Joseph was sent to Egypt to work for a man named Potiphar. Potiphar liked Joseph and promoted him to be in charge of his house. But Potiphar’s wife got upset with him and decided to tell her husband that he had committed a crime which he hadn’t. Joseph wound up being thrown in prison unfairly. Imagine how this made Joseph feel! Would you still trust in God if after doing the right thing, you still got punished?
While Joseph was in prison, two important people from Pharaoh’s palace had been thrown in jail with him. The king’s butler and his baker had made the king angry. One night each of the two men had a dream that really upset them.
“God knows the meanings of dreams”, Joseph told them. “Tell me your dreams, and perhaps God will tell me what they mean.”
Pharaoh’s butler told Joseph that he dreamed about a vine with three branches. Flowers appeared on it, and then, right away, it had ripe grapes, like watching it grow in fast forward. The butler saw himself squeezing the grapes into Pharaoh’s cup and giving it to him.
“This is a good dream!” Joseph reassured him with a smile. “It means that in three days Pharaoh will pardon you and you will get your old job back.”
The baker was happy to hear that his cellmate had been given a good interpretation. “I also had a dream,” he told Joseph. “I dreamed that I was carrying three baskets of bread on top of my head to bring to Pharaoh. But birds kept eating the bread.”
Joseph bit his lips. “I’m sorry,” he said. “But your dream means that in three days the Pharaoh will give you your punishment. He has found you guilty.”
Just like Joseph said, three days later Pharaoh gave the butler his job back, and punished the baker. Joseph had asked the butler to tell Pharaoh he had been thrown in jail unfairly, but the butler forgot all about Joseph. Until…
Two years later the Pharaoh dreamed he was standing beside the Nile River. Suddenly, seven large, healthy cows came up from the river and started eating grass. But then seven sick-looking, starving cows came out of the Nile and ate the healthy cows. The Pharaoh woke up, feeling afraid. But he went back to sleep and had another dream.
This time he saw a stalk of wheat with seven big heads of grain on it. Then, seven heads of grain that were thin and burnt swallowed the seven big heads. When Pharaoh woke up, he felt afraid again.
The next morning he was so upset, his butler asked what was wrong. After hearing the king’s dream, the butler suddenly remembered how he had forgotten to tell the king about Joseph.
Joseph was brought to listen to the king’s dreams. “Your Majesty,” he humbly explained, “both of your dreams mean the same thing. They are a warning from God. He is telling you that Egypt will have seven years where so much food grows that you won’t even know what to do with it. But after that there will be seven years where food does not grow. You need to put someone in charge of storing up all the extra food so that when the bad years come, the people of Egypt will have enough to eat.”
Pharaoh was so impressed that Joseph could explain the dream to him, and by the wisdom of the advice, that he gave Joseph the job of storing the extra food. Joseph became the second most powerful person in Egypt, after the Pharaoh. He was rich and admired.
And so, over night, Joseph’s life changed once again. He had to wait many years, but God was still watching over him, and using him to help other people.