Year 2 Day 285
Read - Genesis 40
Message - Scott Woodburn
Do you consider yourself lucky? Does everything seem to go your way? Do you always come up smelling of roses? Regardless of your answers we can be comforted in the knowledge that there is no such thing as luck. Christians don’t “touch wood” or “cross fingers” or “throw salt over a shoulder” instead Christians trust in the providential hand of Almighty God. What is providence? God in His holiness and wisdom and power preserves and governs us and all our actions. Not a hair can fall from our heads without His knowing.
It is by the providence of God that Joseph found himself in prison. By God’s providence He had received the favour of the keeper of the prison and it was by God’s providence that two high profile prisoners came to share Joseph’s prison. One man was Pharaoh’s cup bearer and the other was Pharaoh’s chief baker. These were vitally important positions - Pharaoh didn’t want poisoned wine or a dodgy pan loaf.
One night the men both had a troubling dream and in the morning they lamented that there was no one to interpret. But providentially (not luckily) the cup bearer and baker shared a prison with Joseph. The cup bearer told Joseph his dream. He said “In my dream there was a vine before me, and on the vine there were three branches. As soon as it budded, its blossoms shot forth, and the clusters ripened into grapes. Pharaoh's cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup and placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand.” (v9-11)
Joseph by the grace and gifting of God was able to tell the cup bearer the meaning. In three days Pharaoh would restore the cup bearer to his former position (v13). The cup bearer’s lamenting was turned to rejoicing and so the baker wanted to hear good news as well. He told Joseph his dream saying “I also had a dream: there were three cake baskets on my head, and in the uppermost basket there were all sorts of baked food for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating it out of the basket on my head.” (v16-17).
Unfortunately the baker wouldn’t receive good news. Joseph told him that in three days Pharaoh would hang him and the birds would eat his flesh (v19). Everything came to pass exactly as Joseph had said. The cup bearer was restored and the baker was hung (v20-22). Our God is good and He is gracious but sometimes His providence tastes sweet and other times bitter. Joseph didn’t shy away from this reality. His job was to be faithful and to tell these men exactly what the future held.
If the providence of God had put Joseph in a position to interpret the dreams of prisoners, God’s providence had also given Joseph an opportunity for freedom. He told the cup bearer good news and urged him not to forget this kindness. Jospeh had been stolen from his home and he had done nothing to deserve prison, he therefore asked the cup bearer to remember him and to bring his case before Pharaoh (v14). Perhaps the cup bearer was too excited by his release but when he left prison he promptly forget Joseph (v23)!
As a New Year begins may this news comfort you - cup bearers may forget but Almighty God never does. We have no certainty about what 2022 will bring. It may be a year of sweetness or life may taste incredibly bitter. Whatever comes may the Lord strengthen our faith for the days that are still ahead. As we gaze into the unknown of a New Year may our eyes lift instead to Jesus. He is our unchanging Saviour, He intercedes for us and none of life’s ups or downs can pluck us from His hand. He guides our path with mercy and grace and all things will certainly work for our good. So my dear brothers and sisters, may you and yours have a happy new year. Do not fear the days to come, instead rest in the providential care of our holy and wise God.
“What is your only comfort in life and in death? That I am not my own, but belong— body and soul, in life and in death— to my faithful Saviour, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.”
Q47 What is forbidden in the first commandment? The first commandment forbiddeth the denying, or not worshipping and glorifying, the true God as God, and our God; and the giving of that worship and glory to any other, which is due to him alone.