Butlers and Bakers

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The Shocking Message

Rise and Shine for Jesus

These weekly devotionals I will be posting come from and are copyright to Pam Iannello, my pastor's late wife who went home to be with the Lord on June 18, 2008.

Learning how to face our family problems through an in-depth study of the troubled home of Joseph.

Butlers & Bakers

This devotion is part of the "Family Problems" series.

As we completed our reading of the last few verses of Genesis chapter 39, Joseph, by God's design, was embarking upon his "prison ministry" given that Potiphar had him innocently and hastily imprisoned. Today, as we start on Genesis chapter 40, we find that among the inmates there were two political prisoners, two very influential people. One was the royal chief butler - Pharaoh's personal cupbearer, and the other was the chief baker, both of whom had angered Pharaoh for some reason. Now these two found themselves in ward, also transferred from the palace to the prison and thrown into the company and care of Joseph by the captain of the guard. As God would have it, these two men were now under the influence of Joseph's ministry…

Genesis 40: 1-4
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.

Sometimes offence is simply unavoidable, amen ladies? When you are in the position of being a servant as Joseph and these two officers were, there's no doubt you aren't going to be able to make everybody happy all the time, no matter how hard you sincerely try to do everything right. Though you might be very sensitive to the needs of others, some people are just too easily offended! As a servant of the Lord, you will incur the anger of others along the way. Jesus told His disciples that offences WILL come, but what we need to be aware of at all times is that we are not guilty of committing a valid crime…

Luke 17:1
Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come, but woe unto him, through whom they come!

Yes, our lives must be carefully examined to see how they affect those around us, especially our families. The Bible doesn't say what the butler and the baker did wrong - maybe Pharaoh's officers had indeed sinned against their master and deserved to be thrown into prison. Perhaps they tried as hard as they could to please their master but Pharaoh was a moody person and was easily aggravated, we don't know. But we do know these chief officers now had plenty of time on their hands to examine their lives. In fact, every busy servant who actively ministers to the needs of others must take the time to examine themselves regularly…

Psalm 139:23-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Suppose today you are not the one who does the sinning. Suppose another believer sins against you, someone close to you who is very aware of your needs - your husband perhaps, a sister, a mother, a close friend, a neighbor, your pastor's wife, a fellow church member etc. Do you habitually respond as Pharaoh did? The Bible says he put the chief butler and chief baker in ward - he punished them for a time. Ladies, in your wrath do you throw that one who failed you into your own private "prison" for a few days, weeks maybe, even years simply for offending you?? Do you ardently punish individuals by distancing yourself from your offenders simply because they wronged you once or twice? Consider how many times have you and I offended the Lord and yet He would have us join Him in heaven through repentance and restoration! Jesus Christ instructed us in scripture the steps to take in solving personal differences… After we first take heed to examining ourselves, we must be in the habit of forgiving, amen? Does it sound to you like Pharaoh forgave the butler and the baker for offending him??
I'm not convinced!

Our offences do set us apart for a season, just as it did in these officers' lives. Isn't it interesting though, that the Lord put these men in Joseph's path and under his temporary care? Joseph, the young man who was treated unfairly more than a time or two, was their new supervisor. You can imagine by the example of Joseph's testimony what his advice was to these men! So then, what is your advice to those persons the Lord puts in your path and under your tutelage who have been through similar struggles as you? Are you a flattering listener or do you exhort the offended party to do right by God and man? A great deal of our advice depends upon the way we've reacted to certain situations in our lives. Can God trust you, as I'm sure He trusted Joseph, to do right and then counsel others likewise?? Can your heavenly Father give you your own "prison ministry" in which it is possible to set others free with the truth?

The Bible says in our text today that Joseph served these men. No matter what the setting, Joseph took upon him the form of a servant. Even though his own offenses had not yet been cleared up and he was still suffering the consequences of being treated unfairly, Joseph was still able to humbly meet the needs of others and care for them, and ultimately serve the Lord from his position of weakness. What a blessing to be in the company of such a godly man! This is precisely what the butler and the baker needed at this time in their lives, amen? It sounds to me like the Lord knows exactly what He is doing in having these three men put in such close quarters!

Job 13:15
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

Ladies, we've got to come to the place in our lives where we will accept and endure our sufferings, for they are lovingly designed by the Lord to put us in a unique position to minister to others! Are you willing for that to take place? As Christians, so many of us have settled on where and when we will minister to others and we usually want guarantees up front - guarantees of little difficulty and no afflictions! But will you yield to what GOD wants to do with you and the places HE decides for you?? Even if it only means managing a few butlers and bakers for a while? Will you go bound in the flesh or bound in the Spirit as the apostle Paul went…

Acts 20:22-24
And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

It's the powerful influences of the Holy Spirit that adheres the true Christian to his duty! Even when we expect persecution and affliction, the love of Christ compels us to proceed and not give up. As was the case with Joseph, nothing should be able to deprive us of our comfort in the Lord, amen? I'm thankful that I know not the things that shall befall me during the year, the week, or even the day that lies before me! All we need to know as God's children is that our heavenly Father's strength shall be equal to our trial. Ladies, if you seriously want to reach as many men and women as possible in your lifetime for the Lord, you are going to have to be willing to suffer some things, not fear them! Joseph was not easily moved; he never sought to escape prison, as a coward or a lesser man would do. He was too gripped by his devotion to God!

Psalm 119:165
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

Are you as determined to stick it out to the finish, even though it entails maltreatment? There are many hurting men and women in this world who need your personal comfort and compassion. Are you motivated by the great purpose of edifying others as Joseph was? Ladies, you will not be able to give away that which you have disallowed the Lord to give to you, namely His comfort, strength and support in your distresses and offences! Rest in the peace of God and then share the truth with others. Be faithful with the butlers and the bakers He has put in your care, for you will one day give an account of your ministry!

God Bless,
Isaiah 60:1&2
Copyright 2000 Pamela A. Iannello
Revised 2003 Meet Ms. Pam

Other Rise and Shine Devotionals
New Beginnings Baptist Church Website

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