Photo by Clay Banks.
Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they quickly brought him out of the pit. And when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh. Genesis 41: 14
Joseph had been in the prison for a while but because he had interpreted a dream for Pharaoh’s cupbearer, he finds himself being summoned by Pharaoh to interpret a dream for him.
We can look at Joseph’s story and wonder how it relates to our modern-day life but I want us to look at how we can be able to go through pit situations and come out on the other side. We can glean a lot from Joseph. You don’t have to be in a literal pit and you don’t have to end up in a literal palace as he did. But all of us will have pit-like situations, and the palace is symbolic of living in fulfilled dreams.
Surviving difficult circumstances
Joseph finds himself in a prison pit, imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Genesis 39:11-20
But how does Joseph survive the prison environment? It was easy for him to sit in a corner crying woe is me. It was easy to throw a pity party. A lot of bad things had happened to him, he had every right to walk around depressed but that isn’t what Joseph does.
And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge because the LORD was with him. And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed. Genesis 39:22-23
Joseph sees the pit as an opportunity to serve God. Instead of walking around depressed about all the things that had happened to him, he gets to work. He doesn’t just get to work, he does it so well that he succeeds in it.
When we look at situations as opportunities to serve God rather than our woe, we will live very differently. Maybe your pit is you are out of a job for a season, you can use this opportunity to find someone to serve. Maybe you find yourself in a circumstance that you wouldn’t choose for yourself instead of hating it, you can ask the Lord to show you what you can do in this circumstance.
You can survive any situation you find yourself in if you will go into it asking, “What does God want me to do here?” or, “What is God looking to get out of me in this?”
Joseph doesn’t see his prison season as a punishment he saw it as an opportunity to serve and glorify God. And because of this, he had success in a place where most people wouldn’t be able to succeed.
Using our gifts to serve
Joseph had a gift for interpreting dreams. It could have been easy for him to shrink from helping pharaoh’s men with their dreams. Yet, his gift could serve them even in a season where he didn’t feel like his gift was serving him. He wasn’t too self-focused. He could help others even as he waited for God to help him.
When Joseph came to them in the morning he saw that they were troubled. So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in custody in his master’s house, “Why are your faces downcast today?” They said to him, “we have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.” And Joseph said to them, “do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me. Genesis 40: 6-8
Joseph isn’t too absorbed with his little world that he misses the problems God had placed in front of him to solve. We can be so focused on our problems that we never see the problems we have solutions for. Who knows maybe our breakthrough will come from our solving these problems.
Joseph wasn’t doing it to get anything out of it, he was just using his gifts to serve those around him. Our gifts can serve those around us no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in.
Maybe you know God has called you to do great things but you find yourself in a season of doing menial things. Use your gifts in the menial; don’t wait until you get to the call to serve people with those gifts. Serve those who might seem obscure because that’s what gets you before great men.
Maybe you feel like God has called you to start or lead a global company but right now you are in a job or position that doesn’t look like much, use your skills to serve right where you are. As you do, God is preparing you for what He has called you to do. Don’t despise tiny positions because you think they are beneath you. The tiny positions are what will qualify you for great things.
God watches our hearts’ response in the little things because how we do small things is how we will do great things.
God could trust Joseph with the palace because of how he responded in the pit. The pit is what qualified him to serve great men in the palace.
When people forget us
Even though Joseph had helped Pharaoh’s cupbearer, he somehow expected that the cupbearer will remember him when he was restored back to his position.
Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph but forgot him. Genesis 40:23
The cupbearer had moved on with his life, he never paid a thought to the guy who showed him such kindness in prison.
Sometimes, we can be mad at people because they didn’t pay much attention to us when we needed their help. We can be mad at who didn’t help us. We can be bitter about who didn’t open the door for us.
But even though the cupbearer did forget Joseph, God had an appointed time. After two years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream, a dream that no one could interpret. God has set up a problem that only Joseph could solve and then the cupbearer remembered Joseph. Genesis 41:1-13
The cupbearer was God’s appointed help to get Joseph out of prison, but even though he was, God allowed him to forget Joseph because Joseph needed to know who his help was. God will allow us to be disappointed by the people who we believe should help us so we can know who helps us. God is our helper, not men. He uses men to get the blessings to us…but our help comes from him. We shouldn’t worry about who forgets us because in God’s timing, the people who should help us will.
When God commands men to show us favor nothing can make them forget us, but when we depend on men’s favor, they will forget about us indefinitely.
Qualifying for the palace
God made sure that Joseph had such value that Pharaoh was going to give him a job immediately.
And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. Genesis 41:41-42
God had orchestrated it from the start, every season was a training ground for Joseph. If he would do what God wanted, he would get to the palace. We don’t get to the palace accidentally; we get to the palace because we passed the tests in the previous seasons.
We can also see how God had refined Joseph’s character. When Joseph stands before the king humility flows out of him. The prison had refined Joseph until humility could carry the great gift that was on him. God could trust him with great things because he knew Joseph would honor Him.
Can you imagine the pride that would come because we are the only ones who can provide a solution to the king? Can you imagine how inflated we would be if we found ourselves in a situation where nobody else could do what we could do?
But Joseph answered Pharaoh, “ It is not in me [to interpret the dream]; God [ not I] will give Pharaoh a favorable answer [ through me].” Genesis 41:16 AMP
I love this. Can you see how Joseph has matured from the proud peacock( Genesis 37) who couldn’t wait to vex his brothers with his big dreams, to a man full of humility. Even though he has the solution he is able to remove himself so God can get all the glory.
You will know you have qualified for the palace because you will act like you know who gives you the gifting, the ability, and the skills to do what you can do.