Genesis 40

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I meant to mention this morning that today is a pretty special milestone for me and my family as today marks the 2 years since we first began working here with you.
We want to let you know how incredibly thankful we are for having the opportunity to serve God alongside you and how thankful we are for you welcoming us into your family, and how thankful we are for all the work that you do for the kingdom of God.
In honor of today being two years since we began our work here, I’m committing to you that this year will be the year that we wrap up our Sunday night series of Genesis!
So tonight we are going to be in Genesis chapter 40. Only ten chapters to go!
No seriously I apologize for the interruptions on this, but I think we will be able to pick back up where we left off pretty easily.
Recap 39
As we’ve gone throughout Genesis we’ve followed the story of God’s chosen people from the beginning.
Most recently we’ve been looking at the family history of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and we are currently right in the middle of the story of Joseph.
Who if you will recall, was sold into slavery by his brothers, found himself in Egypt working in the household of Potiphar, and who was propositioned by Potiphars wife multiple times before she finally grabbed him by the garment, which he quickly left in her hand and fled out of the house.
And in chapter 39 we learn
We then know that Potiphars wife lied about the situation, and that got Joseph thrown into the kings prison where chapter 39 concludes with the statement that
Of course
Genesis 39:22–23 ESV
22 And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. 23 The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.
Gen 39:22-24
So let’s pick up in chapter 40 and read God’s word together.

The Prisoners

Gen 40:1
Genesis 40:1–4 ESV
1 Some time after this, the cupbearer of the king of Egypt and his baker committed an offense against their lord the king of Egypt. 2 And Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, 3 and he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison where Joseph was confined. 4 The captain of the guard appointed Joseph to be with them, and he attended them. They continued for some time in custody.
Now we aren’t told the exact details of the offense that the cupbearer and baker had made against the king of Egypt, but I think we can probably assume that maybe he had gotten a little bit of food poisoning which made him question if they were actually doing their jobs to the best of their abilities.
Or it is possible that he had gotten word of a secret assassination attempt against him which had some conspirators in his court. After all if you are trying to secretly kill the king who would you want to be in on the plot? Definitely the people that bring the king his food and drink right?
Well we aren’t told for sure, but it seems that at least Pharoah is a fair minded man in that he doesn’t just kill them both immediately, but he puts them in prison, perhaps until an investigation can be completed.
We are not told how long this process took, only that they were in prison, that Joseph cared for them, and that they were together in custody for some time.

The Dreams

Genesis 40:5–8 ESV
5 And one night they both dreamed—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison—each his own dream, and each dream with its own interpretation. 6 When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled. 7 So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in custody in his master’s house, “Why are your faces downcast today?” 8 They said to him, “We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.” And Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me.”
Gen 40:
Now listen, I’m going to be the first one to tell you that I don’t know how this revelation by God in the form of dreams worked as recorded in the scriptures. But it seems to me that in the cases where dreams where given by God there must have been something different about them from just the regular dreams that we have all the time.
I mean I’ve had some dreams that are just so strange and seemingly have no relevance to anything that I can’t imagine telling them to someone else and actually getting a useful interpretation out of them.
But these dreams that the cupbearer and the baker had apparently stuck with them so much that they were saddened that no one was there to interpret them.
In fact the scriptures say that their faces where downcast.
And I don’t want to talk about this just yet, but I do want to bring to your attention for the second time how Joseph approaches the situation with his fellow prison mates.
Back in chapter 39, when Potiphars wife first requested him to join her, what was Joseph’s answer?
Genesis 39:9 ESV
9 He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”
gen 39:
And then here in chapter 40 and verse 8, who again does Joseph mention?
Genesis 40:8 ESV
8 They said to him, “We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.” And Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me.”
Remember that: We’ll come back to it later.

