Monday, February 20, 2012

Dreams That Test and Try You

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Genesis 42:8-9
8 Although Joseph 
recognized his brothers, 
they did not recognize him.  
9Then he remembered his dreams 
about them and said to them, 
“You are spies! 
You have come to see 
where our land is unprotected.” 

I found a little treasure I had not noticed before while reading Genesis 42 this morning. In verse 9 it says Then he remembered his dreams about them...  You may not be familiar with this story it start in Genesis 37. Joseph is the 11th son of Jacob. He is the favored son born late in life to his father. His father had four wives. Rachel was his true love. He is tricked as a young man into marring her older sister.  So he ends up with 2 wives when they are unable to have children they each have him marry their maid servants.
That is another story.  In this story today Joseph is the favored son. He is a young man and is favored above all the other brothers which as you can imagine causes some bitter and jealous feelings among his siblings. He has two dreams as a young man and shares them with the family in the first the brothers are bowing down to him. In the second the whole family is bowing down to him. I have to question his wisdom in sharing those dreams with everyone. His father does not help things by giving Joseph a very ostentatious coat. He is sending a pretty clear signal to the other brothers that this 11th son is the one who will next lead the family.  How do you determine who is the first born in a family of four wives. Is it the first born or the first born of the frist wife, or the first born of the favored wife. You can see how this could be a point of contention in this family. I've written about Joseph and his story in other posts so I will leave you to read it on your own. What I want to look at today is that he did not forget his dreams.

Most dreams fade quickly upon waking. I know most of mine quickly become muddled and fade away. There are some that are very clear and generally contain something for me to puzzel and ponder what God is saying to me. Some I carry for what seems a very long time. In the case of Joseph, I think his dreams tried and tested him all those long years about 17 while he is taken as a slave on the journey to Egypt, sold to Potiphar, then wrongly imprisoned. It is another couple years before he is remembered after interpreting the dreams of the cup barrer and the baker.

There are things that God speaks to us about our calling and destiny. Sometimes they are clues in dreams or visions, or things spoken prophetically over us. Most often those things are tested and circumstances seem to challenge them at every turn. Was God really speaking that to you or was it just your own imaginations. I am sure for years Joseph was tested and tried by his dreams. Would he just cast them off as impossible, crazy, hopeless or would he ponder them in his heart.

So here he is in this verse on the other side of things. He is at the point of the fulfillment of his dreams. Here his brothers are in Egypt. They don't recognize him but he recognizes them. He understands every word they are saying to each other. I am sure he must wonder if they have changed. Were they still the jerks who sold him into bondage. What had the years worked on them?  

Maybe you have carried a dream or a vision and continue to hope towards its fulfillment. I guess today I want to speak hope and faith to you. Your dream may still seem crazy and impossible.  Joseph carried his dreams through years of hardship. He is one of the characters in the bible that I most admire. He took a bad situation and from it gained wisdom, knowledge and skill. He did not just sit and have a pity party at his misfortune. In it he continually was becoming a better person. It says repeated times and the Lord was with him or the Lord's hand was upon him. He did not leave God back in the days of his youth he carried the Lord with him through the years of hardship and into the years of leadership and prominence.

He did not forget his dreams. The day before his brothers showed up was a day like any other. Suddenly after years of waiting his dream becomes fulfilled.  You don't know when a turning point will come. When suddenly the thing that God has shown or spoken to you, that you have carried in faith will come into being.

For me to see this verse about Joseph remembering his dreams is a confirmation to me. He did not cast them aside. He knew all along even in the impossibility of his dismal circumstances that God was able.
What must it have been like for him in that moment to know that indeed he was not just a crazy dreamer. God had spoken, and in His time he had brought the thing to pass.

I love what he says to his brothers when he finally reveals who he is to them in chapter 45:
 4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.[a]
 8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt

Oh for a Joseph perspective to see that it is not the fault of those who have betrayed or harmed us but it was God who had used those circumstances to prepare Joseph to save many lives. 


Dear Lord, I pray that faith and trust would rise up in those who are carrying dreams, visions or words that seem impossible in light of present circumstances. I pray they would allow those things to drive them into your presence. I pray that like Joseph they would make the best of their difficult situations and allow them to prepare them for your greater plans and purposes in their life. I pray when they find themselves on the other side of a long awaited moment, that like Joseph they would not feel a need to get back at those who betrayed or harmed them but they would be able to have a Joseph perspective and see how through it all you brought your plans and purposes to pass and used it in a willing and faithful heart as a preparation for greater service.

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