Good things come to those who wait. Many of use have found that to be true in our own lives.
This saying is especially true for all of you currently playing ‘Pokemon Go’ on your smart phones (Mr Sub Dean).
But ‘Good things come to those who wait’ can also be applied to Joseph.
Our reading from Genesis, brings us back to the story of Joseph. Most of us are familiar with the story of his brothers selling him into slavery because of their jealous feelings towards him but I feel the need to re-cap what’s happened to him since then so we’re all on the same page.
When Joseph was sold he was taken to Egypt to work for an Egyptian official who served the Pharaoh. Joseph was blessed by God and he found favour and was given positions of responsibility by having charge over the running of the house, but this all suddenly changed when he was falsely accused of having inappropriate dealings with his master’s wife, and was thrown into prison.
But even in prison, God was still with him, and Joseph again was able to find favour and was put in charge of the other prisoners. While here, pharaoh’s cupbearer, and the baker both had dreams which Joseph helped interpret and in the end, Joseph asked the cupbearer, ‘mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of prison’. But he didn’t, he forgot, and this is now two years later.
Two years after being forgotten by the cupbearer, and 13 years since his brother’s betrayal, it’s a long time. And you have to wonder how Joseph got through this all.
What questions must he have asked? We’re not told but during all that time, there must have been moments of despair, and wonder, and depression? How could you go for those years without becoming bitter and angry?
But we don’t get any sense of this when Joseph’s story continues. After all this, he still has confidence in God and he is still full of faith.
And so we have Pharaoh, and he is having bad dreams. And it seems like everything that Joseph has gone through, has been preparing him for this encounter with Pharaoh.
After these disturbing dreams, Pharaoh becomes desperate to find some meaning behind them. He consults with all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men.
They cannot help.
Not one little bit.
And it is at this point the cupbearer remembers Joseph.
If this had been me, knowing Pharaohs desperation, I would have used it to my own advantage, I would have used it to declare the injustice I had been through, to ensure my freedom after I had helped. And if things were going well, to ensure I’d be made comfortable.
Which shows what a better person Joseph is. Because he doesn’t take advantage of this situation. Not at all. Joseph’s first concern, is not for himself, but to ensure that Pharaoh knows that it is God who holds the power here.
“It is not I: God will give you a favorable answer”
Joseph gives the interpretation, and adds to it instructions on how he can avoid the oncoming disaster and still, never once promoting himself. However in bringing honor to God, and acting in humility God in turn honors Joseph.
Pharaoh was pleased with Joseph’s words, the interpretation of his dream and recognizes that God is at work in Joseph, he sees there is a relationship and knowledge shared between Joseph and God and so Pharaoh goes on to appoint him in charge over the plan, to get Egypt through the famine and into prosperous times again.
Good things come to those who wait, and this part of Joseph’s story shows what we need to work in God’s time, not our own time.
Even after his years of long waiting where I’m sure he must have had some doubts and uncertainties, Joseph remained faithful to God and waited for God, and in return God remained faithful to Joseph
Good things come to those who wait, after years in slavery and imprisonment Joseph is transformed from rags to riches, from a common criminal to the second most important person in Egypt.
Good things come to those who wait, but waiting is not easy.
Especially in our time when we can have everything instantly.
Waiting is hard.
But the best things in life are worth waiting for.
Good things come to those who wait, and this is the example that Joseph gives us today. He know his life was dependent on God, and his future rested in his hands. He waited and watched and was rewarded, not just in a radical changing in his situation, but also with the opportunity to change history by saving a whole people from the famine to come.
Good things come to those who wait for God, are you going to wait?