The proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find anyone else like this—one in whom is the spirit of God?” So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command; only with regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” Removing his signet ring from his hand, Pharaoh put it on Joseph’s hand; he arrayed him in garments of fine linen, and put a gold chain around his neck. He had him ride in the chariot of his second-in-command; and they cried out in front of him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. Moreover Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.” Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, as his wife. Thus Joseph gained authority over the land of Egypt.
They say that a week is a long time in politics and we see the evidence of this in our own political scene. But we observe nothing by comparison with Joseph’s rise to power. There is no indication of the timescale in the narrative but we can reasonably infer that when Joseph got up that morning he was a prisoner, held in the dungeons and by the time he went to bed that night he was second only to Pharaoh in the whole land. It appears that Pharaoh did not see the decision to elevate Joseph to his new status as one which required much thought, a simple question of his servants and the decision was made – a recognition of the place of God in the life of this former prisoner. Joseph, of course, was now in the place where his boyhood dreams had predicted and in this final scene Pharaoh gives recognition to this place through the royal proclamation, the insignia of office, the public acclamation and the provision of a wife.
Thirteen years lie between Joseph’s first dream and his entering the service of Pharaoh, King of Egypt. They were not easy years and Joseph could have been forgiven for feeling that maybe he had misunderstood God’s intention. But we know that Joseph continued through those years to have faith in God and in his guidance as he interpreted the dreams of others – an example of patience for each of us and a reminder that God is in charge.
Timeless God, forgive our impatience, help us to learn from Joseph the faith to wait for your time the wisdom to respond to your signs and the readiness to follow your call Amen
Val Morrison Elder in Hall Gate URC Doncaster and former Moderator of the General Assembly