The Life of Joseph - Lesson 17, Continuing the Life of Joseph in Egypt.
Review Verses: 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.
This weeks verses: Genesis 40:20-23, And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand: But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.
Just as Joseph had interpreted the two dreams so it came to pass, as every word that comes out of the mouth of the Lord, will come to pass.
For we know that which came from Joseph came from the Lord, for do not interpretations belong to the Lord?
So one was taken and one was left.
No doubt Joseph had mixed feelings about this event, rejoicing in the Lord for the encouragement to his faith the right interpretations had brought.
He had not misunderstood God's revelation to him in his dreams for he knew that God was with him.
He was sure that God would use him even though he had waited eleven years since his dreams were given him.
Joseph had even figured out how God was to deliver him.
Hadn't he told the butler to remember him to the Pharaoh when the butler found himself lifted up again by Pharaoh.
Surely he will be out of prison very soon now because of his plea.
But this was not to be, for God was not ready to have Joseph in the house of the Pharaoh.
Joseph was to learn that his figuring out ways are not God's figuring out ways.
For Joseph's hope was in the memory of the butler but the butler had a short memory for we are told that when he was restored, he forgot Joseph.
Oh, how the butler needed Joseph when in the prison but now that ease and comfort were his he no longer needed that slave that helped him in prison.
So after anxiously awaiting word from the palace Joseph no doubt settled down in the prison and faithfully resumed his duties for the keeper of the prison.
Genesis 41:1-8, And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river. And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well favoured kine and fatfleshed; and they fed in a meadow. And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill favoured and leanfleshed; and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river. And the ill favoured and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven well favoured and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke. And he slept and dreamed the second time: and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good. And, behold, seven thin ears and blasted with the east wind sprung up after them. And the seven thin ears devoured the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream. And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh.
It has been two full years since the butler's dream had been interpreted by Joseph.
Two full years and again we come to or near the birthday of Pharaoh.
It is time for God to lift up Joseph from the prison.
He has been tried and tested and is now ready for ministry.
He is to be called by God to be the grand vizier, the prime minister, the executive officer of the king of Egypt, the Pharaoh.
He has been called by God to be the chief officer of state responsible for carrying on all the administrative functions of the kingdom, except matters to do with religion.
He was prepared for all of this except matters of religion for God did not want him involved in the religion of Egypt.
He will be the one to appoint the district inspectors, he is the one who will decide matters having to do with boundaries, land allocations, taxes, and internal security.
He will receive visitors from foreign lands.
He will keep local princes in check lest they think to overthrow the Pharaoh.
He will travel all around Egypt to see to it that all is in order.
Officials throughout Egypt will receive him and pay him homage for he will be second in command throughout all Egypt.
For twelve years Joseph has been preparing for this time.
Years of suffering, years of serving, years of humility.
Our preparation for a mission such as this would be through the finest schools but God's preparation for this has been through slavery and jailing in the finest prison Egypt could provide.
Many may have sent their resumes' to the Pharaoh for this position boasting of their background, their education, their connections but God would have none of those.
God had in Joseph a prepared servant, prepared to prepare a place for his chosen nation to grow and prosper that they may be delivered by the same God who will now deliver Joseph from prison.
And it is to begin with a dream of Pharaoh.
Dreams have been prominent in Joseph's life.
First his two dreams by which he had been so severely rebuked by his brothers, then the two dreams of the butler and the baker and now two dreams of the Pharaoh.
Joseph had tried to pull strings to use his influence for release from prison but God would have none of that from this chosen vessel.
God's timing required two more full years of trying and testing in prison.
Two full years in the oven of God's testing until Joseph was the right temperature for God to lift up and use in the court of Pharaoh
Two full years of service in the prison but knowing Joseph he continued to serve and await God's good pleasure.
Hadn't he been given two dreams that lifted him up to a position of power?
Surely God had a plan for him.
Get ready Joseph, for the whirlwind of God's will.
For when the time is right God awaits for no man and things will surely move faster than you could imagine.
The king's two dreams are what sped up the clock.
First he fell asleep and dreamed about cattle then he fell asleep and dreamed about corn.
Seven fat flourishing cows emerge from the life giving waters of the Nile.
This was a sight that brought immediate joy to the Pharaoh but the dream was not over.
Out of the same river came seven more cows, mangy, bony, ill-kempt cows who came ashore, famished, devouring the fat flourishing cows.
No doubt the Pharaoh awoke in horror at such as this.
But again he fell asleep, but not to a sleep of peace, for he continued to dream.
It was now a dream of golden fields of corn.
He examined the corn stands closely and found that seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good.
Enough to bring joy to the heart of the dreaming Pharaoh.
But again that joy was disturbed by the outcome of the next part of the dream.
The enemy of the field of good corn stepped out, seven blotched and blighted ears blasted with the east wind, (the east wind is never a good wind) and turned upon the good ears and devoured them.
And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream. And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh.
The butler and the baker in prison did not expect to have their dreams interpreted but God provided an interpreter.
Pharaoh thought that he had plenty of interpreters but he had none.
God was in this and shut the minds of his magicians so that Joseph's mind would be needed.
Pharaoh was not getting his money's worth from the staff magicians.
Can you imagine?
The magician's opportunity to shine had come because of Pharaoh's dreams and the magician's minds were empty.
Here were the wise men, the sages, the scholars, men of learning in the study of dreams, standing before the Pharaoh with their distinctive robes, probably looking like Merlin with mystical signs decorating their robes.
Probably gathered together after hearing the dreams, consulting with each other, hoping to enlarge their dream interpreting fee.
But they did not know that they were up against the true God, a God who could not be persuaded to tell them what the dreams meant but instead shut up their minds.
"O King" they cried, Life! Prosperity, Health.
"O King we are baffled. Our god gives no answer."
So Pharaoh must seek elsewhere for the meaning of his dreams.
The magicians have failed on this most opportune occasion.
Genesis 41:9-13, Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my faults this day: Pharaoh was wroth with his servants, and put me in ward in the captain of the guard's house, both me and the chief baker: And we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he; we dreamed each man according to the interpretation of his dream. And there was there with us a young man, an Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard; and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man according to his dream he did interpret. And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was; me he restored unto mine office, and him he hanged.
The chief butler, the Pharaoh's cupbearer had listened intently and saw the failure of the magicians.
He had seen their fear and their embarrassment and that had caused him to remember a similar occasion when he had so suffered.
Suffering is good that way.
I do remember my faults this day!
He not only remembered his faults but he remembered Joseph.
Two years ago he remembered not Joseph but God's timing declared his memory clear on this occasion.
This reminds me of this verse in Galatians:
Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
And here we see the stage all set by God to bring forth his servant Joseph for whom He had been preparing this day.
God displayed His perfect wisdom in the perfect timing of the events of Joseph's life.
Not a moment too soon, not a moment too late.
Pharaoh's dreams had made him ready, Pharaoh's magicians had made the need for Joseph, the butler was ready to speak of his imprisonment without fear.
All was set for Joseph to give glory to God.