Genesis 40:14, 23, "But think
on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me,
and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house:" "Yet did
not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him."
Luke 23:42-43, "And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into
thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou
be with me in ."
This morning, man continues to remember things that he deems important. It has
always been amazing to me that folks claiming the poorest of memories can still
rattle different things seemingly off the palm of their hand that pertain to
their occupations, families, or hobbies. Indeed, the poorest of memory cells
still retain those items and details that we treasure. Sometimes, we use an
expression, "I learned that by heart." What this expression means is that the
thing learned was special enough to us that our commitment to its memory was
great enough to not easily forget. Things learned by heart can almost be done
automatically without being processed by the brain. A man that has committed the
reading of poetry to heart does not have to think about the words, but rather,
they come pouring out as if an extension of his heart's treasure. Our Lord
declares that where our treasure is, there will our heart be also. (Matthew
6:21) So, our commitment
of memory shows the inclination of our heart and our most earnest desires and
We read many times of things in Scriptures that need to be kept in memory: such
as the gospel. (I Corinthians 15:4) Other things need to be forgotten and put
behind. (Philippians 3:13) Although we do not always keep the proper remembrance
of things, thanks be unto God that He forgets not the lovingkindness that He has
toward us His precious children. In the first account above, we read of perhaps
the greatest Old Testament type and shadow of the Lord Jesus Christ. Joseph had
many clear and distinct parallels in his own life to Christ's life here on this
earth. In our verses, we read of a portion of the "low point" in Joseph's life.
He has been sold into captivity in Egypt and eventually jailed for a crime that
he did not commit. While in prison, he meets two fellow prisoners that are wards
of Pharaoh, ruler of all of Egypt. These two servants (butler and baker) each
have a dream that Joseph interprets for them, and being that the butler's dream
revealed his restoration to his office, Joseph beseeches him to remember the
kindness that Joseph showed him.
Yet, we read that the butler quickly forgot the kindness shown unto him by
Joseph after his release and restoration. Now, it would be easily surmised from
this account that the butler was going to be restored to his office whether
Joseph told him about it or not. Joseph's interpretation was a declarative
statement of what was going to be and not a forging of what was going to be.
Should there not have been this Hebrew lad there to give him assurance, his
outcome was still just as assuredly going to happen. Too many times, my own life
is full of the rich assurances given to me by Jesus Christ and are soon quickly
forgotten. Joseph's request was simply that the butler remember him and speak
kindly of him to his master to bring him out of that place. Our reasonable
service to Christ for all of His benefits toward us is to remember Him, praise
Him, and speak kindly of Him in the world in which we live.
Yet, oh how frequently, the blessing comes just as that still, small voice of
peace assured that it would and just as quickly the due thanks from my lips are
forgotten to be uttered. He is well pleased with the thank offerings of our
heart and lips, but how frequently do we forget to render them unto Him? The
butler would eventually say, "I do remember my faults this day." (Genesis 41:9)
He came to grips with the reality that he had failed to honour the one that gave
him peace in a prison cell 2 years prior. How rending to the heart when after
many days we remember our faults in failing to render honour unto the One that
gives the only peace to be found in this present evil world!
On the other hand, Christ does not have the failings and weaknesses that we do.
What He does, He remembers forever. The dying thief on the cross beseeched the
Lord to remember Him when He came into His kingdom. While there are many good
thoughts to draw from this discussion, we will make only a few, quick
observations. It is not feasible to the natural eye that the one next to him in
crucified form is a King. Second to that, the one about to die and leave this
earth would not have a kingdom to rule and govern as his life is about to
expire. Yet, the thief had faith that this One was both King with a kingdom. The
request was to remember him. Joseph's request was for the butler to remember
him. Unlike the butler (or any of us), the Lord forgot not the thief's request.
His sweet words of assurance that the thief would be in that day are
far greater words than we could ever hear. If we heard the Saviour say that we
would be with Him in
this day, oh how the heart would melt and throb in anticipation! To
hear that our journey here is almost over with that eternal day coming and
drawing nigh, what greater sound could the ears have to hear?
The Lord has forgotten none of His dear ones, and whether the thief was given
those words or not, the outcome was the same. He was going to be with the Lord
that day, even if the Lord Jesus had not audibly told him so. Today, dear
friends, I am thankful to stand upon Bible ground that says we will one day live
with Him in glory. Jesus's words were a confirmation of what was already so.
Joseph's interpretation of the dream was a confirmation of what was already
going to happen. The Lord has promised that we will be exalted in due time, and
He has promised to come again and receive us unto Himself. In this cold world
where sin and decay is becoming worse and worse, it would be easy to say, "Where
is the promise of His coming?" It would be natural to say, "It has been so
long." Yet, beloved the Lord has not forgotten His children, and He is coming to
take them home. The butler did not remember Joseph for 2 years and was slack
promise to Joseph. The Lord still remembers us and is not slack concerning His
promise, for His longsuffering in this matter is salvation. (II Peter 3:17)
Therefore, since He remembers us, thinks upon us, and visits us with the sweet
peace and assurance to confirm what the reality of His promise is, may we
remember Him in our lives. To remember Him is to do what the butler failed to
do. Naturally speaking, the little Hebrew boy in jail did not matter much to
those in Egypt. Naturally speaking, there is not anything comely or desirable in
the man Jesus that walked this earth some 2000 years ago. (Isaiah 53:1-2) But,
Joseph's place of honour would soon be realized in Egypt as he saves the land
from destruction. Soon, the Lord Jesus's perfect work of salvation will be
realized by all of His people that they have been saved from misery and woe.
These things are a reality, and may we be found in the confirmation of that
reality by showing Him honour, speaking kindly of Him in our lives, and showing
how great things He has done for us. While nobody probably thought much of that
lone prisoner, hearts
could be pricked by hearing of what the Lord blessed him to do (reveal dreams
and secrets). Some may not have thought much about the Lord Jesus, but hearts
can be pricked by hearing how great things He has done, continues to do, and
will one day do for us His people. May we confirm His goodness in our lives by
remembering Him and not forgetting to thank Him for all of His kindnesses to us.