Epistles to the Cyberchurch - Su Min

To: 6 readers
From: Su Min
Subject: Seven Fat Cows

Dearly beloved,

grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord!

Today we look at Genesis 41. Joseph is still in prison, deposited there as a result of false charges by Potiphar's wife. Joseph has got into the good books of the captain of the guards. Joseph had interpreted the dreams of Butler and Baker: Butler was reinstated and promptly forget Joseph: Baker was executed: the accuracy of the dream interpretations being credited by Joseph to the glory of God (Gen 40:8)... Gen 41 begins with Pharaoh's twin dreams, firstly of the cows and secondly of the ears of corn.

Pharaoh is troubled by these dreams and summons all the wisemen and magicians to interpret these dreams, but none is able to do so (Gen 41:8).

Then Butler's memory is joggled, his conscience pricked, and he was reminded of his shortcomings (Gen 41:9), for did not Butler also once have a dream that he could not understand, and did not the young Hebrew interpret the dream for him. So Joseph is sent for, and asked to interpret Pharaoh's dream (Gen 41:14-15).

Joseph's response is honest and bold. He can not do this task, but, he adds, it is God who will give Pharaoh the answer he desires (Gen 41:16)... Then Pharaoh repeats his dreams for Joseph (Gen 41:17-24), and Joseph related the meaning of these dreams as God reveals (Gen 41:25-32). Not only does Joseph relate the interpretation of the dreams, but also proposes solid advice in the face of the predicted famine (Gen 41:33-36).

Pharaoh accepts the advice and appoints Joseph in charge of all of Egypt (Gen 41:39), giving Joseph signet ring, fine linen robes and gold chain (Gen 41:42), a chariot to ride about as second in charge (Gen 41:43), an Egyptian name and a wife (Gen 41:45), and we are told that Joseph was 30 years old when he achieved this. Not bad for a slave who had been languishing in jail.

During the seven years of plenty, Joseph collected and stored the stocks of grain (Gen 41:47-49). The famine began (Gen 41:54) just as Joseph had predicted, and the surrounding lands had no food, but because of Joseph's plan, there was enough in Egypt to meet the needs of the people. Gen 41:57 closes with the note that even people from surrounding lands came to buy grain from Egypt, and this sets the scene for the reunion of Joseph with his family, God working His almighty plan out step by step, in His good time..

It is fascinating the way the seven fat cows and seven thin cows and seven good heads of corn and seven thin heads of corn are repeated three times, firstly at the opening of Gen 41:1-5, as we are first told about them, secondly as Pharaoh relates these dreams to Joseph (Gen 41:17-24) and thirdly, as Joseph repeats them and gives the interpretation (Gen 41:26-27). I have discovered that all the statements in the bible are all very important, and those which are doubly important are repeated. On occasion one finds statements repeated three times and these must be of paramount importance.. Like Jesus asking Peter "Do you love me?" and instructing him "Feed my sheep" (John 21: 15-17). So these seven fat cows must have some extra special message for us.

The story of the seven fat cows and the seven thin cows as reflected in Genesis 41 is a very significant one for me, as it speaks to me of the cyclic seasons of plenty followed by the famine times, and the need to store up in the warehouses during the seasons of plenty. This was true for Pharaoh in the days of Joseph in Egypt, and it also true for us today. It speaks to me of the need to store up spiritual food while the going is good: when we are blessed with health and wealth and happiness, with the opportunities to go to church for corporate worship, and the opportunities for personal bible study. It speaks to me of the need to develop a relationship with our Triune God, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The seven fat cows and seven thin cows seem to be a recurring theme in my life as I go through the ups and downs. Did we not see Joseph going though ups and downs. Yet God was with him all the way. And so too, I find that God has been with me all the way, in the good times and the bad. And from the seven fat cows and seven thin cows I have learned to lay up my treasures in heaven where moth are rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal (Matt 6:20). And like Joseph, I learn to give God glory and credit for all that he has done.

Let us close in prayer.

Love Dad

For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min

Back to Antioch's Well
Back to Antioch's Home Page