Joseph the Dreamer

A fascinating topic to me is dreams.  My dreams are usually vivid and it isn’t unusual for me to remember them the next morning; irregardless of whether I want a rerun of them or not.  If I could get paid for the dreams where I am on the job, my salary would almost double.  When I have those on-the-job dreams, they are usually a nightmare.  I wake up hoping to have a better day on the job than I had when I was sleeping on the job.

Dreams are in many a Bible story.  It is a fascinating topic!  Many a dreamer was given a message from God through a dream. The wise men, for instance, who came to worship Jesus had a dream of being told not to visit King Herod on their way back home.  Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus, was warned in a dream to take the child Jesus to Egypt while King Herod was seeking to kill the child.

One of the most familiar names when it comes to dreaming in the Bible is Abraham’s great grandson, Joseph.  Dreams were so important in Joseph’s life that he is often called Joseph the Dreamer.

He was the firstborn son of Jacob and his beloved wife Rachel.  Theirs was a love story.  Jacob labored for his father-in-law for 14 years to have Rachel’s hand in marriage.  It should have been only 7 but he got duped by his father-in-law.  Rachel died tragically when giving birth to Benjamin.  Perhaps Joseph and Benjamin were extra special to their father because he saw his beloved Rachel in them.

Joseph was different from his brothers.  He stood out like a sore thumb.  He was a dreamer and not only that, he could interpret his dreams and that of others.  It was his own special talent that would eventually help to save his family and many more people throughout the land.

Joseph’s talent reminds me of us who are on the autism spectrum and possess a special talent.  For me, it is writing; others, it may be drawing, painting, dancing, etc.  This is the bright side of autism that I think helps to compensate for the dark side.  Now I’m not saying Joseph was autistic.  That’s impossible to know.  It is just Joseph’s special talent that set him apart from others is something I can relate to from living on the spectrum.

In Genesis 37, we are told of at least two dreams Joseph had.  In both these dreams, his brothers were bowing down to him.  Now maybe he should have kept those dreams to himself, but he told his family all about them.  Of course, his brothers didn’t like his dreams one bit!  I can’t blame them there because I’d be skeptical if someone said to me they had a dream where I was catering to their commands.

I don’t know if Joseph understood that telling them these dreams would only anger them.  Maybe Joseph was passionate about talking about his dreams.  I can relate to Joseph’s need to do that.  Ask me about my writing and I can talk for two hours straight.  (That’s a warning.  HA!)  Did he understand that his dreams weren’t as meaningful or believable to those around him?  Joseph may not have intended to irritate his brothers with his dreams of him above them, but he certainly did to the point that one day they beat him, threw him in the well. and then sold him into slavery.

At 17, Joseph went from being a shepherd to a slave.  He took it in stride though.  He was a “model” slave.  He followed the rules in doing what he was told.  He was such an obedient and trustworthy slave that he earned the trust of his master.  When his master’s wife tried to seduce him, Joseph held firm and wouldn’t commit such an evil act against his master.  However, with his word against hers, his master took his wife’s word for it.

Joseph went from being a model slave to a model prisoner.  He earned the trust of the warden.  When fellow prisoners, the king’s cupbearer and baker, had dreams, Joseph interpreted them.  The dreams both came true with the baker being hung and the cupbearer returning to his job.  When the king had a troubling dream that no one could  interpet, the cupbearer remembered and referred the king to Joseph.  Once again, Joseph’s God-given talent is put into use with Joseph’s correct interpretation of there being seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine.

Joseph went from being a model prisoner to being an Egyptian ruler under the king.  According to Genesis 39:23, the Lord gave Joseph success in whatever he did.  He was 30 years old when he was put in charge of Egypt.  During the famine, he saw his brothers as they came for grain.  He didn’t immediately reveal himself to them.  Joseph did give them some anxious moments, but he could have been a lot harder on his brothers.

I believe Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams was a God-given talent.  He couldn’t have seen the bigger picture of God working in His life in such a way that would eventually put him in a position of saving lives, including that of his own family.  Joseph just did his part on a daily basis when he was tending sheep, serving a master, doing time in prison, or acting in a leadership role under the king.  He was a dreamer who did his part in making his dreams come true.

 

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