You can tell that God has a sense of humor and a thing for irony. You see it throughout the Bible and here especially is no exception. So the magicians and priests have attempted to stand against Moses and God with every new miracle that occurs, but take a look at verse 11; “The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians as well as on all the Egyptians.” Yeah, good luck trying to oppose Moses and God like that. They can’t even show up because of the very miracle they are trying to oppose. So much for that problem. Talk about irony.
This chapter is the first place that we see God hardening Pharaoh’s heart. After each miracle Pharaoh keeps hardening his own heart, but God hardens his heart after the plague of the boils. There are some that say that this is not right; that this shows that Pharaoh is being unjustly treated. I don’t buy that argument on many levels, and i will probably talk about that more in the coming chapters.
In the meantime, there is proof that Pharaoh was not ready to let the people go whether he hardened his heart or God did. Later in the chapter, during the plague of the hail, Pharaoh tells Moses to stop the plague and that he will let the people go. Moses says “But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the LORD God.” This is later proven when Moses stops the storm, Pharaoh hardens his heart, and he goes back on his word.
Pharaoh rejects God and what He is doing. He rejects his own responsibility and what needs to be done. He even rejects his own word. He as well is rejected by God. Pharaoh is not the only one that does this. We do this as well. There are times when God commands and directs us, but we reject Him by refusing to trust and obey him. It’s not even a question of do we do it. It’s a question of why do we do it. So why do we do it, and what do we need to know / do to change that?
Here we go again. Joseph is still in his bind. He still doesn’t know what he’s doing there or why. He’s still a prisoner, working as a servant to the chief prison guard. He continues to obey God and not get angry and reject the right thing because of his situation that is out of his control. He doesn’t like being in this situation. He knows it’s not his fault, but he also knows that it’s not right and wants out.
So, what’s a young man to do? He does his job faithfully. He works hard. He cares for those he is responsible for. As a result, God blesses him and his master trusts and relies on him. He continues to work, grow, and excel, and God continues to prepare him.
So one day in doing his duty, he sees two under his care in confinement that appear visibly disturbed. So he tries to reconcile the problem. First off, why should anyone care about how two lowly prisoners feel? Isn’t prison supposed to be miserable? …especially confinement? Isn’t the point to make it so that people don’t WANT to be there? Yet here Joseph is, treating these prisoners like they are children under his care.
In probing he finds out that they both had unusual dreams that are bothering them. So Joseph, being the man that he is, tells them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please.” He then proceeds to listen and explain their dreams to them. He tells the cup-bearer that in three days he will be back at his old post, and he asks him to remember him in prison because he has been imprisoned unjustly. He tells the baker that within three days he will be hung up by his neck and the birds would eat his flesh. He does NOT ask the baker to remember him in his situation when he meets with Pharaoh.
So, their dreams are fulfilled, and as soon as the cup-bearer is back in his position, he immediately proceeds to forget about Joseph entirely. Isn’t that the way it seems to be sometimes? I can definitely feel for Joseph in this situation. I’ve never been imprisoned on false charges. I’ve never been sold into slavery. But, I have been in situations where it seems like it doesn’t matter that i’m doing the right thing. It seems like no matter what i do, my situation keeps getting worse and worse. It seems like even when i try to get out of the situation, i just keep getting more and more stuck and people just forget me.
But you know what? That doesn’t matter. God knows what He is doing. Even when we feel like He has forgotten about us, He hasn’t. Even when we feel like there is no hope, God is in control. He brings us through when we least expect it. It’s not about us, it’s about Him.