Joseph was a special and privileged young man, the most beloved son of his father. Yet, on the seeming verge of greatness, Joseph was brought down – first to the pit, then into servitude in Egypt, and finally to the dungeon. What a fall from a place very high to a place very low in the world.
It is tempting when we’re down to be forlorn and believe we’re alone. It often feels that way. The text this week teaches us to be open to something different. When Joseph was brought down to Egypt, God was with him. When Joseph was imprisoned after being true in his duty to God, God was still with him, directing Divine kindness his way.
God’s support and comfort strengthened Joseph’s confidence, helped build his commitment to be trustworthy, and enabled him to use his unique gifts in service to God and others. Though down for quite some time, it wasn’t Joseph who was distraught, with downcast face, in the prison house. Rather it was the cupbearer and the baker who were sent there on suspicion by the king. They were the ones with dreams, but without interpretation or an interpreter. Joseph, to the contrary, relying on the great Interpreter, had the wisdom to understand and explain the dreams of life.
As one whose head God lifted up, Joseph could see that each of the two dreamers would be called to “lift up the head” – both brought to account and to justice, and each in a befitting way.
When we are low, we should remember the lesson of this story: those who are high in station but low with God are lost. Those who are with God are comforted when down, and will, often in ways we don’t fully understand, ultimately rise.