Hi, my name is Harley, and today we’re going to talk about the National Bible Bee.
It is a thing where you learn Bible verses. It’s a national competition. It is where you play games and have quizzes and memorize Bible verses and have public orations for children ages 5 to 19. The national competition and the finals and stuff is on Uplift TV. I am doing the Bible Bee because it is very fun and it is very important to hide God’s word in your heart.
In summer 2020, we are doing the TRUST Summer Study. We are learning about the life of Joseph, in Genesis chapters 37-50. Joseph is an average 17-year-old boy living with his dad (Jacob/Israel) and half-brothers (Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin). But… let’s get to the story.
Joseph was the second to last kid in Jacob and Rachel’s family. Joseph is Jacob’s favorite son. So Jacob makes Joseph a colorful coat. Then Joseph says he has dreams that say Mom and Dad and brothers will bow down to him. They hate him!
So they go to Shecem to feed Dad’s sheep. Jacob says, “Hey Joseph, I want ya to go to Shecem to check on my sons. And make sure they’re taking care of the sheep. Then come back and tell me what’s up. Okay?” So Joseph goes to Shecem to make sure everything’s alright. Normal so far, right? Nope.
When Joseph gets to Shecem, the brothers plot to kill him. But they say, “Why kill him? Let’s throw him in this pit and leave him to starve.” But they see a caravan coming towards them. They say, “Come on, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not kill him. After all, he is our brother.” They all agree. So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who take him to Egypt.
In Egypt, Joseph is sold as a slave to Potiphar, the captain of the guard. By the way, did you know the name “Potiphar” means “a fat bull”? So Joseph scrubs the floor and washes the dishes. Then he becomes overseer of Potiphar’s House. So he gets a promotion. Simple, right? Nope. One day, Potiphar’s wife is like, “Come here.” Joseph says “No!” Then Mrs. Potiphar rips off Joseph’s coat. He runs away. Potiphar comes into the room. Joseph gets thrown in prison. He’s all alone.
Then Pharaoh gets angry with his baker and butler and has them thrown in jail with Joseph. Then the baker and butler have crazy dreams. The butler dreams there’s a vine with three branches with grapes and he squeezes them and makes wine for Pharaoh. The baker dreams he’s carrying three baskets with bread for Pharaoh. Then birds eat the bread. Simple, right? Nope. They’re all like, “What do these dreams mean?”
When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were confused. So he asked them, “Why are you so sad today?” They replied, “We both had dreams, but there is no one to interpret them.” Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.” So the butler told him his dream. “In my dream I saw a vine in front of me, and on the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, it blossomed, and its clusters ripened into edible grapes. So I made wine and gave it to Pharaoh.“
Joseph said, “This is what it means, the three branches are three days, and in three days you will be released from prison and get your job back. But when you’re okay, get me out of jail. I was forcibly taken away from Dad and Mom and here I’ve done nothing to deserve this rotten pit.”
When the baker saw that Joseph had given a favorable interpretation, he told Joseph his dream. “On my head were three baskets of bread. In the top basket were all kinds of pastries for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them.” “This is what it means,” Joseph said. “The three baskets are three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and hang your body on a tree. And the birds will eat your remains.”
Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he had a party. The butler got his job back, but the baker was killed.
Two years later: Pharaoh had a dream. He was standing by the Nile River when seven fat cows came out of the river and ate the reeds. Then seven ugly cows came and ate the fat ones. Then Pharaoh woke up. Then he had a second dream. Seven heads of grain good and edible, were growing on a single stalk. After them seven inedible heads sprouted on a single stalk. The bad heads ate the good ones.
In the morning he could not figure out his dreams, so he asked people to interpret them for him, but no one could interpret them. Then the butler suddenly remembered Joseph and said to Pharaoh, “Today I remember a man I met two years ago in your prison, who interpreted my dream.” So Pharaoh sent for Joseph to interpret his dream.
Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Hmm. I heard you can interpret dreams.” Joseph said, “I can’t, but God can.” So Pharaoh told Joseph his dreams. Joseph said, “Pharaoh had two dreams that mean the same thing. The seven good cows and heads of grain are seven good years. Also, the seven bad cows and heads of grain are seven years of famine. There will be seven years of yummy food and the seven of famine that will follow that will be so severe that all Egypt will starve. So Pharaoh will look for a smart man and put him in charge of the land. And take a fifth of the grain and store it.”
Pharaoh liked this plan. Okay, THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT: Pharaoh said,” Since God has given you this knowledge, there is no one smarter than you in all Egypt! You shall be in charge, and the people will submit to you. ONLY WITH RESPECT TO THE THRONE WILL I BE GREATER THAN YOU.”
The story doesn’t end here, although I think you get the moral: God keeps his promises. You can read the rest of Joseph’s story in Genesis 41-50.
Whether we’re in the palace or the pit, God is always faithful.