I have yet to hear anyone say, “I love to wait, waiting is enjoyable.” Nope, I have never heard this uttered, at least not in my circle of friends and family! We don’t like to be put on hold for any amount of time. Who enjoys hearing from the company you are calling, “Let me put you on hold, I’ll be right back”? We hear the music play that is supposed to soothe us while waiting but it just becomes more annoying to us. To be put on hold is not something any human on earth likes.
Joseph has been “on hold” stuck in prison for doing no wrong. The wife of Pharaoh’s aide told lies about him that landed him in this dark place. He does have experiences with dark holes, however. He probably remembers being thrown into the cistern by his brothers. But then, He sees a glimmer of hope when he interprets the dreams of the Pharoah’s baker and cupbearer, but hope fades as he is not remembered for helping.
But this story does not end here as we will read tomorrow. Two more years will pass until Joseph is lifted out of the hole he is in and put back where he would rather be. We wonder why he had to wait so long to be exonerated from the lies told about him. Is God still with him?
Genesis 40, The Message
1-4 As time went on, it happened that the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt crossed their master, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was furious with his two officials, the head cupbearer and the head baker, and put them in custody under the captain of the guard; it was the same jail where Joseph was held. The captain of the guard assigned Joseph to see to their needs.
4-7 After they had been in custody for a while, the king’s cupbearer and baker, while being held in the jail, both had a dream on the same night, each dream having its own meaning. When Joseph arrived in the morning, he noticed that they were feeling low. So he asked them, the two officials of Pharaoh who had been thrown into jail with him, “What’s wrong? Why the long faces?”
8 They said, “We dreamed dreams and there’s no one to interpret them.”
Joseph said, “Don’t interpretations come from God? Tell me the dreams.”
9-11 First the head cupbearer told his dream to Joseph: “In my dream there was a vine in front of me with three branches on it: It budded, blossomed, and the clusters ripened into grapes. I was holding Pharaoh’s cup; I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and gave the cup to Pharaoh.”
12-15 Joseph said, “Here’s the meaning. The three branches are three days. Within three days, Pharaoh will get you out of here and put you back to your old work—you’ll be giving Pharaoh his cup just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer. Only remember me when things are going well with you again—tell Pharaoh about me and get me out of this place. I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews. And since I’ve been here, I’ve done nothing to deserve being put in this hole.”
16-17 When the head baker saw how well Joseph’s interpretation turned out, he spoke up: “My dream went like this: I saw three wicker baskets on my head; the top basket had assorted pastries from the bakery and birds were picking at them from the basket on my head.”
18-19 Joseph said, “This is the interpretation: The three baskets are three days; within three days Pharaoh will take off your head, impale you on a post, and the birds will pick your bones clean.”
20-22 And sure enough, on the third day it was Pharaoh’s birthday and he threw a feast for all his servants. He set the head cupbearer and the head baker in places of honor in the presence of all the guests. Then he restored the head cupbearer to his cupbearing post; he handed Pharaoh his cup just as before. And then he impaled the head baker on a post, following Joseph’s interpretations exactly.
23 But the head cupbearer never gave Joseph another thought; he forgot all about him.
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
When we are stuck, waiting in those dark places, we wonder the same thoughts, don’t we? Where is God in all of this? Is He still hearing me? The answer is yes, He is still with us. He will turn all the bad into good for His glory and purposes in us—in His time. He will lift us up out of the dark pits mentally and emotionally. He comes to us in those stuck places in our lives, and put us back on solid ground. The Psalmist knew this and sang,
“Hear my prayer, O Lord;
listen to my plea!
Answer me because you are faithful and righteous.
2 Don’t put your servant on trial,
for no one is innocent before you.
3 My enemy has chased me.
He has knocked me to the ground
and forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave.
4 I am losing all hope;
I am paralyzed with fear.
5 I remember the days of old.
I ponder all your great works
and think about what you have done.
6 I lift my hands to you in prayer.
I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain. Interlude
7 Come quickly, Lord, and answer me,
for my depression deepens.
Don’t turn away from me,
or I will die.
8 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk,
for I give myself to you.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
I run to you to hide me.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward
on a firm footing.
11 For the glory of your name, O Lord, preserve my life.
Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress.
12 In your unfailing love, silence all my enemies
and destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant.
Friends, I have discovered that most of God’s great teaching in me takes place in the pit of my despair. He has my attention. My hearing is more keenly aware of who His is and what He wants for my life. His “gracious Spirit then begins to lead me forward on firm footing” as I praise Him while stuck in the pit. This is true rescue from my own will, control of time, while realizing who I love and want to serve with all my heart, mind and soul.
To be spiritually stuck in not necessary a bad thing…
Just last Sunday in church, we sang the popular contemporary song, “God Turn it Around”. God will turn things around—in His time. In the stuck places of our lives, God is doing a great work in us. This work is deeply spiritual, full of love and compassion for us. This work of salvation in our souls takes us from where we are to where God wants to be—holy and whole—ready to do his will.
Are you stuck on hold right now?
Wholly lean on Jesus and know that He has not forgotten you. Tell Jesus you trust him enough times each day to convince yourselves. This exercise has been beneficial to me so I hope it is beneficial to you as well. God promises to be with us always. ALWAYS. This promise is repeated many times in His Word. Believe it.
Hope is just around the corner with plans to help you, prosper you, in ways you cannot imagine right now. Expect it. Believe that God knows what He is doing. Trust Jesus who gave His life for you and me. Have faith in the One and Only who rose from death in victory with power. This same resurrection power is in us, available to us. Tap into that power and watch and wait for what happens next!
“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!” Romans 8:15-17
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
“God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” –Jesus, Matthew 28:20, The Message
Allow Paul’s prayer to be ours today…
“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes! (Ephesians 3:20, The Message)
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20, NLT)
In Jesus Name, Amen! I trust in you, dear Jesus! Yes!