Monday, December 07, 2020

2020.12.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 40

Read Genesis 40

Questions from the Scripture text: Who had done what in Genesis 40:1? What does Pharaoh do to them (Genesis 40:2-3)? With whom do they end up? To whom does the captain of the guard entrust them (Genesis 40:4)? What happens to them in Genesis 40:5? What does Joseph notice in Genesis 40:6? What does he ask (Genesis 40:7)? What do they say (Genesis 40:8)? What does Joseph say about interpretations? What does he ask them to do? Who goes first (Genesis 40:9)? What happened in his dream (Genesis 40:9-11)? What does Joseph say is the interpretation (Genesis 40:12-13)? What request does Joseph make (Genesis 40:14)? How does he summarize the last several years of his life (Genesis 40:15)? What did the chief baker see (Genesis 40:16)? What does he tell Joseph about his dream (Genesis 40:16-17)? What does Joseph say is the interpretation (Genesis 40:18-19)? How long does it take for these things to be fulfilled (Genesis 40:20-22)? How does it come about? What comes of Joseph’s request (Genesis 40:23)? 

Joseph is absolutely confident that God cannot forget him. Interpretations of prophetical dreams belong to God (Genesis 40:8), because the future belongs to the God who works all things according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11). So, Joseph is still sure that his own prophetical dreams will be fulfilled. If he wasn’t, he might’ve just told the butler and the baker not to worry about those dreams, because they don’t necessarily happen.

It was Joseph’s confidence that God still remembered him that enabled him to be such a good friend to he butler and the baker. Since he trusted God’s care for himself, he wasn’t absorbed in his own concerns, but rather free to care enough about his friends to notice that they were troubled on this particular day.

This makes Genesis 40:23 even more difficult for him. To some extent, he and the butler and the baker were friends. It is hard when friends forget us, but they do. Not always out of malice. The butler will reproach himself for this later. But, the Scripture tells us too about those who had been friends and turn on us. The Psalms are full of this. Jesus’s teaching was full of warnings about this. The apostle Paul’s experience, in particular, was full of this. But even when friends are not turning on us, they can often forget us. 

But there is that friend Who sticks closer than a brother! The Lord was still with him. The Lord still remembered him. The Lord’s promises couldn’t fail to come true. When our friends forget us, we may have comfort from the fact that the Lord will not forget us.

In fact, we may be strengthened not only from the fact that the Lord remembers us when they forget us, but even that their forgetting us is, in part, precisely because the Lord is remembering us! Joseph thought that this would be his ticket up out of that Egyptian house and back to the land from which he was stolen (Genesis 40:15). So, he takes the opportunity of the certainty of the butler’s restoration as a path to that by his request in Genesis 40:14

But what would come of Egypt and Canaan if, two years from now, Joseph wasn’t in the prison in Potiphar’s house? What would come of Joseph’s prophetical dreams and their promises? When our friends forget us, isn’t it because that whatever other intentions or failures are occurring at the time, God’s intentions toward us are good, and He is succeeding in carrying out His perfect will toward us?

Interpretations belong to God. Perhaps the Lord brought the baker to faith in Christ through the witness of Joseph—in which case the Lord had done him a good that Pharaoh’s execution order could never take away. But, if we belong to God through faith in Jesus Christ, then He is never forgetting us but always showing us steadfast love. Whether we are being given position and power and possessions, or being forgotten in a dungeon, or executed by the state… if we belong to God through faith in Jesus Christ, absolutely everything that happens to us happens because God is remembering us in His steadfast, covenanted love (cf. Romans 8:18–39)!

Who has forgotten or betrayed you? Who never will? What is the most painful thing that has come to you in His love?

Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength” or TPH246 “Though Troubles Assail Us”

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