Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Interpreted Dreams Come True - Genesis 40:20-23

Thus it came about on the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast for all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. And he restored the chief cupbearer to his office, and he put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand; but he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.

Can you imagine the scene? It is the Pharaoh’s birthday and of course what better time to display his authority than that to all his servants. So he throws a big feast for them with several possible objectives. He wanted to thank them for their services or he needed substitute friends to celebrate with. We do not know how popular he was outside his own palace. He would use the occasion to demonstrate he had the power to forgive peoples’ wrong against him and also the power to take their lives. To that end, he had the chief cupbearer and the chief baker hauled up from the prisons below and “he lifted up” their heads and held them for all to see. A good “sport” at their expense, for sure. Can you imagine the stillness of the scene? What would the man in charge do with these two heads of former servants and now prisoners? And who would be next? If he could determine life or death for these two, what could he do for those that were serving in much lower positions in his household?

Well, he did exactly as Joseph had said he would when he interpreted the dreams the cupbearer and the baker had respectively. The cupbearer was spared, the baker was hung.

One would think that the cupbearer would have remembered the interpretations Joseph had given to him and his colleague just three days earlier. But we are told he did not. In fact, the text says, he “forgot him”.

Perhaps therein lies the lesson for us today. Have we forgotten those that have asked us to remember them and at the time, we likely said, “yes, we will” or “don’t worry, I won’t forget you”? Have we forgotten those that we should not have forgotten, those that have really been instrumental in our lives? Finally, have we forgotten to deliver on the promises that we made? That is, can people really rely on our word?

In my own life, especially as a consultant, I have made several observations in this regard. People are not very good at keeping their promises – to their families, their friends, their colleagues, their clients, or to God. The people of God themselves, and pastors and church leaders in particular, are not always very good at it. We get failing marks in this category.

I believe we can all improve in this area. It’s all about integrity and credibility. Let our yes be yes and our no, no. We need to deliver on the goods we say we will deliver. That is part of maturing in Christ. It is my prayer that you and I are challenged to do just that.

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