Although we have a rather big cell group — or Life Group as the people at Hope Church call it — of more than 20 people, normally we split into smaller groups during discussions. Today I was in the same group with Hady (discussion leader), Yohana (Hady's girlfriend), Nia, and Chin.
I like today's discussion format since we got to study the bible interactively, not just listening to someone who talks all the time without even reading a single bible verse. At first, we read the whole passage individually.
|Pharaoh's Dreams, source: http://www.thetorahinhaiku.com/mikeitz-3/|
It began with the dreams of Pharaoh (the ruler of Egypt). His first dream was about seven healthy and fat cows that were eaten by seven ugly and gaunt cows. The second dream was about seven healthy and good heads of grain that were swallowed up by seven ugly and thin heads of grain.Then we shared what we learned as follows:
Joseph, with God's guidance, interpreted that the dreams told about the coming of seven years of great abundance, followed by seven years of famine.
Joseph suggested that Pharaoh saved the food during the good years to be prepared for the famines. Amazed by Joseph's godliness, Pharaoh appointed Joseph as his right hand to take care about this matter.
Hady: Spirit of excellence
He mentioned that Joseph had been maintaining his spirit of excellence in everything he did. Even when he was seduced by Potiphar's wife. Like Joseph, he suggested that we should also keep the same spirit.
Yohana emphasized on the fact Joseph said that only God, not him, who could interpret Pharaoh's dreams showed that Joseph was a humble person.
Nia said that Joseph was honest when he said that not he, but God who cold interpret the dreams.
Chin: God works in both ways
Chin pointed out that God worked both through Joseph and Pharaoh.
"I cannot do it," Joseph replied to Pharaoh, "but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires." (Genesis 41:16 NIV)Me: Fear of God and obedience
"It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. (Genesis 41:28 NIV)
Chin said this fear of God and obedience is a child-liked attitude. It's true, God wants us to be obedient like children. Furthermore, He said:
And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3 NIV)I also mentioned that God also showed his sovereignty over Pharaoh so Pharaoh trusted Joseph completely, even before everything that Joseph said was proven, and even promoted Joseph to be the the highest ruler of Egypt — second only to Pharaoh. Without God's divine interference, it would be impossible to happen.
Hady, at first, was reluctant to accept this idea, saying that Pharaoh must also have a free will. I then gave another example on how God in several occasions interfered to harden Pharaoh's heart when he opposed Moses before the Israelites departed from Egypt.
But the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said to Moses. (Exodus 9:12 NIV)And previously, I also wrote how God could change our heart.
But the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let the Israelites go. (Exodus 10:20 NIV)
God makes us shine even during famines (crisis)
This passage and discussion reminded me to a sermon from Pastor Joseph Prince, New Creation Church, about three years ago. That time, in late 2008, we had a severe economic crisis just like this time.
He shared that God didn't look after us only in the time of abundance. Just when it's the very time of crisis, the time of famines, God will show how His power can rule over the world's economy, crisis, everything. God will use exactly the time of crisis to provide everyone who believes in Him with abundant blessings. God will take a very good care of us, if you stop look down, and start look up to Him.
In Chin's words:
"God brings healing in time of brokenness."