Yesterday, I was reading the account of Joseph in prison in Genesis 39 and 40. Talk about being unjustly treated! Joseph was in Egypt in the first place because his own brothers sold him into slavery there. Under God’s sovereign direction, Joseph was purchased by Potipher, Pharaoh’s “chief of police”, and made a slave in his household.
I love Joseph’s attitude. If he was going to be a slave, then he was going to be the best slave he could be! The Lord was with Joseph, as He always is with loyal hearts. He blessed Joseph in all he worked at, and his success was so apparent to his master, Potipher, that he made him overseer of his whole household. Joseph had access and direction over everything that belonged to this powerful official’s.
Well, it seems Potipher had trouble at home. His wife began to pursue Joseph as an object of her “affection.” Relentlessly. The passage says that she spoke to Joseph day by day about becoming her lover. There was some serious sexual harassment going on here!
Well, you know the story. Joseph continually and directly refused her verbal advances, until one day she got physical. Literally grabbing him in her pursuit to seduce him.
Our noble Joseph fled the scene, leaving his cloak in her sinister, unfaithful fingers.
Not to be undone, Mrs. Potipher saves her “evidence” until her husband comes home and then claims Joseph attacked her. This causes Joseph to find himself in the state prison, along with all the criminals. No fair!!
Once again Joseph’s godly character shines -if he is a prisoner, he’ll be the best prisoner he can be! The Lord again blessed Joseph and gave him favor with the prison keeper. Soon, he was in charge of all the prisoners! The keeper trusted him so much that he didn't even follow up on him. Another great example for us, Joseph.
As the account continues, Pharoah’s chief butler and baker offend him. Apparently the ruler had a temper and so he threw both of them in prison. The same prison as Joseph.
During their stay, the butler and baker have dreams and tell Joseph about them.
God has given Joseph the ability to interpret dreams that are from HIm and so he tells the meaning of them.
The butler’s dream has a favorable interpretation. Here is the bottom line:
“Now within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your place, and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand according to the former manner, when you were his butler.
Next, Joseph adds his request:
But remember me when it is well with you, and please show kindness to me; make mention of me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house. For indeed I was stolen away from the land of the Hebrews; and also I have done nothing here that they should put me into the dungeon.” Genesis 40:13-15
The baker on the other hand, will not fare so well. His dream indicates that will be hanged in three days.
Sure enough three days later , the events occur just as Joseph predicted, the butler in reinstated and the baker meets his demise,
The chief butler then runs to Pharoah and tells him of all the injustice that Joseph has incurred and how he is being wrongfully imprisoned.
Pharaoh delivers Joseph from prison. They have party, with balloons and cupcakes and everyone lives happily ever after.
The words that end this chapter strike my heart.
“Yet the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.” Genesis 40:23
Why did he forget him???
I think the answer lies in what Joseph said to the butler after interpreting his dream:
“But remember me when it is well with you,”
He forgot because things had changed for him for the better.
He forgot because he was no longer in a crisis
He forgot because his life went back to normal
This same evening I received a publication from the Voice of the Martyrs-
a ministry that supports those Christians and their families who are being actively persecuted.
Daily, worldwide Christians like you and I are are being beaten, abused and like Joseph, imprisoned because they refuse to denounce the name of Jesus.
These are our front line warriors! These are our valiant defenders! These are our heroes of the faith!
The theme verse of Voice of the Martyrs in Hebrews 13:3-
“Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.”
Here is a link to their website if you want more info on how to pray and support them.
Another things must not be overlooked here.
God never forgets his own.
Joseph’s situation looked pretty grim, yet God was completely involved and working all things together for good.
No matter where you are today, perhaps in a prison of your on making or one that you have been thrown into, God is with you. Even if all others forget you, He never will.
His nail scarred hands are a continually reminder of His faithful love for you.
“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
And not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Surely they may forget,
Yet I will not forget you.
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;..”