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Garment of Exultation

Genesis 39:20-21 

So Joseph's master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king's prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail. [21] But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. 

Last week, Joseph rejected Potiphar's wife's sexual advances. She in turn, accused him of doing what she did-making advances toward her. She used what we've called the garment of accusation-Joseph's garment that she tore off his body as he ran from her- as proof of her allegation. Potiphar was enraged when he heard the accusation and threw him in jail. Joseph's day's looked numbered, and I supposed they would be except that the Lord was with Joseph and caused the chief jailer to take a liking to him. Once again, Joseph rose to the top, becoming, in essence, the assistant jailer.

While fulfilling his duties, Joseph noticed that two fellow prisoners were dejected and downcast so he asked them what was troubling them. Both of them were Pharaoh's officers, one was his cup-bearer, and the other was the baker. They answered: "'We have had a dream and there is no one to interpret it.' Then Joseph said to them, 'Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please.'" (Genesis 40:8 NASB)

You will remember from a couple of weeks ago that Joseph was a dreamer. In our culture, dreams are relatively unimportant, but in the Ancient Near East and for that matter in the East today, dreams are significant.

In Bangladesh, it is as natural for Muslim men to talk about their dreams to pass the time of day as it is for American men to talk about the Pennant Race, a football game or how their golf swing is doing. They don't interpret dreams as "wish fulfillments," as Freud did, but they do believe that they have meaning. Our missionaries are reporting that many Muslims are finding faith in Christ through their dreams. I recently spoke to one of our missionaries to Bangladesh who told me some stories about Muslims that he knew about that came to faith in Christ through a dream. The most commonly reported dream, is of two people standing beside one another. One is Mohammad, the other Jesus. Mohammad is pointing to Jesus and saying, "Not me, follow Him."

One conversion he had a first-hand knowledge of happened after he made a decision to take a break from spreading the gospel among the roads to explore more remote regions of the country. A volunteer from First Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon, with a local translator, paddled a boat down the river to distribute Bibles. They paddled up to a man who was bathing and handed him a Bible. The man thanked them, and said, "I just had a dream two days ago that Allah would put truth in my hand. I believe that this is the truth that Allah spoke of." According to the missionary, they haven't been able to follow-up on the man, but in the region that he lives, there is a report of about 75 baptisms and he believes that this man has taken the gospel back to his people like the Ethiopian Eunuch did to his.

So these dreams were serious business to the cupbearer and the baker. They believed the interpretation of the dreams would disclose their future. Joseph had good news for the cup-bearer. He would be restored to his position in three days. After telling him the good news, Joseph pled with the cup-bearer to remember him and tell Pharaoh how he'd been kidnaped, taken to Egypt against his will and falsely accused of the crime that led to his imprisonment. Of course, the cupbearer promised that he'd mention Joseph to Pharaoh when he got out.

The Baker was encouraged by the interpretation of the cupbearer's dream so he told Joseph his dream. "'I also saw in my dream, and behold, there were three baskets of white bread on my head; [17] and in the top basket there were some of all sorts of baked food for Pharaoh, and the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.' [18] Then Joseph answered and said, 'This is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days; [19] within three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head from you and will hang you on a tree; and the birds will eat your flesh off you.'" (Genesis 40:16-19 NASB) Not good news for the baker.

Three days later, on Pharaoh's birthday, he sent for the cupbearer and the baker. Just as Joseph said, Pharaoh restored the cupbearer to his high-level security position and hanged the baker. Unfortunately, the cupbearer was not as dependable as Joseph was and did not tell Pharaoh about the young Hebrew man that was kidnaped, sold into slavery and thrown into the dungeon for a crime that he didn't commit.
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