There are a lot of characters in Joseph’s story, even just these two short chapters of his story. There is Potiphar, a high-ranking Egyptian official, who saw Joseph’s success and placed him in charge of all that he had. Then there is Potiphar’s wife, who noticed Joseph for other reasons. Her actions led to the introduction of a third character–the keeper of the prison where Joseph was wrongly held. Then there are Joseph’s fellow prisoners–the king’s cupbearer and baker–who Pharaoh angrily sent to serve alongside Joseph in the house of the captain of the guard in the prison. With God’s help, Joseph interpreted dreams for each of them. Sadly for the baker, Joseph’s interpretation was correct. Sadly for Joseph, the “cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him” (40:22).
There are a lot of lives that intersect with Joseph’s in the course of these chapters. The circumstances differ dramatically, but in the final analysis, they’re all a lot like the cupbearer: they did not remember Joseph, but forgot him. This cast of characters offers a stunning contrast with the central character in Joseph’s story (surprise: it isn’t Joseph). It wasn’t just Joseph who was present for each of these encounters. “The Lord was with Joseph” (v. 2). It was God’s presence and “steadfast love” that caused Joseph to find favor with Potiphar and the keeper of the prison. It was God upon whom Joseph relied to interpret the dreams of the cupbearer and the baker. A lot of people came and went. A lot of events came to pass. God was with Joseph. His love was steadfast. That reality was the one constant in Joseph’s life, and it remains today. Lamentations 3:22 tell us, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.” Like Joseph, our hope is in the Lord.