Many of us have dreams that we hope will come to pass. These dreams may be of better jobs or opening up a business. Some people have lofty ambitions of being very rich and/or powerful. Joseph had a dream that seemed to point to him moving very high on the ladder of success. Yet, the path to the top is usually not what we expect.
We ended last week with Joseph still in jail, forgotten by the chamberlain of the cupbearers. Joseph was a dreamer and evidently had learned to receive interpretations of dreams from God. Joseph had correctly interpreted the dream of the chamberlain of the bakers and chamberlain of the cupbearers. He asked the chamberlain of the cupbearers to remember him when he is put back in position. Unfortunately, he forgot Joseph. According to Genesis 41:1, at the end of two years Pharaoh had two dreams that would bother him to no end. It is during this time that the chamberlain remembers Joseph and informs Pharaoh of a young Hebrew slave that can interpret dreams. Joseph is shaved and given new garments so that he can present himself to Pharaoh.
A shift is taking place in Joseph’s life. The chamberlain describes him as a Hebrew slave – one who the Egyptians didn’t even care to eat with (Genesis 43:32), because of their perceived low estate. Yet, Joseph will go and interpret a dream that will move him from being a slave to being in a position similar to the Vice President of the USA. The path did not look as if it would end there, but God is the director of destiny. The road may look hard, but we must endure, trust and believe that obedience will bring the desired result. Whether obedience is in the pit or the palace, that should not be a distinguishing factor. We must learn to obey and utilize the tools that God has given in whatever state we are in.
In our daily lives, events occur that seem to shift our life into a different direction. Joseph started out being the favorite son of Jacob to the favorite assistant to the prison warden. Sold into slavery and given a job in the palace, wrongly accused, imprisoned and now interpreting a dream that will change his life forever. In the pain of the pit there can sometimes arise a spirit inside of us that is willing to trust our God even when it hurts. Patience and tenacity to pursue the dream, even if there does not appear to be a reason to hope. I wonder if our desire to see the dreams in our lives come to pass is strong enough to outlast the seasons of despair, pain, rejection and even loneliness. I am sure Joseph felt all of these emotions. He had plenty of time to consider the events that led him to be in a place of despair and rejection.
For many of us, the pit is not just a physical prison. It is a mental hole that swallows up the power of dreams in our life. We feel powerless to pull ourselves up. So, we yell and cry for someone to come help us. When Joseph’s brothers put him in the pit, I’m sure he yelled and screamed for his brothers to pull him out. Genesis 42:21 says “Then they said to one another, Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen; therefore this distress has come upon us." The brothers remembered his anguish, but their sympathy was hidden behind their anger of the moment. There are times in our life when the pit of our mind allows us to feel trapped. Those around us may be oblivious to the cries for help. Many times, people are so wrapped up in their own pursuits that they can’t see those around them yelling from the pit. Joseph’s brothers fit into that category. They were consumed with their own pursuits to the point that the cries for mercy were not heard.
Yet, somehow in the midst of survival, hope must arise. Joseph’s life was not a fairy tale. He had a dream that seemed impossible based on the circumstances of his life. But his dependence on God enabled him to navigate through the twists and turns of his life. We must learn to endure hardness like a good soldier (2 Timothy 2:3). Hardness means hardships and troubles. Our lives will have hardships and troubles. Therefore, we must learn to endure and even prosper in those situations. Joseph was able to endure. When the opportunity came for him to present himself to Pharaoh, he knew how to respect the king and receive the reward at the end of his journey.