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Thursday, May 21, 2020

GENESIS – An Expositional Overview of the Beginning of God’s Revelation: Chapter FORTY



Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire
ChuckMissler Bible Commentary - Genesis 40-45

GENESIS 40
GOD WORKS FOR OUR GOOD by Sonny Islas; watch the FB video teaching here.                                  
                                                                     
Introduction: One of the most encouraging truths a child of God can stand on and enjoy is that - GOD WORKS FOR OUR GOOD. God works all things for our good but ultimately for His glory (for His praises and perfect purposes). Romans 8:28 says, (NASB) “And we know that God causes all things (both good and bad) to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
And we know” (that is, we’re supposed to know and be fully confident in) “that GOD causes” (that is, He orchestrates, arranges, plans out and works out, He is sovereignly and providentially in charge of the results) “all things” (good and bad) “to work together for good...” (ROM 8:28).

This is the great lesson that Joseph is learning as the events in his life unfold and will soon teach it to his brothers. At the end of this long, confusing, frustrating and painful trial – Joseph tells his brothers (the ones who sold him into slavery) – “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people aliveGenesis 50:20

In other words, “Joseph: all that happened to me wasn’t random coincidences, nothing was meaningless – God had a plan!”
They say that hindsight is 20/20. In the end, Joseph realized that all the good and bad that happened in his life was for a reason, God was working out His purpose. 

Joseph realized that in reality, it was God who sent him to Egypt at 17 years of age, and had him sold into slavery through the hands of His brothers. It was God who placed him in Potiphar’s house, and it was God who allowed Joseph to be falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife. 
It was God who put Joseph into prison and it was God who threw the Chief Butler and the Chief Baker into the same prison as Joseph and place these two men in his care “in order” to interpret their dreams, “in order” to at the right time interpret Pharaoh’s dream “in order” to become second in command “in order” to save Israel from starvation – Jesus’ descendants from dying in the famine and to bring them into Egypt for safety and multiplication.

Why did God work everything out in the life of Joseph? Because the scriptures repeatedly said, “The LORD was with Joseph.” And listen, no matter what your facing today, if you belong to God, God is with you!

By the way, God uses fiery trials to refine us. God crushes us before He can really use. I believe that it was in prison where God shaped Joseph into the humble man that he needed to become “in order” to become the second most powerful man in Egypt.

The big picture for Joseph’s roller coaster ride was so that God would save Israel, especially Judah – the tribe and line that Jesus comes from. This Joseph whom God raised up through much pain and heartache to save the known world and God’s people from death was a foreshadow of the Cross where Jesus would save many from eternal death.

Joseph is a Christ type and we see similar things happen to Jesus where God the Father was the orchestrator of all that Jesus went through; i.e. Acts 2:23 says, “Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;

This divine lesson that - “God works all things for our good” should be branded on our hearts and we should teach it to our children and remind them of it often. There is nothing more affirming than to know that God is literally involved in every situation we may find ourselves in (good or bad)! 

And His plans are good for us! Now, is every decision we make what God wants for our lives? No. Is God pleased with the bad situations we get ourselves into? No. But because God loves us and is good to us, God turns our badness into blessing. God uses our sinful actions and embarrassing mistakes to bring about a more refined and blessed life. He really does turn our mess into a message and our test into a testimony.

God, at times allows, and God, at times orchestrates both good and bad events in our lives. But again, all for our good and His glory – always.
With this heavenly understanding we will now continue to read the life of Joseph. Let us turn our bibles to Genesis 40.

GENESIS 40 (at this point, Joseph is 28 years old)
[vs. 1-3] It came to pass after these things that the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their lord, the king of Egypt (Senusret II). And Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief butler and the chief baker. So he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard (this is Potiphar), in the prison, the place where Joseph was confined.

The chief butler was the Pharaoh’s personal cupbearer - In charge of everything the king drank. The chief baker was the Pharaoh’s personal chef - in charge of everything the king ate. Two of the highest positions in the kingdom. In order to assume these high positions, you would have to have an impeccable character and an unyielding loyalty to Pharaoh. Because, if these men gave in to bribes of some sort or could have influenced by Pharaoh’s enemies in some way, they could be tempted to poison the king. And it would not be difficult – having unlimited access to the king’s table.

