|설교 한 주일||July 31, 2011|
“Joseph and Dreams”
(Reading of Genesis 40: 1 – 23 NIV)
1 Some time later, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their master, the king of Egypt. 2 Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, 3 and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined. 4 The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he attended them.
After they had been in custody for some time, 5 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.
6 When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected. 7 So he asked Pharaoh’s officials who were in custody with him in his master’s house, “Why do you look so sad today?”
8 “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.”
9 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.
Joseph is very famous, known as the dreamer. Once he had a dream, he said to his brothers, “I had an extraordinary dream…” Have you ever dreamed some extraordinary dream? So, he dreamt and in the dream were Joseph and his brothers. How many brothers Joseph had? He has eleven brothers and he was second to the last. His elder brothers disliked him because he dreamed, “In my dream brothers, when we are binding sheaves, all of a sudden, mine stood up while yours lay down. And then your sheaves gathered and bowed down to my sheaves.” And his brothers said, “Oh, so what? So I have to bow down on you?” The brothers disliked Joseph. “What do you mean on that one?” asked his brothers. “No, I just dreamed…” And then once again he said, “I dreamed once again. The sun, moon and eleven stars…” “Again, you dreamed about me in eleven stars again? So, what? Eleven stars and even the sun and moon, today you dreamed it again including my parents as well?” His dreams made his brothers hate him or like jealous of him because his father, Jacob, gave him a colored garment which is very expensive. So, his brothers disliked him as his father seems like loved Joseph only. And then his father always calls Joseph sitting beside of his father and then talk to him only. He dreamed one dominion of two dreams.
In the life of Joseph, you can see that there are six dreams in three sets. Because of the dream he dreamt, he was sold out as a slave to Egypt. His dream made him to be slave; even he was put inside the prison because Potiphar’s wife actually executed him. When he was sold out to Egypt, he was about seventeen years old. But according to the Bible, it says, “God always being with him so God blessed Joseph all the time.”
If you were Joseph, what would your reaction be in your life? For instance, if your brothers sold you out to Arab and then you are now working as a slave. Do you know the meaning of a slave? First of all, you have no salary. You work day and night, 24/7; that’s what slave means. There’s no guarantee of freedom. In the world, even today’s modern age, there are many people who are living today as a slave. They are working 24/7. If you are willing to work 24/7, it means you are already in the situation of slavery of your work. Pray and you will have some time to rest, not necessarily on Sunday. If your work requires you to rest on Monday, yes, rest. If you are the owner of any store or any company, let your people get rest one day a week. Do not make your company roll 24 hours and 7 days a week.
There are another set of two dreams of dearth and deliverance. In the prison, he met two officials. The imprisonment of Joseph was really unfair and unjust because Joseph did nothing… Many cases even in Korea, there’s somebody who was arrested and imprisoned for two years because he was charged as a murderer. And then after two years of imprisonment, the real murderer was arrested. I know one guy who spent two years of his life in prison without doing anything. It happened in Korea. …Because of his dream, because of his goodness, because of faithfulness of Joseph, he became a slave; he became like a prisoner. That is happening all the time in one’s life. But, in that prison he (Joseph) could find and interpreted two dreams of officials – one is the baker and the other is the cupbearer, who presses the wine and gave the wine juice to his king. And then one day, they were found as guilty and then the king was very upset and they were put into the jail where Joseph was imprisoned. In that jail, the two officials of Pharaoh dreamed a very strange dream, two dreams as well. Joseph dreamed two dreams about his brothers. In that prison he could interpret two dreams of officials. In the butler’s who is the cupbearer, the three branches brought forth grapes which he can press the grape juice in the cup of the king. So Joseph interpreted, “Oh, in three days you will be released…” so foretold his deliverance in three days. But there’s another dream which is from the baker. It was that three white baskets on his head which contained baked bread; however, which were eaten by the birds. This foretold that the baker will be harmed or cut his head in three days.
After three days, the day of the birthday of the king, two officials were called out before the king and the one – as per Joseph interpreted – the cupbearer was released but the baker, his head was cut down and of course died. And then in the prison Joseph asked, “When you go out please remember me because I did nothing to my master’s wife. It is unjust; I’ve been here for how many years already two years…” So he said, “Okay, no problem. If the dream you interpreted is okay, the king will release me and then I can do something for you.” But, nothing happened.
