Joseph’s Dream — Photo credit: poetry-bible.ru
Last post on Genesis 37:1-4 we saw how both Joseph and Jesus’ brothers saw they were their father’s/Father’s favorite and how they envied them. We also saw how both Jesus and Joseph have a heart for their respective fathers.
In this post we’ll learn about Joseph’s dreams. Then after the story of Joseph’s dreams, we’ll discover how to learn what dream God has in mind for you.
When his brothers saw he was their father’s favorite, they envied him, to the point where they couldn’t speak a kind word to him.
Around this same time, Joseph had a dream. He shared it with his brothers, with great excitement, I imagine, after which, they hated him all the more. He said, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”
His brothers said to him, Do you intend to set yourself up to reign over us? Will you rule over us?
And they hated him even more because of his dream and what he had said.
Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
When he told his father about the second dream, his father rebuked him, What kind of dream is that? Will your mother and I and all your brothers bow down to the ground before you?
His brothers were jealous, but his father, though he rebuked him, kept the matter in mind and secretly wondered if there might not be something to these dreams.
Jesus very plainly states, the Old Testament scriptures “testify about me.” And that, Moses “wrote about me.” (John 5:39-40, John 5:45-46) We see it here in the story of Joseph. Like Joseph, Jesus had a dream given to Him by God. Joseph’s dream was to ultimately rule and reign in government. Jesus’ dream was to sacrifice Himself for all of humanity, then to rise up and ultimately rule and reign over everyone and everything, over all there is, at the right hand of the throne of God.
I’m going to give you 7 steps to help you learn what God’s dream is for you, but, before I do, I want to point out God’s dream for Joseph was only recognized by Joseph. His brothers derided him for it. And God’s dream for Jesus was only recognized by Jesus. In fact, when Jesus shared His dream, the religious establishment rejected Him, His own disciple Peter rebuked Him, and even after His dream was finished, after the resurrection, His disciples didn’t recognize Him at first.
So when God gives you your dream, don’t be surprised if you and God are the only two who recognize it. But don’t let that deter you. It didn’t deter Joseph. It didn’t deter Jesus. And as long as you follow the 7 steps below, don’t let it deter you.
So the question I want you to ask yourself right now is, “What is God’s dream for me? And how can I verify that dream is what God desires for me, in the most successful way possible.”
7 Steps to Learning God’s Dream for You:
1) Give Thanks and Praise
What a secret this is to successful prayer about any matter. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name, Psalm 100:4 tells us. When you’re entering into His presence to ask Him to give you the precise dream He has for you, first give thanks for prayers already answered, and for those dreams, however small, which have already happened for you.
2) God’s Word
Immerse yourself in God’s word. Soak up God’s perspective of you and the world around you. Seeing yourself and the world through God’s eyes is one of the most powerful things you can do. In this life we see as through a glass darkly, at best, but God’s word is a lamp for your feet and a light for your path. (1 Corinthians 13:12, Psalm 119:105) Time in His word correlates with enlightenment regarding His will.
3) Go Pray
When Peter received his vision on the rooftop, he was in a quiet place, in prayer. (Acts 10:9-13) When John received the great revelation, he was in a quiet place on the island of Patmos, and he was “in the Spirit.” (Revelation 1:9-10) When Nebuchadnezzar demanded his dream be interpreted, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah prayed for revelation, and received it. (Daniel 2:17-19)
So turn off the TV, close the cover of your laptop, put your phone in another room, and carve out quiet time for you to pray for God’s revelation concerning what dream He has in mind for you. Over and over again we see in scripture, people in a quiet place, very intentionally seeking to hear from God.
4) God’s People
After Jesus ascended and left the disciples, they were without their leader for the first time in several years. They needed direction. So what did they do? They gathered together. They were all together in one place when God made it obvious for them, what to do next. (Acts 2:1)
So go to church. Hang out with God’s people. Ask questions about the dreams of those who are more godly than yourself. Pray with people about what God wants for your life. Church and hanging with God’s people are key parts to learning what God’s specific dream is for you.
5) Give Love
As we’ll see later, God’s dream for Joseph was to save millions of people from a devastating famine. God’s dream for Jesus was to save all of mankind from their inherent faults and flaws, and to reconcile us to God.
You probably noticed, in both dreams, given to Joseph and Jesus, serving others is central to the dream. I’m not saying you have to be a savior to the world, but how others are blessed by your dream provides great indication of whether or not your dream is simply a self absorbed means of selfish gratification or is truly the dream God has in mind for you.
After all, you have to recognize, “If in my dream I do not have love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2)
6) Great passion
God designed you for your dream, and your desires and passions are central to that design. So if you hate high humidity, bugs, and camping in the jungle, your dream probably doesn’t involve missionary work in Africa. I’ll never forget reading about how one of the big considerations for Chuck Smith choosing to pastor a church in Costa Mesa was the great surfing available in that area. In fact, the first time he decided to teach through the entire Bible was partly because he needed enough material to keep him in Costa Mesa where he could continue to surf.
A big consideration of whether or not your dream is truly from the Lord is, how well it fits with your passions and desires.
7) Give Thanks
“Well we already gave thanks in step 1,” you might be saying.
Give thanks again. Only this time give thanks, in faith, for what the Lord is going to do.
Moving forward with an attitude of hope, expectation, and thanksgiving is key to successfully receiving and living out God’s dream for you. Besides, one thing you know for sure is to give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
I’m not proposing this as some kind of formula for learning God’s dream for you. God can’t be confined to a formula. But look through scripture and see if it isn’t true. Those who received their dreams and revelation from God were 1) thankful, 2) spent time in God’s word (or even wrote some of God’s word) 3) prayerful, 4) hung with God’s people, 5) lovers of God and people, 6) passionate, and 7) faithful.
There is no formula but it’s undeniable these seven steps are modeled in scripture.
Your dream becomes your story:
What a phenomenal story resulted from Joseph receiving and living out God’s dream for him.
And what an amazing story was born from Jesus receiving and living out God’s dream for Him.
You have to ask yourself, “What story will be told about my life? When people tell my story, what will they say?”
“He watched a lot of TV?”
“He was amazing at that RPG, or at that first person shooter game?”
“His Castleville castle was the best I’ve ever seen?”
Or will your story be one of value from God’s perspective:
“He went to work everyday and did his job with integrity and honor, as unto the Lord.”
“He lived out God’s word, as a father and husband.”
“He loved the Lord his God with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his mind.”
“He dared great adventures, for Christ. He swung for the fence, for Him.”
You see, in the end, finding and choosing to follow God’s dream for you, will determine what story will be told of you.
Try those 7 steps for a couple of months, see what happens to your life.
Live out the dream God has designed uniquely for you.
Swing for the fence, for Him.
In Christ’s name.
Blue Letter Bible
Walton, Matthews, Chavalas. (2000). IVP Bible Background Commentary, Old Testament
Chuck Smith, (2001) Living Water