The Waiting Room

Background Story: Last we saw Joseph, he started as the big man at home, then got thrown in a pit and sold into slavery by his own brothers, did a great job at Potiphar’s house and was becoming a star, got hit on by his bosses’ wife, and as a result got thrown into jail. Now he’s just hanging out in jail meeting people.

Read: Genesis 40- 41:1

Some time later, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their master, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined. The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph,and he attended them.

After they had been in custody for some time, each of the two men—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were being held in prison—had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own.

When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected. So he asked Pharaoh’s officials who were in custody with him in his master’s house, “Why do you look so sad today?”

“We both had dreams,” they answered, “but there is no one to interpret them.”

Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.”

So the chief cupbearer told Joseph his dream. He said to him, “In my dream I saw a vine in front of me, 10 and on the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, it blossomed, and its clusters ripened into grapes. 11 Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup and put the cup in his hand.”

12 “This is what it means,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches are three days. 13 Within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position, and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer. 14 But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. 15 I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.”

16 When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given a favorable interpretation, he said to Joseph, “I too had a dream: On my head were three baskets of bread. 17 In the top basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.”

18 “This is what it means,” Joseph said. “The three baskets are three days. 19 Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and impale your body on a pole. And the birds will eat away your flesh.”

20 Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials: 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand— 22 but he impaled the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation.

23 The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.

41 When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream.

Big Idea: Times of waiting are necessary for growth.

That last statement, “when two full years had passed” makes my stomach drop. Two years. Think about that. Joseph was in prison for doing the right thing for over 2 years waiting for the promise that God gave him as a 17 year old teen.

Where is God in our times of waiting? Throughout the Bible, there is often a gap of time between the moment God speaks His promise and the time that promise is fulfilled. Check out stories like Abraham, Moses, and David. Each dealt with times of waiting wondering when God’s promise would be fulfilled.

The disciples experienced this after Jesus was crucified. Over the years, they had witnessed Jesus raise the dead, heal the sick, and feed the 5,000. After Jesus was removed from the cross and placed in a tomb, the disciples were left to wait for three days. In Luke 24:21, we read that standing near the tomb, the disciples admitted, “we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.” Hope is easy to lose in times of waiting.

How can we embrace what God wants to teach us in our times of waiting? Realize that waiting is your opportunity to GROW! Have you ever seen a weightlifter with big giant biceps? Did they get those biceps by lifting a 3lb dumbbell one time? Nope…of course not. That growth took repetitive exercise where they repeatedly did the same thing over and over again resulting in their big bicep. In the same way, waiting requires us to repeatedly choose day after day, moment by moment, to trust God. As we do, God changes us, matures us, and develops our spiritual faith muscles to become people that rely not on our emotions or present circumstances but on God’s word.

So today, surrender to the muscle building work of waiting. Pray asking God for a content heart as you wait for His promises and for eyes to see beyond your circumstance to trust Him in the process.

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