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Genesis 40:1-23, “Do not interpretations belong to God?” Only God knows the future. In the Bible, God recorded all of the knowledge of the future that God wants us to have. The Bible is the word of God and can tell us what is important. The philosophy of man, the religions of man, the interpretations of man, and the idols made by men, cannot help a person when he dies. The interpretations of man, false religions and prophets, are erroneous. Joseph is an example to the every Christian who wants to have a close relationship with God and walk in the Holy Spirit. God gave us the story of Joseph to show us how to walk with God. In Genesis 40:1-23, in the confines of a prison, while suffering tremendous adversity, we can see several fruits of the Spirit in this passage in the life of Joseph: longsuffering, gentleness, goodness and faith. Galatians 5:22 and 23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Because Joseph walked in the Spirit of God; he could have the proper interpretations of the dreams. Verse 1-8 Interpretations belong unto God. Astrologers and false prophets cannot accurately foretell the future. The reason why we have so many different interpretations of the prophecies of the scriptures is due to the fact that false prophets, and false teachers, cannot accurately interpret the scriptures. The apostle Peter clearly stated that only holy men of God, using the scriptures as their standard, can properly interpret the scriptures. 2 Peter 1:20 and 21 says, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scriptures is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” “… but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Because Joseph was ‘holy,’or as Galatians 5:23 states, ‘temperance,’ God gave him the proper interpretation. The meaning of temperate is; (1) marked by moderation: as, keeping or held within limits: not extreme or excessive; and, marked by an absence or avoidance of extravagance, violence, or extreme partisanship. A saint cannot be ‘holy’ without having ‘temperance’ in his character. Daniel 2:27 & 28, “Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these.” The false prophets, and false teachers, in the churches, the false gods of the Taoists, the Confucian, and the Buddhists, cannot reveal the end times. Only the Bible can give us the events of the end time. The prophecies of the scriptures are true and will come to pass. Joseph was a true prophet. God gave him dreams and Joseph could interpret the dreams of others. In this story God gave us two examples. As with Daniel, God gave Joseph the proper interpretation and Joseph gave the honour and glory to God. “Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these.” Daniel 2:27 & 28 Even though Joseph was in prison unjustly, Joseph still had goodness in his life to help the Baker and the Butler in their trials of life in the prison. Please take note that Joseph saw the sadness of these men and had an inward desire, without the prospect of a reward, to help both of these men in their sorrows of life. Is not this act of goodness, this act of kindness, without any prospect of reward, like the goodness and kindness of the Lord Jesus? “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Acts 10:38 Verse 9-13 The dream of the Butler. The butler told Joseph the dream and Joseph told the the butler the correct interpretation of the dream. Only God could have told Joseph the interpretation. Verse 14 and 15 Joseph's Request and Testimony. Joseph asked the butler to make mention of him to Pharaoh. Joseph then told the butler his story. Joseph reminded the butler that he did nothing wrong. The life of Joseph, as the life of the Lord Jesus, was above reproach. Verse 16-19 The dream of the Baker The chief baker told Joseph his dream and Joseph told the baker the correct interpretation of the dream. Verse 20-22 The Fulfillment of the Two Dreams The interpretations of Joseph were correct. God gave the interpretation to Joseph and Joseph told the interpretations of the two dreams to the butler and to the baker. The dreams were fulfilled in public. As with Daniel, God gave the correct interpretations of both of the dreams. The interpretation of a true prophet is always right. Deuteronomy 18:22, “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” Verse 23 the Butler forgot Joseph Man forgets, but God does not. In God's proper timing, and in His proper ways, He will fulfill His will. In the life of Joseph we know that he had a good relationship with God. Even though he is in prison, he did good, the butler forgot him and Joseph remained in prison. Even in intense adversity, Joseph was kind to those around him. In spite of the other peoples failure, Joseph still trusted in God. In spite of his still being in prison, Joseph still trusted in God and did good. Joseph, throughout his life, and in this instance, had longsuffering, gentleness in adversity, goodness and faith.
Genesis 39:21-23, “But the LORD was with Joseph.” Genesis 39:21-23, “But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper.” Throughout the hardships and sufferings in the life of Joseph, the LORD was with Joseph. Psalm 105:16-19, “Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread. He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.” Because of the evil of the 11 brothers, Joseph was made a slave. Because of the evil of one evil woman, Joseph was put in prison. While in prison, among other hardships and sufferings, the Egyptians put fetters of iron and hurt Joseph's feet. God allowed evil people to cause Joseph to be put in prison to test Joseph. God is preparing Joseph to rule the land of Egypt. In order for God to use Joseph for His glory, God is going to test him in the prison. Psalm 105:19, “Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.” God tests those people whom He wants to use with hardships and sufferings. Joseph, like Christ, loved God, and God is using hardship and suffering to prepare Joseph as the ruler of Egypt and for the physical salvation of Jacob and his family. Genesis 45:4-6, “And Joseph said unto his brethren, come near to me,I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry, with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a prosperity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” Furthermore, God, through the salvation of Jacob and his sons, will use Joseph to provide the protection for the lineage of the Saviour of the world, the Lord Jesus. Romans 9:4 & 5, “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises. Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.” God tested the Lord Jesus with hardships and sufferings for the salvation of the soul and for the eventual salvation, both physical and spiritual, of the sons of Israel. Hebrews 5:8 & 9, “Though he were a Son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” And, Romans 11:26 & 27, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” In His timing, God will turn away the ungodliness, and unbelief, of the sons of Jacob. Verse 21 Let us consider three things. 1. “But the LORD was with Joseph” God was with Joseph. Joseph had a close relationship with God. Joseph did not allow the conspiracy of his brothers, the lies of Potiphar's wife, destroy the relationship he had with God. Joseph believed that God would fulfill the two dreams that God gave him. 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” While in prison Joseph had comfort in his relationship with God. 2. “... and shewed him mercy..” In the Old Testament, and in the New Testament, God is merciful. If a person has a humble heart, repents of his sins, and has faith and trusts in the mercy of God, than God will shew him mercy. 2 Samuel 22:26 & 27, “With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright. With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the forward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury.”A proud person will not find the mercy of God. If a person wants God to show him mercy than he needs to be merciful. From Genesis to Revelation we see that God is merciful to the humble person. 1 Peter 5:5, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” Psalm 33:18, “Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy.” 3. “… and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.” God caused the the keeper of the prison to find favor in Joseph. God can cause the people of this world to help the person who trusts in God. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” God is now going to promote Joseph. Eventually, Joseph will become, in modern terminology, the vice-president of Egypt. First, Joseph became a slave, and then a prisoner in a jail, in order for God to prepare him to rule over the country of Egypt and save Jacob and his brethren. Before God can use us in a high position He wants us to see if He can use us in a low position. God found out that Joseph really loved Him, really trusted in Him, and God found out that Joseph was faithful in the small things of daily living. The Lord Jesus said, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” Luke 16:10 Because in the time of his testing Joseph was faithful, God will promote him to be the second ruler in Egypt. Verse 22 & 23 The Lord made everything that Joseph did to prosper God blessed the efforts of Joseph. Joseph trusted God, had faith, and was a man of integrity and high character. So, God prospered his work. Joseph was a very faithful and trustworthy person and is a good example of the character of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Joseph is a good example for the Christian. 3 John 2, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest proper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. As Joseph loved God, and God worked all things out for his good, so should we love God and watch Him work out all things for our good. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”