Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 41:1

1 And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river.

Two more years passed after the event of Joseph interpreting the dreams for the chief butler and baker, and all the while he was left stewing in jail. To me that seems long enough to give up hope that the chief butler would ever help Joseph to get out of jail.

We don’t hear anything about how Joseph conducted himself during all this time. Presumably he still retained his conscience, but I can’t help but wonder what state his heart was in. Did he ever have days of despair where he assumed that this imprisonment would never end?

Certainly we also have our difficult situations that we cannot see a way out of. We each have situations where every attempt to find deliverance is frustrated, until at last we accept that we have no control over the matter. Then we try to turn things over to God, but after a time of our prayers going unanswered we start to question whether even He will ever take this obstacle away. We start to surrender to the expectation that things will remain just as they are forever.

This is an extremely humbling, even heart-breaking, experience to pass through. We have an innate sense of justice inside of us, which cries out that everything should be brought to its rightful place. The innocent should be exonerated and the guilty condemned, that is the right and natural order of things, yet that isn’t what we see happening around us. It is a hard thing to maintain our sense of what the right and ordered world should be, while also submitting to the fact that that simply is not how things always are.

The nature of bubbles in water is to rise to the surface, but sometimes these pockets of air get caught on sunken debris and held down where they should not be. But even a pocket of air trapped for a hundred years never loses its true nature. When decay and currents finally clear away the obstacle, air will still rise to the top.

So it is meant to be for us. Justice may be frustrated for a time and our surroundings may not match our quality of character for a season; but whether in this life or the next, all will eventually be made right. Though it takes an act of God, the good will eventually rise and the evil will fall. As we will see soon, this is what happens for Joseph. He is trapped with no earthly hope of deliverance, and certainly for a longer period than he would have preferred, yet deliverance does occur.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 31:36, 38-42

36 And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me?

38 This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten.

39 That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night.

40 Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes.

41 Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times.

42 Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.

This is quite the tirade from Jacob! We saw him run from his old home in fear of Esau and we saw him steal away quietly from his second home in fear of Laban. Now, though, being chased by Laban seems to have been one terror too many. At long last he comes out and expresses all his frustration and hurt.

I can’t help but imagine Jacob has inwardly yearned to give this speech to his father-in-law for a long time. One affliction after another spills out of him in a rapid-fire rant. He bore the loss of every goat, he served for twenty years, he had his wages changed ten times, he exposed himself to the elements, and after all this Laban would have left him empty-handed if it hadn’t been for the intervention of God!

These are the words of a man who is not worried about what happens to the relationship afterwards. Laban already told Jacob that he has been commanded by God to do him no harm, so he is emboldened to say whatever is in his heart without restraint.