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Who is the smartest person in the world? Regardless of the list you would compile, no one would come close to a 30-year-old Hebrew slave named Joseph. But it is vital to understand the source of Joseph’s wisdom and knowledge.

A Worldwide Crisis

Genesis 41 records the scene right before a crisis that would envelop the entire known world. Pharaoh, the highest leader of the strongest nation in the world, had a dream. It so frightened him that he called for every wise man he knew to interpret it; but none could.

Through the providence of God, Joseph was called up from Pharaoh’s prison and asked to interpret the dream. Joseph’s immediate, humble statement revealed volumes:

Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, but no one can interpret it; and I have heard it said about you, that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer” (Genesis 41:15-16 NASB).

He instantly and perfectly interpreted the dream, indicating that there would be seven years of abundance followed by seven years of worldwide drought.

As Joseph relayed the interpretation, he said twice to Pharaoh, “God has told to Pharaoh what He is about to do” (vv. 25, 28). And then, the humble slave gave a remedy for the drought—a plan that would literally save the world.

A Universal Source

Joseph was exalted in this situation to become the second most powerful person in command in the entire world. Even Pharaoh recognized that Joseph had a connection to an Unseen Source:

Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?” So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you” (Genesis 41:38-40).

This exaltation came through Joseph’s humility.

This young man recognized that all knowledge belonged to God. He was just a steward, a channel through which this understanding would be brought to others for their good and God’s glory. Nothing more, nothing less.

God knows what will happen in the next fourteen years of your life, too. In fact, He knows what the next 1400 years holds for humanity and beyond. The apostle Paul would later reinforce this:

… “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).

What is astounding about this truth is that our omniscient God is willing to share His knowledge with those who humbly seek Him.

The world exalts degrees and the opinions of those with high intellect. But we forget that these men and women are created by a Greater Mind.

If we want to know true wisdom and insight into the future, we must defer to the Source of all wisdom and knowledge, and humbly give Him glory when He allows us to see what He sees.

And we must remember that even a 30-year-old can gain access to this divine source.

Father, help me to believe in You, not in myself or others. Help me to understand Your sovereign knowledge and wisdom, and always defer to You for my answer to any question. Let me find Your understanding through Your Word and by Your Spirit in prayer. And when You reveal things to me that others may not see, let me carefully give You all the glory.