Here it is, the BIG GAME. It’s come down to double overtime, sudden death. The game is tied and there’s only a minute left on the clock. Now seems like a great time to call it quits right? No! If this scenario makes sense then why is it that when we undertake persecution for our goals, we immediately say, “this is too hard; I quit.” You see, the element that makes a double overtime sudden death game so appealing is that all the parties involved are “fighting to the death” for their goal.
Read Genesis 37 and you will see the beginnings of a great dream. The story of Joseph is one that should bring encouragement to anyone that dreams. In essence here’s the NPV (Nathan’s Paraphrase Version) of his story:
- Joseph was his father’s favorite son
- His brothers hate him
- God gave him a great vision
- He shared his vision with his brothers
- His brothers hate him even more
- God gave an even greater vision
- He shared it with his parents & brothers
- His brothers hate him more & his parents rebuke him
- He ends up in the lowest of egyptian society: a slave and then a prisoner
- Through a series of miracles (the God factor) his dreams came true
Now there are a few things to consider here: Joseph’s age, where he got his dream (vision or goal), and how his dream came to be a reality. At the beginning of chapter 37 we see that Joseph was only 17, this shows me that you are never too young to dream. Notice how the dream didn’t seem crazy to Joseph. There seems to be no indication in chapter 37 that shows us he doubted. In fact, he proudly went to his brothers and said, “Yo, you guys are going to bow down to me one day.” Then God gave him another dream and Joseph took it his parents and said, “Yo mommy and daddy, you’re going to bow down me one day.” I don’t care who you are, that takes guts! When we dream we need to believe in that dream with all our heart.
Secondly, Joseph’s dream wasn’t a fantasy that he had. He wasn’t thinking about how cool it would be one day for his family to bow down to him, if you know his story you will see that his character is built on humility. Joseph’s dream was God given. I think this the hard part of dreaming. How do I discern what dreams are mine and what dreams are God’s. I don’t think that there is a problem with personal dreaming, but I think there are a few things that need to be considered: is the dream selfish, is it beneficial, and how will it effect others around me? At first glance it seems like Joseph’s dream breaks all these things. How selfish is it to have your family bow down to you, how can that possibly benefit him or his family, and how would something like this effect the dynamic of the family? Well in the end we find out that had Joseph’s dream not come true, his family and most of Egypt would’ve died from famine. It may seem crazy and illogical, but if the dream is from God, there’s a purpose for it.
Lastly, Joseph’s family wasn’t bowing down to him the next day. No, his brother’s plotted against him, staged his death and sold him into slavery. Joseph manages to make it into the Palace but then gets accused of rape and is thrown into prison. Here’s the cool part, although Joseph hit the furthest point away from being worthy of honor, God was with him. (Genesis 39:20-21) While in prison God used Joseph to interpret the dreams of the King’s Cupbearer and Baker. Unfortunately the Baker was killed. The Cupbearer on the other hand was restored to his position, but forgot Joseph for 2 years. Yeah, two more long years in prison. Can’t you see Joseph waiting in anticipation every day to be released for his noble service? After two years Pharaoh has a dream, the Cupbearer remembers Joseph, and Joseph interprets the dream and offers advice. In an instant he goes from lowly prisoner to second in command of Egypt. Big Dreams come with Big Challenges.
Had Joseph’s dream been his own, he would have ended up in prison and stayed there, and although he did end up in prison, because the dream came from God he made it through and saw his dream come true. Genesis 50:15-21 shows us that Joseph stayed firm in believing his dream, but even more so we can see that Joseph held no hard feelings towards the people that discouraged him.
Stay strong in your dreams and forgive those that discourage.