Read Genesis 40:1-23
He’d been in prison for quite a while. Wrongly imprisoned, actually. And God was right there with him. Right there with Joseph in the confines of those prison walls, locked up with people who had committed crimes against the king himself. Treason. Attempted murder. Yes, God stayed with Joseph even then. And He gave the prison warden His grace-eyes through which to see Joseph. That’s how Joseph came to be in charge behind those prison walls. “(T)he LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did” (39:23).
So when the king’s cupbearer and baker found themselves on the wrong side of the king’s favor and consequently thrown into Joseph’s prison, it made sense that he would be the one to attend them.
I wonder what those days involved for Joseph. Some suggest he was the record-keeper for the prison, the warden’s right-hand man. Whatever the details, we can know for sure that Joseph served with discernment and wisdom. We see it when he notices the dejection on the faces of two of his constituents, the king’s chief cupbearer and his baker, and asks them what’s wrong. (See v. 7.)
When each of them answers with the mention of their dreams, I have to wonder if Joseph figured his purpose for being right in this Egyptian prison was for that moment alone. Surely it must have made him think about the dreams he’d had back in Canaan. The dreams in which his brothers and his parents all bowed down to him. Certainly, Joseph’s heart must have skipped a beat as he spoke the truth of the Giver of Dreams and realized that his dreams, too, had been gifts from the very same and very sovereign God. “Do not interpretations belong to God” (v8)?
So when Joseph heard their respective dreams and, through the wisdom and knowledge of God, interpreted them, I have no doubt that he banked on the promise of that cupbearer, trusting that all of his hope of true freedom was finally coming to fruition. “Joseph said to (the cupbearer), ‘But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison'” (v. 14).
But the cupbearer did forget him. For two full years. I imagine Joseph’s renewed hope was crushed with each of those 730 passing days.
Still, his real hope, the only True Hope-Giver, remained true.
Have you put your hope in what only lets you down? Maybe it’s someone like the cupbearer, who simply forgets. Or maybe it’s the promise of a new job, a better relationship, a more prominent position. Oh, that we might never forget that the only promise of real hope comes from the only One who will never leave us.