Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Butler

By Mary Vee
Gen 40:1-15

"Joseph, got a job for you."

Joseph set his load down and glanced toward the jail door.

The captain had given Joseph charge over all the prisoners allowing him to decide what each man did. The last thing Joseph wanted to do was sit around a prison cell day in and day out. He liked the work--the chance to think--to organize and improve the prison system--quite under the authority of the captain, of course.

Most likely no one outside of the prison knew of Joseph's ideas and how he improved the budget yet insured all prisoners received essentials. Fighting decreased among the inmates, protests ceased, cooperation increased. The captain enjoyed taking credit for the improvements. In exchange, he made sure Joseph had whatever he needed to get the job done.

Joseph approached the jail door. "What can I do for you?"

The door groaned wide enough to allow two men to fall forward. The guard slammed the door and peeked through the window. "Seems the butcher and baker got themselves into trouble with the king. You know what to do."

Joseph bowed his head. "Yes, Captain."

He led them down a dark hall to a stairwell. Narrow steps curved down and disappeared into an inky black emptiness. Joseph grabbed their hand chains and pulled them forward. "You're bunking in the south wing tonight." At the bottom of the stairs Joseph unlocked a door and pulled it open. "Here you are, accommodations for those who offend the king." Joseph shoved them into the cell and closed the door. He dropped the bolt then returned to his duties.

The next morning Joseph grabbed a torch and walked down the spiral stairs to check on the Butcher and Baker. He opened the door and shoved in some bread. The Butcher and Baker didn't move. Joseph looked at their troubled faced. Glimmers of sun rays poked through a tiny window near the ceiling. "What's wrong?"

They looked at each other then back at Joseph. "We each have had a dream, and there is no interpreter."

Joseph leaned against the door post. "God is the one who interprets dreams. Tell me your dream and I will ask Him what it means."

The chief butler rubbed his finger through his hair. He nervously folded his arms. "In my dream I saw a vine right before me. The vine had three branches which had budded with huge blossoms that seem to shoot forward. And from these blossoms were the most magnificent clusters of ripen grapes I've ever seen. I looked down and found Pharaoh's cup. I took the grapes and pressed them into the cup to until it reached the perfect color. I swirled the liquid around. Then, before my eyes Pharaoh appeared, sitting on his throne. I placed the cup in his hand." The butler let his arms fall to his side. "What does this mean?"

Joseph suddenly realized God gave him the answer. "This is the interpretation of your dream. The three branches are three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift your head and restore you to your place. You will once again place Pharaoh's cup in his hand as you did before."

The butler smiled wide. "Three days? Three days and I return to Pharaoh's service? That is fantastic. Thank you."

Joseph smiled. "All I ask is that you remember me when all is well for you. Please show kindness to me. Make mention to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. I was taken captive from the land of the Hebrews--I didn't do anything that would earn me time in this dungeon."

The butler rubbed his hands together. "Three days, I'll be out of here in three days." He looked back at Joseph and clapped his hands together. "Of course I'll tell the Pharaoh what you did for me. Don't worry. I won't forget."

What about the Baker's dream? Stop by next Wednesday to read about his dream. In the meantime let's talk about today's story. Joseph could have chosen to leave the butler and baker alone. Many prison guards did. Instead, he faithfully did his prison duty even though he didn't like it. As a result, the butler saw Joseph's testimony. What did Joseph do that let this Egyptian butler know he loved God? How can we do the same?

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