Faults and Forgetfulness Confessed

Genesis 41:9‑14  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 10
The trouble of the king, the failure of the world's resources, the magicians of Egypt and its wise men summoned in vain, touched the chief-butler's conscience and recalled to his memory what he ought never to have forgotten. He who still lay unremembered of man in the dungeon had been years ago used of God, to interpret truly his dream and his fellow-prisoner's. The king's perplexity reminded him of their sadness before light from above came to his own immense relief and on his comrade's shameful end. Might not the same interpreter who so justly forecast the servants' future be enabled to help their king?
“And the chief-butler spoke to Pharaoh, saying, I remember my faults this day. Pharaoh was wroth with his servants, and put me in ward in the captain of the guard's house, me and the chief-baker. And we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he; we dreamed each man according to the interpretation of his dream. And [there was] with us a young man, a Hebrew, servant of the captain of the guard; and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man according to his dream he interpreted. And it came to pass, as he interpreted, so it was: me he restored to mine office, and him he hanged. Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they hastened his exit [made him run] out of the dungeon; and he shaved, and changed his raiment, and came in to Pharaoh” (vers. 9-14).
Here as ever, man's extremity is God's opportunity. The chief-butler forgot Joseph's service, so rare, opportune and unremunerated, which no money could have bought, which God alone could have enabled the blackened but blameless prisoner to render. Was it not inexcusable that the sure fulfillment of his own restoration to honor, and of his companions fatal degradation, awoke no speedy gratitude, not to say burning sense of justice, on behalf of the suffering prophet? But the patience of God is as instructive as His wisdom is reliable, and His love never fails. Who that weighs the fact can doubt, that, while man has every ground for humbling himself, God timed as well as wrought for the greatest good of His servant and for His own glory? Joseph was allowed still to endure grievous things, the chief-butler to confess his faults, the king to be as agitated as his imprisoned chamberlains, and Joseph to come forth in a luster incomparably brighter than through any possible rehearsal of his predictions in the dungeon.
It was the Egyptian monarch that was now at his wits' end, and full proof afforded that the nation's boasted wisdom was as unavailing for its troubled king, as their help would be in vain for Israel at a later day against the Assyrian.
Repentance, too, is for sinful man the necessary condition of blessing to the soul. It is God's goodness that leads to it, wholesome and steadying for him who really judges himself before Him and honestly owns it. “I remember my faults this day.” It was no mere terror of consequences that confessed how much he was to blame. “Pharaoh was wroth with his servants, and put me in ward in the captain of the guard's house, me and the chief-baker.” He hides nothing of his shame or danger; and he tells how they two had dreams the same night, and repeated them to the young Hebrew (their fellow-prisoner in the state prison), who interpreted them forthwith; as they were fulfilled with a markedly different issue to each and no less surprising than distinct and immediate: “Me he restored to mine office, and him he hanged.” The same God, who sent the dreams to the two Egyptian chamberlains, explained their prophetic bearing through Joseph, and accomplished them by Pharaoh in His providence.
No wonder that Pharaoh was so deeply moved as to send and call the long and deeply wronged prisoner from the dungeon to the royal presence. No wonder that the officials lost not a moment in bringing one of whom such good things were attested by the best possible witness to the king. Gates and guards, bars and bolts, must yield him up without delay. Yet would and must he come with due care and respect for the proprieties of the court. There was strong and sound ground to expect the light which not the king only but all the sages of Egypt craved the more to receive, after a testimony so weighty and energetic as they had heard from the chief-butler. How little any then could anticipate God's gracious wisdom, when he came in to Pharaoh, by his means, both to enlighten the anxious mind of the monarch, and to provide for the husbanding of the exceptional plenty about to come in, for aiding not only Egypt but those of other lands during the extreme dearth to follow But God meant, and not least of all, to rescue the blameless Israelite from the shame and punishment he never deserved, to raise him at once to a higher honor which was only his due; and to make him as wise, just, and pious an administrator as any king ever appointed, and any realm ever enjoyed. Of a design yet nearer to His affections, in caring for those He had separated to Himself, as witness for the true and living God against all strange gods, we need not speak now. This will appear self-evident from chap. 42 and onward, and, higher than all, as the fore-shadow He was giving of the Coming Anointed One, as to whom more remains to be said in its place; for God ever loves to speak of Him, if deaf and dead man may but hear and live.