Summary: We often forget, but God never forgets about us.
“But the wine steward never gave Joseph another thought – he forgot all about him” (Genesis 40: 23).
Have you ever said to someone you would ring them, and didn’t?
Has someone come to your mind and you’ve failed to make contact with them?
Has someone done something for you and you thought you would send them a ‘thankyou’, and you failed to put pen to paper?
Have you ever wondered why someone has failed to make contact with you?
You expected it, but it never eventuated?
Maybe, you’ve heard the line, “Oh, I was just about to…”.
Let’s face it we are all guilty of operating on the level of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. We have good intentions, but they just don’t happen! The ready excuse or apology comes that, “I forgot.” Human frailty says that we’ve forgotten to ‘do’ and ‘say’ more times than we care to remember.
Joseph, found himself thinking about a fellow prisoner – the butler to Pharaoh’s court, who failed to remember him. Joseph had kindly befriended his fellow prisoner and interpreted a dream he had. The dream rightly interpreted meant that the butler would be returned to his important position in the royal court. Police investigation would find that the butler was innocent of any suspected criminal activity – the plotted murder of the king. Joseph, having given the butler a sure hope, said to him, “But please remember me when everything is going well for you, and please be kind enough to mention me to the king and help me get out of prison” (v. 17). The narrator of the biblical story makes this editorial comment on behalf of Joseph, “the wine steward never gave Joseph another thought – he forgot all about him” (v. 23). I have to confess, I have used these words of scripture, “I never gave it another thought.’ In fact, the butler never gave Joseph another thought for a further two years, after his release from prison when his memory was suddenly jolted by circumstances surrounding his master.
Two long years passed by for Joseph in prison without any contact from the butler - not a word, a note, or a visit eventuated. Forgotten? Yes! We can well imagine Joseph waiting with a measure of expectation, but nothing came. Whilst, the narrator of scripture suggests that the butler’s forgetfulness was for a purpose known to God, we cannot claim that benefit. We forget too often!
It is a sadness that humans tend to not give another thought to their fellow human unless reminded, but God never forgets about us. One of the thieves on the cross, asked, “Remember me, Jesus…” (Luke 23: 42). Jesus did not forget!
It is a good thing that God remembers, that he does not forget about our personal concerns, issues, and needs. It cannot be said of God that he does not give us another thought. He cannot forget his children.
When the butler remembered Joseph he confessed, “I must confess today I have done wrong” (Genesis 41: 9). Maybe, like the butler we have to confess, that we have done wrong in not remembering to ‘do’ or to ‘say’.
To be forgotten is painful, to be forgotten is confusing, to be forgotten creates mistrust, and to be forgotten causes doubt. To say the least, to be forgotten can be most damaging to us. We should be careful not to damage relationships.