The theme of today’s passage is v8 “Do not interpretations belong to God?”
Many modern neuroscientists believe that the majority of dreams are natural dreams that work through mental activity to process issues in our daily lives. (for example Why we need sleep), the Bible however shows us that God speaks through dreams. The Old and New Testament are chock full of them from Abrhams dreams that foretold 400 years in Egypt (Gen 15:13) to Paul’s dream to inspire church planting in Macedonia (Acts 16:9-10). Biblical dreams can be warnings (Job 33:16); flushing dreams (that like modren neuroscientist believe) process the day before (Eccl 5:7); or prophetic.
God given dreams can be a clear message or more symbolic in nature. Interestingly the recorded dreams of non-believers in the Old Testament seem to always be symbolic and require interpretations. Symbolic dreams for believers are self explanatory – eg Joseph. Only God’s chosen people can reightly interpret dreams by the hand of God! None of Pharaoh’s magicians and wise men could interpret his dream in Gen 41:8 – probably because the obvious symbolism wasn’t correct (cows and grain were throught to be signifying fertility)
Today’s passage’s interpretation of the cupbearer and baker’s dream are the longest narrative of dream interpretation in Scripture.
Joseph, the cupbearer and baker are in a special prison for important prisoners. The two Egytians have dreams that trouble them because they cannot understand them – interpretations belong to God v8.
The cupbearers dream of three clusters of grapes being queezed in a cup to give to Pharoah serve to show that in 3 days time, he would be released and reinstated to his former official position. The baker is also pleased to here that and hopeful of a positive outcome for his dream. He has overlooked the crucial obvious to the reader difference. He will be hung in 3 days time.
Three days later it is Pharaoh’s birthday and Joseph’s interpretations are borne out. But he is forgotten and has to wait longer. Experiences of apparent abandonment are often part of a leader’s development – Abraham and Sarah’s wait for Isaac, Moses wait for leadership in obscurity, David chased by a vindictive Saul and many others – As we will see God works all things for the good of those who love Him and it was meant for good Gen50:20 – the timing will turn out prefect.
So… look out for non-believing friend’s dreams to interpret – God will give it and it usually includes the Gospel
And keep going when it feels like delay andabandonment – God is meaning it for good.