Genesis 41:1 When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream.
“Did Joseph spend two more years in prison due to a cupbearer’s faulty memory?” Isn’t that a great question? A companion question to it is, “Did God intend for Joseph to be in the dungeon for those two additional years?”
None of the magicians or wise men of Egypt could interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. It was then that the cupbearer remembered Joseph and recounted his experience with Joseph while in prison. Pharaoh sent for Joseph. Why did the cupbearer forget?
One of the important things for us to recognize in this situation is that God was working both in Joseph and in the bigger situation that he found himself in. ‘Stuff’ was going on that he knew nothing about. The timetable that God was working on involved Joseph, but it also involved a much bigger picture of people and events. When things were in place, pharaoh had a dream. Isn’t it interesting that one of the individuals who had been in prison with Joseph was the cupbearer – who just happened to be with Pharaoh when this dream happened?! Isn’t it interesting that the cupbearer too had experienced a dream with Joseph and had been witness to his interpretation being fulfilled?!
Thus the stage was set for the cupbearer’s memory of Joseph to be turned back on. In the meantime, Joseph was just faithfully performing the duties assigned to him in prison. He probably had no idea how God was involved in the orchestration of events until after the events unfolded and he looked back in amazement!
This is such an important principle for us to recognize and embrace. God is at work in our lives and in the circumstances around us to bring about His plan and purposes. We are not alone. We are not left to ourselves. Many times the issue of timing is vital. Things don’t happen because they are dependent upon other things, possibly beyond our control, happening first.
It seems clear to me that Joseph spent two more years in prison because that is where God wanted him to be. He was not subject to a cupbearer’s faulty memory. If anything, I think God caused the cupbearer to forget. God was working in Joseph and until the time of Pharaoh’s dream, the Lord wanted him there – in the dungeon. Of course God could have given Pharaoh the dreams two years earlier. But that wasn’t His plan.
It is critical that we recognize that God is intimately involved in our lives – particularly in the difficult seasons that we go through. If our prayers don’t bring relief, it could be that God wants us to be exactly where we are, and is going to keep us there – just like He did with Joseph in prison. Our focus must be upon our Lord. Hopefully, we will respond as faithfully as Joseph.