Sunday, July 29, 2012

XXIV - Chapter - The Cupbearer and the Baker

In yesterday's post, Potifar had Joseph cast in prison for a crime he did not commit.  Joseph will be in prison for years.  Early in his prison stay, the warden promoted him time after time until Joseph had charge of the entire prison.

We've seen how Joseph, in a relatively short time, was elevated to increasing levels of responsibility and authority in two different sets of circustances:  1) In Potifar's household, where at the beginning he was assigned to the most unpleasant of tasks.  and 2) In prison, where also he would have been assigned the most unpleasant and disgusting tasks when he was first put there.  In order for a person to be promoted so rapidly in either of those situations, he would have to have performed his duties not only to an extreme level of excellence, but also would have performed them with a cheerful attitude.  Additionally, he would have performed additional duties in order to draw such positive attention to himself.  If we don't learn anything else from studying this fine man, we can certainly follow his example in work ethic.  All of this was to serve as training for the task God assigns to Joseph later.

Chapter 40  -  There is no reason given, but at some time while Joseph was managing the prison, the Pharoah's cupbearer and his baker had been cast into prison.  {The cupbearer's duties were to serve the Pharoah wine, and to taste of the wine to ensure proper quality, and to make sure it was not poisoned.  The pre-tasting was always done the previous day to give any poison time to work on the cubearer before it was served to Pharoah.  It was also pre-tasted again in Pharoah's presence right before it was served.  Needless to say, the cupbearer was to be a man of trust.  Also noteworthy is the fact that the cupbearer had constant contact with Pharoah.  The baker, on the other hand, was one of the Pharoah's many cooks, and had little if any personal contact with Pharoah.}

After these two men were in prison for a while, they both had dreams at about the same time.  Probably recurring dreams.  Evidently they had discussed their dreams with each other and were perplexed as to their meaning.  Vs 6  -  Joseph, being a caring leader and supervisor, recognized that these two men seemed "down in the dumps", and inquired of their well-being.  They both shared with Joseph about their dreams and they really wanted to know what the dreams meant because they somehow knew those dreams were important.

Notice in vs 8b that Joseph always gives the credit to God.  Joseph knows where his abilities come from and has the courage to say.

Vs 9  -  The cupbearer told Joseph his dream:  There was a vine with three branches.  When the branches budded and yielded fruit, the cupbearer squeezed the juice from the fruit into Pharoah's cup and served it to him.  Vs 12 - Joseph proceeds to interpret the dream:  In three days the cupbearer would be release from prison and restored to his positon in Pharoah's palace.  Notice in vs 14 that Joseph asks the cupbearer to mention Joseph to Pharoah.  He explains to the cupbearer that he was innocent of the charges that imprisoned him.

Vs 16  -  Then it was the baker's turn:  The baker dreamed that there were three baskets on his head, full of bread, and birds were eating the bread from the three baskets.  Joseph told the baker that his dream meant that in three days he would be taken out of prison and executed, after which his body would be hanged on a pole and birds would eat it.  (if I was the baker, I'd be sorry I asked.)

Three days later Pharoah was celebrating his birthday with a lavish feast.  On that day he brought the cupbearer and the baker out of prison.  He restored the cupbearer to his previously held position, and executed the baker, exactly as Joseph predicted.

But this chapter ends on a rather sad note:  The cupbearer forgot about Joseph and his request.  Have you ever been forgotten about?  Being forgotten about will bring a feeling that will put a hole in the pit of your stomach.  I've seen that happen to me, my family members, and others.  And I always hated it.  Being forgotten about is the result of indifference.  A wise man once said "The opposite of love is not hate.  The opposite of love is indifference"  I believe that.  To hate someone, you must at least care a little, one way or another.  Total indifference is total disregard.  Remember Jesus said "I would rather you be cold, than luke warm".  He was talking about our attitudes concerning Him.

The next post will be in chapter 41 which will put Joseph in contact with Pharoah.

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