I last blogged about Abraham who learned to trust God in the waiting. Now, the promises to Abraham begin to come true. His great-grandson, Joseph, has a dream. Dreams require time to fully develop before promotion, provision and blessing can come. Joseph’s story is a classic description of God bringing His dream for our lives to fruition.
Joseph had a dream
Young Joseph had a dream.
5 One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever. 6 “Listen to this dream,” he said. 7 “We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!” Genesis 37:5-7 (NLT2)
He was young and immature, and didn’t realize the dream needed to wait until both he and the timing were ready. How often is this true of us? We seek God regarding His purpose for us, and immediately think we are ready to go. We don’t realize God’s dream for us is much bigger and better than we see at the moment.
Joseph had a dream and thought he should share it. But was it the right time? Because his brothers resented him so much, they sold him as a slave to the Midianites who took him down to Egypt. Now Joseph and the potential for the dream to be fulfilled must begin to be developed.
Joseph was sold to Potiphar who put him in charge of the household. Because God had a purpose or dream for Joseph, He immediately set in motion necessary steps to bring it to pass. He does the same for us. We are never left to figure it out. Our efforts to do so usually slow it down instead because God now has to get us back on track. Something about time in the pit, wondering if his brothers would kill him, and an opportunity in a fine home must have quickly sobered young Joseph.
2 The LORD was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. 3 Potiphar noticed this and realized that the LORD was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. 4 This pleased Potiphar, so he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned. Genesis 39:2-4 (NLT2)
The LORD was with him
Unfortunately, Potiphar’s wife liked Joseph but for all the wrong reasons. When he resisted her seduction, she lied to her husband about him. What else could she do if she wanted to save face? Her husband angrily had Joseph thrown in prison.
A pivotal point is in verse 21. The LORD was with him. Always. The LORD, Yahweh, knows we only partially understand the dreams or purposes He has for us. He takes care of us along the journey to fulfillment. Whether we recognize it or not, He is there with us, showing us kindness and favor just as He was with Joseph.
20 Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. Genesis 39:20-23 (NIV)
Promotion and provision
Joseph had opportunity to interpret dreams again, this time for two of Pharaoh’s staff. The cup bearer resumed serving Pharaoh but forgot all about Joseph until Pharaoh had a dream no wise man could interpret. Joseph could be bitter or he could trust God’s love for him. He continued trusting, and God knew he was ready.
23 Pharaoh’s chief cup-bearer, however, forgot all about Joseph, never giving him another thought. Genesis 40:23 (NLT2)
Suddenly the cup bearer remembered Joseph. Joseph was called before Pharaoh and God gave him the answer for Pharaoh. He not only had the interpretation but a strategy to save Egypt from the famine.
37 The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. 38 So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?” 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and men shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. Genesis 41:37-43 (NIV)
I wonder if Joseph thought about his dream from 13 years earlier. Sometimes God fulfills our dreams in ways that make no sense to us. The journey seems to take twists and turns that derail the dream. But God had never lost sight of His purpose for Joseph. He never loses sight of His purpose for us either. He writes it down, not so He won’t forget it, but to prove He means it and will bring it to pass.
16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Psalm 139:16 (NLT2) 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT2)
God had a plan all along. A plan to bring together all the timing of events both for Jacob and the rest of the family and for Joseph and Egypt. He also had matured Joseph so he could handle the purpose. God must do that for us as well since the purpose is bigger than our natural abilities. Even bigger than anything we could imagine. I wonder if Joseph thought being in charge of Potiphar’s house was the fulfillment of his dream. Nope. God had something much bigger in mind.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)
How did Joseph handle this promotion and all the provision that came with it? He tells us in the names of his sons.
51 Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh (Forget), saying, “God made me forget all my hardships and my parental home.” 52 He named his second son Ephraim (Double Prosperity), saying, “God has prospered me in the land of my sorrow.” Genesis 41:51-52 (MSG)
Eventually, famine struck Israel and Jacob sent to Egypt for food. Joseph seems to be angry with his brothers, but he was testing their attitude. Could the family be reconciled? Through the tests, God could point out their guilt and they acknowledged what they had done. The family was reconciled beautifully and lived in a lush area of Egypt’s delta.
At the end of his life, Jacob blessed his sons. His heart seems to overflow when he blesses Joseph, still his favorite.
22 Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well (spring or fountain), whose branches run over the wall. 23 Skilled archers have bitterly attacked and sorely worried him; they have shot at him and persecuted him. 24 But his bow remained strong and steady and rested in the Strength that does not fail him, for the arms of his hands were made strong and active by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob, by the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, 25 By the God of your father, Who will help you, and by the Almighty, Who will bless you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings lying in the deep beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. 26 The blessings of your father [on you] are greater than the blessings of my forefathers [Abraham and Isaac on me] and are as lasting as the bounties of the eternal hills; they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him who was the consecrated one and the one separated from his brethren and [the one who] is prince among them. Genesis 49:22-26 (AMP)
Pause and Ponder
Do you have a dream that is yet unfulfilled? Where are you in the journey toward fulfillment of the dream? Joseph learned powerful lessons, as his sons’ names reveal. What lessons have you learned so far?
Promotion, provision and blessing will come! God always completes what He starts! (Philippians 1:6)
Carol Boggess, author and speaker at A Healing Journey
Carol Boggess © 2021
Rivers – A Journey of Restoration From Broken to Breakthrough and God Sees Broken Hearts
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