by Tim Hall
Who will intercede with God on my behalf?
Joseph was looking at a key that could unlock his prison cell and set him free. Not a literal key, but a person who would be in a position to win Joseph’s freedom. But would this person remember Joseph?
Joseph was in Egypt because his jealous brothers had sold him as a slave. After making the best of his new circumstances, he was imprisoned because of false accusations by his master’s wife (see Genesis 39). How long Joseph had been in prison is uncertain, but it appears to have been a considerable time.
Standing now before Joseph were two men who had personally served Pharaoh. One would soon be restored to his place of influence, and Joseph had a simple request: “But remember me when it is well with you, and please show kindness to me; make mention of me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house” (Genesis 40:14, NKJV).
Events turned out just as Joseph had predicted. The chief butler’s dream was a prophecy of his restoration. He was surely impressed with Joseph’s abilities and with his apparent integrity. “Yet the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him” (Genesis 40:23). Had the butler mentioned Joseph’s case to Pharaoh, the recipient of gross injustices would have enjoyed two more years of freedom.
Each of us inhabit a prison at times, in a figurative sense. Illness, financial distress, bereavement, infirmity — all of these rob us of some degree of the freedom we cherish. Is there anyone who might intercede on our behalf, someone in a position of influence?
Indeed there is! Paul wrote about him: “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Romans 8:34). Could there be a position of greater influence than at God’s right hand? The one who occupies that seat intercedes “for us”. Hebrews 7:25 further emphasizes the point by saying that “he always lives to make intercession” for God’s people.
But Jesus isn’t the only one who has influence in his intercessions. James speaks of the power Christians possess today: “… The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). If we’ll use the power God gives us, we also can help win freedom for people confined by life’s trials.
This leads to the probing question: When someone asks me to pray for them, am I more like the chief butler or Christ?
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).
by Tim Hall