A Dream – Joseph
George H. Allen
Joseph had a dream!! He dreamed of sheaves in the field and stars in the sky. The images were different but the essential message of his dreams remained the same. Some day, Joseph would govern. He saw himself as a ruler over his brothers, even his parents. His brothers saw Joseph’s dreams as wishful thinking and assured him they would not recognize him as their leader. They intensified their anger toward him, but Joseph kept on dreaming:
Gen 37:9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren
Dreaming was not new in Joseph’s family, but it had been a long time since anyone had done it well. Three generations earlier, his great-grandfather dreamed of a new land and a new nation with a unique
relationship to God. Abraham’s dream had caused him to abandon the worship of the moon and begin worshipping the God who made the moon along with the rest of the universe. That dream helped Abraham leave the comforts of Ur to live in tents in Palestine. He was 100 years old before he
saw his dream realized in the birth of Isaac. His was a dream that his family would never forget.
The dreams of Joseph and his ancestors were all different, yet each one had certain common characteristics. Their dreams were all future oriented. This family did not dream of the glory days of
the past but rather the potential in their future. They dreamed of the future because the future promised even greater days were coming. Their dreams were reflective of their hope.
These dreams were also unique in that each dreamer proved to be chosen by God for some specific task. In the era of the patriarchs, God’s choice of those that he used were very limited. Only a few people were recognized as his chosen servants.
Each of these dreams had a common theme in subject matter. Without exception, these dreams described something new about God, providing significant insight into either who he was or what he was doing in their world. The dream did not deal with God in isolation from the reality around
them. The dreamer himself was drawn into the subject matter of his dreams. Most often, these dreams described some way in which God, through the dreamer, intended to alter circumstances and change the
apparent course of history.
In his book, “”The Power of Vision””, George Barna describes vision as “”a clear mental image of a preferable future imparted by God to his chosen servants … based on an accurate understanding of God,
self, and circumstances.””
Dreams give people a sense of direction in life. As a 17 year-old boy, Joseph dreamed of governing. Someday, others in his family would recognize his authority over them. He did not know when this would happen or even how it would happen, but he was certain his dream was from God and
that it would happen.
When Joseph’s dad gave him the coat of many colors, it was more than just a sign of affection from a father, it was also a promotion giving Joseph some degree of administrative authority over his brothers. Joseph had been purchased as a house servant but Potiphar soon discovered the bargain he had made. He continued to give his slave increased responsibilities, entrusting Joseph to make decisions concerning managing the household and eventually all his business affairs:
Gen 39:6 And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured. (KJV)
Even in prison, Joseph’s dream gave him direction. His ability to govern was quickly recognized and used by the prison warden:
Gen 39:22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. (KJV)
Ultimately, Joseph’s dream found fulfillment as he served in Pharaoh’s cabinet, but the same dream gave Joseph a sense of direction all along the way.
Dreams also present people with new challenges in life. Because dreams deal with changing the future, there are always obstacles to overcome before the dreams become a reality. Businessmen dream of
making profits, but they must first develop products, produce them, then market them effectively. Parents dream of raising their children to be young men and women of God, but children are immediately confronted with other influences in their lives which tend to draw them in other directions. A young pastor dreams of building a church, but there are people to reach, land to purchase, zoning bylaws to deal with and money to raise before the construction ever begins. Dreams, by their very nature, are always accompanied by new challenges.
Those who refuse to dream will always oppose those around them who dare to dream. Joseph faced three levels of opposition from member’s of his own family. First, was his brother’s envy that
grew into hatred. Second, they began expressing their attitude toward Joseph and his dreams in ridicule. Third, his brothers became active in their hostility with specific attempts to frustrate the dream.
Another thing that dreams do for people is keep them future focused. People who don’t dream tend to look back on the past. Had Joseph chosen to focus on the past abuses he experienced in his home, in the
service of Potiphar, and in prison, he would have become so full of bitterness he would have been useless in the service of God. His future focus was one of the ways he was able to overcome the pain
associated with his past and avoid bitterness. his insight into God’s vision for his life helped him to see God working everything to the ultimate goal:
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (KJV)
Joseph told his brothers years later:
Gen 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. (KJV)
Every dream comes with a consistent desire to pursue that dream. When people capture a sense of God’s dream or vision for their life, it becomes a consuming passion. Even when things were the darkest, Joseph was consumed with his dream. He knew that God had better things in mind than prison for his servant. He urged a fellow prisoner about to be released:
Gen 40:14 But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: (KJV)
Though locked in an Egyptian dungeon, Joseph could see himself in the company of Pharaoh.
God has a dream for each one of our lives and he longs for us to dream and realize that dream in our lives. He has a dream for us that will give us a sense of direction in our lives, present us with a
new set of challenges, keep us future focused, and will become the consuming passion of our lives.