In Part 1 of our series, Potiphar imprisons Joseph for a crime he didn't commit. His earlier dreams of glory (when he was 17) appear to be cruel mirages (Gen. 37:5-11).
How does our hero Joseph get from his latest pit to the palace in Egypt?
As always, God's ways are surprising...a mystery.
Earlier we learned, despite Joseph's unjust circumstances, God was with him, and gave him favor with the chief jailer. Joseph is given administrative responsibility over the other prisoners. We are told "whatever he did, the LORD made to prosper." (Gen. 39:23)
We see a ray of hope in the midst of Joseph's pit. Joseph is not alone.
We are not alone. God never abandons us, even when hardship tempts us to believe otherwise. (Heb. 13:5)(Tweetable, yes? Click to tweet.)
Plot thickens with 2 new characters: the cupbearer and the baker (Gen. 40:1-23)
Pharoah, the king of Egypt, becomes angry with two officials, the cupbearer and the baker, and throws them in prison. Because of his job, Joseph meets these two officials.
Joseph is about 28 years old...it has been 11 years since his two dreams. (Remember, my hint in Part 1, the dreams are key.)
One day, Joseph notices both men look dejected and he asks them why?
They explain they each had a disturbing dream, which they don't understand.
Joseph invites them to tell him the dreams since the interpretation of dreams belongs to God. (Gen. 40:8)
Once again, we see Joseph's reliance on God.
The Cupbearer's Dream
The cupbearer(*) saw three branches budding on a vine, and its blossoms became clusters of ripe grapes. The cupbearer then takes the grapes, squeezes them into Pharoah's cup and gives the cup to Pharoah.
Joseph tells him the dream means in three days, Pharoah will restore the cupbearer to his position.
Now Joseph has been in prison for several years; he asks the cupbearer to remember him and tell Pharoah he was unjustly put in prison.
Can you imagine the hope Joseph had in his heart? Finally, someone who has access will advocate for his release.
The baker's dream
Upon hearing Joseph's positive interpretation of the cupbearer's dream, the baker tells Joseph his dream.
Unfortunately, Joseph tells the baker his dream means he will be hung from a tree, and the birds will pick at his flesh.
On the third day, as Joseph predicted: Pharoah restores the cupbearer to his position; he enjoys again his executive job and its perks. Pharoah hangs the baker.
Will the cupbearer remember how Joseph took the time to show him kindness?
Will he put in a good word for Joseph as requested? Will Joseph finally get out of prison?
Sadly, the answer is "no."
Hint: the "no" eventually becomes "yes." We will find out how in Part 3 of From "P"it to "P"alace.
Originally, I was going to continue, but then this post would be too long.
How do you think Joseph felt when the days turned into weeks, and he realized the cupbearer had forgotten him?
Have you ever been, what you thought was so close to a breakthrough, and then it fell apart?
I wonder if Joseph had a heart-to-heart chat with God about his disappointment, and if he clung to his God-given dreams.
We are told in this story Joseph believes God holds the interpretation of dreams, so I wonder if he knew God would eventually take him out of prison and put him in a position of power.
Have you ever waited over 11 years for something good to happen? Laura Boggess shared she prayed 12 years for her husband to become a follower of Jesus.
If you are in any sort of prison (literal or metaphorical), I pray God would give you a vision of what He has planned for you.
I don't know what it will look like, and I don't know if you will see it here and now. In Hebrews 11, we are told about how some believers, didn't see what was promised in their lifetime, but they didn't lose faith, and they are considered heroes of faith.
Some, like Abraham, persevered in faith, and after 25 years of waiting, received the God-promised son, Isaac.
We know God has promised us an eternity with Him now and forever. In heaven, there will be no tears, no illness, and no death.
May God give you the hope in Him to persevere in faith. (Romans 5:3-5, 15:13)
P.S. What I have learned from waiting: it is a chance to grow in intimacy with God, which is priceless. Of course, hindsight does help, and I know it won't be the last time I will wait for God in the pit. For now, He has given me a new song (Psalm 40:1-3).
*A cupbearer's job was to taste and drink everything before it touched the Pharoah's lips in case it was poisoned. It was a position of high trust and access.
Photo of palace in Cairo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons user: Bakar_88
Photo of chalice used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons user: Danny Ayers
Linking with these beautiful communities:
Sweet and gifted friend Laura Boggess,
Wonderful Jen Ferguson
Linking with encouraging and talented friend Jennifer Dukes Lee,
Kind and artistic Emily Wierenga