Think of Me
“Think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me to Pharaoh and bring me out of this house” (Gen. 40:14).
Joseph is one of a very few prominent Bible characters whose biography is free of any moral blemish. Indeed, it was because he resisted the temptation to sin that he was cast into prison, the story of which many of us have been familiar with since childhood. In many respects the life of Joseph may serve as a foreshadowing of the life of our Lord Himself. In prison, Joseph like the Lord found himself associated with two malefactors: “In the same condemnation.” To the one he became the interpreter of life, and to the other the interpreter of death. Of the latter Joseph asked nothing, but of the former he requested that he would remember him when it was well with him; that he would show kindness unto him; and that he would “make mention” of him to Pharaoh. In this threefold request one can almost hear the voice of the Lord asking us to do the same for Him.
Let us note the timing of all this. It was to be when it was well with him. In other words, when he was again enjoying the favor of his royal master whom he had grievously offended. Just why the butler was reinstated, and his companion the baker was not, may be a moot question. We may, however, get a clue in the things they dreamed about. In the case of the baker, we see the results of his labors devoured by the birds. In the parable of the sower, these are likened to “the wicked one” (Matt. 13:19) who is none other than Satan himself (Mark 4:15). The bake-meats were intended for Pharaoh but they never reached him; the end result nothing but empty baskets. By way of contrast, the butler in his dream brings that which is suggestive of the shedding of blood, apart from which there is no remission of sin (Heb. 9:22).
This fundamental tenet of our faith finds its earliest illustrations in the Book of Genesis. When the Lord God made coats of skins and clothed Adam and Eve, it was certainly at the cost of some animal’s life. When Abel “brought of the firstlings of his flock and the fat thereof,” the same great truth was made explicit. How much of this truth may have penetrated to Egypt, we cannot say.
We are not told why the chief butler was restored to the royal favor in spite of the fact that, like the chief baker, he had offended his lord, the king of Egypt. In any case, sheer gratitude should have made him ready to do anything that Joseph might ask. Instead, we read in the last verse of the chapter, “Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph but forgat him.”
It is to be feared that many of those who claim to know Christ as Saviour are not unlike the chief butler in this respect. When our Lord instituted the feast which we know as “the Lord’s Supper,” He simply requested that His disciples should observe it in remembrance of Him. He did not give them the bread to feed themselves, or to fill their empty baskets. The bread was to remind them of His body. Likewise the cup, for said Christ. “This is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you.” Such are the simple, yet precious, memorials of His death. Like Joseph our Lord asks this favour of those of whom it may be said, it is well with them because of what He has done for them.
We often sing, “It is well with my soul.” But perhaps we do not always realize that this includes more than the salvation of our souls. Each day it is well with us because we are “kept by the power of God.” Then, too, there is a sense in which this may refer to our spiritual health. In the instructions given for the observance of the Lord’s Supper, we are told to examine ourselves before we eat of that bread and drink of that cup (1 Cor. 11:28). The purpose of this self-examination is to discover anything in our lives which may be grieving the Holy Spirit. This should lead to repentance and confession, so that every hindrance to full communion with the Lord may be removed. It is in this way that good spiritual health is maintained, so that we may rightly sing, “It is well with my soul.”
Then, as we remember Him and meditate on the love that led Him to Calvary for us, our hearts will be moved as well. When Joseph asked the butler to “shew kindness” unto him, he was asking for just such a response; one that would involve his heart as well as his mind. The remembrance of our Lord should have a like effect upon us. It should be a matter of deep concern if we are not so moved. A good way to test one’s spiritual state is to read such passages as Psalms 22 and 69: Isaiah 53; or the account of the crucifixion as related in the Gospels. If one can read such portions of the Word of God without being moved to the very depths of his being, he should examine himself lest he be backslidden in heart, if not in ways. We grow cold all too easily. Perhaps that is one reason why we are told, “As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come” (1 Cor. 11:26). Frequent observance of the Lord’s Supper need not make it commonplace. Rightly observed it can be a true “means of grace” in that it will encourage a healthy spiritual life.
One of the practical results of this will be that it will be easy to speak of Him. Joseph’s request was, “Make mention of me to Pharaoh.” Our Lord’s word to us is summed up in the “Great Commission.” It is to be hoped that each time we come together to remember Him in “the breaking of bread,” our hearts like that of the Psalmist, may bubble over with a good matter. It is also hoped that our tongues may be like the pen of a ready writer speaking the things which we have made touching the King (Psalm 45). Overflowing hearts require no prompting, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”