II. JOSEPH HAVING THE FAITH AND THE BOLDNESS
TO INTERPRET THE DREAMS
OF HIS TWO COMPANIONS IN PRISON
During his imprisonment, however, Joseph had the faith and the boldness to interpret the dreams of his two companions in prison even though his dreams were not yet fulfilled (40:8-19). It was just like Abraham praying for Abimelech to have children when God’s promise to him about having a son had not yet been fulfilled (20:17-18). It is the same with us in the church life today. Some brothers and sisters are what we may call old-time dreamers. They are those who had dreams a long time ago. Although they were excited by the visions they saw and the wonderful messages they heard, they were later sold into Egypt. Instead of being surrounded by sheaves, they found themselves surrounded by "Egyptian scorpions"; and instead of being in the third heaven, they found themselves in prison. Then some latecomers joined them in prison, just as Joseph was joined in his confinement by the chief cupbearer and the baker. Joseph might have been in prison for nine or ten years already before he was joined by them. These latecomers also had some dreams. They could not understand their dreams, but Joseph was able to interpret them. Although Joseph’s dreams had not yet been fulfilled, he had the faith and the boldness to interpret the dreams of his companions. If I had been Joseph, I would have said, "I interpreted my own dreams, but these interpretations have not been fulfilled. How can I have the boldness to give others the interpretation of their dreams? Even if I did know the meaning of their dreams, I would not have the assurance to tell them, because I don’t know that my interpretations will be fulfilled." However, although Joseph’s interpretation of his own dreams had not been fulfilled, he still had the boldness to say to his companions, "Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me them, I pray you" (40:8). Joseph seemed to be saying, "I had two dreams, and God gave me the interpretation of them. I still believe in these interpretations, although they have not yet been fulfilled. I have the faith to interpret your dreams for you." Do you have the boldness to say that the church life is wonderful, even when you are surrounded by some "Egyptians"? Could you say this even when your dream of the church life has not yet been fulfilled and the church life is not wonderful to you? Joseph believed not only for himself, but also for others. It is easy to believe for others when your dreams have been fulfilled. If your dreams have been fulfilled according to your interpretation, it is easy to interpret the dreams of others. But in Joseph’s case, even after a period of about ten years, the interpretation of his own dreams had not been fulfilled. It was difficult for one in such a situation to interpret the dreams of others. Nevertheless, Joseph did so.
I have been engaged in the ministry of the Word for years. I saw certain visions in the early years and I interpreted what I saw. But even many years later the things that I saw and interpreted had not actually happened. When some latecomers needed my help, I wondered what to do. I wondered if I should say something like this: "I had some dreams many years ago, and I was given the interpretation of these dreams. But even until now my dreams have not been fulfilled. Therefore, I don’t have the heart, the assurance, or the boldness to interpret your dreams for you. You should go talk to someone else." Joseph was not like this. Although his dreams had not yet been fulfilled, he still had the boldness and the assurance to interpret dreams for others. I can testify that I have done the same thing. I have encouraged others to go on according to the vision they saw, even though my visions had not been fulfilled. Certainly I was right in doing this. All the old-time dreamers must suffer something for the sake of the latecomers.
Andrew Murray once said a word like this: The good minister of the Word should always minister more than what he has experienced. This means that we should speak more according to the vision than according to the fulfillment of the vision. Even if our vision has not been fulfilled, we should still speak of it to others. The time will come when our vision will be fulfilled. Joseph’s dreams were eventually fulfilled through his interpretation of the dream of the cupbearer.
(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 112, by Witness Lee)