Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him

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

Joseph had quite a list of reasons to be angry at God and life. He certainly could have walked around bitterly with a chip on his shoulder.

Think of what happened in 13 years for Joseph. At 17 years old, he was sold to merchants and slave traders by his own brothers. After things in Egypt were starting to look up for him, he was falsely accused of attempted rape and unjustly imprisoned. Again, things were going well for Joseph, even while in prison. After some time in prison, he interpreted dreams for Pharaoh’s butler and baker. He asked the butler to remember him when the butler was restored to his position. Now to add insult to injury, he is forgotten…for two years (Genesis 41:1,9). Hated, betrayed, abandoned, sold, enslaved, framed, imprisoned, forgotten…sure sounds like a raw deal for over a decade, right?

Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him

Personally, I find it simply amazing that Joseph carried himself the way he did in spite of all the adversity. We don’t see Joseph being bitter. Joseph didn’t shake his fist at God and walk away from Him. He didn’t turn inward and self-centered, only concerned with taking care of number one. There is no indication that he lived his life in hatred and bitterness toward those who did him wrong. He wasn’t plotting his revenge.

What we do see in Joseph is a continual understanding and acknowledgement of the Lord’s presence in his life. When tempted to commit adultery with Potiphar’s wife, he knew this sin would be against God (Gen. 39:9). While interpreting dreams, he gave glory to God as the one who gave him the ability (Gen. 40:8; 41:16,25,28,32). As he was working, whether in Potiphar’s house, or in prison or second in command to Pharoah, the “Lord was with him” (Gen. 39:2,21). Joseph worked for God, not for man.

Because of the way Joseph lived and talked, those around him noticed that God was with him. Potiphar knew that the Lord had blessed his house because of Joseph (Gen. 39:3-6). Even the keeper of the prison saw this in Joseph (Gen. 39:21). Pharoah himself witnessed the presence of God in Joseph’s life (Gen. 41:38-39).

Am I in God’s place?

Finally, look at Joseph’s attitude toward God and how that affected his attitude toward his brothers.

But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them (Genesis 50:19-21).

How do you and I respond when facing life’s difficulties? We are all dealt a rough hand at times, so let us consider the wonderful example of Joseph. Let us remember that God’s presence is with us. Work for Him, not for man. May we have forgiveness, not bitterness, in our hearts. Remember, like Joseph, that we are not in God’s place. Let’s give glory to Him, and be thankful in all things.

Why Are You Angry?

…So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it” (Genesis 4:5-7).

It doesn’t take long in Scripture to see people getting angry. In fact, by Genesis 4 someone was so angry that he (Cain) murdered his own brother (Abel). I am sure you either deal with anger issues or will be around someone today who is just angry in his heart.

Let’s consider God’s very first anger management course!

  • “Why are you angry?” That is a great question, isn’t it? There is a time to be angry, even Jesus was angry, but God is calling us to reflect upon the “why.” Invite God to search your heart and help you see the primary causes of your anger (Psalm 139:23-24). Invite a strong brother in Christ to help you walk through that anger in prayer (James 5:16).
  • “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” In Cain’s case, his anger was not Abel’s fault, was it? Cain’s anger was in direct correlation to his lack of obedience to God (1 John 3:12). Many times we blame our anger on someone else, but if we are honest, we are responsible for that anger. Our anger problem may have nothing to do with the other person at all. He or she just may be on the receiving end of our wrath (James 1:19-20).
  • Sin’s desire is for you. The Devil is real, and he is working overtime to get you to lose it and blow a gasket (1 Peter 5:8).
  • But you must master it. You – that means you. Cain, not Abel, had the problem. I can blame my boss, co-workers, upbringing, the economy, etc. for all my woes, but at the end of the day I am accountable for my response. I am on the hook for how I control my emotions. You must – That means God expects you to control your temper. You must rule over it – That means you have the power, with God’s help (1 Cor. 10:13), to control and master your emotions.

Remember the 4’s! When you are having problems with anger, there are many passages on it in Scripture, but start with the 4’s: Genesis 4, Psalm 4, Jonah 4, Ephesians 4, and James 4. When you are angry and not thinking straight, you will need something easy to recall!

  • Psalm 4:4 -Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah.
  • Jonah 4:4 – God asked Jonah, “Do you have a good reason to be angry?”
  • Ephesians 4:26-27 – Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.
  • James 4:1-4 – James asks us to consider, “What is the source of the conflict?”

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city (Proverbs 16:32).