The Power of a Dream – Sunday Devotional

Genesis 37:5-11

And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.  And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:

For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.

And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us?  or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet more for his dreams, and for his words.

And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.

And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed?  Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?

And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.

Dreams are powerful.  If you have a dream, you will give up almost anything for it.  For many of us, being a writer is our dream. Joseph was given a dream (literally, but somewhere along the way, I think his dream was just to see his family again).  He didn’t know what it meant at the time, and we don’t always know how our hopes and dreams will come to fruition, but he believed in it enough to tell his family about it.

Joseph had eleven brothers and one sister.  He was the second-to-youngest son of Jacob.  Considering that in ancient Israel, the birthright went to the firstborn son, Joseph must have wondered if there would be much left over when it came his time for any inheritance – after all, there were ten sons in line before him!  It didn’t help, though, that Joseph was the oldest son of Rachel, and it is clear through Scripture that Rachel was the wife Jacob favored over Leah.  We won’t get into that whole story today, though.  However, I’m sure that the older brothers were concerned that their father might give Joseph a larger portion than they felt he deserved.  He did get a rainbow-colored coat, after all.

And then, on top of being the oldest son of the favored wife, Joseph has the gall to tell his brothers, his father, and his mother (who is actually Leah, Rachel’s sister, because Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin), that he has dreamed of them bowing down to him!

Joseph’s brothers are mad at this point.  So mad, that when Joseph is on his way home from running an errand, his brothers see him alone and begin to plot murder!  I don’t know about you, but I think murdering someone over a dream is a little bit overboard.

So did his brother Rueben.  He was the only one who pleaded (and somehow convinced them) with his brothers to spare Joseph’s life.  They took his rainbow coat, tossed him in a deep pit, and went on their merry way through the rest of the day.  Reuben intended to go back that night and pull his brother out, but when he was away from the group, they develop some sort of conscience and decide to sell Joseph to the slave traders that were passing through, instead of killing him, because he was their own flesh and blood, after all.  They then fake Joseph’s death, and realize they have made a huge mistake when their father sinks into deep grief. (Gen 37:19-36)

All because of a dream.

Some could say that the moral of this story is to never tell anyone your dreams.  But the story isn’t finished yet.

Many years later, the land was in a famine.  There was no food, and none could be grown because of the drought.  So Jacob’s sons had to go to Egypt to buy grain.  Little did they know that through a series of miracles and Divine intervention, Joseph has risen to be the Prime Minister of Egypt (second in command – only the Pharoah was more powerful than he was!).  Joseph had led through dreams (not his own, but Pharoah’s) to set aside grain for seven years, because there was going to be seven years of famine – not only in Egypt, but throughout that part of the world.  Because they had set aside so much grain, they had enough for the entire country, plus extra to sell to anyone who wanted some!

What followed is one of the most inspirational and touching stories about what forgiveness truly is.  (Genesis 42-45)

All of that because of a dream.  Joseph would not have been sold into slavery in Egypt if he hadn’t told about his dream.  Perhaps God had another way for the people of Israel to be delivered from that famine, but we wouldn’t know what the power of forgiveness truly is if all that hadn’t happened.  Joseph’s brothers and father and mother truly did bow down to him – not only was he the Prime Minister of Egypt, but also their savior in that time.

We writers have a dream.  Some of us want to be become bestselling authors.  Some want to simply finish a manuscript.  Or even publish one book, it doesn’t matter if it’s a bestseller or not.

If we keep it locked inside of us, though, how will it ever come to pass?  We must be willing to persevere, and to be ridiculed at times.  Joseph was wrongly imprisoned before he was placed in his position of power.  Because of that injustice, though, he was a better ruler – and his ability to interpret dreams was brought before Pharoah because of one of the other prisoners.

Don’t discount any of the connections you make, no matter what part of your life you are in.  You never know what God is preparing for you.

The song today isn’t really about having dreams come true, but more about the dream every Christian carries in their heart – to see the face of God.