Joseph, Pharaoh, and the Ghost of Christmas Future

Ghost of Christmas FutureSo Pharaoh has a nightmare. Two of them, actually. And he’s mortified. He calls for his wisest wise men and demands an interpretation, but they’ve got nothing. That’s when the cupbearer—an ex con—remembers that funny little guy he did time with. Joseph was his name, and he was smart. Scary smart.

Pharaoh summons him.

There’s Joseph, sweating through his orange jumpsuit, surrounded by armed guards, listening to the most powerful man in the world talk about his bad dreams. You have to admire old Jo, the innocent. He actually listens, despite the temptation to plead his own case. And what he hears intrigues him.

Joseph strokes his beard and studies the palace floor. “Those two dreams you had? They were really the same dream.”

The court doesn’t get it.

“It’s very strange, your Highness. There’s a famine coming, that much is obvious. But the news comes twice.”

Concerned whispers go up all around him. A famine. But Pharaoh is silent, and the prisoner is still lost in his own head.

“There can only be one reason that God would give you a dream like this two times: It’s to emphasize to you that the matter has been firmly settled. This will happen.”

In an odd way, the scene reminds me of Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Future. Scrooge is mortified by what the ghost is showing him, and he is afraid to look at the name on the dark tombstone in front of them.

“Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point,” said Scrooge, “answer me one question. Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?”

What a profound question! Are there two different kinds of futures? Things that will be, and things that may be?

Joseph, evidently, thought so. He was sure that in this particular case, God was being perfectly clear: This thing that was coming, this famine, “WILL” be. God had decided. It was firm. Written in stone. Hence the two dreams.

And now for the inevitable question: what about when God gives only one dream?

******

(Today’s post is part of an ongoing series that corresponds to the “Life Journal” Bible reading plan. Expect regular installments throughout 2013)