Remember Me?

Genesis

Remember Me?

July 5th, 1989 @ 7:30 PM

Genesis 39-41

And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured. And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice: And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out. And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home. And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me: And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out. And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled. And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison. But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper. And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt. And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound. And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward. And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison. And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad. And he asked Pharaoh’s officers that were with him in the ward of his lord’s house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly to day? And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you. And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me; And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes: And Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand. And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days: Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh’s cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler. But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon. When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head: And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head. And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days: Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee. And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand: But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him. And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river. And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well favoured kine and fatfleshed; and they fed in a meadow. And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill favoured and leanfleshed; and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river. And the ill favoured and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven well favoured and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke. And he slept and dreamed the second time: and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good. And, behold, seven thin ears and blasted with the east wind sprung up after them. And the seven thin ears devoured the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream. And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh. Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my faults this day: Pharaoh was wroth with his servants, and put me in ward in the captain of the guard’s house, both me and the chief baker: And we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he; we dreamed each man according to the interpretation of his dream. And there was there with us a young man, an Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard; and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man according to his dream he did interpret. And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was; me he restored unto mine office, and him he hanged. Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river: And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fatfleshed and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow: And, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill favoured and leanfleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness: And the lean and the ill favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine: And when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill favoured, as at the beginning. So I awoke. And I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good: And, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them: And the thin ears devoured the seven good ears: and I told this unto the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me. And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one. And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine. This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh. Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt: And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land; And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous. And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine. And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt. And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt. And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number. And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. And the famine was over all the face of the earth: And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt. And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.
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REMEMBER ME

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Genesis 39-41

7-5-89    7:30 p.m.

 

 

 To the throngs of you who share this hour on radio, you’re a part of our dear First Baptist Church in Dallas; and this is the pastor bringing the message entitled Remember Me.  In our preaching through the Book of Genesis, we are following the life of Joseph.  We’re coming to the end of this marvelous and incomparable first book in the Bible; and to my amazement again, there is far more about Joseph in the Bible than there is about Abraham or many of the other tremendous saints of the Old Testament.

Now, the subject Remember Me: it is taken from chapter 40, verse 14 when the butler and the baker of the king were incarcerated and Joseph brought to them the interpretation of their dreams.  When the butler was told that he was going to be lifted up and was going to be remembered by the king and exalted by the king, Joseph said to him, "Think on me when it shall be well with thee and show kindness, I pray thee, unto me; and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this prison."

All right, the chapter concludes with verse 23: "Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forget him" [Genesis 40:23].  And the next chapter, the next verse, begins at the end of two full years [Genesis 41:1].  Wouldn’t you have thought that when Joseph interpreted to him a dream from God that he was going to live, God was going to exalt him in Pharaoh’s house once again [Genesis 40:1-13] – "and remember me when that time comes" [Genesis 40:1-14] – wouldn’t  you have thought that he would have thought upon Joseph, brought him to mind, remembered him?  He forgot him [Genesis 40:23].

And then in that forty-first chapter, verse 9, when Pharaoh himself dreamed a dream from God and sought the interpretation thereof, verse 9, "Then spake the chief butler under Pharaoh saying, ‘I do remember. I do remember, and may God forgive me my faults this day.  I remember.  I remember.’"

Now the other passage is in chapter 45 that brought this subject to my heart – in chapter 45.  When Judah made his beautiful and marvelous plea, one of the most eloquent pleas, one of the most eloquent appeals to be found in the Bible, in verse, in chapter 44, when Judah made the plea for Benjamin [Genesis 44:1-34], why, [chapter] 45 begins:

 

Then Joseph could not refrain himself before his brethren.  And he cried, "Cause every man to go out from me!"  And they all went out while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren.

And he wept aloud . . .  

And Joseph said unto his brethren, "I am Joseph," . . . and his brethren could not answer him, for they were troubled at his presence.

[Genesis 45:1-3]

 

"Remember me?  I am your younger brother that you sold into slavery. Remember me?"  Now he’s exalted – is as Pharaoh himself walking in and out before the people [Genesis 41:38-].  "Remember me?" 

 

And his brethren were troubled at his presence. 

And Joseph said, "Come near, I pray you."  And they came near.  And he said, "I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.

But don’t be grieved nor angry with yourselves . . . God did it.  God did it that you might be preserved . . .  

