“This will happen just as I have described it, for God has revealed to Pharaoh in advance what he is about to do.” — Genesis 41:28
When the annual hurricane season comes to the United States, the National Weather Service forecasters watch the developing systems carefully so that the coastal inhabitants of the southeastern states know what to expect. Over the years, more and more people have begun taking these forecasts seriously. This was not always the case.
There have always been those who ignore warnings to evacuate areas prone to serious flooding or other natural disasters. In some instances they have paid for their folly with their lives. To be forewarned is to be forarmed, but the forearming is not automatic. Responsible action is required…beforehand!
Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams points out this truth very clearly. He told the ruler, “God has shown you what he is about to do.” Then, after giving graphic details of the enormity of the impending problem, Joseph added, “My suggestion is that you find the wisest man in Egypt and put him in charge of a nationwide program” (Genesis 41:33).
First, there was the declarative statement concerning God’s intentions. Then came the suggestion about appropriate action. Joseph also told Pharaoh what would happen if he followed through on the suggestions: “There will be enough to eat when the seven years of famine come. Otherwise disaster will surely strike the land, and all the people will die” (41:36). The options were abundantly clear; the choices were unmistakably spelled out.
God had spoken, but would Pharaoh listen? The record shows that he did, and that he chose Joseph, “The wisest man in Egypt,” to head up the program!
One of the greatest mysteries of the relationship between God and humans is the matter of divine sovereignty and human responsibility. Scripture is full of references to God ruling supremely in the affairs of men, demonstrating in an unquestionable fashion that he is truly the sovereign Lord. Yet at the same time, God instructs men how to respond to what he says, and he expects them to do so with glad obedience and joyful trust. Our actions are important and significant. Understanding and harmonizing the sovereignty of God and the free will of man is nigh unto impossible.
God is going to do what he says he is going to do. As God he is perfectly free to do it. He reveals his will to us in order that we may take the necessary actions to be prepared.
God is speaking today. He is speaking loud and clear…or maybe in a still, small voice. The question is, will you hear and respond to what He is saying? As our brother Henry Blackaby says, “When God speaks, your response says a lot about your relationship with Him. When God speaks, it is your opportunity to join Him in the work that He is doing.”