Read Genesis 39:20b - 40:23
20But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph's care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.
1Some time later, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their master, the king of Egypt. 2Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, 3and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined. 4The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he attended them.
After they had been in custody for some time, 5each of the two men — the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were being held in prison — had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own.
6When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected. 7So he asked Pharaoh's officials who were in custody with him in his master's house, "Why are your faces so sad today?"
8"We both had dreams," they answered, "but there is no one to interpret them." Then Joseph said to them, "Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams."
9So the chief cupbearer told Joseph his dream. He said to him, "In my dream I saw a vine in front of me, 10and on the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, it blossomed, and its clusters ripened into grapes. 11Pharaoh's cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh's cup and put the cup in his hand."
12"This is what it means," Joseph said to him. "The three branches are three days. 13Within 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. 14But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. 15For I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon."
16When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given a favorable interpretation, he said to Joseph, "I too had a dream: On my head were three baskets of bread. 17In the top basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head."
18"This is what it means," Joseph said. "The three baskets are three days. 19Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and hang you on a tree. And the birds will eat away your flesh."
20Now the third day was Pharaoh's birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials: 21He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh's hand, 22but he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation.
23The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him. (NIV)
This section of Joseph’s life points to one of the tougher things that walking with God involve. There are times in our lives where God places us in positions where we don’t want to be there, but God has a reason for us being there. And when we get in these positions, we don’t always see that God is with us and blessing us. At the end of chapter 39, we are told that God is blessing Joseph and using him to gain favor in the place he has found himself in. And yet, even with God’s blessings, he doesn’t want to be there as see by his remarks to the chief cupbearer to remember him and to speak to Pharaoh.
Sometimes life takes us to places we don’t want to go to. But in those places, God has a purpose for us. And finding that purpose can help us find peace in life. I remember when a retired pastor attending one of the churches I served go to the point where he needed to move into a retirement home. He was angry and frustrated because he didn’t want to go and felt like God had abandoned him. As we talked, I asked him if he felt like he was no longer able to be a pastor which he said that was part of it. I pointed out that he was moving into a place that needed a pastor. The people needed someone to talk to, to share with and even to continue to teach. He said he never thought he could do that. After being in the place for six months, he said he was busier than before he entered the facility.
When these things happen to us that we don’t like, God does not abandon us, but continues to be with us and blesses us. We need to take time to see it. Joseph was blessed by a jailer who saw the potential in his leadership skills and used that. Joseph was given the ability to interpret dreams. Joseph was being used by God and that should be our primary goal in life, to be used by God where we find ourselves.
This is what Paul tries to communicate in his letter to the Corinthians where he writes: “And don't be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God's place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there.” (The Message, 1 Cor 7:17)
Now this does not mean that if we find ourselves in an abusive situation, that we are to stay and that God will not help us to escape. I remember reading some of St. John of the Cross. He was arrested by the religious leaders who opposed his teaching and was confined in a place of isolation. After writing down much thoughts that are with us still today that benefit us, he did pray to God that if it was God’s pleasure, he would like to escape that place and he did sometime after that. But even in his confinement, he was used by God.
And that is the point we need to remember, God can use us wherever we are or whatever situation we find ourselves in. So we need to look for blessings and look for God’s calling on our life and be used by God.
We find ourselves at home more than we like today because of the situation our world is in. Think of ways that God is using you and can use you. Are you able to stay connected to people you might not otherwise stay connected to because you now have the time to call. The last calls to my brother and sister have been more enjoyable and longer because we all have the time. There are blessings out there. Find them and thank God for them.
Blessings and Peace