When it comes to waiting on God for a solution to a problem or a breakthrough, we must do so in a prescribed way. Psalm 119:166 says “I wait for your salvation, O Lord, and I follow your commands”
Waiting is not just passively resigning to do nothing and expecting God to come through. There are several examples throughout Scripture of people who were given a promise from the Lord but had to wait. Joseph was one of these noble examples, he had a dream he would become a ruler and things did not go seemingly as planned for a span of many years. First his brothers sold him into slavery because they were jealous and hated him. Yet he found favor with the master he was a slave of.
The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome,
Seemed to be looking up momentarily but when his masters wife took interest in him, Joseph resisted her advances and she became so enraged she falsely accused him of trying to rape her. Joseph is then put into prison where we see:
Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. (Genesis 39:20-23)
Joseph ends up interpreting two men’s dreams that are confined there with him. One of them is hung by Pharoah but the other restored to his former position before Pharoah. Joseph kindly asks that the one who would return to Pharoah’s service put in a good word for him- but he forgets. Joseph’s kindness was forgotten until Pharoah had a dream himself, and was troubled to the point of trying to find an answer. The narrative says:
When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile, when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank. And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up. He fell asleep again and had a second dream: Seven heads of grain, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted—thin and scorched by the east wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream. In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.
The man who forgot Joseph’s request suddenly remembers!
Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I am reminded of my shortcomings. Pharaoh was once angry with his servants, and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard. Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream. And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was impaled. ” So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” (Genesis 41:9-16)
God gives Joseph insight and as a result Pharaoh elevates Joseph to the second highest ranking official in all of Egypt, only under the king himself. Yet Joseph did not get there through grumbling, becoming bitter or turning away from God and his commands. Joseph does what the New Testament writer of Hebrews says: “We do not want you to become lazy but imitate those who through faith and patience received what was promised.” Hebrews 6:12
Its likely the author of Hebrews thought of Joseph when writing this. Joseph was a fine role model of faith and long suffering without compromise. His faith in God’s faithfulness enabled him to persevere. We also should look to heros of old and their faith as our examples.