Joseph found himself in prison one day with two important officers of the king, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker. What do you think of when you hear “cupbearer to a king?” Right, Nehemiah! He had a huge influence the king he served. The cupbearer to a king had many responsibilities, not the least of which was opening and tasting the king’s wine before it was served to the monarch. He was responsible for the quality of all that was presented to the king. He put his life on the line as poisoning of kings was not uncommon. The chief baker was the head chef and responsible for the food that was served to the king. This meant that the quality of the food and the gastronomical results from the food were on him. These men had done something to deeply offend Pharaoh and incur his wrath. Perhaps he had a bad reaction to a meal and suspected these two for plotting to take him out. Whatever the case, these two men are in chains and they both have dreams they don’t understand. Joseph tells them he knows the one who can interpret dreams, and with knowledge only God could give, he interprets them. The cupbearer will live and be restored to service of Pharaoh, and the baker will be hanged. Joseph asks the cupbearer, “Only remember me…and mention me to the Pharaoh.”
Three days later, everything plays out exactly the way Joseph described it. Every detail of the dream, as Joseph had told these two men. God had given him the meaning and through this, God gave Joseph hope and courage that his days in this prison were numbered. But not like Joseph imagined it, I’m sure. Because read in the last verse in Genesis 40, “Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.” Hard to understand, isn’t it? There is no human explanation for it. Don’t you think one of the first things you would have told everybody, the Pharaoh, the officers of the court, your family, your friends, and perfect strangers is that you had this dream in prison and a man interpreted it to meant you would be released and your life spared!? And that the man was exactly right about you and about the poor baker? If this happened today, there would be a book written in 30 days and a documentary about it in 6 months. “Dream Whisperer! On sale at bookstores everywhere.” But no. The cupbearer went on happily with his life and forgot the man who had helped him in prison.
Do you know who did NOT forget Joseph? The God who created the universe and holds everything in his hands. The Son of God of whom Paul wrote, “And he is before all things, and in him, all things hold together.” The Psalmist wrote, “The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.”
George Mueller used to say, “the stops of a man are also established by the Lord.” Joseph was walking toward the prison door for an early exit, but God stopped him. We don’t know anything about those two years while his feet were hurt with fetters and his neck was rubbed raw by a collar of iron. But God was faithful. And Joseph did not lose hope. He still believed that the dreams he had as a young man would come true.
He is about to see how God, the One who does not forget, will unfold that for him.