Favor Through the Blood

Genesis 40:1-191And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt. 2And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. 3And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound. 4And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward. 5And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison. 6And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad. 7And he asked Pharaoh's officers that were with him in the ward of his lord's house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly to day? 8And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you. 9And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me; 10And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes: 11And Pharaoh's cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand. 12And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days: 13Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh's cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler. 14But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and show kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: 15For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon. 16When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head: 17And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head. 18And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days: 19Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee. (Genesis 40:1‑19)
Pharaoh had put his chief butler and his chief baker into the prison where Joseph was, and the captain of the guard put them under his charge. One night they each had a dream. In the morning Joseph saw that they were sad, and he asked them why it was. We might say that all our dreams are not messages from the Lord, but sometimes He speaks in that way (Job 33:14-1714For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. 15In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; 16Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, 17That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. (Job 33:14‑17)), and we should be willing to listen to His voice, if what we dream is according to His Word. His Word is always the sure test for every­thing. The chief butler dreamed that there was a vine with three branches which budded, blossomed, and brought forth ripe grapes. He then took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup and gave him to drink. Joseph told him the meaning of his dream, but said that the interpretation was from God and not by his own wisdom. He told him that in three days he would be taken out of the prison, and brought into favor in Pharaoh’s court again.
Remembering the Lord
This interpretation made the butler very happy, and it would remind us of a sinner who sees the blessing that is brought to him through Christ, the true vine (John 15:11I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. (John 15:1)). The grapes pressed into Pharaoh’s cup would tell us of all the Lord Jesus endured for us at Calvary when He bore the crushing load of our sins, shedding His precious blood to put them away forever. When the butler put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand, he was accepted, and so when a sinner approaches God through the shed blood of Christ, he is sure to be accepted. There is no other way.
Joseph then asked the butler not to forget him. He said, “Think on me when it shall be well with thee,” but we read in the last verse of our chapter, “Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.” It is sad when we forget the kindness of others, but much worse when we forget God’s kind­ness to us. Perhaps the one who reads these lines is a true believer, and knows that the blood of Christ has put away his sins and brought him into blessing. Now that it is well with you, do you not hear the Lord Jesus saying to you, “Remember Me”? Are you going to be like the butler and forget Him, or are you remembering Him in His death, till He comes? We can talk about being thankful to the Lord for all He has done for us, but our lives show how much we really appreciate His love. What does your life and mine show, dear reader? Are we living for His glory day by day?
Brought Into Favor
The chief baker then told his dream to Joseph also, thinking there would be a good interpretation to his as there had been to the chief butler’s. How different it was! He dreamed that he had three white baskets on his head, and in the top one there were all kinds of bake-meats for Pharaoh. Then the birds came along and ate them up. Joseph told him that within three days he would be brought out of the prison, but instead of being restored into Pharaoh’s favor, he would be hung upon a tree, and the birds would eat his flesh. Perhaps the baker thought he was just as good as the butler, but they were both guilty in the eyes of Pharaoh, and it was not a question of one being better than the other but of what they presented to him in order to be brought into his favor again. We shall notice a little more about this in the next chapter.
Further Meditation
1. How did Joseph interpret the chief butler’s dream?
2. What right do we have for God to look on us favorably? Does our answer change after we come to know the Lord Jesus as our Saviour? Can we increase God’s love and favor toward us by living a better Christian life? What verses can you give to show your answer comes from Scripture?
3. If you really want to take a deep dive into the basis for your being accepted into God’s favor, then you might consider reading Justification and Acceptance With God by A. C. Ord. You won’t find it very light reading, but you will find it contains a very solid foundation for the Biblical teaching about our standing before God.