Tonight we’re going to be looking at how God uses dreams in the life of Joseph. Dreams are a mysterious thing aren’t they? I mean, who knows what some of them mean.
A wife woke up one morning and said, “Honey, I just had a dream that you bought me a new gold necklace. What do you think it means?” “I don’t know, but Valentine’s Day is coming soon. Tuesday, you’ll know,” He replied. A few nights later, she again woke up after having a dream, “This time, I dreamed you gave me a pearl necklace. What do you think it means?” “You’ll know Tuesday,” He replied. The night before Valentine’s Day, she again woke up telling him about her dream, “This time I dreamed that you brought me a diamond necklace. What do you think it means?” “Honey, be patient. "You’ll know tonight." he said. That evening, the husband came home with a package and gave it to his wife. Delighted, she opened it to find a book entitled, "The meaning of dreams."
You know in ancient Egypt during the time of Joseph the interpretation of dreams were an important part of the culture. The people thought they could see the future through the interpretation of their dreams. But what they didn’t realize was that the dreams that God gave needed a God-given interpretation. We’ll see that in the passages tonight as God again use dreams in the life of Joseph.
Remember, God’s already gave Joseph two important dreams when he was still at home. Those dreams showed how one day Joseph’s family would bow down to him. But we’re a long way from home now as Joseph sits in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. So let’s look at how:
I. Joseph remains faithful in prison
[Read Genesis 40:1-4.]
Joseph’s in prison because of the false accusations of Potiphar’s wife. But because the hand of God was on him, the chief jailer had put him in charge of all the other prisoners. Then two of Pharaoh’s officials offended him so bad they were put in prison with Joseph. And guess who made sure that Joseph took care of them? Potiphar.
[Read Genesis 40:4, 39:1.]
It would seem that Potiphar knew Joseph would take good care of these men who for whatever reason were thrown into jail. Potiphar knew Joseph and trusted that he would care for these men well. And of course, the Bible says that Joseph did care for them for many years. But then one night the two officials had dreams. Strange dreams that they just didn’t understand.
II. Joseph interprets the dreams of the prisoners
[Read Genesis 40:5-15.]
So the cupbearer learns that in a few days time he’ll be out of prison and have his job back. That was great news! We all like those kinds of dreams. All Joseph asked was for him to speak on his behalf to Pharaoh. “No problem!”
So when the baker saw the good interpretation of the cupbearer’s dream he was eager to find out what his dream meant. Oh but be careful what you ask for!
[Read Genesis 40:16-22.]
Just like Joseph had interpreted, the dreams came true. But there was no doubt of that. After all, right from the start Joseph told them that it was God that would give them the interpretations. And God did just that.
But there was just one problem – Joseph was forgotten.
[Read Genesis 40:23.]
The cupbearer was so excited about being back in the king’s court he totally forgot how he got there. And here’s the cycle that Joseph finds himself in again. The good he does is rewarded with difficulty.
- obeying his father/sold into slavery
- resisting temptation/put into prison
- interprets dream by the power of God/forgotten
But Joseph doesn’t lose heart. He remains faithful there in prison for the next two years.
III. Joseph interprets the dreams of Pharaoh
[Read Genesis 41:1-8.]
The wisest of the wise men in Egypt, with all their magical training and paganism, couldn’t understand what Pharaoh’s troubling dreams meant. And these were probably men who prided themselves on being able to interpret dreams. But this one stumped them.
I think it was because these dreams were from God, and only through the power of God would these dreams be understood. So of course they couldn’t interpret them. But all of a sudden the cupbearer had a flashback and remembered what Joseph had done for him.
[Read Genesis 41:9-13.]
You know that’s just like the world – when all else fails, try God’s way.
[Abstinence education illustration.]
So they go and get Joseph and ready him to be presented to Pharaoh so he can try and interpret the troubling dreams.
[Read Genesis 41:14-32.]
By the power of God Joseph interprets the dreams. And he makes sure Pharaoh understands that these dreams are a good thing from God.