The butler forgot Joseph for two years but God was in control of it all for His time had not yet come. This matter of God’s time is of the utmost importance in our relationship and our service for Him.
“Then the chief butler said to Pharaoh, ‘I remember my faults today. When Pharaoh was angry with hisservants, and put me and the chief baker in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, we dreamed on the same night, he and I, each having a dream with its own meaning. A young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard; and when we told him, he interpreted our dreams to us, giving an interpretation to each man according to his dream. And as he interpreted to us, so it came to pass; I was restored to my office, and the baker was hanged.’
Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon; and when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came in before Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it; and I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.’ Joseph answered Pharaoh, ‘It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favourable answer’” (Gen 41:9-16).
1 - GOD’S PERFECT TIMING
The butler forgot Joseph for two years but God was in control of it all for His time had not yet come. This matter of God’s time is of the utmost importance in our relationship and our service for Him. The Lord Jesus told his brothers,
“My time has not yet come, but your time is always here” (John 2:4). The apostle Paul said, “But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son” (Galatians 2:4).
We see clearly that God has a perfect time for each of His deeds and actions. He does not only have deeds and actions, He has apportioned to each a perfect time. The right action, done at the wrong time will produce disastrous results! All who serve the Lord must not only receive from the Lord what they are to do but they must equally and clearly receive from the Lord when they are to do it. Much harm is caused by carnal haste or carnal delay. Many have rushed on into some service which the Lord intended for them well ahead of His time for that project and failed woefully not because God did not originate the project but because God’s time for it had not yet come. Others have waited, delayed, until God’s time was past and they went ahead only to meet disastrous failure.
To be in the centre of God’s will means that you know at least the following four things:
What He wants done
When He wants it done
Where He wants it done and
How He wants it done.
If we settle these things clearly before Him, we shall save ourselves a lot of unnecessary heartache and cause less confusion to God’s work.
Joseph had tried earlier to be released. If his desire then had materialized and the butler had gotten him released, he would have been freed from prison but he would have been nothing more than a freed slave. God’s timing was associated with God’s plans to get him into greatness and glory. My beloved saint, do not be in a hurry to rush ahead and destroy the wonderful plan that God has for your greatness. Is your problem marriage? Please do not just rush ahead and marry anyone just because you are lonely. Later on you will meet God’s perfect choice for you and what would you do when you are already wrongly yoked even to the wrong Christian partner? I beg you to wait. God will always act on time. Is God calling you to some service now which you want to postpone because of some earthly pleasure – marriage, education, fame, money? Please act at once. The opportunity which God has for you today may never repeat itself. Won’t you obey?
When God’s time was fully come, the chief butler remembered Joseph (Genesis 41:9-13). God had at last acted and He had acted on time and Joseph would soon enter a position of honour and glory. Praise the Lord.
2 - JOSEPH INTERPRETS PHARAOH’S DREAMS
Joseph is now before Pharaoh. He had shaved and changed clothes. Imprisonment was now in the past but what of the future? That lay in God’s hands and the Almighty would surely handle it well. He who had been with Joseph throughout would surely stand by him now to settle the matter of his future. Pharaoh talks to Joseph about the fact that Joseph could interpret dreams. The emphasis was on Joseph’s ability and Joseph, knowing where the source of his wisdom came from, would not take God’s glory for himself. He immediately said to Pharaoh,
“It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favourable answer” (Genesis 41:16). “It is not in me: God will give…”
These are the marks of true humility. Joseph had truly made progress. Not in me but God! That is greatness!
Joseph then interpreted the dreams and then offered Pharaoh God-given counsel. The slave-prisoner was now the adviser of the king of Egypt. How wonderful! This was all the Lord’s doing and greatly is He to be praised. God is able to do the impossible. Let us trust Him without doubting. Let us submit our ways to Him and follow His leading and in due time He will exalt us, if not in this world, then in His kingdom.
3 - JOSEPH ON THE THRONE
Pharaoh was not only content to have Joseph as his counsellor. He exalted Joseph to the place of greatest power in Egypt next only to himself. It was popular consent. The Bible says,
“This proposal seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his servants” (Genesis 41:37).
When God brings someone to rulership, He arranges events to ensure that the person is accepted. A wonderful scene now follows. Do not miss it. The Bible says,
“Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has shown you all these, there is none so discreet and wise as you are, you shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command, only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.’ And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Behold, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.’ Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand and arrayed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck and he made him ride in his second chariot; and they cried before him, ‘Bow the knee!’ Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:37-43).
Joseph was now glorified. His suffering training was over. Joseph was now thirty years - thirteen years since he first saw the vision of his greatness. It had taken time but it had come at last. God is faithful. His word will never go unfulfilled. Another seven years were to elapse before his brothers would bow to him but that too was surely going to be fulfilled.
“God is not a man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should repent. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfil it?” (Numbers 23:19).