The curtain on Genesis 40 opens with Joseph in prison. Divine purposes, however, had destined him for the throne. What great movement, what earth shattering circumstance will God employ to affect His purposes? Will it be a political overthrow? A confession wrenched unwillingly from Potiphar’s wife? Will He employ His divine powers and miraculous abilities to accomplish His ends?
Come with me to the prison door. The mighty monarch, Pharaoh, has moved in unilateral and harsh judgment. Shackled with Joseph are two of Pharaoh’s former employees: a butler and a baker. Joseph is shackled, perhaps with an iron collar around his neck. The Psalmist tells us that the iron entered into his soul as well. The years have been long and arduous.
Will sorrowful experiences and delays in divine intervention lead to bitterness and frustration? Will Joseph lapse into a self-centered and self-preserving life style in light of setbacks and disappointments?
To our amazement, Joseph is found serving others. He is active in seeking to honor God where he is found. Into this environment, the hand of God is about to come and begin its wondrous work of not only freedom for Joseph, but elevation and honor. What form will it take?
As Joseph begins his day, he notices that his two charges, the butler and the baker, are sad. Alternative and sensitive to others, Joseph inquires about their downcast expressions. Dreams are related, interpretations given, results unfold and eventually, Joseph is before Pharaoh. The story is history Joseph becomes the second ruler in the kingdom. His brethren come and bow down before him. Honor and vindication are Joseph’s.
How did God accomplish it? What was the hinge which moved the great purposes of God? It was the sad expression on the faces of two men. Had Joseph chosen to ignore them, wallowing in his own problems, he would have missed the means God was using for his freedom. Had he waited for some “big” thing, he would never have known the throne room.
How often we fail to grasp the small attainable opportunities looking and waiting for the big movements and important tasks in life! Much can be done for God if we apply ourselves to what seems to be minor and insignificant. It was the tear upon the face of a babe which frustrated Pharaoh’s attempts to drown all the Hebrew males. It was Paul’s sister’s son, scarcely a hero of the faith, who frustrated those who had bound themselves together to slay Paul. Ruth went to lean in a field to feed herself and her aged mother-in-law. Her “hap” was to light upon the field of Boaz. Ere long, she moves from the field to the fancily Divine purposes hinge so often on the small and weak.
Need surrounds us on every side. If each of us sought to address what can be done, rather than lamenting over how great the need, if instead of great revival we addressed the sad looks around us, we might see God work in our day