The Second Chair
Joseph said: “Let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt.”
- Genesis 41:33
Wait! Isn’t Pharaoh already in charge of the land of Egypt?
This story is loaded chock full of irony and humor, if you have eyes to see it. Joseph the Outsider, the Hebrew prisoner-slave says what everyone else might be thinking. The Pharaoh inherited his position; he didn’t get it by merit. He wasn’t necessarily equipped to lead Egypt through the trials of extreme wealth and poverty.
By this point in the narrative, all we’ve heard about Pharaoh is that he loses his temper and throws people in prison, he changes his mind erratically, he can be remarkably violent, and the Lord speaks to him in dreams. Aside from that last point, Pharaoh isn’t painted in a flattering light in this narrative.
But Joseph is going to work for him. In fact, eventually, Pharaoh will be the only person with higher status than Joseph in the entire nation. Pharaoh’s best decision was his decision to give extraordinary responsibility to this “discerning and wise” 30-year-old.
Joseph could have respond to this responsibility in one of two ways: “What an awesome opportunity!” or “Why do I have to work under this blockhead?” He zipped past everyone else in line to be prime minister but stopped one shy of the top spot. Would he be okay with that?
If you continue reading in Genesis, you see Joseph working diligently, joyfully and gratefully. He doesn’t play the “But what if I were the Pharaoh?” Game. He leaned in and was faithful to do the work God had given him to do.
And everyone was blessed as a result.
Have you ever found yourself working under someone who wasn’t “discerning and wise”? How did you respond? Have you ever had someone working for you who was more “discerning and wise” than you? What was that experience like?