Here is some reasonable speculation: It is possible that a plot to kill the king by way of drink or food poisoning was discovered. And these two men were the prime suspects. After the evidence was made clear, the baker was found guilty of possible treason.
“the place where Joseph was confined” Again, it is no coincidence that these two men were locked up with Joseph – God’s plan continues to unfold!

[vs 4] And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them; so they were in custody for a while.

Regarding Joseph being accused of sexual assault by Potiphar’s wife in Gen. 39, here we find a clue – “the captain of the guard” is Potiphar and here we find Potiphar entrusting the butler and the baker into Joseph’s care. I believe that Potiphar acted like he believed his wife over Joseph because it would look really bad on Potiphar to choose to believe a Hebrew slave boy’s word over his own wife’s word (plus he didn’t want to have to sleep on the couch the rest of his life).

Joseph was a man with a very impressive character and his leadership skills were golden; i.e. when he was only 17 his dad made him the supervisor over all his older brothers.
When he was in Potiphar’s house, he excelled above everyone and was given tons of authority and responsibility. 

While he is in prison, he is given something of a warden’s position - placed over every prisoner. 

And when God takes Him out, he will become the 2nd most powerful person in Egypt. Joseph excelled in the prison and in the palace. He flourished in his up-times and in his down-times and the secret to his success was that “the LORD was with Joseph.” Joseph had a close and rich relationship with God and his blessed life was the proof.

Side note: When you’re asked or entrusted to care for others like Potiphar entrusted Joseph with the butler and the baker, this is a sign of spiritual maturity. Now, if you’re asked to step it up and care for others in a more practical way and you refuse, that is a sign of spiritual immaturity.

And if you notice, Joseph had no problem with it. He did not refuse by saying, “I have a lot my own plate and I’ve got problems of my own, I’m sure you understand Potiphar, I’ll have to pass.” No, Joseph took the charge and even went the extra mile as we will soon see.

[vs. 5-7] Then the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison, had a dream, both of them, each man’s dream in one night and each man’s dream with its own interpretation. And Joseph came into them in the morning and looked at them and saw that they were sad. So, he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in the custody of his lord’s house, saying, “Why do you look so sad today?”

Both the butler, and the baker have a dream on the same night with two different meanings and two different outcomes – another ‘God-incidence’. God will eventually use Joseph’s God’s given ability to interpret specific dreams with specific purposes to get him where he needs to be (the Pharaohs’ right hand man) to save Israel from starvation. God’s fingerprints are all over this.

Notice how Joseph took his responsibility to another level. He genuinely cared and showed kindness to the prisoners. He paid attention to their dispositions (moods) and noticed an unusual level of sadness on their faces. He took the time to inquire of their sadness and to hear them out with a heart willing to help.

One commentator says that this is a picture of Jesus who came to our prison (this fallen world of sin) and showed us ample kindness. Which means that we’re not Joseph in this story, Jesus is and we’re the butler and the baker!

[vs. 8] And they said to him, “We each have had a dream, and there is no interpreter of it.” So, Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please.

Joseph’s’ response tells a lot about Joseph’s close dependency on God’s revelation and clear meaning of dreams. He doesn’t say “well you know, I have this gift of dream interpretation.” No, He points to God as the only One who can give the clear meaning of a God-given dream.

I do not believe that Joseph had “the gift of dream interpretation” – to where he can interpret any dream at any time for anyone. No, this was an ability that God gave Him in these and other instances for God’s purposes alone. And God has done this in several and special times through the Bible.

How do we know that the butler’s and the baker’s dreams were from God and that Joseph’s interpretation was from God? Simple: 1. The dreams were written in the Old Testament - Holy Spirit inspired scriptures. 2. The interpretations came true.
As Christians, we are never to desire or seek out dreams or the interpretation of them. Like “LORD speak to me in a dream!” “Or to say, “I know for sure that God gave me a dream.” 

