For most people, much of life seems random and without meaning. Others say that everything happens for a reason. Which opinion is true?
Solomon couldn’t make sense of some of life. He said, “I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all . . . (in a city being attacked) there was found in it a poor, wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11, 15)
For him, it seemed that those who should win do not win and those who should be recognized are not remembered. For him, life is not predictable and for the most part does not make sense.
Joseph tells a different story. He was in prison. There he interpreted the dreams of two of Pharaoh’s servants. One would die, but the cupbearer would be released and live. Joseph asked the cupbearer to remember him, but two years went by and Joseph was still in prison.
Then the Pharaoh had a dream. “In the morning his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was none who could interpret them to Pharaoh.”
Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “I remember my offenses today. When Pharaoh was angry with his servants and put me and the chief baker in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, we dreamed on the same night, he and I, each having a dream with its own interpretation. A young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. When we told him, he interpreted our dreams to us, giving an interpretation to each man according to his dream. And as he interpreted to us, so it came about. I was restored to my office, and the baker was hanged.”
Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they quickly brought him out of the pit. And when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came in before Pharaoh.
Why the first two dreams? Why the delay before the cupbearer remembered Joseph? Why did the Pharaoh have his dreams? Did all this happen so Joseph could get out of prison? Yes, but there was a far greater purpose. Joseph’s family were saved from starvation, the family that would be the ancestors of Mary, and of Jesus Christ . . .
“Therefore he (Jesus) had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:17–18)
Jesus had to be born, so that cupbearer had to have a dream. Jesus had to suffer, so that He can minister to us in our suffering and temptations. Jesus had to die, so He could satisfy the wrath of God against sin.
Solomon was mixed up; life is not a series of random events for God is in control and whatever happens He fits it into His eternal plans.