Summary: A first person narrative sermon on the life of Joseph from slavery to Prime Minister of Egypt.

"When Dreams Seem Like Nightmares"

Subject: How should we respond when our life gets turned upside down?

Compliment: We respond by leaning upon God, because he has a master plan for our lives!

Text: Genesis 37ff.

Preaching idea: " When your life gets turned upside down, hold on to God and hold unto your dream."


There I was in a deep dark pit, thrown in by my jealous brothers. I’m scared to death! There’s no way out of here. I have nothing to climb with. I’m just a kid. I knew they hated me, but I never saw this coming. Brothers fight ok, and I ’ll admit there was a rivalry going on, but why would they want me dead?

Oh, I’m sorry, I guess I should introduce myself. Good morning my name is Joseph, son of Jacob. I come from the 18th century B.C.. My great-grandfather was Abraham, my grandfather was Isaac and my father was Jacob.

We lived during a time of change and upheaval. We were known as the patriarchs of our nation, Israel---the founding fathers.

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob . . . this is my family tree. We lived in Canaan . . . the placed where God had called my great-grandfather to from his home in Ur.

There God had made a promise and a covenant with him---that his descendants would be as the sand of the seashore and as the stars of the sky.

Our families were shepherds and herdsman. We were always on the move looking for pasture.

I had 10 older brothers . . . they didn’t care too much for me . . . and to be quite honest I enjoyed my position, because even though I was younger---I was smarter than they were!

But That’s exactly what got me into trouble. They were jealous of me---actually they despised me. My Dad, Jacob, favoured me above them . . . and everyone knew it; I knew it, they knew it and even the servants knew it. Looking back now I can see how that caused some tension in our family. So I don’t really recommend it as a good parenting skill.

My only real friend among my brothers was Reuben--he looked out for me as much as he could. If not for him, I wouldn’t be here today.

Now my Dad never heard about "Focus on the Family" or the "Promisekeepers" . . . what he knew about parenting he picked up wherever he could, and it showed.

I’m sure none of you would ever make the mistake he made. He gave me a stunning jacket to wear! I loved it and wore it proudly. But it caused deep resentment among my brothers. It was a way of flaunting my favoured status with my Dad.

One day I went too far. I told my brothers of my special dream, a dream that became a nightmare. My dream described my brothers serving me and bowing at my feet. They were beside themselves. Rage just overtook them. So they decided enough was enough--I had to go.

One day as they were out feeding the flocks in Shechem, my Dad sent to check on them.

They seized me and wanted to murder me right then and there.

Reuben immediately came to my defence . . . he convinced them to throw me into a pit--(he intended to come later and release me)

So here I am at the bottom of this pit, wondering what’s next. Have you ever been in a position like that? Scary isn’t it?

But then Reuben has chores to attend to, thinking the matter is resolved, Reuben returns to his chores, caring for the herds. Then a caravan of Midianites heading for Egypt came by . . . with Reuben not around to defend me they sell me as a slave to these desert merchants. They sold me as a slave for 20 shekels of silver.

I was scared to death. I’m only 17 years old! My life was turned upside down, all I had now was my God and my dream.

I’ll never see my father or mother again . . . I’ll never sleep in my own bed and who knows what awaits me in Egypt? The only thing I had to cling to now was God himself . . . I knew he was still with me even though it seemed strange that he let all of this happen! (My father had told me stories of how God had proven himself faithful to our family many times going right back to my great-grandfather Abraham. I struggled with anger toward my brothers, it was hard to forgive them, but I knew enough about God to know I had to. God helped me overcome it all.

In Egypt . . .

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