The Life of Joseph - Lesson 16, Continuing the Life of Joseph in Egypt.
Review Verses: 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.
Genesis 40:9-15, And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me; And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes: And Pharaoh's cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand. And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days: Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh's cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler. But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and show kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.
These were the days when God revealed himself directly to his messengers.
There was no written word as we have today.
One wonders what the King James only folks would have done with this interpretation.
2 Peter 1:20-21, Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
(Is the King James version the King James only crowd their private interpretation)
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
The word of God was communicated to men by the Holy Spirit and the interpretations of the two dreams was given to Joseph by the Holy Spirit.
Joseph knew this for he so easily said: Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.
Could we today say the same?
I think not for we have the written word of God.
So Joseph patiently listened to the dream of the butler, fully expecting God to reveal to him the interpretation.
Didn't he know God and didn't he believe that he was his ambassador or representative in Egypt?
Joseph had a sense about him that he was to speak for God.
This is what every believer is to have about him or her.
We are appointed to speak for God.
Peter said in 1 Peter 4:11, If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles (or utterance) of God;
This is what John preached in 1 John 1:3, That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
So Joseph speaking as an oracle of God says with authority:
Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.
What confidence Joseph had in the Lord!
Don't you suppose that God was pleased to have such confidence expressed in him, for that kind of confidence can only be expressed in faith.
And faith pleases God!
So the butler recounted his dream.
The main gist of his dream concerned a daily task that the butler had done while he was in favor with the Pharaoh, that of placing the cup of wine in Pharaoh's hand.
This was the most important single responsibility of the butler's daily service, for the butler was the Pharaoh's cupbearer.
But note the exactness of the dream as the butler relates to Joseph what he saw.
He saw a vine, then branches, then buds, then blossoms, then clusters of grapes, then the pressing of grapes into the cup, and then the cup into Pharaoh's hand.
What he saw was the lengthy process of grape growing and wine making.
The butler dreamed of a future with the Pharaoh.
And the interpretation provided by God to Joseph also provided for a future for he said that within three days the butler would be restored to his former position.
What Joseph says next is interesting for it may be revealing Joseph's natural heart.
But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and show kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house:
This reminds us of the dying thief's request of Christ when they both hung on a cross.
Luke 23:42, And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
In the case of the thief it was a request of a malefactor to the Savior but in the case of Joseph it was the request of a savior to a man.
The lesson here is that hope is properly extended to God but hope in man will avail little.
Dr. Hobbs pointed this out to me last week and I believe it is an important lesson to learn as we serve the Lord.
It teaches us that our hope is not to be in man but our hope is to be in the Lord.
For Joseph uses this incident with the butler to make a plea on his own behalf hoping that man will come to his aid.
For he takes advantage of his relationship to the butler in order to get out of the prison.
Is he using his influence with the butler to get special treatment from the Pharaoh?
Does this indicate an impatience with the Lord and an unwillingness to wait on the Lord's good pleasure as to when and if he will be released.
Is this politics to get special treatment or is it simply the natural desire to seek freedom?
But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and show kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.
Whatever the case we know from further chapters that this plea avails Joseph nothing for it will be two years and God's own timing before Joseph departs this prison.
God intends for Joseph to lead Egypt and the years of plenty and the years of famine are on a fixed calendar along with the dreams of Pharaoh which require the God given interpretation of Joseph.
The two more years that Joseph is to remain in prison is necessary to God's will for his people.
It won't be long before Joseph will being saying Genesis 45:7 to his brothers:
And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
If released now, where would Joseph be when the time came for dream interpretation in the house of Pharaoh?
If Joseph prevailed by his importunity with the butler and he was released would he have been a fit vessel in the Lord's hands?
Would he be used to preserve a posterity?
Be careful when we wrestle things out of God's hands and take them into our own hands because we think to do better.
Yes it is natural to want freedom, but is it God's will?
In Joseph's case it was God's will for Joseph not to have freedom of the body for the freedom of the soul was what was important to God.
Next we are to see the baker, the opportunist, enter the picture.
Genesis 40:16-19, When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head: And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head. And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days: Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee.
The chief baker listened to Joseph interpret the chief butler's dream and saw that it turned out well for him.
He was not as ready to trust Joseph as was the butler but now that he heard a good report from Joseph for the butler, he too wished to hear the interpretation of his dream.
But this dream was different from the butler's for it did not result in blessing to the Pharaoh but it resulted in a curse for Pharaoh.
Notice what took place.
In the butler's dream Pharaoh received a cup full of wine from the butler, a blessing.
But in the case of the baker's dream Pharaoh receives from the baker nothing but an empty white basket with a few crumbs left by thieving birds, a curse.
If the cup of wine brought freedom to the butler you can be sure that a basket empty of bake meats, (fruit, food, and meats) will bring death to the baker.
The three branches of the butler's dream were three days.
And the three baskets of the butler's were three days.
So far so good but the birds eating the blessing out of the baskets will condemn the baker to Pharaoh's wrath.
In the case of each, Pharaoh lifted up their heads, one lifted up in favor and the other lifted up to hang.
And once hanging, to be left for the birds to devour.
It is interesting to note that the grapes pressed into wine may suggest the blood of Christ, resulting in the salvation of the butler, while the bake meats, may suggest the labor of man's hands, resulting in a curse on the baker.
No doubt Joseph was disturbed by this interpretation but he was faithful to deliver to the baker that which God had given to him.
He told it straight to the baker and did not sugar coat the message and try to make it the verdict the baker wished to hear.
But this servant of the Lord can speak of nothing but judgment.
If the doomed baker receives this interpretation with skepticism he has only to wait three days before he knows that Joseph was speaking the words of the Lord.