God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

So now it is not you that sent me hither, but God; He hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and the lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

[Genesis 45:1-8]

 

The sorrows of Joseph are beyond description.  He was hated by his ten brothers [Genesis 37:4-5, 8, 11].  I don’t know about Benjamin, his full brother, but the others hated him; and they cast him into a pit to die [Genesis 37:18-24]; and from the appeal of Reuben, he was finally sold to the Ishmaelites [Genesis 37:25-28] who carried him down to Egypt; and he was, and he was there bought by the highest bidder on the slave market in Egypt [Genesis 37:36].  And Potiphar, who was the general who headed the military wing that guarded the court and the life of Pharaoh, Potiphar bought him, and he was there introduced as a young slave into the house of the military commander [Genesis 39:1-4].

You can’t help but think of that youth.  Here in the passage that I’ve read, in another part of it, they speak of the agony of his soul and his crying when they took the boy and sold him to the Ishmaelites [Genesis 42:21].  And here he is in a strange country – strange customs, strange speech – and he’s there numbered with the other slaves in the court.  And he looks at those walls covered with hieroglyphics.  Did you know, it’s only comparatively recently that we, with all of our knowledge, have been able to decipher those hieroglyphics?  Until comparatively recently in the earth’s history, they were an unknown calligraphy – just strange, strange; and it was strange to the people of the earth for thousands of years. 

Think how strange it was to this boy when he’s introduced to the court, and everything was so different for him.  He was the love of his father, the object of his affection [Genesis 37:3-4], and now a slave in a strange culture [Genesis 37:36, 39:1-2].  Those outstretched wings as you see so many of the gods and figures and heroes of the Egyptians – those outstretched wings came to be for him a sign of the love of God and the care of God for him.  For in chapter 39, verse 2, it says:  "The Lord was with him."  The Lord was with him, and God made him to prosper in the house of [Potiphar] [Genesis 39:1-6].

I want to ask you a question here.  Hadn’t you rather have been Joseph in that strange land and a slave with God with you than to have been his brethren in the land of Canaan and with them a bloodstained garment?  I had rather be like Joseph.

Well, in [chapter] 39, verse 20, it says in verse 20, "And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the [sohar], a place where the king’s prisoners were bound.  And he was there in the [sohar]." You have it translated here "prison."  In other places in the Bible, it’s translated "dungeon."  It’s translated "pit."  In some places, it’s translated "cistern."  In some places, it’s translated "grave;" and in some places, it’s translated "sepulchre."

I know some of you are bound to have been in Rome and have been let down into the Mammertine dungeon, Mammertine prison, where Paul was incarcerated against the day of his death.  If you’ve ever been there, you know how it is.  It’s like a cistern.  There in the middle is a hole, and the prisoner is let down through that hole into the cistern: filthy, dirty, unclean, indescribably terrible.  Well, that’s what they did with Joseph [Genesis 39:6-23].  They let him down into a dungeon, into a cistern, and fed him from that hole up there in the top with just a little light coming in.  Oh, dear.

But that leads me to the heart of this message tonight.  In Psalm 105, verse 17, it says:  "Joseph was sold as a slave."  Then verse 18 says: "His feet were bound with fetters," and the next part of that verse in the Hebrew is, "His soul entered into iron."  Let me turn that around – "His soul entered into iron."  If you’ll give me permission to turn it around, what God’s inspired Word says about this young man, iron entered into his soul.  This young fellow, the adorable object of his father’s affection and love, pampered and petted, his father lavishing upon him every sign of his first choice.  He was the apple of his eye, and the father made no extenuation of any kind concerning his outward show of preferential love for Joseph. 

What kind of a man do you think he’d have grown up to be like that?  Pampered and petted, and his every wish immediately satisfied, and exalted and bragged upon – what kind of a man do you think he would have been?  There’s no doubt but that he would have been just that kind of a critter: pampered, petted, soft, spoiled, expecting everything, and everything he expected given to him.  What did God do with him?  He sent him down there into Egypt, and I quote what God says happened to him: "Iron entered into his soul" [Psalm 105:18].  Iron entered into his soul.

You have here the head of our preacher’s college, our Center of Biblical Studies.  About a day or two ago, he came to my office here in the church, and he said, "We’re going to do something for you which is supposed to be a surprise, but I can’t – we can’t do the surprise unless I fulfill my assignment.  So my assignment is to write a chapter about you, and I have these questions;" and he had a whole series of them – questions.  And here’s one of them: he asked me, "What do you think is the chief characteristic of a successful pastor?"  And you know what I told him?  I didn’t have to think about it.  I said, "The chief characteristic of a successful pastor is a man who is so committed to God and to the service of the Lord that the fiery furnace through which he will inevitably go as the pastor of a church are nothing.  He’s committed; he’s called; and these providences that happen in his life but put iron and steel in his heart and just make him that much more given to the calling and work of the Lord."

