The Biblical preacher recites the revelation of God; he reads the Scriptures aloud to his listeners. The Biblical preacher then proceeds to bring the weight of that revelation to bear on his listeners. In light of what God has said, here is how we respond. In one sense, it really is that simple and uncomplicated.
It’s not too often that one goes to Genesis to find instruction on Biblical preaching, but there is a fascinating, and I think helpful example of good, Biblical preaching within this book of beginnings. The example comes in chapter 41, where Joseph, a prisoner of Potipher, is brought to stand before Pharaoh, the most powerful man in the world at the time. You may remember that Joseph had just spent two long years in prison after he had given right interpretations to the dreams of the baker and cupbearer. Alone and forgotten, he had spent the last twenty years being prepared by God for this very moment. Pharaoh has two dreams, of cows and corn, which trouble him. He seeks the interpretation of the dreams from his royal magicians, who are unable to provide the answers. It is at this moment where the cupbearer remembers Joseph, the man who had interpreted his own dream two years earlier. Joseph is cleaned up, shaven, put in some nice clothes, and brought before Pharaoh.
It is at this point, in verse 16, where we get our first indication of what’s going to take place. Pharaoh asks Joseph if he can give the interpretation, to which Joseph replies, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” Joseph answers by saying that answers to these mysteries come only by revelation from God, the giver of the mystery. So we must first see that the dream interpretation is from God: divine revelation to Joseph. After Pharaoh recounts the dream, Joseph recites to Pharaoh what God revealed. Now to be sure, Joseph could have stopped here and it would have sufficed. He would probably have been seen in a favorable light by Pharaoh, taken out of prison, and made to be an Egyptian citizen. But the second key phrase in this narrative comes in verse 33: “Now therefore let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh proceed….” Joseph takes the revelation given to him by God, recites it to his listener, and then offers the implications of it. That is, he explains to Pharaoh the weight of what God had revealed to him.