Summary: Joseph and his dreams. A message about hope and the love of God for us. Don’t be afraid to dream God’s dreams in your life.
A Long and Winding Road
Joseph had a dream…And he believed that it was a dream from God.
For the next couple of months we will explore the story of a young man who had the strength, personal integrity and discipline to believe what God believed about him.
And that makes him very different from most people today.
Today few people understand that God believes in them because they have lost faith in themselves.
Larry Carter. President of Great Lakes Christian College and a friend of mine tells the story of his youth:
"I remember when I was a kid, some 40 years ago, playing on a Little League Baseball team. One of the things our coach did was host a picnic for the team at the beginning of the season. After eating hot dogs and burgers he sat us all down for a pep talk. The first thing he did was to ask us a question. He asked, “How many of you have a dream to one day play in the Major Leagues?”
Almost every hand shot up. Every kid with his hand up believed he could do it. You could see it in their eyes. He then told us, “If that is to happen – that dream begins now!”
I was so inspired by that challenge – all of us were – that we practically and played so hard we went undefeated for the next few years. All-Star teams from other leagues would play us and lose!
Some 25 years later I became a Little League coach. I brought all the kids together at the beginning of the season to give them a pep talk. The same talk my coach had given me. So I asked my team the same question, “How many of you have a dream to one day play in the Major Leagues?”
Not one had was raised. Not one kid believes he could do it. You could see it in their eyes. I was speechless – literally. The rest of my talk was meaningless without a dream so I just kind of said, “Really? Nobody? Well, go get your gloves and lets throw some.”
I thought about that day for a long time. What had happened in the 25 years since I was a kid? What had come into their lives to steal their dreams? What had convinced them that they would never be more than what they were?"
Mass marketing hype and a cultural malaise of mediocrity have replaced the powerful, precious, personal dreams of past decades.
Too many people have given up on the dream that God has for them. Not Joseph; in spite of all the burdens and problems he faced in his childhood. His family life was far from “good”! In fact it was what we would call today “Dysfunctional”
His father had children from many wives and even his father’s concubine. One brother committed incest. Two brothers slaughtered the inhabitants of a village for raping their sister.
These are not easy going “country bumpkins”. These are dangerous and ruthless men who are part of a family that could easily have been on the Jerry Springer show.
His father was known as a cheater for most of his life and had been cheated himself on more than one occasion. Is it any wonder that there would be a “bad report” on his sons by Joseph?
Yet, even at the young age of 17 years he stood out from the others, his innocence, integrity, honesty and devotion to his father and family is clearly seen.
Joseph never let go of the dream that God gave him.
Two disciplines that helped Joseph’s Dream come to reality…
First, Joseph was a man of great personal integrity.
(Read vs. 2-4)
17 years old and working the fields as a shepherd with his brothers when he was compelled by circumstances to give a report on how things where going with his brothers. And He did!
It was not a pretty sight! Now, you know that siblings have a way of getting back at each other when they cross one another.
Shannon and Sandi used to poke and prod each other in the back seat of the car on long trips. Each was bent on getting the other into trouble with me.
Occassionally, they would succeed and Dad would slam on the brakes, bring the car to halt and swing up over the back seat to chatise to scared little girls, each trying disappear into the cushions.
After it was over whoever got the bulk of the punishment would make sure it was shared with the other in the future. Somehow, when Dad wasn’t looking it would get passed along!
Joseph was not stupid. He knew that his brothers would not be happy if he gave a bad report to his father.