Tuesday, May 19, 2015

WHY WILL YOUR NAME BE REMEMBERED?

By Ada Brownell

An excerpt from Ada Brownell's book, Imagine the Future You

Purchase the book Here

 “Hey, Joseph!” said the baker, his two chins bobbing in sync with his laughter. “I heard you had a tumble with Potiphar’s wife. Way to go! Who would have thought it?”
“Since Potiphar committed all he has into your care, I guess that was all that was left!” the lanky butler added. His cold, accusing eyes mocked.
Anger and embarrassment shot through Joseph. His chains tinkled as he shifted position where he sat on the hard stone floor. “You are wrong. I did not do that great wickedness and sin against Potiphar, myself, or God.”
“You worried about God when you could have had her?” the baker said, chuckling, his round face showing he didn’t believe Joseph.
“I decided long ago to follow God’s will for my life, and I haven’t changed my mind,” Joseph answered firmly as he tried to stand.
“You are a fool,” the baker shot back at Joseph as he and the butler walked away, heads together and laughing.
Joseph stared after the pair, the chains on his wrists and ankles causing his whole body to ache. He wondered why the two men accused him. After all, they offended the king of Egypt and were sentenced to prison, too. Joseph had no idea what they had done.
One day weeks later, Joseph noticed the butler and the baker didn’t pick up their bowls of food when it was time to eat. By now, Joseph’s chains were gone because once again Joseph found favor with his captors. But he was still a prisoner. He picked up the bowls and then slowly walked to where he’d heard the baker and butler talking around the corner.
“Here’s breakfast,” Joseph said. “You should eat.”
“It’s nothing but swill,” spat the baker, holding his head in his hands.
As Joseph held out the bowl, a loud groan rushed from the butler’s throat. His fingers ran nervously through his dirty curly hair.
“What’s wrong?” asked Joseph.
“We’ve had some terrible nightmares,” the baker answered, adding his cry of anguish. “They seem so real we need to have someone tell us what they mean, but there is no interpreter.”
The butler stopped his guttural groans and took two deep breaths. “I’m sure the dreams have a meaning. Do you know anyone…? Hey, Joseph! You talk with God, don’t you? Sure you do!” He got up from the floor and patted Joseph on the back.
Quickly the baker tried to stand. His humpty-dumpty body rocked back and forth three times before Joseph reached and pulled him to his feet.
Panting, the baker put his arm around Joseph and let out a blast of putrid breath. “Yes, Joe, old buddy. We’ve been stuck together in this prison a long time. You are such a wonderful fellow to keep on speaking terms with God! You’ve been a good cell-block mate. Haven’t even seen you in any of the fights. Now the captain of the guards has you serving us, and you do it well. Would you like to hear my dream?”
 “And mine?” added the butler.
All the noise brought a crowd of other prisoners. They stood, watching expectantly.
The butler and the baker stared at each other, then Joseph.
The butler stepped forward and whispered in Joseph’s ear for a long time. Then the baker stood at Joseph’s other ear, whispering and nervously shaking one leg.
Afterward, Joseph turned away and lifted his hands toward heaven. His lips moved, but no sound came out of his mouth.
Finally, Joseph turned to look at the butler. “Within three days, Pharaoh shall give you back your job. Please remember me and ask that I be released from this prison.”
“Thank you! Oh, thank you!” A deep laugh rumbled from the butler. He shook hands with Joseph and some of those watching. ‘I will be sure to give them your message.”
Then Joseph looked solemnly at the baker. “In three days, Pharaoh will hang you.”
The baker stood speechless, his mouth dropped open and his eyes filled with terror. Then obscenities flowed from his fat, drooling lips. When those were spent, his deep, wrenching sobs echoed in every prison cell.
Three days later, the butler was back at work and the baker was dead.
And Joseph’s release didn’t come. The butler didn’t tell Pharaoh about Joseph’s request.
***
Three men. The butler and the baker had names, of course, but they were not included in the biblical account. But even if we knew their names, they probably wouldn’t be worth mentioning or remembering.
But we won’t forget Joseph. Today’s youth would have called Joseph “hot” in his youth. I despise the term myself, but you know by the way Potiphar’s wife flung herself at the young man his handsome face could put girls’ hearts in a flutter.
Some biblical scholars believe Joseph lived about four thousand years before Christ.[1] That’s a long time ago for his name to come up now. Even though Joseph has no last name, his name will never be forgotten. Joseph is on the minds and lips of many people even today because of who he was and what he did.
Who could forget the sound of Joseph’s weeping in the desert cistern as he heard his brothers planning to kill him and then deciding to sell him as a slave? His years in prison suffering because he wouldn’t tumble into bed with Potiphar’s wife, who then ripped her dress and accused him of rape? Or after Joseph’s promotion to governor, his heart-wrenching sobs when he recognized his brothers bowing before him in Pharaoh’s Egyptian palace asking for food?
Or can any Bible student forget how Joseph forgave those brothers and fell on their necks, weeping and kissing them?
And what Joseph said? “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”[2]
            Our tongues still speak Joseph’s name with respect because of who he was and what he did.




[1] You can read about Joseph and his family in Genesis 30–50. Even the creation account didn’t use this much space!
[2] Genesis 5:19–21 NKJ