When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was favorable, he said to Joseph, “I also had a dream: there were three cake baskets on my head, and in the uppermost basket there were all sorts of baked food for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating it out of the basket on my head.” And Joseph answered and said, “This is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days. In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head—from you!—and hang you on a tree.” Genesis 40:16-19
I am one from whom others often seek advice. Questions like, “Why am I like this?” “What do you think the problem is?” “Why am I stuck and not progressing?” “Have I done something wrong?” “Is God punishing me?” I love to take someone’s life puzzle and make divine sense of the pieces.
But having said that, the hardest thing for anyone with a gift of mercy is to give bad news. If a mercy gift is accompanied by a prophetic gift, obedience becomes difficult. God gives insight that can be difficult to speak. Mercy wants to minimize the damage and cushion the blow.
Joseph’s obedience was put to the test so many times on his rise to blessing. Two cellmates, both former servants to the royal court, share two different dreams. Joseph happily told the first that he would be blessed and reinstated to his former position. Upon that good news, the other man shared his dream. Joseph was instantly in a dilemma. There was no good news about the 2nd dream. He would not be restored to honor; he would be hung. At that point, Joseph could have claimed ignorance but he didn’t fail to give the fateful interpretation.
Can God count on me to speak the truth when truth is unwelcome? Can He depend on me to paint an accurate picture of what’s ahead for a person, or an organization, if being honest threatens relationships? I will admit that this is a struggle for me. I’d rather stay silent and pray than speak up to inflict life-saving wounds. I’m faced with a number of these dilemmas right now. It seems that no matter where I turn in ministry at the moment, I need an infusion of holy boldness.
For any like me, know that I am praying for you.
Make me Your prophet. Trembling but obedient. In Jesus’ name, Amen