The Life of Joseph - Lesson 15, Continuing the Life of Joseph in Egypt.
Genesis 40:1-4, And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt. (It appears that the Pharaoh believed in the chain of command here and placed the responsibility of the offences of the butler and the baker on the chief of the butlers and the chief of the bakers) And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound. And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward.
Joseph is now in prison being faithful to God in spite of the harsh conditions prisons bring.
But he knows his circumstances are in God's hands.
It is exciting for one who knows that God is in charge to see the working of events that bring about God's will.
Joseph knew that God had much in store for him because he believed that his dreams were from God.
Hadn't both dreams foretold of him in a position of power?
But he is in prison and how will this power come to him?
Enter the Chief Butler and the Chief Baker of the king of Egypt.
Joseph is again coming closer to this power.
Perhaps he thought that he would realize this power though Potifar but this is the thoughts of a man and God's thoughts are not man's thoughts.
I'm sure Joseph mused about this on many occasions but as is usually the case our ways are not God's ways and most times we cannot predict how God will bring about his will.
God moves the very stars in their orbits to work his will, and he rules the passions of men and the decisions of those in authority to accomplish what he has planned for your life.
And he used the offences of a butler and a baker before their Pharaoh to work his will in the life of Joseph.
And Joseph was ready to work in God's plan because by his testimony he had been placed in a position of authority in the prison and therefore the chief butler and the chief baker could be placed in his charge.
And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward.
Look who charged Joseph with them. The captain of the guard.
Wasn't this captain of the guard, Potifar, whose wrath had been kindled because of the incident with his wife?
Perhaps this is an indication that Potifar did not believe his wife or upon reflection changed his mind and concluded that it was totally out of character for Joseph to do such things as his wife accused.
He knew what value Joseph had been at his home and he knew that he would be of equal value charged with the care of the chief of the butlers and chief of the bakers.
Since these two prisoners were prisoners of rank in Pharaoh's court Joseph was to be their attendant, responsible for their safe custody and he was to be their servant.
Genesis 40:5-8, And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison. And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad. And he asked Pharaoh's officers that were with him in the ward of his lord's house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly to day? And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.
This passage reveals the continuing hand of God in Joseph's life for God gives Joseph the opportunity to give him glory.
Joseph does not pass up this opportunity to give God glory in order to give himself glory.
Both the chief of the butlers and the chief of the bakers are given a dream in the same night.
These dreams did not come by chance or at a time unrelated to Joseph's relationship with these men.
Sufficient time of their imprisonment has passed in order for Joseph to establish himself in their eyes as a servant to be trusted.
Joseph, as was his custom, came in unto them in the morning and was genuinely interested in their welfare for he immediately sensed that they were sad.
You would think that sadness was a common condition in prison but apparently Joseph's care of the butler and the baker had produced a normal condition of contentment even in prison.
But this morning it was obvious to Joseph that something was different in his two charges.
Had Joseph just been going through the motions of his service as many times we do, he would not have picked up on their sadness and therefore missed an opportunity to bring glory to God.
How easy it would have been for him to have gone about his duties with no concern for the difficulties of others.
Didn't he have enough troubles of his own?
But Joseph was more interested in others than himself.
Wherefore look ye so sadly to day?
Why are your faces so gloomy today?
We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.
Joseph put it right on the line that anything he would tell them would come from God and God was to be praised, not Joseph.
Any interpretation that was given by Joseph would come from God.
But what presumption on Joseph's part!
Yes, interpretations of dreams belong to God so why tell Joseph the dream?
Did he presume to be God?
No, Joseph had established that he was a godly man and that he knew God.
He had access to God and could secure the meaning of the butler and the baker's dreams.
What was the chief butler and the chief baker's reaction?
Was it one of doubt that a prisoner in the Pharaoh's prison could presume to interpret dreams?
Well the reaction of the butler was different from the baker and the reactions revealed the heart of each.
Notice who trusts Joseph to interpret his dream without evidence.
The chief butler immediately told his dream to Joseph but the chief baker only told Joseph when he saw that the interpretation of the butler's dream was good.
The butler acted on faith while the baker acted by sight.
One of faith and one of unbelief.
When we think of Joseph as a type of Christ this whole incident reminds us of the two thieves who hung on crosses along with Christ.
For the baker was the type of the malefactor which said in unbelief to Christ: If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
The baker waited for an interpretation before he would accept Joseph.
This malefactor looked to Jesus to get off the cross and perform some miracle to save him.
He was as the baker was, he needed to be shown to believe.
But the other malefactor rebuked him in belief as he said: Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Compare the butler and the baker to the malefactors and compare Joseph to Christ as we continue this passage in: Go to Lesson 16