Summary: Discover how Joseph was faithful to God’s call and what it means to be trusuted with God’s vision for your life.
Trusted: Lessons from the Life of Joseph
Week 2: “Trusted with a Vision”
INTRO: We come to the beginning part of Joseph’s life today, and it’s the part most people are familiar with – his dreams! So take your Bible and locate Genesis 37. While you’re turning there, I must tell you I don’t really have a lot dreams when I’m sleeping. I have lots when I’m awake, but hardly any during ZZZ time. Truth is, when I out, I’m out. Dreaming is something that rarely happens to me.
My wife, on the other hand, is a nightly dreamer. And man, can she dream! Crazy, weird and wild ones! Most of the time they provide some super fodder for breakfast laughter around our home.
And she’s not the only one who can dream some interesting stuff – Just the other day Jill was telling me about a dream she had the other night in which she is watching the old play Oklahoma and bursting in from the back doors singing, “Oh, what a beautiful morning” was none other than…Steve Archer!
TRANSITION: Fortunately, we don’t have to figure those dreams out in our message. All we have to do this morning is understand what is going on in Joseph’s dreams and what God’s purpose was in relaying this vision to him. What do you say we get started?
JOSEPH’S DREAMS: Let’s begin reading in Genesis 37:2...
Textually, keep in mind a few things:
• His dreams were forthright (37:7-9). In other words, they were very clear. There was no doubt what was going on in the dream. Do you see Joseph’s clarity in this text? He knew what was happening! Granted – he may not have known when the fulfillment would take place, but he did know what the message was. And he wasn’t afraid to share it. The content was forthright and concise.
One thing I’ve noticed about biblical dreams involving God’s followers is that they were always very clear in authorship and content. This text does not indicate either way if Joseph knew the dreams were from God or not, so we can’t form a conviction regarding this specific situation. But we do know he understood the message plainly. And we know in most other dreams, authorship and content were very plain. There was no doubt what was going on or what the message was. I draw from this a personal belief that if God were to use a dream to speak to you or me, we would have no doubt it was from God and what the message was. One of surest signs that a dream is just that – a dream – is when we ask, “What could this dream mean?” If it was from God, the biblical examples seem to indicate we would know both with great clarity.
• He had two dreams about one future (37:5,9).
This is one of the hallmarks of biblical dreams from God to his people: they were generally regarding the future. At times, even heathen rulers had dreams, and when they were interpreted by one of God’s chosen men or women, the dream was usually about the future.
This means that dreams were at least similar to visions, the difference being that dreams happened while someone was asleep and visions while someone was awake. In fact, “dreams” are mentioned about 122 times in the Bible and “visions” about 101 times.
In case you are wondering where I stand on the issue of dreams from God, let me first say I don’t really know a lot about this stuff. Which means sometimes I don’t know exactly where I stand on this preference issue. I do know that dreams were used on occasion in the Bible, but it was rare. Examples would be Joseph son of Jacob (Genesis 37:5-10), Joseph the husband of Mary (Matthew 2:12-22), Solomon (1 Kings 3:5-15), and several others (Daniel 2:1; 7:1; Matthew 27:19). There is also a prophesy of the Prophet Joel (Joel 2:28), quoted by the Apostle Peter in Acts 2:17, that mentions God using dreams. Yet, over a period of about 4,000 years, we only have a pocketful of actual dreams recorded in Scripture. Truly, dreams were the exception, not the norm.
Could God use dreams today to speak to people? Sure! But I tend to believe that if we use biblical dreams as a guide, then the dreamer would 1) know who sent the dream and 2) the dream would probably involve the future. That’s just some of my insight.
• His dreams were almost fatal (37:19).
In Joseph’s case, his dream almost cost him his life. In fact, verse 19 of Genesis 37 indicates that his dreamer status is the reason they wanted to kill him.
• His dreams were fulfilled ( 42:6-9).