Summary: Joseph teaches us how to deal with delay when we find ourselves in one of the "waiting rooms" of life.
“When Life is The Pits”
A Study of the Life of Joseph
Sermon # 5
“Dealing With Delay”
Genesis 40: 23- 41:1-40
What we are talking about today is the “waiting rooms” of life. Have you ever noticed that some rooms seem to speak for themselves. Walking into a new freshly decorated nursery prepared by proud parents and immediately the room speaks of joy, excitement and anticipation. Enter into a cozy den on a cold winters evening. A large fire in the fireplace casting shadows from the cracking fire, cast a invitation to come in, sit down and enjoy its atmosphere. Or walk into a dining room just before the thanksgiving meal, smell the food and hear the sound of friendly voices, the room reverberates with welcome.
But other rooms are not nearly so inviting. Some rooms are distinctly lonely regardless of how many people may be in them. There a frightened uncertainty prevails. Those are the waiting rooms.
As a pastor part of my daily routine I often have the opportunity to spend a lot of time in the waiting room of medical institutions. There you can experience the full gamut of human emotions. These waiting rooms are difficult and challenging to cope with and yet throughout our lives here on earth we have many experiences that develop into “waiting rooms.”
It may be that you are waiting to start a new area of your education. It may be that your health has put you in a waiting room? It may be that the opportunities that you have thought would come have not visualized. But regardless of what kind of “waiting room” you find yourself in today, it is difficult to deal with. We are not use to waiting? We do not like to wait for anything!
It is here that Joseph again teaches us some critical insights to successful living. He too was faced with a “waiting room.” You will remember that Joseph had been imprisoned on false charges. While he was in prison two of the kings chief officials, the kings cupbearer and the king’s baker, were also thrown into prison for displeasing the king. The two men both had dreams and were distressed as to there meaning. Joseph volunteered to interpret their dreams. The cupbearer was to be restored to his former position and the baker was to be hanged. When Joseph interpreted the cupbearer dream (40:14), he had asked the Pharaohs cupbearer for a favor, “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.” Some have suggested that Joseph is showing a lack of faith in making this request. That he is placing his confidence in men rather than God. I don’t know if this is true, but even the strongest at times have wavered. The prophet Elijah sank down in despair and asked to be allowed to die. John the Baptist, confined to Herod’s prison, send a messenger to ask if Jesus was indeed the Christ. Who among us as not professed to be waiting on God, only to hinted at or openly show our needs to anyone we thought could help?
As is the case so often when we are in a period of waiting, things don’t work out like we as we would wish. In Genesis 40:23 we read, “Yet the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him. When we left Joseph last week he was alone in prison forgotten by the man who had promised to remember him. Here again Joseph teaches us a critical insight to successful living. He too was faced with a “waiting room.” Now after a gap of two full years we pick up his story again. In Genesis 41:1 we read, “Then it came to pass, at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh had a dream; and behold, he stood by the river.” (NKJV). Those two full years as far as we know were neither exciting nor eventful. They represented a long, dull, monotonous grind. Month after month, of the same old prison walls. That is what it is like when you’re in a period of waiting. Nothing seems to happen! You just wait, and wait, and wait.
There are several thoughts I want to you to see with me this morning about how to successful deal with delay.
I. We Should Not be Surprised by Periods of Delay
The New Testament tells us in 1 Peter 4:12, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;” (NKJV). If your read through any of the books of the Bible you will find that the saints had to deal with disappointment, frustration and all kinds of hardship. Abraham had to wait for decades to have the son that God promised him. Moses spent 40 years on the backside of the desert, tending sheep before getting the opportunity at age 80 to lead the children of Israel out of captivity in the land of Egypt. Even then Moses spent another 40 years leading Israel in circles before getting to the promised land and when they arrived God did not allow him to go in. God worked while his people were waiting, waiting, waiting.