Now, I’m no different from you.  When you fret and find fault and become sometimes bitter and certainly unhappy because of the providences of life that overwhelm you, just remember God is putting iron in your soul; and if you’ll receive it as from the Lord, these tragedies that overwhelm you [are] but avenues of greater blessing in your life.  Even our Lord, in Hebrews 2 and verse 10, even our Lord was described as someone who was made perfect in suffering.  God’s will was done in the life of our Savior by the things that He suffered.

Well, let me now speak of the visions in the prison.  I mentioned the baker and the butler, and finally Joseph, and finally Pharaoh.  Isn’t it a wonderful thing what the world has received from these who have been incarcerated?  As I turn through my Bible, practically all of the epistles of Paul were written from prison [Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon], the last one from that Mammertine dungeon that I described a moment ago [2 Timothy]; and it was while John was exiled, apparently to die of exposure and starvation, it was while John was in exile on the Isle of Patmos that heaven opened, and he saw the vision of the triumph and coming of our Lord – the Apocalypse, the Revelation [Revelation 1:9].

And if you’ve been to school at all, every school boy knows that it was while John Bunyan was in prison that he saw and wrote that incomparable allegory of Pilgrim’s Progress [1678].  Isn’t it amazing how God, through the trials and tragedies of life, bring visions of glory into the presence of the Lord before our very eyes?

So Joseph, in God’s goodness and grace, and in God’s time, was elevated from the prison to the palace [Genesis 41:14-57].  His brethren despised him [Genesis 37:4-5], but the greatest nation in the then-known world exalted him [Genesis 41:38-].  His coat of many colors was torn from him [Genesis 37:23], but kingly garments now clothe him [Genesis 41:42].  His hands and his feet were tormented by fetters and manacles of iron [Genesis 39:20; Psalm 105:17-18], but now he’s adorned with the gifts of a king [Genesis 41:42].  Once he was humbled in the life and sale of a slave [Genesis 37:36, 39:1], but now all Egypt is commanded to bow down before him [Genesis 41:40-41, 43-44; Psalm 105:20-22].

You know what I think?  That the story of Joseph is a picture of our living Lord.  "He took upon Him the form of a slave," Paul writes in Philippians 2:

 

and was made as a man obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, given Him a name which is above every name,

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, things in earth, and things under the earth,

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God our Father.

[Philippians 2:7-11]

 

It is an exact thing that we see here in the life of Joseph – humbled, slave, incarcerated – and now all the kingdom is commanded to bow before him.  That’s exactly what’s going to happen one day before our Lord:  every knee bowed and every tongue confessing that He is the Lord of all God’s creation.

Now I close with a word from chapter 41 – just interesting here to look at this.  In chapter 41, verse 45: "And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnath-Paaneah."  Now, doesn’t that beat you?  How would you like to say, "This is my dear and close friend, Zaphnath-Paaneah."  That’s what, that’s what Pharaoh called him.  That’s what Pharaoh called him.  Zaphnath-Paaneah means "the one who furnishes the nourishments of life." 

You know what we’d say.  He’s our Savior.  He’s our Savior: "the one who furnishes the nourishments of life."  That’s His name.  That’s our Savior.

And in that same chapter of 41, in verse 51, Joseph called the name of his firstborn "Manasseh" which means "forgetting," and he named the name of his second boy "Ephraim" which means "fruitfulness" [Genesis 41:52].  Thus the beautiful life of Joseph: a picture of the marvelous goodness of God to us in our Lord Jesus, humbled and exalted, and a reminder and a remembrance on our part that the things in life that bow us, and humble us, and hurt us are the blessings of God against the day when He exalts us, and blesses us, and raises us up [Romans 8:18; Colossians 3:2-4; 1 Peter 1:13, 4:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10]. 

So, Lord, when trials and troubles come, grant, Master, I receive them as from Thy hands.  They’re disciplines, and they are God’s leadings into a fuller, more marvelous ministering life before Thee.  Grant it, Lord, to us all.

Now, Fred, I want us to sing us a song; and while we sing the hymn, I’ll be standing right here.  If there’s one here tonight to give himself to the Lord, you come and stand by me:  "Pastor, I know I’m a sinner, and I know that I face the judgment of death; but I also know in the gospel that Jesus died for me, and if I’ll accept Him, He’ll not only forgive me and wash me of all of my sins, but He’ll open heaven’s door for me and give me a life forever in glory.  And I’m accepting Him as my Savior tonight."  A family to come into the sweet fellowship of our church, anyone to answer the call of the Spirit in your heart, as we sing this hymn, you come to me while we stand and while we sing.

REMEMBER ME

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Genesis 40

7-5-89

 

I.              Sorrow of Joseph

1.    Hated by his brothers

2.    Thrown into a pit to die

3.    Sold into slavery

4.    Spent time in Potaphar’s dungeon

5.    Remember Me

II.            Joseph’s trial in prison

III.           Wonderful exaltation and ascent of Joseph