Thursday, December 02, 2010

Joseph Interprets The Chief Cupbearer’s Dream In Prison -- Genesis 40:9-15

So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, “In my dream, behold, there was a vine in front of me; and on the vine were three branches. And as it was budding, its blossoms came out, and its clusters produced ripe grapes. Now Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand; so I took the grapes and squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup, an I put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.” Then Joseph said to him, “This is the interpretation of it: the three branches are three days; within three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office; and you will put Pharaoh’s cup into his hand according to your former custom when you were his cupbearer. Only keep me in mind when it goes well with you, and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house. For I was in fact kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that they should have put me into the dungeon.”

In the chief cupbearer’s dream, he saw a blossoming grapevine with three branches reaching fruition. In his hand, he held Pharaoh’s wine cup, which he proceeded to fill by squeezing the grapes from the vine into it, and gave it to Pharaoh. A very simple dream in some respects but not necessarily easy to interpret.

Joseph, upon hearing it, interprets the dream. The three branches of the maturing vine represent a period of three days at which time the cupbearer would be taken from prison and reinstated in his former position as depicted in the dream by the cupbearer filling Pharaoh’s cup.

You can imagine the joy that the cupbearer must have felt as he heard those words from Joseph. But did he really immediately believe it? We do not know. Or was it only a feeling of “if only it were true” not dissimilar to what we often feel reading our ‘fortune cookie messages’ after a good Chinese meal?

And by the way, what was the real purpose of this dream of the cupbearer’s? Was it really all about him, his release and re-instatement? Or was it more about how God wanted to use it in the life of Joseph? Certainly Joseph was not going to let an opportunity like this go by. Being confident in his interpretation of the dream, Joseph asks the cupbearer simply to “keep me in mind” and mention “me to Pharaoh when you get out” of here. Not ‘if’, but ‘when’.

We note that Joseph then shares with the cupbearer his own situation, how he unwillingly got to Egypt and how he feels undeserving of his current imprisonment. No major complaining, just the reality of the circumstances he was in. We also note that no record of a response by the cupbearer to either the interpretation or to Joseph’s request is provided. Again, to me indicating, the author is more concerned with the Joseph plotline than that of the cupbearer.

What are we to take from this passage of scripture? I’m not sure, but here are a few suggestions. First, realize and be ready and willing to be used by God in any circumstance you find yourself in as Joseph was. Second, from the cupbearer’s perspective, allow individuals who have been clearly blessed by God to minister to you. And third, from Joseph’s perspective again, pursue solutions to your challenges by making your case and leaving the rest to God – a lesson that we all need to keep on learning. My prayer today is that we be willing and ready to be used, yes today; for those of us dealing with challenges, to allow other godly men and women to minister to us from God; and finally, to take the necessary steps to stand up for to the point of stating our case, but allowing God to bring about results.

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