Lifted up

Genesis 40

Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker (40:2). Joseph was in prison. Joseph was not angry. Joseph was not rebelliously praying, “What is this now, where do you put me in, Lord? Do you find that this is just? I served you faithfully, I even resisted this beautiful woman and how did you thank me for it? Do you prefer me to become like these pagans? Their gods don’t do that to them. What kind of god are you?”

No, his heart was joyful to serve. He was walking around in the prison with the Holy Spirit, singing songs of praise and worship. He was praying and worshipping God even in his sleep. And he slept better than a baby. He was sensitive to his neighbours. He understood immediately that two of his co-prisoners were troubled (40:6) after a long night snoring peacefully. Thus, he enquired about their emotional well-being. This is what he had learned from his God. The cupbearer trusted Joseph and shared his dream. Joseph made sure they understood that only his God was able to interpret dreams genuinely (40:8). He received the interpretation of the dream directly from the Holy Spirit. This was the God-given moment to give witness to his God. He gave his witness without accusing his brothers. He said, “I was indeed stolen out of the land of the Hebrews”(40:15). He was supposed to be bitter and to speak evil of his evil brothers. But he did not. There is no bitterness in the one who walks and talks constantly with the Holy Spirit. There is no room in the heart for the Holy Spirit and bitterness at the same time. Where the Holy Spirit is, there is forgiveness, love and peace.

Some reader might say, “But Joseph lied. He was not stolen.” Well, the same reader would probably have approved if Joseph had said,” Before I believed in a gracious and wonderful God. Then I found out that this God was mean and revengeful. This God was so mean that he sided with my evil brothers to kill me and only the merciful Ishmaelites saved me out of the violent hands of my brothers and this violent God.” This would be the same kind of reaction as saying, ” you’re lying” if you say that the glass is half full” because “the eternal and undiscussable truth is that this glass is half empty, there is no other truth, accept it.”

Well, Joseph was stolen and brought to Egypt because Joseph belonged to his home in Canaan. He belonged to his parents, he belonged to his flock. He was stolen and sold to owners who should not have been his owners, seen from the human side. His brothers had no right to sell him because they were not his owners.

Joseph’s purpose was to witness of his God, who was with him in the midst of adverse circumstances. He did not speak evil of those that betrayed him. He did not say a word about people who said that they believed in the same God, the one that is loving and gracious and behaved full of hatred and injustice. He did not tell everyone why they should not go to their church because people inside were worse than those outside. He wanted them to have a chance, the chance God wanted them to discover for themselves that the Lord is good and you can come and see for yourself that he is good.

Joseph was so close to the Holy Spirit that he did not need a ceremonial session to prepare himself during 3 hours of purifying his mind in order to receive God’s oracle. He lived with the Spirit, so the Spirit spoke constantly to his mind, being himself in his mind. The cupbearer was happy with the interpretation. Joseph asked him to remember him and to speak about his experience to Pharaoh, but as soon as the cupbearer got out of prison and was restored to his precious office, he forgot about Joseph and his God as fast as the 9 sick people who were healed by Jesus and forgot about him as soon as they were healed. A thankful heart is a heart that remembers God’s goodness every day and therefore is able to see God’s goodness in the present and rejoice where the unthankful heart only sees misery and the glass half full. Frustration is not an objective evaluation of the circumstances, only an emotional reaction to one’s own wishes that are not fulfilled. Change the wishes and the frustration will be gone. Try to understand God’s objectives and bring your emotions in line by adapting your thoughts to God’s reality and the frustrations will disappear faster than they have entered through the door of your heart.

Joseph was not a fortune teller, an oracle inventor. Joseph had a sensitive heart to the voice of the Holy Spirit. He did not twist God’s word to please people. But he loved everyone. Therefore, upon the request, he also gave the interpretation that he had received from the Holy Spirit for the baker, who had to be released from prison only to be executed within the same three days that the cupbearer was to be restored to his office. However, the sad conclusion to this part of the story is, “ Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.” May the Lord help us not to get what we want from him and then run away to continue our own life.

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