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 seek God’s help to make divine sense of the pieces, but having said that, the hardest thing for anyone with a gift of mercy is to give a difficult word. If a prophetic gift accompanies a mercy gift, obedience is a challenge. God gives insight that can be difficult to speak. Mercy wants to cushion the blow.
Joseph’s obedience was tested so many times on his rise to blessing. Two cellmates, both former servants to the royal court, shared 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 found himself at a difficult juncture. There was no good news about the 2nd dream. This man would not be restored to honor; he would be hung. At that point, Joseph could have claimed ignorance, yet he gave the fateful interpretation.
God wants to count on me to speak the truth when the truth is unwanted, even if being honest threatens a relationship. This is a struggle for me. I’d rather stay silent and just pray than speak up to inflict a potentially lifesaving wound. Infusions of holy boldness from the Holy Spirit are the only cure for timidity.
Make me Your prophet. Trembling but obedient. Amen