Today we look at the story of Joseph and how he interpreted two prophetic dreams given by God to Pharaoh. This story is found in Genesis 41. Pharaoh dreamed about seven fat cows and seven severely thin cows. The thin cows ate the fat cows. He also dreamed about seven heads of grain, healthy and good, growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted--thin and scorched by the east wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. No one could interpret the dream but word reached Pharaoh that a young Hebrew man in an Egyptian prison was an interpreter of dreams. Pharaoh called for him and Joseph was brought before him. In Genesis 41:25-31 "Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, "The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine. "It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe.
Joseph then told Pharaoh that the grain harvest for the next seven years must be stored.
"Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine."
Egypt experienced seven years of plenty and grain was stored in the cities as Joseph had instructed. Following the years of plenty, Egypt suffered a severe famine for seven years. The Egyptians were able to buy grain throughout the years of famine because of the wise planning of Joseph. In this tremendous example of prophetic dreams, interpretation, and obedience the principle of food storage saved a nation.