In the book of Genesis, Joseph was a teenager when he had a couple of dreams…dreams which gave him some clues about his future, the thing he would be eventually put in a position to do. His family didn’t get very excited about it when he told them, but nonetheless, the dreams were from God. His brothers were already at odds with him, because it seemed he was a bit of a tattletale. Gen. 37:2. Jacob, his father, favored him above the other boys and, I would submit, they all knew it and were very jealous of him for it.
In Joseph’s first dream, he saw himself and all of his brothers binding sheaves in the field and Joseph’s sheaf arose and all the others bowed down to his. In the second dream, the sun, moon and eleven stars bowed down to him. (Joseph had 11 brothers) The parents evidently were able to immediately interpret this one that they too would bow to him. His father rebuked him for that. Gen.37:5-11.
But after that….things went the other direction. Joseph’s life did not appear to be headed in the direction the dreams had indicated. In fact, Joseph’s life went a long way away from what thee dreams foretold.
Most people know the story. Joseph’s brothers threw him in a pit, then sold him to some traveling Egyptians and lied to the dad about what happened to him. Joseph was sold as a slave in Egypt. He belonged to another and not to himself. Would the dream really ever come to pass?
And so, in our own lives, after we give our hearts to God, He spends time assuring us of His love and lavishing us with His attention. We may have dreams, or we may have opportunities given to us that show us where our talents are and they are being used. It is an exciting time and we are having great fun. But the day will come when those things aren’t happening any more. Life gets more everyday and routine., and the excitement wears off a bit, sort of like after you get married and you start getting used to your spouse and it’s less exciting. It may look like nothing is happening. After a while our life may seem difficult, even boring, with nothing exciting going on. We are confused about what is happening as the excitement has waned. We thought our life was supposed to go in another direction. We most likely will experience great hardships such as sickness, accidents, loss of a job, loss of loved ones, financial difficulties, etc. We thought God loved us, but yet there are things coming against us. We don’t understand.
The hard times are where our faith in God and our patience are required to grow. Our thinking needs to change about life and about God. We don’t think like Him, but as we study His word and trust Him every day, we learn to think like Him. We learn to trust Him as we watch Him rescue us, change us, love us, and never leave us. This time in a wilderness is building our identity in God, our character. The dream is not our identity. I can’t stress this enough. The dream is not who you ARE. The dream is simply an indication of what you are called to do on the earth using the gifts and talents that you have been equipped with. Who we ARE is the image of God, child of God. As we learn to know Him and His ways, it builds the very character of God into us,. This takes much time and it is God’s intent. As one favorite teacher of mine has said. There’s two spirits out there and they are both trying to kill you. What that means is our enemy the devil wants to kill us, but our God requires that we surrender our lives to him and die to our own wishes so that we can take on His yoke, His plan for our lives. That plan includes a transformation into the very image and nature of Jesus.
Joseph spent at least 13 years in slavery and in prison in Egypt. His character and calling somehow always brought him into a leadership position, even as he was in subjection to the will of others. The gifts that God had given him seemed to always be noticed by authority figures. Divine providence brought two servants of Pharaoh into prison with him who each had a dream. Joseph was an interpreter of dreams and gave them each an interpretation, only asking in return that they not forget him. One of the servants was executed and the other one did forget him for two more years!
But when the right time came, Joseph was taken out of the jail cell, given a shower and a shave, interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, and put on the throne, second only to Pharaoh! Wow.
I suspect Joseph never gave up his hope in his future even though things looked very bleak for a very long time. He was probably confused like most of us and couldn’t see how it was EVER going to come to pass, but I believe he kept his faith in God and didn’t give up. He accepted the things that happened to him, learned from them and trusted God through them. And when God saw that the lessons were learned, then the time had come to release Joseph to his destiny, which was to “save many people alive.” Gen. 50:20.
In Gen. 45:5-8, we see him acknowledging to his brothers that he completely gets what the purpose and plan of God was, saying, “God sent me before you to preserve life…God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So it was not you who sent me here, but God…”
And so we see a man of God who has reached the fulfillment of his destiny. He has reached the maturity required of him to accomplish the will of God. Joseph saw his dreams fulfilled as He surrendered to the plan of God. Life is good indeed. He is reunited with his father and his brothers. His entire family comes to live in Egypt with him and are given great honor because of Joesph’s faithfulness to God. More than two nations are saved because of Joesph’s faithfulness, as other nations also come to purchase grain from Egypt during the famine.
Yes, life is very good.
Hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore since we also are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility against Himself lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”