His name was Joseph. He was the son of Jacob. You may know him as the favorite son who wore the coat of many colors. You may know him as the guy his brothers hated and sold into slavery. You may know him as the “king of dreams”. I’ve often heard that he was the guy that made it from the pit to the palace.
It’s recorded that Joseph’s brothers were so resentful of him that they could “not speak peaceably to him” (Gen 37:4). Jealousy is a dangerous feeling to entertain. As if things could not get any worse among the brothers, Joseph had a dream and excitedly shared it with them all...and they hated him even more. To paraphrase the story out of Genesis, he told his brothers “You bowed down before me”. They looked at him like he had lost his mind and asked Joseph if he really thought that he would have dominion over them. The brothers shook their heads at Joseph and continued on with their lives with breeding resentment.
Joseph returns later to share yet ANOTHER dream with them that involved the brothers AND their father bowing down before him. This time he shared it with the whole family including their father Jacob "who loved him more than all the rest". Joseph rebuked Joseph for what he shared, however, “he kept the matter in mind”. (Gen 37:11)
The brothers were angry. Can you imagine your youngest sibling informing you that they had a dream that you and your entire family would be bowing down before them?
Their jealousy and insecurities led to anger and the need to take action. They sold him into slavery and explained his absence to their father with a lie that an animal had devoured him (Gen 37:20).
BUT...“the Lord was with Joseph”
Joseph ended up in Egypt under the authority of Potiphar. He was given reputable responsibilities. Scripture says that God made all that he did to prosper! Then came Potiphar’s wife and her inappropriate intentions. She wanted him. Joseph rightfully refused and RAN away. She was mad. You would think she would be embarrassed once he refused, yet she drew attention to the situation by falsely accusing him of being improper. Once again Joseph was thrown into jail due to a lie born out of resentment.
I could rabbit trail on the wife and how her lies COULD have ruined Joseph, but what Satan intends for evil, God works out for good, amen?! It turned out Joseph found favor in the sight of the prison guard…Woah! This guy is a roller coaster of being favored and resented!
While in prison, Joseph met two men. Joseph interpreted the dreams of both of them. This led him to the throne to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh himself…Understand that POTIPHAR worked for Pharaoh… God elevated Joseph over Potiphar’s head. As a result of Joseph interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams, Joseph became second in command. Can you imagine how Potiphar must have felt when he heard the news? Pharaoh changed Joseph’s name, gave him a wife, and put him over all of Egypt!
Joseph walked in wisdom gathering and storing food for seven years so that when famine came, he would be better prepared to help his people survive. His wisdom impacted more than just his own people. Other countries came into Egypt to Joseph for food!
Joseph’s brothers were among the groups of people who came to Joseph for food in a time of famine. They did not recognize Joseph when they walked in to the chambers. Why would they? They didn’t know where he was! And the last time they saw him he was a teenage shepherd boy. But what did they do when they walked in before Joseph? They bowed before him in reverence. The dreams became a reality.
I’ve shared a summarized version of Joseph’s story to get to two specific lessons I’ve learned…
1) Joseph had dreams as a teenager, however his dreams did not become a reality until years later after he was put in positions to invest into the dreams of others. MIND BLOWN!
I love dreamers! I love investing into the dreams of others! I want to see people succeed and be edified world changers!
I have a transparent confession. I'm stepping out of my comfort zone to share this one...
I married a dreamer! Nathan dreams BIG! He is prayerful about his visions and dreams and when He feels God place something on his heart, he holds on to that. He refuses to have regrets before the throne of God. He figures out how to make God-given dreams happen and he always appears FEARLESS.
I, however, feel extremely inadequate when it comes to any “big” thing. I have a leadership personality, but I do not actually like confrontation, competition, or jealousy and those things seem to come along in the leadership world. I want to be liked. I especially never want anyone to envy me simply because they think I live in a “perfect” world with big blessings.
A few months ago, Nathan kindly and respectfully asked me a hard question.
“Rachel” he said…”Why do you not want the people closest to you to rejoice with you?”
*insert all the cricket noises!*
What did he mean? I did not understand!
“Sometimes it’s like you are so worried people are going to think you have a good life that you have to downplay anything good that happens to you…there's nothing wrong with having amazing opportunities in your life!”
I was guilty. I was instantly convicted. It’s a habit I had created in myself without meaning to and without realizing it. My weakness has not been rejoicing with others. My weakness has been allowing people to rejoice with MYSELF. If anyone brought up something exciting that was going on in my life, I would make it seem like it wasn’t “all that” in an honest attempt to be humble.
By downplaying big GOD MOMENTS I was taking the glory away from God Himself.
The truth is some people are not going to rejoice with you. Joseph’s brothers had an unhealthy jealousy that came as a result of the visions and dreams he shared. His dad showed skepticism by not understanding why he would share such extravagant dreams, but he “took note” because he believed Joseph was capable of mighty things. Jacob may not have jumped in and said, “I BELIEVE YOU, JOSEPH!”, but I like to think Jacob believed in Joseph's capability because he saw his willingness to serve.
I believe you and I are capable of great things when we have a servant’s heart. I’m not going to accidentally make incredible God moments seem trivial anymore.
With that commitment comes haters…but check this out…
2) If Joseph’s brothers had not hated him, sold him, and lied about him, Joseph might not have made it to Egypt.
If he had not made it to Egypt, He would not have been put into prison.
If he had not been imprisoned, he would not have had the opportunity to invest into the dreams of the two servants.
If he had not invested into their dreams (out of fear…because of what his brothers had done the last time he did that…) word would not have gotten back to Pharaoh that Joseph could interpret dreams.
If Joseph would not have interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams (out of fear…because of his previous haters…), then he wouldn’t have been placed in charge and couldn’t have stored food for seven years in preparation for a famine.
If Joseph had not stored food for seven years, people would have died…and by people I mean himself…and his haters.
If it wasn’t for the haters.
If God has given you a dream…Don’t diminish it.
If He is giving you opportunities, rejoice!
I have been honored to be take part in big God moments. I don’t take it lightly. I want to be a great example to the people watching me! I want to serve the kingdom with wisdom.
I hope you take this from my heart the way I mean it.
Haters are going to hate. People are going to make unjust assumptions and falsely accuse. They are not always going to understand why you set strong boundaries. One day it will be more than a foundation. They’ll see the house you’ve built on a rock.
Also, remember…Don’t mistaken people’s actions for criticism. Sometimes it truly is just misunderstanding. Everyone is in a different season in their life. YOU be sure to shine in your season and encourage others to shine in theirs.