Interpretation of Dream

Genesis 40:9-23

9So the chief cupbearer told Joseph his dream. He said to him, “In my dream I saw a vine in front of me, 10and on the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, it blossomed, and its clusters ripened into grapes. 11Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup and put the cup in his hand.”

12“This is what it means,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches are three days. 13Within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position, and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer. 14But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. 15I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.”

16When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given a favorable interpretation, he said to Joseph, “I too had a dream: On my head were three baskets of bread. 17In the top basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.”

18“This is what it means,” Joseph said. “The three baskets are three days. 19Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and impale your body on a pole. And the birds will eat away your flesh.”

20Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials: 21He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand— 22but he impaled the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation. 23The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.

Dog Breeder

If you were to name your dog, what would it be? Would you like to name a black dog, “Whitey” or a white dog “Blackie?” Would you name a dog after your favorite politician? Do you know that dog’s name is a serious matter in China?

A dog breeder in eastern China was detained by police after giving his two dogs “illegal” names. The man posted information about the dogs to friends on popular Chinese social media. The dog’s namesdog’s names attracted controversy because the information was “insulting law enforcement personnel.”

Such story attracting troubles can be observed everywhere on various environment. Road accident is possible when one is careless of traffic laws. School examination results to failure when examinees disregard instructions. Defying established natural or man-made laws invites unpleasant consequences.

Similarly, rejecting God’s laws has repercussions. There’s real confusion among Christians whether to ignore the Old Testament laws or to follow it. New Testament Christians are under God’s grace and not under the law. But, why do we still have to study the Old Testament if we are New Testament Christians?

Apostle Paul explains in Galatians 3:24-25, 24The law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

A newly born royal baby does not know exactly how to live as prince, right? The infant prince has no idea about life in general. As he grows older, he may imitate what other people do but to act in royal decorum or decency, the young prince needs someone to guide, instruct, and remind him until he grows mature and independently does things acceptable to the lifestyle of the royal family.

Similarly, God’s commandment is the servant that guides, instructs and reminds us of lifestyle pleasing to God as His children until we grow spiritually mature and know how to live under the grace of God. Additionally, we can also learn from God’s people on how they lived and practiced their faith in the Lord.

Joseph has practiced and exemplified a lifestyle pleasing to the Lord. Joseph believed that God has great plan for his life. He was so enthusiastic about it and told his brothers and father but they cannot appreciate his dream.

Can you relate with Joseph’s struggle. Have you informed your relatives, friends or acquaintances that God has a great plan for your life? Did they rejoice with you when you expect something great from the Lord? Or, are you asking God why He allows you to suffer, struggle or face troubles instead of great life?

Joseph dreamed of his great future and believed it but he was put to test if truly trusted God. He was sold as slave. He was accused and imprisoned.

Yet, there was no record where Joseph questioned the ways of the Lord. Probably, he felt lonely when he was forced into slavery or imprisoned but the Lord was with him and gave him success even in jail. It says in Genesis 39:23, 23The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

The phrase, ‘The Lord was with Joseph,’ implies that Joseph never wavered in his faith in the Lord. He resolved not to sin against the Lord. The wife of Potiphar was embarrassed when Joseph refused to sleep with her. Joseph said that he cannot do such a wicked thing and sin against’ God. Because of that, Potiphar’s wife accused him and he was imprisoned.(Gen. 39:9)

It says in Isaiah 59:2, 2Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

Joseph resolved not to sin against God, and the Lord did not leave him. Joseph was satisfied with what he had. He did not covet anything including temptation. He certainly sensed that God was with him even in prison so that when the chief cupbearer and chief baker were sad because of their dreams, he told them that interpretation of dream belongs to God. Did God gave such idea?

Did Joseph remember his own dream to become great? Did God give Joseph discernment that his dream will soon come true? Was it a coincidence that Pharaohs official servants were assigned under Joseph’s care?

Why did Joseph ask the chief cupbearer to remember him when he told the cupbearer that he will be restored to his position as chief cupbearer?

1. Restore

9So the chief cupbearer, told Joseph his dream. He said to him, “In my dream I saw a vine in front of me, 10and on the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, it blossomed, and its clusters ripened into grapes. 11Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup and put the cup in his hand.”

The chief cupbearer was supposed to be the most trusted official of the king but when the king was offended and got angry, he was imprisoned him. The dream of the chief cupbearer was related to his job which was to hand the cup for the king to drink. The cupbearer may not necessarily be the one squeezing the grapes before giving the cup to the king but his dream exposed his great concern of making sure that the grape juice in the cup is really safe for the king.

As high-ranking and most trusted official, the chief cupbearer could have easily ignored Joseph. But when Joseph told them, “Tell me your dreams,” the cupbearer did not hesitate, and told his dream to Joseph right away. His behavior reflected his character. The cupbearer has respected even authorities in jail.

The chief cupbearer did not suppose to be more important than anybody else in jail. He may know that Joseph was assigned to take care of the needs of prisoners. He did not ask for Joseph’s credentials, “Are you wizard or magician who can interpret dream?” He just wanted to know what his dream means.

12“This is what it means,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches are three days. 13Within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position, and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer. 14But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. 15I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.”

Joseph was very confident of his interpretation of the cupbearer’s dream so that he instructed him to remember him and mention him to Pharaoh. Joseph knew that Pharaoh had the power to imprison or release a prisoner, and Joseph asked the cupbearer to show kindness when all goes well with him.

When Joseph appealed for kindness and included his personal story from the land of Hebrews until he was imprisoned, it suggests that he did not totally forget his struggles. Joseph believed that the cupbearer will soon be released from prison. When he asked for kindness for the cupbearer to remember him and mention him to Pharaoh, was Joseph expectant of great things to happen?

