Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: God’s providence may be seen in all things!

The Cupbearer and the Baker

February 23, 2005

Center Point Baptist Church


Present the following illustration on dreams:

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Senior, was a doctor. As such he was very interested in the use of ether. In order to know how his patients felt under its influence, he once had a dose administered to himself. As he was going under, in a dreamy state, a profound thought came to him. He believed that he had suddenly grasped the key to all the mysteries of the universe. When he regained consciousness, however, he was unable to remember what the insight was. Because of the great importance this thought would be to mankind, Holmes arranged to have himself given either again. This time he had a stenographer present to take down the great thought. The either was administered, and sure enough, just before passing out the insight reappeared. He mumbled the words, the stenographer took them down, and he went to sleep confident in the knowledge that he had succeeded. Upon awakening, he turned eagerly to the stenographer and asked her to read what he had uttered. This is what she read: "The entire universe is permeated with a strong odor of turpentine."

*In this case, the woozy dream turned out to be meaningless.

•But there have been days that God revealed Himself to the world or to individuals through dreams.

1.) Joseph’s Roommates

Read Genesis 40:1-4a.

*This is one of the most memorable stories of Sunday School days – the baker and the butler had offended Pharaoh, and had been thrown in prison.

•We don’t know what they might have done.

•It might have been a grievous crime, conspired together.

•They might have had separate crimes – coincidental.

•It might have been something minor – such was the fickle mood of Pharaoh.

*Regardless of the crime, they are thrown into prison with Joseph – so far there are five characters in this story.

Can you name them?


•the butler

•the baker


•Captain of the Guard

What was the captain of the guard’s name?

(Potiphar! – re: Genesis 37:36)

*Note the kind treatment in the preferment of Joseph – that he would have privelege even in prison.

•He had shown himself skillful at his master’s house – why not here also?

•Perhaps a change of heart had occurred in Potiphar – after careful observation of Joseph’s integrity!

Chain of events:

1. Joseph sold to Midianite traders…

2. …who sold Joseph into slavery in Egypt…

3. …into the house of Potiphar…

4. …who, in effect, became his jailer.

*Can you not see divine providence in the proceedings thus far? – Yet, for Joseph, it would take faith in God to trust this kind of life to Him who ordained it!

2.) Confusing Dreams

Read Genesis 40:4b-19.

*Note the power of God – at work using even those who are not His own.

• The dreams were coincidental – meaning these revelatory dreams occurred during the same sleep period.

• They made extraordinary impression – meaning that they were actually remembered through to the morning.

• Upon their interpretation and fulfillment, we have evidence of the divine origin of these dreams.

How does the scripture say the men reacted to their dreams initially?

(They were dejected – Genesis 40:6)

Why do you suppose they were so dejected?

(Perhaps even they knew of the divine origin – and were unable to make out what the future might hold.)

When Joseph saw their condition, how did he react?

*They were looking for an interpretation – and Joseph pronounced a very important truth:

Genesis 40:8 – Then Joseph said to them, "Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams."

Review the dreams:

• The cupbearer’s would end well in three days – with the man restored to his former position.

• The baker, however, would end in death in three days.

*Notice that the baker, after hearing the happy interpretation of the cupbearer’s dream, was willing to share his own dream with Joseph.

• It was upon this occasion that Joseph told him the “God’s-honest” truth – even the unpopular truth.

• It would have been much easier to withhold the truth, and those three days may have gone smoother.

• It wasn’t Joseph’s fault that the interpretation tended toward the baker’s death.

Mathew Henry – Ministers are but interpreters, they cannot [and should never dare to] make the thing otherwise than it is.

*All ministers of the gospel – whether ordained or laity, need to give the truth of the Word – not holding the Word of God back so that others might be more comfortable with the message!

Recall the words of Paul to the various gathered churches:

Acts 20:20 – You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house.

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