Summary: This is the first in a series of messages on the life of Joseph looks at God’s plans for us and the obstacles that always come with them.

Joseph¡¦s Journey

How Dreams Come True

Pt I ¡V A Bad Beginning

It was the Spring of 1988 ¡V I was sitting in an elementary school lunchroom ¡V that was converted every Sunday into a place of worship. Pastor Dave Smith was preaching ¡V and honestly I have no idea what the sermon was about. I was a pharmacy student at the Medical College of Va. at the time planning on a long career in pharmacy ¡V I had applied and been accepted to be one of the two first trac in students in the Dr. of Pharmacy program. But God had other idea¡¦s. Sitting in that service on Sunday morning God spoke to my heart ¡V and gave me a dream. A dream very different from anything I would have ever chosen for myself. He called me to be a pastor. What is interesting is that He also called me to pastor the church that I was attending at the time. I didn¡¦t understand it then ¡V but through many travails ¡V I became the pastor of that church in 1991. I never planned to leave it but then in 1995 God called me here to Hughesville ¡V and the dream continues.

This morning and for the next few weeks I want to share with you about How Dreams Come True ¡V a study in how God shapes and molds our lives into His plan ¡V through the life of Joseph. We pick up the story when Joseph is 17 years old. He is the 11th of Jacob¡¦s 12 sons ¡V and he is his father¡¦s favorite.

Genesis 37:1-28

1) Joseph has a dream ¡V but God has a plan ¡V Joseph is a favored son in a dysfunctional family. Some of you may remember the story of Jacob¡¦s family. Jacob gets tricked by his uncle into marrying Leah, then he works more to marry his true love Rachel. The problem is that Leah has children and Rachael doesn¡¦t. So then we get into the whole business of Rachael¡¦s maid having children and Leah¡¦s maid having children ¡V then finally Rachael has a son ¡V her first born and they name him Joseph. He was the child that Jacob had waited for. Jacob treated Joseph like his mother had treated him. He was special and everyone in the family knew it. His brothers hated him ¡V in fact the scripture says they couldn¡¦t say anything nice to him. This is not a really happy family. As if that¡¦s not bad enough Joseph rats out his brothers for not doing their jobs well. While he¡¦s home dad makes him a tunic ¡V a robe of many colors. Into the midst of this dysfunctional family ¡V God sends Joseph a dream ¡V in fact sends him two dreams ¡V both single him out in God¡¦s plans for his family. Joseph has a dream and God has a plan. What is God¡¦s plan for Joseph? Does God have a plan for the rest of the boys? You better believe he does. He only reveals Joseph¡¦s part in the plan ¡V but these boys would be the fathers of the 12 tribes of Israel that would inhabit the land. Each one would play a part in the preservation of the promise given to Abraham. That is our first lesson about how dreams come true ¡V You need to understand that God has a plan for you. It may be spectacular like Joseph¡¦s or ordinary like Issachar ¡V but God has a plan for you.

„« Jeremiah 29:11 says ¡§I know the plans that I have for you,¡¦ declares the LORD, ¡¥plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.¡¨

„« Psalm 139:15-16 says My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.

„« Psalm 100 says Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

I have said this many times ¡V each one of you is a unique unrepeatable miracle of God and He created you with a purpose. I am surprised by how many people live life without an understanding of purpose. I planned to be a pharmacist ¡V trained to be a pharmacist ¡V but God made me to be a pastor. Anything else I could be would be a waste of what God made me for. It would be a failure of plan and purpose. What has God made you to be ¡V a mother, a salesman, a CEO, a security guard, a ditch digger, a construction worker ¡V what? The truth is that if it is what God made you to be ¡V He will use you in His plan. What is God¡¦s plan for your life?

2) Dreamers always face obstacles ¡V Joseph had a dream, God had a plan, but right away there were problems.

„« Some were historical ¡V he was born into a dysfunctional family, his father had a history, his brothers were not godly men, his fathers wives were always fighting and in competition. His fathers favoritism put him in conflict with the rest of the family, the truth is he didn¡¦t have a great beginning.

„« Some were self-made ¡V He knew his brothers hated him ¡V yet he naively shared with them the dreams that he had. I mean Joseph ¡V think son ¡V do you think this is helpful?

Let me share with you a two truths about the obstacles in your life.

„« Obstacles are a reality ¡V everyone has them. For some it¡¦s health, for others finances, for others dysfunctional families, bad marriages, but for every dream there is an obstacle to overcome. Paul had a past, Peter had a big mouth, Timothy was too young, John was exiled to Patmos. All had a dream ¡V all had obstacles to overcome.

„« Obstacles will make us bitter or make us better ¡V there are only two choices. For some the struggle to overcome becomes a bitter pill to swallow ¡V disillusionment and disappointment take over and bitterness sets into the soul. They simply give up on the dream and begin to drift wherever life takes them. For others obstacles become the challenges of life. They become the bungee jumping, tightrope walking, thrill seekers of the Spiritual realm. They see problems as possibilities and mountains as motivation. I think Joseph was one of these guys ¡V who made lemons into lemonade.

3) The last thing I want to share with you this morning about Joseph¡¦s bad beginning is that God is in it Good or Bad. We can look at what happened to Joseph from two different perspectives.

„« The first see¡¦s the problems ¡V Joseph is hated, he is thrown into a pit, he is sold into slavery and we can say ¡V oh poor pitiful Joseph ¡V God must not like him very much. Where was God when Joseph was thrown into a pit? Where was God when Joseph was sold into slavery?

„« The other is to see the reality ¡V Where was God when Joseph was thrown into the pit? He was working on the corrupt heart of Reuben that¡¦s where he was. You see everyone was ready to kill Joseph ¡V that¡¦s the plan. Reuben the oldest (out of no concern for Joseph) steps in and says ¡§hey lets throw him in a pit.¡¨ Reuben¡¦s plan is to let him go. But before he can do it the Ishmaelites come along.

Where is God in this? ¡V He is the travel agent booking a journey for Joseph into Egypt where he will become 2nd only to Pharaoh himself in power. You see I don¡¦t believe in chance, luck, or coincidence when it comes to the things of God. I believe God had a plan for Joseph ¡V everyone around him tried to stop that plan but God doesn¡¦t give up. He worked around even the ungodliness of Joseph¡¦s brothers and caused ¡§all things to work together for good¡¨ for Joseph. God is protecting Joseph ¡V He is guiding Joseph and as we will see when he reaches Potiphar¡¦s house He is blessing Joseph.

It¡¦s easy to see God¡¦s hand when everything is coming up roses ¡V it¡¦s important to see God¡¦s hand when everything¡¦s coming up thorns.

Joseph¡¦s journey has a pretty rocky start ¡V and by the way the middle isn¡¦t any piece of cake either ¡V but keep traveling with me and you will see how dreams really do come true.