Do you expect that God has a great design for your life? If you’ve been accused of wrongdoings, if you were struggling with things you didn’t deserve, do you still trust that unpleasant events are significant factors for your greatness?

Do you wish to be spared from struggles similar to what Joseph went through?

It says in 1 Peter 2:11-17, 11Abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 13Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

It is a struggle to submit to authorities but with the help of Christ’s Spirit, we can. Living by God’s grace is living as free people, which is living a lifestyle acceptable to God, which is in accordance to His standards. God’s law shows the standard of lifestyle acceptable to God. How can we know that we live by God’s grace? If lifestyle does not violate God’s commands, is it pleasing to God?

With human effort we can never perfectly obey God’s law. When Christ’s Spirit prevails in our heart, we desire not commit wickedness. Pray for His help to overcome temptation and that He will reveal sins needed to be confessed.

2. Reveal

16When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given a favorable interpretation, he said to Joseph, “I too had a dream: On my head were three baskets of bread. 17In the top basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.”

Can you sense that the chief baker was hesitant telling his dream? See? Joseph’s favorable interpretation caused the baker to tell his dream. Why was he hesitant at first? Was he suspicious that his dream might reveal his offense that made Pharaoh angry? Did he assume that Joseph has no credibility to interpret?

18“This is what it means,” Joseph said. “The three baskets are three days. 19Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and impale your body on a pole. And the birds will eat away your flesh.”

The hesitation of the baker revealed his real character. He did not easily trust anybody. He may be secretive which made the king of Egypt angry and put into prison both the cupbearer and baker. Perhaps, Pharaoh investigated what had offended him very thoroughly, and he found out that the baker was at fault.

The chief cupbearer was forgiven, and the chief baker was executed.

This story of the cupbearer and baker telling their dream to Joseph reveals that there is no wickedness and kindness that can escape the Lord’s eyes. It says in 1 Chronicles 28:9, 9For the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.

God’s word says that we should “Submit ourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority,” (1 Pet. 2:13). The Lord did not give any condition to obey Christian authority only and defy the worst authority. Defiance to authorities especially God’s anointed leaders invites dangerous consequences.

Respect of Authority

When King David was escaping from his son Absalom, a man from the clan of King Saul named Shimei, insulted David and threw stones at him. He was angry that instead of someone from the clan of King Saul, David became king.

After David returned to his throne Shimei pleaded for forgiveness from King David. David forgave him but instructed his son Solomon not to forget that Shimei insulted King David. When Solomon became king, he instructed Shimei to live in Jerusalem and not to go anywhere outside Jerusalem or he will die.

After three years, Shimei left his home in Jerusalem to search for his slave who ran away, and King Solomon was informed about it.

It says in 1 Kings 2:42-45, 42King Solomon summoned Shimei and said to him, “Did I not make you swear by the Lord and warn you, ‘On the day you leave to go anywhere else, you can be sure you will die’? At that time you said to me, ‘What you say is good. I will obey.’ 43Why then did you not keep your oath to the Lord and obey the command I gave you?”44The king also said to Shimei, “You know in your heart all the wrong you did to my father David. Now the Lord will repay you for your wrongdoing. 

Jerusalem was the best place to live in the time of Solomon. There was peace and abundance of everything. Jerusalem in Solomon’s time was a picture the Lord’s paradise. Shimei insulted King David but he was not punished. King Solomon allowed Shimei to live in Jerusalem. That was a picture of God’s grace forgiving sinners and giving us a chance to live with Him in His paradise.

When Shimei disregarded the instruction of King Solomon and left Jerusalem in search of his slaves, it pictures those who disregarded the Lord’s provision in search of things they think that may benefit them. Hebrews 6:4-6 says, 4It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

Are you satisfied with your life in Christ? Don’t be like Shimei searching for runaway slaves you supposed could add to your prestige. Don’t be like the chief baker who was not satisfied with his high position at the king’s palace and did something to offend the king. The Lord remembers things that may offend Him.

3. Remember

20Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials: 21He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand— 22but he impaled the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation. 23The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.

The Lord had been using dreams to reveal His plan in the past. Joseph interpreted the dreams of the cupbearer and baker, and they happened accordingly. The cupbearer did not remember Joseph after he was restored to his position. Why? Did God make him forget Joseph? Humans can easily forget.

In contrast, the Lord will never forget those who trust Him. When the thief who trusted Jesus asked to him to remember him it says Luke 23:43…

43Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Remember that whatever the Lord promises, He will fulfill. When Pharaoh restored the cupbearer and executed the baker, it practically illustrated the power of Pharaoh. Christ, the King of kings is more powerful. He forgives the repentant and punishes the unrepentant. The Bible says, that all of us have sinned, right?

It says in Romans 3:23-26, 23For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—26he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

With Christ’s death on the cross, God justifies and declares righteous before Him all who put their faith in Jesus Christ. Nobody can boast that their good works saved them. But everyone great or small has a chance to be saved by faith in Christ. How do we practically prove and be assured that we really are saved, and that, we are now living under the grace of God?

It says in 1 Peter 2:19-25, 19For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.

 21To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 23When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Being the one and only Son of God, Christ Jesus exemplified a lifestyle of God’s children. Joseph suffered maltreatment from the hands of his brothers. He was accused and imprisoned but the Lord made him successful even in jail.

Are we suffering a more difficult struggle than what Joseph went through? We can continue to trust Christ in the midst of difficulties by faith in Him.

How do you interpret this? God has great design for your life!

Remember Joseph! He continued to trust the Lord even in the most difficult situation he went through. God remembered Him and gave him success.

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