There are another two dreams in one set which is the Pharaoh and the two very much uninterpretable dreams – two dreams of dearth all over the nation in the land. The seven small, lean and very weak or skinny because of very chubby cows ate up the seven fat cows. Nobody could interpret it. And then he woke up and another one he dreamed, the seven thin heads of the grain ate the seven healthy and full heads of the grain. He woke up and it was a dream. And then he asked his people and all the cabinet in that palace, “That is my dream, is there anyone who can interpret my dream?” No one but there’s one man who just realized about interpreter in the prison so he said to the king, “King, long live! I’m very sorry but I just remember one Jewish young man who interpreted my dream in the prison. According to his interpretation, you will release me and then restore my position. It is my fault that I forgot him. Now I remember it. Can I ask him to come for the interpretation?” “Yes, of course, bring him!” Those were the three kinds of dreams we can see in today’s text.
The two dreams of Joseph made him to become a slave. The meaning or maybe the interpretation of the dream was so real and so good. “I have dreamed really good so I have to line up before lotto…” maybe you are. When somebody dreamed and then, “Oh, today I have to buy lotto; I have to put some numbers on my lotto.” And in that place you have another problem – somebody kidnapped you to be sold out as a slave. That’s the case of how Joseph experienced. Dream made Joseph to be sold as slave and then that life in that palace inside the house of his master. I think his master had everything. Of course he was rich. Joseph lived inside of that house but it does not belong to him. We are living in this world which is rich. I went down to Manila a couple of days ago. It seems like the house of Potiphar – there is everything that does not belong to me. You may see but you may not get it. This world has the same situation Joseph had. Because of the dream he was sold out as slave and now he became inside the prison because of the dream – eleven long years of slavery which is unjust, because of his brothers and because of his dream.
In our lives as well, “I had a dream…I worked…I served the Lord…What is my life today?” In our eyes, it seems like unfair. Why me? Why I am here? Why I am in the prison which I had nothing there? Many cases, we had complain and disappointment. However, this eleven years of slavery and became imprisoned, he could interpret. Just think about the reverse from the last to first. Without this eleven years of slavery, how he could interpret two officials’ two dreams in the prison. Eleven years ago, God made me to dream. Some time ago when we are working in everyday’s life, something happened in our lives far beyond, seems like totally different from what I had in our faith that I lived everyday. It’s different. So that made us everyday, every steps of our step, everytime to breathe in, we complain about our lives, our situation, what kind of business I have. Sometimes I complain to myself if I had worked for a company for until my age; what about my position if I could work as a seaman, as a captain, the master of a ship, I’ll never worry about the education of my children. If I had worked for a company up to my age, about over 50 years, maybe I will have pension or whatever (We have tension and pension). But as I am working as a pastor in the Philippines, I have no salary; I have nothing left behind in my life even in Korea. Think about me and think about yourself. Maybe I will never worry about to pay the rent of SFCF. However, I’m so blessed because my dream has never finished yet.
If he was not imprisoned, how could he interpret the two dreams of the officials? And then if one official, which is the cup bearer, could remember the goodness of Joseph and then he freed from that prison very that day of interpretation, he could not have any chance to interpret the dreams of king. If the butler had remember Joseph, maybe he might be released or freed and then, no more chance to interpret, to see the king; no more any chance to become the prime minister of the great Egypt. Again, because the cupbearer forgot and he (Joseph) had to be imprisoned for another two years, so total is thirteen years – a long, long time of slavery in very strange country, separate from his brothers and parents, very new land in new culture. He was alone? I want you to read the Bible very carefully. He never lived alone at all. There, God was always beside of him. When he was working as a slave, God was there. When he was imprisoned, unjustified, yet God was there with him because God made him to dream his dream. Do you have a dream which God made you to dream?
At the thirteen years of seeming injustice and a kind of great disappointment, “What kind of life is this? What happened in my life all the time?” For long time, it seems like there is no end or seems like there is already end which we call ‘dead end’. Brothers and sisters, see the life of Joseph after thirteen years. His first pair of dreams was fulfilled. So, you know the story. It has happened even in the land in Canaan where his brothers and parents stayed. There’s a big problem – famine, drought, no food at all for three years. They came there and finally his brothers and parents bowed down to Joseph.
What is the secret? What is the reason? Let’s see how his life was. First, he dreamt; however he was not a dreamer. He dreamt; furthermore, he was faithful. He was faithful to God. He was faithful to his master who put him in the prison. I want to talk to you about one woman, the wife of Potiphar who put him in jail. Why his husband never put him back? Did you think about that? Third, he dreamt; however, he lived faithfully and in reality. Even inside the jail, his master honored him. Why? He was good in the prison. Many cases, many people in the case of life just like Joseph lived, many people drop their lives. Brothers and sisters, maybe your life is really winding and going around, going is not straightened. It seems like it’s a very long, long, dark tunnel you are going into. Remember, the dream we dream in Jesus Christ. Our life never ends up but the bad ends because God is good. He is always good not because we are good but because His goodness and mercy endures forever. Find out how good He is. Who is the control of our life today? May God bless us…
Rev. David Bang