Family Bible Study lesson for Aug. 17: Acting Wisely
July 25 2003 by Kim D. Shaver , Genesis 41:15-16, 25-28, 33-40

Family Bible Study lesson for Aug. 17: Acting Wisely | Friday, July 25, 2003

Friday, July 25, 2003

Family Bible Study lesson for Aug. 17: Acting Wisely

By Kim D. Shaver Genesis 41:15-16, 25-28, 33-40

"I've been around the block a few times..."

"I wasn't born yesterday..."

"I can handle it..."

These are just a few of the catch phrases we use to express the world's view of wisdom. The world views wisdom as a savvy competence that comes from experience, graduate degrees or the sheer power of our will and intellect.

The Bible, however, clearly teaches that God is the only true source of wisdom. The Bible repeatedly warns against acquiring knowledge and information that is empty apart from God's enlightenment. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding," is the counsel of Proverbs 3:5. "Do not be wise in your own eyes ... in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths."

In this lesson, Joseph displays such wisdom that even pagan Pharaoh perceives that his discernment comes from the one true living God. We can develop a lifestyle marked by godly wisdom that will cause others to look to the divine source of that wisdom. We can bring glory to God by displaying true wisdom in the marketplace, home and church.

Acknowledge God as the Source of Wisdom (Genesis 41:15-16, 25-28) Things seemed to go from bad to worse for Joseph, who was enslaved in Egypt miles from home and then thrown into prison on false charges. But while in prison, Joseph continued to succeed because God was with him. While in prison, Joseph correctly interpreted the dreams of the king's cupbearer and baker. Later, Pharaoh had a dream that none of Egypt's wise men could interpret. The cupbearer remembered Joseph's talent for interpreting dreams, and Pharaoh sent for Joseph. In a matter of hours, God raised up Joseph from the dungeon to the throne room of the most powerful man on earth. As Joseph stood before Pharaoh, he was asked if he could interpret the mysterious dream. Joseph's answer is a timeless example for us. He replies, "I cannot do it, but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires." In that response, Joseph revealed the complete inadequacy of human knowledge while acknowledging his dependence on God as the source of wisdom. How God blesses such a humble dependence on him!

King Solomon, whose wisdom remains legendary in both religious and worldly realms centuries after his death, displayed humility in a similar way. As young Solomon assumed the throne following the death of his father King David, God gave him the opportunity to ask for anything he wanted. Solomon humbly replied, "Oh, Lord, I am just a child and hardly know when to come out or go in ... so give me a heart of wisdom to govern your people."

As God rewarded the humility and dependence of Solomon, he also rewarded Joseph, providing an accurate interpretation of Pharaoh's dream. Joseph told Pharaoh that God was revealing seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine in Egypt.

Act in Harmony with God's Plan (Genesis 41:33-36) True godly wisdom moves beyond theory and philosophy to a plan of action. Joseph offered a strategy to prepare for the coming crisis that was in harmony with God's plan. Joseph recommended that Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man to put in charge of the land of Egypt. And, Pharaoh should appoint commissioners to collect a fifth of Egypt's harvest, during the seven years of abundance, and store the grain under the authority of Pharaoh to be used during the seven years of famine.

Carry out Responsibilities (Genesis 41:37-40) "The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. So Pharaoh asked them, 'Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?'" After making this declaration, Pharaoh appointed Joseph as second in command in Egypt. In effect, Joseph became the chief operating officer of the land. Joseph had made a dynamic impression on Pharaoh. Joseph stood out. He didn't stand out because of his superior intelligence or natural abilities. Joseph stood out because Pharaoh and all his officials, like Potiphar before them, recognized that God was with Joseph.

While you and I are unlikely to have national authority, we too can "stand out" in our homes, churches, neighborhoods and workplaces as we seek wisdom from God and walk in that wisdom daily.

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7/25/2003 12:00:00 AM by Kim D. Shaver , Genesis 41:15-16, 25-28, 33-40 | with 0 comments
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