Joseph: Imprisoned and Forgotten (Genesis 40:23)

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As a young man, Joseph had all sorts of dreams about glory and honor. He told his family how he was the center “sheaf” and all the other “sheaves” — characterized by his family — bowed down to him.

These stories won him no popularity contests within his immediate circle,  but they must have fortified his soul during his lengthy imprisonment that followed. For around 13 years, Joseph suffered in slavery and prison, spending his formative years in darkness and isolation.

For a time, it seems, the only One that remembered him was God. Everyone else seems to have forgotten about poor Joseph.

Even the chief cupbearer forgot about Joseph, and Joseph is the one who interpreted the cupbearer’s dream and told him he would eventually be restored to his office! It’s nearly impossible to believe that the cupbearer would simply forget about a conversation like that.

And yet, Joseph stayed in prison. For nearly two years, Joseph likely waited on the chief cupbearer to answer his plea to “remember” him in prison. Joseph was emphatic that he had done nothing wrong. The last place he deserved to be was jail (Genesis 40:15).

Or maybe Potiphar would come rescue him? They seemed like they had a great relationship after all. Maybe he would come rescue him after enough time had passed?

It would be a long shot, but maybe his brothers would eventually come looking for him. They’re the ones that sold him into slavery, so it’s not too impossible to think that they might try to bring him back if they had a change of heart.

But nobody came. For years, Joseph felt abandoned by those he loved and forgotten by those he helped. All alone. Just Joseph.

Except for God. 

One of the repeated phrases in the book of Genesis has been that God “remembers” certain people. Noah (Genesis 8:1). Abraham (Genesis 19:29). Hagar (Genesis 21:17). Rachel (Genesis 30:22)

Now, God remembers Joseph. It’s a testament to the fact that God knows those who are His (2 Timothy 2:19) and knows how to deliver them even when the situation seems hopeless (2 Peter 2:7).

If God remembered those people, don’t you think He’ll remember you too?