Genesis 40 — When You Are Forgotten

by | Oct 1, 2020

READ Genesis 40

Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph; he forgot him. (Genesis 40:23)

When we get to Genesis 40 in the Bible we see a man named Joseph. He has been sold into slavery by his brothers (Gen. 37) where he becomes a successful man in the house of his Egyptian master, Potiphar (Gen. 39:2). The Bible says that “the Lord was with him” and so much so that even his Potiphar recognized that (Gen. 39:3). However, through a series of terrible events Joseph finds himself framed and thrown into prison having lost the favor of his master. But even in prison we see that “the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison” (Gen. 39:19-23). Despite his success Joseph is still in prison for a crime he did not commit. So when the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt are thrown in prison and have a dream, Joseph moves to hear their dreams and to interpret them.

When they have questions regarding their dreams Joseph says, “Do not interpretations belong to God? (Gen. 40:8). Joseph gives the interpretation of the dream and tells the cupbearer that he would be restored. After interpreting the dream of the cupbearer Joseph asks the cupbearer that when he is freed that he would remember Joseph and do him the kindness of telling Pharaoh about Joseph so that he could be freed from prison (Gen. 40:14). However, Genesis 40:23 ends with this line, “Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.”

Is this not often an experience that we have? We do good things for people and yet we can never be sure that our good deeds would ever be reciprocated. Well, the good news for Joseph was that although the cupbearer forgot about Joseph, God never did. And hundreds of years later, when God’s people are enslaved and they cry out to God, Exodus 2:25 says, God saw the people of Israel — and God knew. How comforting it is to know that God never forgets his people. In this story we see that although this person forgot about Joseph God eventually saw to it that Joseph would be freed from prison, rise to prominence, and be in a position to save many people, and from those people would come Jesus, the Messiah.

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