Genesis 40 – Helping Others When You Can’t Help Yourself?


Genesis 39 mentioned something very interesting, “The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did…” But what we see here in chapter 40 doesn’t seem to reflect that, at least at first. Yet Joseph doesn’t seem to be troubled by his present circumstances although he knows that’s not where he wants to be. This is one of those situations where someone helps a friend out that is in trouble yet once the person has received the help they needed they forget about the helper. Enjoy this powerful chapter.


Some time later, Pharaoh’s chief cup-bearer and chief baker offended their royal master. 2 Pharaoh became angry with these two officials, 3 and he put them in the prison where Joseph was, in the palace of the captain of the guard. 4 They remained in prison for quite some time, and the captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, who looked after them.

5 While they were in prison, Pharaoh’s cup-bearer and baker each had a dream one night, and each dream had its own meaning. 6 When Joseph saw them the next morning, he noticed that they both looked upset. 7 “Why do you look so worried today?” he asked them.

8 And they replied, “We both had dreams last night, but no one can tell us what they mean.”

“Interpreting dreams is God’s business,” Joseph replied. “Go ahead and tell me your dreams.”

9 So the chief cup-bearer told Joseph his dream first. “In my dream,” he said, “I saw a grapevine in front of me. 10 The vine had three branches that began to bud and blossom, and soon it produced clusters of ripe grapes. 11 I was holding Pharaoh’s wine cup in my hand, so I took a cluster of grapes and squeezed the juice into the cup. Then I placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.”

12 “This is what the dream means,” Joseph said. “The three branches represent three days. 13 Within three days Pharaoh will lift you up and restore you to your position as his chief cup-bearer. 14 And please remember me and do me a favor when things go well for you. Mention me to Pharaoh, so he might let me out of this place. 15 For I was kidnapped from my homeland, the land of the Hebrews, and now I’m here in prison, but I did nothing to deserve it.”

16 When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given the first dream such a positive interpretation, he said to Joseph, “I had a dream, too. In my dream there were three baskets of white pastries stacked on my head. 17 The top basket contained all kinds of pastries for Pharaoh, but the birds came and ate them from the basket on my head.”

18 “This is what the dream means,” Joseph told him. “The three baskets also represent three days. 19 Three days from now Pharaoh will lift you up and impale your body on a pole. Then birds will come and peck away at your flesh.”

20 Pharaoh’s birthday came three days later, and he prepared a banquet for all his officials and staff. He summoned[a] his chief cup-bearer and chief baker to join the other officials. 21 He then restored the chief cup-bearer to his former position, so he could again hand Pharaoh his cup. 22 But Pharaoh impaled the chief baker, just as Joseph had predicted when he interpreted his dream. 23 Pharaoh’s chief cup-bearer, however, forgot all about Joseph, never giving him another thought.


2 Lessons:
So God was supposed to be with Joseph right? Joseph was supposed to be prosperous then right? Then why is he now stuck in prison? Well if you read the previous chapter you know the answer. Standing up for God doesn’t always mean you’ll be successful, although if we are faithful we know that we will obtain that “incorruptible” crown. But know that Jesus will always be with you even when it seems you’ve hit rock bottom, just hold on and keep looking up and patiently wait for the better plans that God has for you. I’m sure Joseph could’ve easily slept with Potiphar’s wife and maybe even have gotten a higher promotion, gained her favor, and obtained more than he already had. But those things did not appeal to him. Neither should they to us. Even in this down time Joseph finds a way to be a light where he was. How? He didn’t ponder over and over as to why God had allowed him to be stuck where he was now, instead he focused on others and ministered to them. Selflessness. A life of service.
Ever notice a stranger who seems to be going through a difficult time in life? Joseph here demonstrates a powerful character trait we should all have: interest in others. And I’m not talking about “hey, how are you doing? Oh nice, I’m doing well too, bye.” I mean truly interested in other people. Joseph, although he may have thought these people would forget him the instant they walked out of there, still desired to help them overcome their depression. “We can’t allow ourselves to get tired of living the right way. Certainly, each of us will receive [everlasting life] at the proper time, if we don’t give up.” Gal 6:9. (God’s Word Translation).

There is so much to learn from this chapter and I’d like to know what appealed to you, so please share your thoughts with us and others who read along. Your words may be exactly what somebody needs to here.

Questions, comments, concerns? Let us know.
Prayer requests are also welcome! God Bless.

Josue Hernandez.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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