Summary: Our text finds Joseph still in the midst of a great trial of faith. He has been mistreated, misrepresented, maliciously accused and imprisoned. In the midst of it all Joseph remained patient and kept his testimony intact.
JOSEPH’S PRISON MINISTRY – #5
TEXT: Genesis 39:23 “The keeper of the prison looked not to anything that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him (Joseph), and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper.”
Our text finds Joseph still in the midst of a great trial of faith. He has been mistreated, misrepresented, maliciously accused and imprisoned. In the midst of it all Joseph remained patient and kept his testimony intact.
A glimpse at Joseph’s life reveals the trials he was forced to face.
• He was treated unfairly by his own brothers and sold into slavery.
• He became a slave in a foreign land.
• He was falsely accused of sexual assault and unjustly imprisoned.
HOWEVER – Joseph chose not to be a victim. He understood that “The Lord was with Joseph!” That truth alone made his prison experience bearable.
As we rejoin Joseph in prison, we see his experience reveals some important lessons for God’s people today. Chapter 40 finds Joseph shut up in prison, but still believing and serving the Lord. In that prison he was forgotten by many, but he was never forgotten by the Lord.
The path of life leads us into similar prison situations. We all face hardships and trials. That is the way of life!
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Romans 8:38-39 “I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We may, at times, we feel we are forgoten. We may be forgotten by those around us, but we are never forgotten by the Lord (Heb 13:5).
#1. JOSEPH’S PRISON DUTY (v 1-4). “And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt. 2 And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. 3 And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound. 4 And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward.”
While Joseph waits in prison, he receives some new roommates – Pharaoh’s Butler and Baker.
• The Butler was Pharaoh’s Cupbearer. When anything to eat or drink was brought before Pharaoh, the cupbearer would taste it first to make sure it was safe for Pharaoh. Cupbearers were close to the rulers they served. They were so close that they had conversations and where some-times were privy to royal secrets. They were highly trusted servants that literally held Pharaoh’s life in their hands (Nehemiah 2:1ff).
• The Baker was Pharaoh’s Personal Chef. He was responsible for the food that Pharaoh ate as well as those that dined at his table. He too would have been a trusted servant in Pharaoh’s household.
• Apparently, there had been a problem with Pharaoh’s food and these men are in trouble. They have been cast out of their positions and find themselves locked up in prison.
When these men get to prison, they receive privileged treatment. They were treated like celebrities; they even have a servant assigned to minister to their needs. Joseph is picked to be their servant.
• On the surface, this seemed to be just another assignment; but, in reality this was the providence of a sovereign God at work in Joseph’s life. God had just brought Joseph face to face with the man God would later use to secure Joseph’s release from prison.
We should never discount the seemingly small twists and turns of this life. God can and does use small things in great ways.
• The same is true in your life and mine. What we see as a “chance” encounter may be the meeting of a lifetime. What we see as an “accident” or as “coincidence” may be God at work in your life.
• God guides through the tiny details of our life! There are no accidents with Him.
Psalm 37:23 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.”
Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.”
#2. JOSEPH’S PRISON DISCOVERY (v 5-19).
One morning Joseph checks on his charges and they are both sad. They tell him they have had disturbing dreams and don’t know what they mean. When Joseph hears this he must have thought of his own dreams (Gen 37:5-11). His dreams seemed as though they had been derailed, or at best delayed. He encourages the Butler and Baker to tell him their dreams. Joseph knows the God Who can give them the interpretation.