Last week, we left Joseph in prison, taken there unjustly by his master, Potiphar. Even there, Scripture tells us that…
…the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. Gen. 39:21
Like Potiphar, the prison guard sees a difference in this man. God empowers Joseph with a winsome way.
So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. Gen. 39:22-23
Again, like Potiphar, the warden just lays back and turns things over to Joseph.
We can only conjecture on what his duties might include. Maybe organize the men into groups? Have more responsible prisoners serve food to the others? Assign duties like scrubbing floors or cleaning toilet areas? (Not like our toilets, of course.) Keep fights at bay? Organize brief walks? Whatever he does, it works well and the warden trusts Joseph completely. Even in the dark days of prison confinement, Joseph is learning leadership skills.
My motto is, “never waste a bad experience without learning and growing from it.” Indeed, Joseph takes lemons and makes lemonade.
We will see him grow in another area when two more men are brought to the prison—the king’s cupbearer and the king’s baker. The captain of the guard assigns them to Joseph.
After some time, the two new prisoners both have dreams on the same night.
When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected. So he asked, “Why are your faces so sad today?”
“We both had dreams,” they answered, “but there is no one to interpret them.” Gen. 40:6-8
Then, and still today, dreams are very important to those in mid-eastern cultures. Joseph is about to learn that the ability to interpret dreams is yet another gift the Lord has given him.
Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.” Gen. 40:8
The chief cupbearer goes first.
“In my dream, I saw a vine in front of me, and on the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, it blossomed, and its clusters ripened into grapes. 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.” Gen. 40:9-11
Joseph interprets the dream.
“The three branches are three days. 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.” Gen. 40:12-13
The cupbearer is so pleased that he stops listening at this point. He really doesn’t pay any attention to Joseph when he asks the cupbearer to put in a good word for him to Pharaoh.
Next comes the baker’s dream interpretation. Unfortunately, he didn’t fare so well when Joseph interprets his dream.
“Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and hang you on a tree. and the birds will eat away your flesh. Gen. 40:19
Yikes, not such good news for the baker. Joseph calls it as God reveals it and both dreams accurately come true.
This time in prison has not gone to waste. The Lord has been with Joseph, expanding his leadership skills and teaching him about dream interpretations. Hope is growing in Joseph, but he has another character lesson to learn first—perseverance.
…we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance: perseverance, character: and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4
May you find strength in the Lord today in whatever phase you find yourself. Character-building is hard work.
~ Joyce ~