LIVING ON ROCK BOTTOM
Loving Lord, I want to see who You really are, and to love You as I really should.
Read GENESIS 40
The Cupbearer and the Baker
40 Some time later, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their master, the king of Egypt. 2 Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, 3 and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined. 4 The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he attended them.
After they had been in custody for some time, 5 each of the two men—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were being held in prison—had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own.
6 When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected. 7 So he asked Pharaoh’s officials who were in custody with him in his master’s house, “Why do you look so sad today?”
8 “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.”
9 So the chief cupbearer told Joseph his dream. He said to him, “In my dream I saw a vine in front of me, 10 and on the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, it blossomed, and its clusters ripened into grapes. 11 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.”
12 “This is what it means,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches are three days. 13 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. 14 But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. 15 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.”
16 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.[a] 17 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.”
18 “This is what it means,” Joseph said. “The three baskets are three days. 19 Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and impale your body on a pole. And the birds will eat away your flesh.”
20 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: 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand— 22 but he impaled the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation.
23 The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.
- Genesis 40:16 Or three wicker baskets
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.’1
Nothing reveals our true character as much as when we are under pressure, especially undeserved pressure. The injustice of Joseph’s imprisonment is compounded by its appearing to have no end date. Genesis labors the uncertainty of it all. This episode occurs ‘Some time later’ (1) and only after a further undefined period (4) are two men introduced who promise some hope. Even then it is a further two years before anything else happens.2 What frustration! What a waste! What is God doing? Joseph knows first-hand the truth that ‘hope deferred makes the heart sick’.3
At least the guard recognizes Joseph’s character and assigns him to look after the two high officials incarcerated for offending Pharaoh. Ironically, Joseph serves them by interpreting their dreams. His own experience of dreams hasn’t discouraged him from venturing into this area. In doing so he demonstrates: (1) a sensitivity to others (7) rather than self-preoccupation; (2) godliness (8), believing the living God of his fathers alone can give the interpretations of dreams, not the false Egyptian gods; and (3) courage and integrity in voici ng the interpretations, even though it spells bad news for the baker. His credentials get strengthened when his predictions soon prove correct. Only once does Joseph’s personal agony peep through, when he asks the cupbearer to remember him and mention his case to Pharaoh (14). Alas, the all-too-human cupbearer doesn’t repay the kindness and forgets Joseph. His unjust suffering is set to continue for a while. He has hit rock bottom and is destined to stay there for a bit longer.
Here is faith in action, patiently awaiting the fulfillment of the promise.
How would you react in such circumstances? With frustration, impatience, or even anger? Or by quietly trusting God to fulfill his promises?
Lord, thank You for Your Word. It’s a lamp for my feet and my guide through the dark times of life.
1 Heb 11:1 2 Gen 41:1 3 Prov 13:12