Forgotten (Genesis 40-42)

Written by Heather Zempel | January 9, 2011 | Genesis 40 - 42

“The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.” (Genesis 40:23)

Poor Joseph. First, his brothers sold him into slavery. But then he caught a lucky break with his assignment in Potiphar’s mansion. Until the lady of the house couldn’t control her crush on him and then blamed him for inappropriate behavior. And into the dungeon he was flung again. The first time you could argue he deserved it. The second time…well, it’s gotta be hard to be punished for doing what is right. While in prison, Joseph re-engaged his dream interpretation skills to bring clarity to two fellow inmates. His one request: remember me. You would think it would be pretty easy to remember the guy who gave you hope.

But Joseph was forgotten. It’s a very short verse in Scripture. The chapter ends, we move on. But in the two seconds it takes us to read that verse and turn to chapter 41, Joseph sat in prison for two more years. Forgotten.

We all find ourselves in the dungeon of obscurity. The vortex of invisibility. And have you ever noticed that it is when we are in our darkest moments of existence that God seems to be most silent?

We love to jump right over to Genesis 41:1 and read, “When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream…” Yes!!  Light at the end of the tunnel! But life doesn’t jump that quickly. And it didn’t jump that quickly for Joseph, either. Two years passed.

We don’t know anything about Joseph’s thoughts, his heart, his prayers, or his interactions with others during those two years. What we do know is that his dream interpretation skills and his ability to stand before leaders with integrity and Godly discernment were just as sharp as they had ever been. And in a second, his life completely changed.

Where do you feel forgotten today? Maybe you’ve been passed over for that job promotion that you have been waiting for. Perhaps someone else got credit for the project you did. The person who promised to pull on their relational contacts to get you into the graduate program fell through. God doesn’t answer your prayers. A new chapter will begin. It might be two days, it might be two months, it might be two years. Or like Abraham, it might be a couple of decades. God writes the chapters; let him write your story. We must simply wait well in the forgotten places.