Read Genesis 39:21-40:15
‘Interpret my dream, too,” says the Baker.
‘Okay. You’re going to die.’
And he does.
And the Cupbearer lives and is restored to Pharaoh: just like Joseph said.
But, in one of the saddest lines of Joseph’s story, “The chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him” (40:23). So Joseph languishes.
“But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love” (39:21).
The Writer of the Story wants us to know that though Joseph’s situation keeps getting worse, God is still with him and loving him.
I have heard stories of people who, in great suffering, have felt God’s presence with intense sweetness, so sweet that they can say – and mean it – “I’m glad for the suffering because of how I experienced God in it.”
And Joseph is changing. Remember his stupid pride as he kept telling his brothers about his dreams of greatness? Now listen to him, “Do not interpretations belong to God?” He doesn’t pretend to understand what dreams mean.
Goodness knows, his didn’t turn out like he thought.
I think his suffering, and the steadfast love of God, have changed his perspective. It’s not about him any more. Now, God gets all the credit.
Still, he is forgotten. As his one chance at freedom withers away, it’s easy to imagine him waiting and hoping; hoping and waiting, day after day, until finally he realises it’s not going to happen.
No one is coming for him.
Waiting is a big theme in this Story.
God operates more slowly than we like.
And the thing is, we don’t know he’s operating at all. We have no proof. Joseph only knows one dreary day after another.
But not really. He also knows the steadfast love of God.
It’s quite likely his days aren’t dreary.
Maybe we need to wait until we don’t mind waiting; until the pull of the thing we are waiting for lets go and we become able to experience God instead – right where we are.
Maybe God waits to give us what we want until we finally want the right thing.