Pharoah said to Joseph, "I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it."
"I cannot do it," Joseph replied to Pharoah, "but God will give Pharoah the answer he desires."
Geneses 41: 15, 17 (NIV)
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you."
Genesis 41: 39, 40 (NIV)
The last couple Sundays I've shared a few "lessons" from Joseph's story, regarding how God has a plan & works for our good, if we only continue to trust & honor Him even in what may seem to be the worst situation. But there was yet another thought or "lesson" that came to my mind when reading this passage:
Not only did Joseph honor God in the rough times, but he also did so in the good times. While spending time in prison (for a crime he did not commit), Joseph was given a gift from God, the ability to interpret dreams. So some time later when Pharaoh himself had a dream, Joseph was called upon to interpret it. Did you notice Joseph's response to Pharoah in the first passage? While Joseph could have easily taken the credit in order to look good, he was very quick to give all credit to God. He humbled himself, realizing that interpreting dreams was not from his own ability but a gift from God. In return for his humility & honor to God, God honored him, and he was made second in command!
I don't know about you, but sometimes when life is going good or when something I do turns out good, it's really easy to want to take the credit, and perhaps even become prideful. Interestingly, this reaction may actually stem from low self-confidence. You see, when you have a poor image of yourself, you often seek the approval of others to help you to feel better about yourself. The only problem with that is that it is only a temporary fix! However, if we base our self-image on who we are in Jesus & the love that God has for us, we can be much more at peace with ourselves. When we are confident in who we are in Jesus, we don't have to worry as much about what others think of us. And when we aren't worried about the opinions of others, it is much easier to step out of the way & give the glory to God! Funny how that works, huh?
But just as God honored Joseph, He has promised to honor us if we humble ourselves & honor Him:
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor.
James 4:10 (NLT)
And the cycle continues.
I pray that God not only helps me to base my self-image on who I am in Him & His love for me (and not on the ever-changing opinions of people), but that I give Him the credit & the honor He so deserves.