bible study devotion

From poverty to fame: devotion

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

Image showing the word It words it was a dream
Photo by Nadi Lindsay on


After the reinstatement of the chief cupbearer, Joseph continued to languish in prison because the chief cupbearer had conveniently forgotten about his predicament. Two years later, Pharaoh had dreams that no one could interpret his dreams. The chief cupbearer immediately remembered Joseph and told the Pharaoh about him.

Genesis 41:1-8

1 At the end of two full years, Pharaoh dreamed, and behold, he stood by the river. 2 Behold, seven cattle came up out of the river. They were sleek and fat, and they fed in the marsh grass. 3 Behold, seven other cattle came up after them out of the river, ugly and thin, and stood by the other cattle on the brink of the river. 4 The ugly and thin cattle ate up the seven sleek and fat cattle. So Pharaoh awoke. 5 He slept and dreamed a second time; and behold, seven heads of grain came up on one stalk, healthy and good. 6 Behold, seven heads of grain, thin and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them. 7 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy and full ears. Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream. 8 In the morning, his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all of Egypt’s magicians and wise men. Pharaoh told them about his dreams, but no one could interpret them to Pharaoh. 

Genesis 41:1-8


One fateful night, God planted a dream into Pharaoh’s sleep. In his dream, he saw seven fat cows and seven thin cows eating grass side by side by the River Nile. The seven thin cows came over and swallowed up the seven fat cows and he awoke. He went back to sleep and had another dream. This time, he saw seven heads of fat grain rose up from a single stalk. After this, seven heads of thin grain rose up from another single stack adjacent to it. The seven heads of the thin grain swallowed up the seven heads of the fat grain.  Pharaoh awoke and was terrified. He summoned all his wise men and magicians to interpret his dreams but none of them could do it. The Egyptians considered cows as gods to be worshiped. In an agricultural society, of Egypt grains represented the economy.

The cupbearer told Pharaoh about Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams. Pharaoh, therefore, summoned Joseph to the palace to interpret his dreams. Joseph shaved, put on new clothes and appeared before Pharaoh. 

Joseph immediately declared that it was God who interpret dreams and not him.  Pharaoh told Joseph his dreams, but added that when the thin cows swallowed up the fat cows and when the thin grains swallowed up the fat grains, they remained as thin as before.

Joseph interpreted the dreams as follows:

The seven fat cows and the seven fat grains represented seven years of plenty. The seven thin cows and seven thin grains represented seven years of famine.  Egypt would experience seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. These were two dreams with one single interpretation.

Joseph advised Pharaoh to increase taxation and stock pile grains during the seven years of plenty to cover the seven years of famine. 

Pharaoh saw that Joseph was a Godly man and made him the prime minister of Egypt. Pharaoh gave Joseph a signet ring, the finest attire, a gold chain, an Egyptian name, and an Egyptian wife.. 

Joseph stockpiled grains in all the cities of Egypt during the seven years of plenty, When the seven years of plenty ended, the seven years of famine bite in hard. Egyptians from all over the country came to Joseph to buy grains. Very soon, the famine went global and people from all over the known world traveled to Egypt to buy grains.


Joseph was very humble. He interpreted the dreams without demanding any terms from Pharaoh. He gave all the glory to God and acknowledged that it was God who interpreted dreams and not him.  Did you give all glory and honour to God? The Christian life is all about God and nothing about you and me. 

God elevated Joseph to become the prime minister of Egypt after 17 long years of waiting in obscurity. Perhaps, you are in a similar position as Joseph. Do not throw in the towel yet. God may be testing, growing, maturing, and training you in righteousness. God will elevate you according to His divine plan and timetable if you are faithful and obedient. 

Good times do not last forever. An economic boom always ends in an economic recession. You must save up during the good times to weather against the bad times. 


Heavenly Father, we give You all the praise, glory, power, and honour. We confess that we are sinners. Forgive us and have mercy on us. Thank You for the forgiveness of sins, justification, salvation, sanctification, redemption, and eternal life. Help us to save up for rainy days so that we will be able to cope when the bad times arrive, in Jesus’ name, Amen.