Rose Kennedy, who endured the loss of three sons – Joe, shot down during World War II; then John, assassinated in Dallas when he was president; and finally, Robert, murdered as he campaigned for the White House – put it this way:
“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”
I believe Joseph found himself in a similar frame of mind. The scar tissue may have begun to come in over his wounds of the soul when he rose to favor in Potiphar’s service, then ripped off to inflame the pain and memories anew when he was falsely accused and imprisoned.
Consider that Joseph once again had to start from the bottom, this time with his reputation as surely in shreds as his coat of many colors. Word of his alleged dalliance with the wife of an important Egyptian noble followed him to prison, likely making him a special target for the jailer’s wrath.
But you cannot keep a faithful man of God down. Even as he likely struggled with resentment, Joseph put his trust in the Lord and kept those dreams of destiny and heaven’s favor. Opportunities came for Joseph to prove himself, including supervision of two new prize prisoners – the Pharaoh’s chief baker and personal cupbearer.
These men who were responsible for what passed the Pharaoh’s lips, had to have his complete trust. The Bible doesn’t say how they offended him, but something had probably happened to spark his paranoia. Their lives were in limbo – and then came the dreams, troubling visions in the night.
They confided in Joseph: “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please,” he said.
You can read the details of those dreams, and their outcomes, in Genesis 40:8-22. In a nutshell, Joseph correctly predicted the cupbearer would be restored to his honored position, while the baker would end his days dangling from the gallows.
Joseph’s hopes for getting out of the slammer rose with the release of the cupbearer. After all, this man had promised to take up Joseph’s cause with the Pharaoh, proclaim his innocence to get this interpreter of dreams out of prison.
Two more years in prison before God arranged events to remind – or convict – the cupbearer about that promise. Pharaoh was having dreams, disturbing ones, and none of his priests or fortunetellers could tell him what they meant. The cupbearer finally decided to open his mouth.
“I remember my faults this day,” he confessed, and told the Pharaoh about Joseph and his 100 percent-accurate dream interpretations.
Finally, Joseph was sprung from the Big House. After washing off the smell of prison, getting a shave and some new clothes, the kid from Canaan, still only 30 years old, was hearing the most powerful ruler of his time spill his nightmares.
Joseph, crediting God’s revelation from the beginning, warned the Pharaoh of seven years of bounty to be followed by seven years of famine. He even offered some advice: Put away a fifth of the grain harvested each of those good years and store it for the lean years.
Brilliant idea Joseph, the Pharaoh said. And he knew right away who to put in charge.
He didn’t know it, but the past was about to make an abrupt entry into his life: the same brothers who betrayed him were on the way to Egypt.
Arni Jacobson, Director of Church Expansion – Grace International
This post is derived from Arni Jacobson’s book THE HIGH COST OF RESENTMENT. A more in-depth version of this blog can be found in the book. If you’d like to order a copy of the book for $10, please email Brooke Pierce – firstname.lastname@example.org.