The Interpretations

Genesis 40:9–15 ESV
9 So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph and said to him, “In my dream there was a vine before me, 10 and on the vine there were three branches. As soon as it budded, its blossoms shot forth, and the clusters ripened into grapes. 11 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.” 12 Then Joseph said to him, “This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days. 13 In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office, and you shall place Pharaoh’s cup in his hand as formerly, when you were his cupbearer. 14 Only remember me, when it is well with you, and please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house. 15 For I was indeed stolen out of the land of the Hebrews, and here also I have done nothing that they should put me into the pit.”
Gen 40:9-
Now I don’t want to read into the text something that isn’t there, but it seems that the cupbearer here, being the innocent party in whatever the king had thrown them in prison for, is excited to hear the interpretation of the dream, and no doubt he’s hoping that it will confirm what he hopes it means. I mean I can’t help but imagine that he had his hopes that a dream about him handing the king his cup meant that he would be restated back to his position, so he goes first, and receives the validation that he was seeking.
And JOseph, seeing this as an opportunity to be freed from his current situation requests that the cupbearer mention Joseph to Pharoah so that he can be released because he is innocent.
But then we come to the baker...
Genesis 40:16–19 ESV
16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was favorable, he said to Joseph, “I also had a dream: there were three cake baskets on my head, 17 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.” 18 And Joseph answered and said, “This is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days. 19 In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head—from you!—and hang you on a tree. And the birds will eat the flesh from you.”
Gen 40:16
Notice, the hesitancy in the baker? It’s quite possible that had the interpretation of the Cupbearer been unfavorable, that the baker would have never told Joseph his dream at all. But perhaps hoping that his dream was better news than he hoped, he tells him. And it is NOT good news at all.
Of course, at this point the men, especially the baker, must be thinking, yeah those are interpretations, but are they right? or is this guy just making stuff up?

The Result

Genesis 40:20–23 ESV
20 On the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, he made a feast for all his servants and lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand. 22 But he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them. 23 Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.
Gen 40:20-
Lo and behold, it turns out that God had indeed given Joseph the correct interpretation of the dreams.
Can you imagine being these two men and the anticipation they must have felt over those days following their dreams?
Joseph had told them that in three days things where going to happen to them, Good things for the cupbearer, bad for the baker.
Don’t you know on that third day when the king sent for them they must have looked at one another wondering if things would play out how JOseph said they would?
And of course they did. God had once again shown His power through Joseph, but what came from it?
Well, nothing immediately. For whatever reason, maybe he was too busy, or maybe he didn’t want competition, or maybe he truly forgot, but whatever the reason, an innocent man remained behind bars.


What we see throughout the life of Joseph is the embodiment of a NT command given by the Holy Spirit to the church at Colossians
Colossians 3:17 ESV
17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:23 ESV
23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
It appears that Joseph, a young man, in a strange place, apart from his people, was raised in such a way that we as parents would be extremely proud of wouldn’t we?
In our young adults class we are studying through a book Called owning faith, with the goal of preparing our children to own their own faith so that when they go out into the world that they are so sure of their faith in God that they act just like we see from Joseph during his time in Egypt.
How much humility does it take for a young man whose word is blessed by God to give God the credit and not to allow his head to swell and to think of himself more highly than he ought?
Wouldn’t you say a young man owns his own faith when he chooses to refuse to sin against God by committing adultery?
How much faith does it take for a man all alone to refuse to sin against God by committing adultery?
Wouldn’t you say a young man owns his own faith when he gives God the credit for interpreting dreams instead of attempting to make himself out to be some kind of sorcerer?
Joseph was a man who undoubtedly owned his faith in God. And like we talked about this morning, he wasn’t afraid to do what was right even if he knew it would cause him trouble, and sorrow, and suffering in prison.
And we also see his incredible faith in his patience to be delivered.
Now I don’t know what Joseph’s mindset was in the over two years that Joseph was in prison, but at least in this account of the cupbearer and the baker, we don’t see despair, we don’t see him going crazy, but we see a man patiently working and doing his best with the situation that God has given him. Now maybe at night he cried in his prayers. Maybe when he prayed he was constantly asking God for answers, but we don’t read about any of that.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with doing either of those things.
Paul said in
Acts 20:19 ESV
19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews;
Paul said that he prayed, nay pleaded with the Lord concerning a thorn in his flesh that it should leave him
2 Corinthians 12:7–8 ESV
7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.
2 Cor 12:
So of course there is nothing wrong with petitioning God when we find ourselves in uncomfortable situations that we don’t understand.
But we should never, ever, allow Satan to convince us that God has abandoned us.
Is that not something that we learn from the story of Joseph?
Hebrews 13:1–6 ESV
1 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. 4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Hebrews 13:1-
Romans 8:28 ESV
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
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