But the chief wine steward didn’t remember Joseph; he forgot all about him. Two years later, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing near the Nile. Genesis 40:23-41:1
Today’s Devotional was written by: Kendra King
Genesis chapters 37-48 is my favorite Bible story: the story of Joseph. In particular, I love the following two verses—and I recommend you open your Bible to see them in print, for they represent chapter breaks:
Genesis 40:23 “The chief cup bearer however, did NOT remember Joseph; he forgot him.”
And then the next chapter begins…..”When TWO FULL YEARS had passed, Pharaoh had a dream…..”
These two short verses represent two years of Joseph’s life. AFTER he had been betrayed and sold into slavery by his own brothers, and sent off into a frightening uncertain future far from his father’s house and any safety…..AFTER he has served as a slave in Potiphar’s household, then was again betrayed and sent to prison….AFTER he interpreted the dreams of the baker and the cupbearer….it says the cup bearer did not remember him; he forgot all about Joseph. End of paragraph, end of chapter, and to Joseph: end of story, and end of life. It’s easy to read quickly along and hear the full story of how God redeemed an impossible situation and brought Joseph into great favor and used him to save his people….and miss those two long years. But to someone suffering through a long season in life, those two years can represent hope.
One of the thing I have come to understand is that suffering is a season. And, seasons are rarely short. Seasons like these often are counted in years, not days. Two full years, it says. But also, seasons finally come to an end, and then God’s hand turns a page…and something divine happens to bring us out: “Pharaoh had a dream.” Finally, when we can do nothing for ourselves, God does something for us. We get to see Him at work, for us. What happened to Joseph during those two years, when surely he had no idea of ever being released? I cannot imagine an Egyptian prison was a kind place for an exiled slave. But I also imagine that during that time, much of what needed to change within Joseph, did. He was before an arrogant, probably spoiled young man. That would be forever gone, and replaced with wisdom, gratitude, and discernment. Why does God allow such seasons? I know he does allow them, and I know that greatness is forged within them. And, when Pharaoh finally does have his dream, we are ready to step forward into something that goes beyond all we ask or imagined.
Abraham and Sarah waited decades for Isaac. Moses served forty years in the wilderness before ever seeing the burning bush. Likewise, David was a renegade soldier at war for years between the time Samuel annointed him, and his coronation. Paul spent three years after his conversion before becoming the great missionary to the gentiles (Gal 1:18). The woman who touched Jesus’s cloak had suffered for 12 years. Seasons….years…. This I know to be true: the greatest stories I’ve ever heard come after such seasons. In fact, the only stories worth telling and re-telling, come out of the season of suffering. While you are in them: know God will one day turn a page. And the rest of your story, which will be rich in glory and full of miracles, will be one no one can put down. It will be like Manasseh and Ephraim: “It is because God has made me forget all my troubles…He has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” (Genesis 41:51-52). So be encouraged: keep reading till the end. Miracles await: YOUR story will be one for the ages; Pharaoh will one day have his dream, and God will bring you out.
Read this verse in context: Psalm Genesis 40-41
Some time later, both the wine steward and the baker for Egypt’s king offended their master, the king of Egypt. 2 Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief wine steward and the chief baker, 3 and he put them under arrest with the commander of the royal guard in the same jail where Joseph was imprisoned. 4 The commander of the royal guard assigned Joseph to assist them. After they had been under arrest for some time, 5 both of them—the wine steward and the baker for Egypt’s king who were imprisoned in the jail—had dreams one night, and each man’s dream had its own meaning. 6 When Joseph met them in the morning, he saw that they were upset. 7 He asked the officers of Pharaoh who were under arrest with him in his master’s house, “Why do you look so distressed today?”
8 They answered, “We’ve both had dreams, but there’s no one to interpret them.”
Joseph said to them, “Don’t interpretations belong to God? Describe your dreams to me.”
9 The chief wine steward described his dream to Joseph: “In my dream there was a vine right in front of me, 10 and on the vine were three branches. When it budded, its blossoms appeared, and its clusters ripened into grapes. 11 Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, so I took the grapes, crushed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and put the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.”
