Summary: What happens between The Dream dreamed and The Dream realized? Between the dream and the reality of the dream come true we patiently wait, living our lives, remaining faithful to God and His calling, trusting Him to bring about what He would have us to d
Texts: Genesis 37:1-28
Date: Sunday, August 11, 2002
Author: Rev. Jonathan K. Twitchell
If ever there was someone destined for greatness, it was Joseph. Born the eldest son of the favorite wife of Jacob, Joseph was born to a position of privilege. He was Jacob’s favorite because he had been born to Jacob in his old age. Even though he was younger than most of his brothers, he was given leadership positions over them because he would tattle on them to his father. Because of his privileged status, he was adorned with rich robes and held in higher esteem by his father than any other sibling. Add to all this the divine dreams that Joseph received, and you have a recipe for greatness. Jacob expected great things for his son, and it appears as though God expected greatness as well.
And yet, our scripture narrative this morning ends on a bleak note. Because of his status and his dreams, Joseph is hated by his brothers, to the point where they began plotting to kill him. Joseph is nearly killed, but is rescued by one of his brothers who convinced the others to sell him to slave traders who happened to be passing through the area. As we hear the story unfold, we wonder if Joseph will ever accomplish the dreams that God has given him. Hear our scripture text from Genesis 37:
1 Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.
2 This is the account of Jacob.
Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 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.”
8 His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
9 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.”
10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
12 Now his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, 13 and Israel said to Joseph, “As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.”
“Very well,” he replied.
14 So he said to him, “Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.” Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron.
When Joseph arrived at Shechem, 15 a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, “What are you looking for?”
16 He replied, “I’m looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?”
17 “They have moved on from here,” the man answered. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’”
So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.
19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”
21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hand. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. 22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the desert, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.
23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe--the richly ornamented robe he was wearing--24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it.