Because how can we know for sure that a dream is indeed from God and that we most definitely know the meaning? If we’re honest, we can’t. We may “feel” like it’s from God, but we can’t know it’s from God. What we can know for sure is His written Word. He has already spoken in His Word and it is potent and sufficient.

In Deut. 13:3-5 God warns Israel of dreamers and commands them to instead “you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.

One thing I’ve noticed is that it’s the false teachers of our day that promote dreams and after hearing them, they are totally false. False teachers like Paula White, Jesse Duplantis and Sid Roth and his lame “It’s Supernatural” signs and wonders show.
See this article by Rapture Forums on Sid Roth’s endorsement of the unbiblical practice of ‘Soaking Prayer’

[vs. 9-13] Then the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, “Behold, in my dream a vine was before me, and in the vine were three branches; it was as though it budded, its blossoms shot forth, and its clusters brought forth ripe grapes. Then 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.” And Joseph said to him, “This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days.” Now within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your place, and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand according to the former manner, when you were his butler.

Notice the meaning of the dream was given to Joseph instantly. He did not have to go and pray about. He didn’t take time to wonder what anything meant. And he didn’t have to give his pastor a call.

Also, how could Joseph possibly know that the three branches meant three days? Why not three hours, three weeks, or three months? Because God was the interpreter and God doesn’t wonder, guess or make mistakes.

The Butler – cupbearer will be restored to his position. After looking over the evidence, the butler is found not guilty. But as we’ll soon see, the butler was not reinstated to his position for nothing – but to eventually get Joseph out of jail “in order” for him to save his people! God is working everything out for his good!

[vs. 14-15] But remember me when it is well with you, and please show kindness to me; make mention of me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house. For indeed I was stolen away from the land of the Hebrews; and also, I have done nothing here that they should put me into the dungeon.

Even though Joseph knew that God was with Him in prison, Joseph still wanted out. At times we’re in a dark place and we know that God is working with us in BUT it’s OK and reasonable for us to want out and to pray for ourselves, that the LORD will let us out of it. If we’re in a bad situation, it’s understandable to find a way out of it.

By the way, we can hear the irony and pain in Joseph’s voice. I do not deserve this – my brothers sold me, Potiphar’s wife false accused me – but little did Joseph know that two years from now Pharaoh will have a dream that no one could interpret but God and Joseph will be God’s man! If God lets him out now, Joseph will not become 2nd in command. All in God’s perfect time.

[vs. 16-19] When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said to Joseph, “I also was in my dream, and there were three white baskets on my head. In the uppermost basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, and the birds ate them out of the basket on my head. So Joseph answered and said, “This is the interpretation of it: The three baskets are three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head from you and hang you on a tree; and the birds will eat your flesh from you.

The baker and his hopes are up after he heard the interpretation of the butler’s dream. But, Joseph didn’t hold back the bad news; I’m sure he spoke with sadness but he spoke, nonetheless.

James Boise says that “many preachers are willing to preach the butler’s sermon, the ‘everything will go well with you’ sermon, but not many preachers are willing to preach the baker’s sermon, the ‘You are dying and are under the just wrath of God’ sermon”.
Preachers must preach both the good news and the bad news because men’s souls depend on it.

The baker is on his way to the noose. He will be hanged. He was most likely found guilty of some crime. I’m sure the butler was hoping this comes true but the baker not so much and that’s the way it with unbelievers, they hope hell isn’t real. By the way, in just three days all will know if Joseph is a false prophet or a true prophet.

[vs. 20] Now it came to pass on the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday (we see here that B-day’s have been celebrated for a very long time), that he made a feast for all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. Then he restored the chief butler to his butlership again, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand. But he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.

We may see this and feel very sad for Joseph due to the butler forgetting about him, but this was all in God’s plan and God’s perfect timing. The Butler was to remember Joseph WHEN Pharaoh needed a dream interpreter.

Last thought: could the butler and the baker be a shadow of the two criminals hanging next to Jesus? Where one is shown mercy and the other perishes? Just a thought.
We’re seeing here that God indeed does work all thing good and bad for our good so let’s be encouraged by that as we continue this Christian life with it’s up and downs, it’s valley’s and mountains.

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