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Gen. 40:1-23 - Hope In Suffering? - Part 2
So last week we saw Joseph going through a rough season, he has that sensitivity to others, he recognizes sadness there, and he has in him a real desire to serve and bless others. That is the very thing we will discover that gets him out of the prison he’s in. So let’s pick it up in vs. 8.
Vs. 8-15 - “We both had dreams,” they answered, “but there is no one to interpret them.”
Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.” So the chief cupbearer told Joseph his dream. He said to him, “In my dream I saw a vine in front of me, and on the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, it blossomed, and its clusters ripened into grapes. Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and put the cup in his hand.”
“This is what it means,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches are three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position, and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer. But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.”
Here’s Joseph, these guys are dreaming, and he’s thinking - “hey man, I can get hold of this. I know a little something about dreams, He’s given me lots of those,” Remember Gen. 37?
On the same point, I think it's also interesting here that the Hebrew word for “dungeon” in vs. 15 is the very same word used for “the pit” his brothers threw him in back in ch. 37.
So, Joseph’s probably thinking, “hey man, I’ve done this before, at least I got people to talk to here.” Is it not also interesting that from a very young age God was at work in this young man’s life just orchestrating and preparing him with circumstances that would shape him!! In just a few chapters here we’re able to see the Lord weaving into the fabric of this man’s life those unique experiences that would produce something wonderful in who he was.
And how many of us can look back over the canvas of our lives, even in our B.C. days, and see how God just protected us and wove into the tapestry of our lives HIS will and HIS purposes for us! I think that, like Joseph, IF you give your life over to the Lord’s program for your life, just allowing whatever comes your way to fly under the banner that: “God is in control,” seeking to be faithful in that... I think on the other side of the resurrection, man we are just going to be stunned at the profound providence of the hand of God in our lives.
So here’s Joseph, alright, “I know dreams. I know confinement.” Now, these 2 things are coming together all of a sudden, and we can just see how God is just working and setting up and seeking to produce just wonderful and dramatic things in this man’s life. So he is told the dreams, and notice he plays the God card here, he’s putting it out there that he’s a man of faith and giving credit to God for what’s about to go down.
That’s no small point, and we could just fly over it. God is not going to use men and women who even want part of the credit! God is in the business of using men and women who will give Him ALL the credit and glorify Him, and Joseph was such a man.
The Butler - man he’s gotta be pumped - “Awesome, I’m gonna blow this popsicle stand” - right!
But I want ya to mark vs. 14-15, notice the humility and character of Joseph here. A very modest presentation of his case, right!? He doesn’t go postal on his brothers, and he doesn’t even mention Mrs. Potifer, he just simply says “I haven’t done anything.”
So the butler’s doing the jig here, no doubt. Not so for the baker, picking it up in vs. 16...
Vs. 16-23 - “When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given a favorable interpretation, he said to Joseph, “I too had a dream: On my head were three baskets of bread.
In the top basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.”
“This is what it means,” Joseph said. “The three baskets are three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and impale your body on a pole.And the birds will eat away your flesh.”
Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials: He restored the chief cupbearer to his position so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand— but he impaled the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation. The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.”
Continuing with Joseph as the typology of Christ, here we find Joseph bound with 2 prisoners. Ya catching this!? EVEN AS Christ was bound with 2 prisoners on either side of the cross.
Joseph’s guys = one gets off and one gets condemned. EVEN AS the 2 thieves on the cross, one is welcomed into paradise, the other is condemned. Stunning pictures of the sovereign God who has the entire deal wired! The entire Bible is about Christ!
Ya gotta feel bad for the baker though, this is a rough thing that Joe’s just laid on him here, but there is something very interesting here that we gotta get.
What we see here is just a picture of real faithfulness. Joseph has the truth of God even when it isn’t pretty! Even when it's not pretty, he’s faithful to deliver the Word of God just as he received it.
In the time that we find ourselves living in today, there is just a TREMENDOUS compromise with those who have been given charge over the body of Christ. If you are going to a church where the FULL counsel of God is not getting preached, you’re getting ripped off spiritually.
Vs. 23 is a classic - “The butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.” How does that happen? Really!?
Here you are, thrown into prison over an alleged assassination attempt upon the president, and then you're in there and have this bizarre dream, and some guy comes along and interprets it, and you're outta there in 3 days time. You know as well as I do that you're gonna be telling your prison story to everyone ya run into!! But he totally forgets the deal! We’ll come to understand the next time we get together that he’s going to acknowledge that this is his sin, so this tells us it was intentional. He didn’t just space it out.
Obviously, God is all over this deal. Now I really want to encourage you that one of the things we need to see here is that: disillusionment is produced when we put our confidence in people. Everyone that Joseph has helped has ended up hurting him!
The reason he is not disillusioned with his life is because his confidence is not in people, but in God! He recognizes God is sovereign, God rules over all, God is ruling over the affairs of my life and I’m gonna be here as long as He wants me to be here. And this doesn’t go on for just a few weeks or months - he was 17 when he was sold into slavery. We’ll discover the next time they were together he’s gonna be 30 when he is exalted. Remind you of anyone else? (Luke 3:23). Jesus was 30 when He began His ministry. Fascinating! It gets better!
But my point here is that this dude was stuck being a slave and a prisoner for 13 years!! If God doesn’t answer my prayer in a week or so, I’m getting a little uptight with Him, and the reason why there’s such faithfulness here is because his confidence was placed STEADFASTLY in the Lord.
So one of the things we can be praying for this week is a greater trust and confidence in the sovereignty of God, that our lives are NOT just a series of disjointed events. But our lives are being woven together in just this beautiful fabric. And a day is going to come when for all of eternity our lives are going to be VERY special - TO THE DEGREE that we allow the Lordship of Christ to govern who it is that we are, to the degree that we run the Lord’s program for our lives. YOUR LIFE is going to speak of the mercy and the grace of God DIFFERENTLY than everyone else’s. There is a part of His grace that is woven and enfolded within you that can be revealed through NO OTHER BUT you! The story that YOU are going to tell in the ages to come throughout the counsels of eternity is going to be a unique story.
My story is going to be different, your story is going to be different, and together in fellowship with all the saints for all time, we will be learning of and growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 3:13-15; Rev. 22:12; 2 Pet. 3:18). And that is what the beauty of eternity is going to be about!
We can’t control a lot of circumstances in our lives, but we CAN control the way that we react, the way that we respond to them. And the way that we react to them is just with quiet confidence in the authority and the power of our God. And I know the day will come because the Word of God tells me that one day my testimony will be - “Behold, he has done all things well.”
Join us next week at we finish off with a question I asked at the beginning of this chapter about why God would allow this “stuff” in our lives. I’ll give ya a spoiler alert - God’s timing is absolutely perfect... See ya next week.