Summary: Joseph, Pt. 1

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Four individuals shaped and defined Israel’s rise as a nation and emergence into a force. Abraham was the spiritual giant who walked by faith, and not by sight. Isaac was the perfect gentleman who treated friends and neighbors fairly. Jacob was the consummate gladiator who grappled with God and man, and Joseph was the unsung hero who single-handedly delivered Israel and his family, all seventy of them, from a severe seven year famine.

Joseph’s life was a dream that digressed into a nightmare on the road to glory. A friend noted rightly: “Vision without action is daydream; action without vision is nightmare.” His life intertwined not only with dreams, but with garments. When he was a teenager, his father made a robe for him that landed him in a pit (Gen 37:3). As a slave, Potiphar’s wife caught Joseph’s cloak in her hands that landed him in prison (Gen 39:12). Finally, the robes of fine linen Pharaoh gave Joseph landed him in the palace (Gen 41:42).


My dreams are really insignificant and meaningless. Once I dreamed of taking a flight on a trip. In my dream, I could not decide if I should lodge at a hotel near the airport the night before the next day’s trip, stay with a friend near the airport that I never had or stay at home and commute to the airport in prime time traffic. The following week, I had another dream. I was persuading my wife not to give away a cat she never had in real life, too!

Dreams are generally irrelevant, silly and overblown. Contrary to reality, people do not usually spend their sleep lives dreaming of getting rich, being successful, gaining fame or craving sex most or all of the time.

However, creative people have credited dreams for their discoveries. French chemist Auguste Kekule saw snakes biting their tales in a dream before he stumbled onto the mystery of the correct ring structure for the benzene molecule. Inventor Elias Howe attributed the discovery of the sewing machine to a nightmare of being captured by cannibals. Howe noticed the holes at the tip of the natives’ spears and designed the sewing machine accordingly. Vladimir Horowitz and other well-known pianists have described playing piano pieces or discovering a new fingering in their dreams that turned out to work perfectly. Robert Louis Stevenson said that his book “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” came to him in a dream.,5744,335625,00.html?query=dreams

The seventeen year-old Joseph (v 2) was Jacob and Rachel’s miracle child, golden boy and teenage prodigy. Jacob, the father, loved Joseph to a family feud, sibling rivalry and to a house divided. Unfortunately, Rachel, the mother, who died after giving birth to Benjamin, her second child, was not there to bring up or reel in her firstborn.

The stage was set for the Israel’s four hundred years of enslavement in Egypt that God had disclosed to Abraham (Gen 15:13-16), except that the leading character, the star player and the show stopper was not ready for his debut. Joseph had a possible dream in his sleep and a promising future in the stars, but a potential crisis on his hands. He was ahead of himself, sure of himself and full of himself. When he was young, Joseph was talkative, insensitive, blunt, naïve and immature.

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