful man in Egypt.
We know it’s coming; Joseph still doesn’t have a clue that this is the day God has been preparing him to fulfill. Joseph doesn’t know God has been preparing him to save nations and peoples, this Hebrew slave, this criminal that for all appearances was nothing special.
The dreams, those nightmares were a tool to bring Joseph and Pharaoh together on a specific day, at a specific moment, to do what God had prepared Joseph to accomplish. How about you? Do you believe God is preparing you? Maybe he has already prepared you and is using you even at this very moment to make a difference in someone’s life!
I am one of those who struggles with the answers to these questions, is God using me, is He preparing me? The other day I told Joni the highest compliment I had given myself was, “I am a mediocre athlete.” I know I’m not the only one who has found themselves trapped in the “Never Good Enough, Can Never Get Anything Right” mindset. It’s an epidemic, and exactly what the enemy wants. If he can paralyze us with doubt and fear, there is nothing more he needs to accomplish.
Therefore, God’s Grace in our process pulls us out of the cavern, the cave, the pit, or whatever we call it. God tells us of His Love and Joy in, for, and through us. His passion for us is beyond understanding; His intimacy with us destroys any lies launched by the enemy!
I needed to write and see these words for myself today. This has been what I call a “cave” day; I crawl in, pull the rock over the entrance and hide! However, God evidently had other plans. I only share this to let you know I am painfully aware of how I feel when the dreams of life seem more like nightmares, of having more month than there is money in the bank, more pain than my ability to cope with the pain, and realizing my personality has morphed completely, and I spend too much time trembling in fear of what might come next!
And the only answer that keeps me going is God’s Grace as He reveals it through Joni and others. He reminds me fear is not in His vocabulary or His plans for me. It’s not in His plans for you, for any of us.
“The Lord your God is in your midst—a warrior bringing victory. He will create calm with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
Notice Who brings the victory! I have learned that for me all that matters is God is in control, whatever I think I know, see, feel, understand! And on those days when I am not quite in my right mind, God always sends encouragement. He never leaves me with dreams turned into nightmares; He leaves me with the completeness of His love for me, and the plans He has had for me since the beginning of time!