Genesis 41 opens with the verse…
Then it came to pass, at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh had a dream;
That dream led to the next clear evidence of God’s hand on Joseph, leading to him being summoned by Pharaoh the king from his prison to interpret his dream, followed by his promotion to second in command in Egypt.
What happened is amazing, but what didn’t happen is also amazing.
In prison Joseph had interpreted the butler’s dream ( Ch 40: 12-13 ) that he would be restored to his position as Pharaoh’s butler, and Joseph had specifically said to him that when he was restored to make mention of him to Pharaoh, to get him out of prison where he was unjustly held ( chapter 40 : 14-15 ). What happened ? The butler was restored as Joseph had predicted but he forgot about Joseph, making no mention of him to the king ( Ch 40:23).
For two more years Joseph sat in that prison ( Ch 41:1). He was there even though he was innocent having been falsely accused ( Ch 39: 14 – 15 ). He was forgotten by people ( Ch 40:23), and I can’t help wondering if he felt forgotten by God.
In God’s wisdom two more years passed. It was necessary and best for the situation. We don’t exactly know why, but that is what God orchestrated. How easy it would have been for Joseph in those two years to have become cynical & unbelieving.
When Pharaoh told Joseph he’d had a dream but no one could interpret it, but he had heard that Joseph could interpret dreams ( Ch 41:15), how easily at that point Joseph could have been jaded in general about dreams, cynical about the weight one should attach to them. He believed God gave dreams ( ch.41:25) and after all he had had dreams of his own ( Ch. 37). They seemed to suggest he would rule over his family while they bowed down to him. Was there any indication of that ? His family were 100’s of miles away, had forcibly sold him into slavery, had had him carried to a foreign land, where he was sold again as a slave ( Ch.37), falsely accused , locked up in prison( Ch. 39), and forgotten by those he had helped ( Ch. 40).
What good were his dreams doing him, just then ?
But Joseph displayed no cynicism about God or dreams, telling Pharaoh that God had given him the dream ( Ch.41:25) and in chapter 41:16 that He would interpret it….
“It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”
So Pharaoh told Joseph the dream and Joseph told him the interpretation ( Ch 41:17-32). As the story unfolds it is evident Joseph’s interpretation was from God because what he said came true. As a result of the interpretation Pharaoh promoted Joseph to second in command in Egypt ( Ch 41:40-43).In time his family came to Egypt, and as governor of the land he ruled over them and they bowed down to him ( ch 42:6). His dreams were fulfilled.
What happened to Joseph was amazing, but it was made possible because of equally amazing things that didn’t happen to him. He didn’t become cynical and unbelieving when his life looked more like a nightmare than the fulfilling of a dream. He didn’t doubt that God was still at work even when circumstances were at their worst.
When circumstances are at their worst in our life, like Joseph amazing things will happen if cynicism and unbelief don’t happen, don’t settle in.
What happens depends on what doesn’t happen.