Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 40:16-19

16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head:

17 And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head.

18 And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days:

19 Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee.

Encouraged by the chief butler’s happy result, the baker ventures to offer his dream for interpretation as well. Similar to the chief butler, the dream is directly related to his prior office. Where the butler dreamt of wine in a cup, the baker dreamt of bread in a basket. But where the butler’s dream had been full of positive omens, there is one starkly negative sign for the baker. In his there are birds, pecking the bread out of the baskets upon his head.

It doesn’t require a prophet to know that this dream does not bear good news, but the exact nature of it is more difficult to tell than that of the butler’s. But Joseph is no less bold in his interpretation of this more ambiguous dream. To the same degree of detail as before he explains that three days will pass, and then the man shall be executed, and his body feasted upon by the birds.

This is, of course, terrible news to deliver, I imagine that if I were in such a position I would be tempted to make up some happier story. But that wouldn’t be the truth. This is the great burden for those who genuinely speak for the Lord. They don’t share the happy revelations only, they must say whatever comes, whether for positive or negative.

Ever since the vision of binding sheaves with his brother, Joseph has steadfastly spoken the truth that God gave him, even when that news was to his own hurt. And though he didn’t know it, by being willing to give the bad news along with the good he was paving the way for his great calling in life. Surely the butler would not later on recommend Joseph to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams if Joseph had decided to modify the truth in this instance.

Dealing With Failure- 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6, Ephesians 5:14

Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

COMMENTARY

Therefore let us not sleep, but let us watch and be sober
Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light
Recognizing your flaws, making efforts to improve on them, failing to do so perfectly, and picking yourself up to try again can be a hard and wearying process. But…it also means that you are spiritually awake and your discipleship is alive!
Of course it is possible to not feel the pain of trying, all it requires is that you give up. I was there once. I used to be oblivious to the areas of my life that needed improvement. I was asleep to the gospel and content with mediocrity.
As I found out, though, ignorance was not bliss. Sleeping through my own great story only meant that I was dissatisfied without understanding why.
Now I feel agitated to become the best version of myself that I can. Yes, at times it can feel overwhelming, but it is a genuine privilege to shoulder that burden. It is far better than to remain asleep.

Dealing With Failure- Isaiah 53:10, Psalm 55:22

Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved

COMMENTARY

Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed
If you’re like me, you struggled to accept the notion of God’s forgiveness being free. I wanted to pay Him back for the things I had done wrong, overcome my addictions by my own pure grit, and earn my place in salvation. After I failed to do this many times over, I finally humbled myself, and let Him win the victory for me. At long last I felt clean again.

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee
And if you’re like me, once you were washed clean you went straight back to believing it was only up to you to keep yourself clean. I had accepted that I had to rely on God for the “big” stuff (forgiving serious sins and healing very deep wounds), but I was still on the hook for the “smaller” stuff (day-to-day obedience and managing stress).
But this verse in Psalms simply says to “cast thy burdens upon the Lord,” with no qualifier for only the ones of a sufficient size. Slowly I’ve been realizing that God wants me to surrender the “small” stuff too.
And I need to. Because when I rely on myself I fail at the “small” stuff all the time. I try to grip tighter and tighter, but still slip, and wonder why I can’t make myself do it right. And you know what? I don’t think that’s a question I really have to answer right now. I think right now I just need to accept the fact of it and surrender it to God.
I need to say “I really can’t make myself do it right. Simple as it seems…it’s beyond me. So I’ll stop trying to do it alone, and open up my heart to you, God, instead. Will You please come inside and win this battle for me? I will let it be Your victory now, not mine.”

The Resurrecting and Enabling Power of Jesus- Luke 13:11-13; Mark 10:47-49, 51-52; Mark 5:25, 27-29, 34

And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.
And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.
And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.

And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.
And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

COMMENTARY

And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him
He began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me
When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment
It immediately stood out to me that in all three of these examples the method for instigating the healing was different. In the first Jesus approaches the woman unbidden to give her healing, in the second the man calls to gain Jesus’s attention and then makes his request, in the third the woman performs the sole action of touching the hem of Jesus’s cloak.
Certainly I have been the recipient of healing I did not look for, other times I have had to cry out and ask, and other times I have performed some effort of my own to meet the Savior part-way. These records make clear that Jesus is a willing healer, one that wants to answer our pleas no matter what form they come in.

And immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.
Go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.
In each of these cases the healing was followed by good acts. The first woman glorified God, the man became a follow of Jesus, the third woman was command to be at peace. It is hard to do our best work when we are bent over in pain. It is hard to worry about cultivating one’s soul when survival itself is a struggle.
So much of people becoming their best selves is just in having their burdens taken off and then being able to let the natural Son or Daughter of God inside shine forth!