12 Joseph said to him, “This is the dream’s interpretation: The three branches are three days. 13 After three days, Pharaoh will give you an audience and return you to your position. You will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just the way things were before when you were his wine steward. 14 But please, remember me when you are doing well and be loyal to me. Put in a good word for me to Pharaoh, so he sets me free from this prison. 15 I was stolen from the land of the Hebrews, and here too I’ve done nothing to be thrown into this dungeon.”
16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was favorable, he said to Joseph, “It was the same for me. In my dream, there were three baskets of white bread[a] on my head. 17 In the basket on top there were baked goods for Pharaoh’s food, but birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.”
18 Joseph responded, “This is the dream’s interpretation: The three baskets are three days. 19 After three days, Pharaoh will give you an audience and will hang you from a tree where birds will peck your flesh from you.”
20 The third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a party for all of his servants. Before all of his servants, he gave an audience to the chief wine steward and the chief baker. 21 He returned the chief wine steward to his position, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand. 22 But the chief baker he hanged, just as Joseph had said would happen when he interpreted their dreams for them. 23 But the chief wine steward didn’t remember Joseph; he forgot all about him.
Two years later, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing near the Nile. 2 In front of him, seven healthy-looking, fattened cows climbed up out of the Nile and grazed on the reeds. 3 Just then, seven other cows, terrible-looking and scrawny, climbed up out of the Nile after them and stood beside them on the bank of the Nile. 4 The terrible-looking, scrawny cows devoured the seven healthy-looking, fattened cows. Then Pharaoh woke up. 5 He went back to sleep and had a second dream, in which seven ears of grain, full and healthy, grew on a single stalk. 6 Just then, seven ears of grain, scrawny and scorched by the east wind, sprouted after them, 7 and the scrawny ears swallowed up the full and well-formed ears. Then Pharaoh woke up and realized it was a dream. 8 In the morning, he was disturbed and summoned all of Egypt’s religious experts[a] and all of its advisors. Pharaoh described his dreams[b] to them, but they couldn’t interpret them for Pharaoh.
9 Then the chief wine steward spoke to Pharaoh: “Today I’ve just remembered my mistake. 10 Pharaoh was angry with his servants and put me and the chief baker under arrest with the commander of the royal guard. 11 We both dreamed one night, he and I, and each of our dreams had its own interpretation. 12 A young Hebrew man, a servant of the commander of the royal guard, was with us. We described our dreams to him, and he interpreted our dreams for us, giving us an interpretation for each dream. 13 His interpretations came true exactly: Pharaoh restored me to my position but hanged him.”
14 So Pharaoh summoned Joseph, and they quickly brought him from the dungeon. He shaved, changed clothes, and appeared before Pharaoh. 15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, but no one could interpret it. Then I heard that when you hear a dream, you can interpret it.”
16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It’s not me. God will give Pharaoh a favorable response.”
17 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile. 18 In front of me, seven fattened, stout cows climbed up out of the Nile and grazed on the reeds. 19 Just then, seven other cows, weak and frail and thin, climbed up after them. I’ve never seen such awful cows in all the land of Egypt. 20 Then the thin, frail cows devoured the first seven, fattened cows. 21 But after they swallowed them whole, no one would have known it. They looked just as bad as they had before. Then I woke up. 22 I went to sleep again[c] and saw in my dream seven full and healthy ears of grain growing on one stalk. 23 Just then, seven hard and thin ears of grain, scorched by the east wind, sprouted after them, 24 and the thin ears swallowed up the healthy ears. I told the religious experts,[d] but they couldn’t explain it to me.”
25 Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh has actually had one dream. God has announced to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven healthy cows are seven years, and the seven healthy ears of grain are seven years. It’s actually one dream. 27 The seven thin and frail cows, climbing up after them, are seven years. The seven thin ears of grain, scorched by the east wind, are seven years of famine. 28 It’s just as I told Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 Seven years of great abundance are now coming throughout the entire land of Egypt. 30 After them, seven years of famine will appear, and all of the abundance in the land of Egypt will be forgotten. The famine will devastate the land. 31 No one will remember the abundance in the land because the famine that follows will be so very severe. 32 The dream occurred to Pharaoh twice because God has determined to do it, and God will make it happen soon.
Common English Bible (CEB)
Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible