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“Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” (37:19-20)
Joseph received dreams from God and was despised for it. The brothers and Jacob reacted badly. It’s surprising that Jacob rebukes Joseph. None of this family, who have a rich heritage of meeting with God, has the humility to ask if God may be speaking and to pray with Joseph about it.
We can despise people with dreams because:
i) We feel diminished by their faith
Like Joseph’s family, we can all despise people who have a sense of call from God because it threatens our identity. They make us feel threatened. Too often our identity is wrapped up in our being esteemed by others, and this, we feel, is under threat if someone else is given more attention.
We can also feel threatened by another's dreams because it challenges our own compromise or cowardice. When a David is prepared to take down a Goliath, like Saul, we can feel that this spotlights our own weaknesses. Rather than allowing another's example to inspire, we become defensive and can attack them.
ii) We forget our own history
Jacob had a less than promising start. His character was far from perfect. However, God chose him and gave him dreams,
‘He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.’ (Genesis 28:12-14)
As we get older, we can forget how immature and foolish we have been in the past. We can diminish another’s dreams because we judge them unfavourably; we forget the way that God has developed us and can use anyone He chooses; rather than looking through the lens of God’s grace and power, we can dismiss people.
Joseph could have been crushed by his family’s response to the dreams that God had given to him. However, later in the story, he continues to interpret other’s dreams, showing that he still believed that God was speaking.
Of course, there is a time to let go of things that we conclude were not actually God speaking. However, until faith to let go arises, continue in your faith to hold on to what God has said to you.
God’s purposes usually are on the other side of suffering; difficulty and rejection doesn’t mean that God has not given you that dream! God spoke to Moses about bringing His people out of Egypt, but this is, initially, met with having to make bricks without straw! As result,
“Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labour.” (Exodus 6:9).
Have you become discouraged and stopped dreaming? Have people despised you for your faith? How do you need to respond today?
Key skill to receiving ‘dreams’ from God #3 – Share ‘dreams’ with others
Joseph shared his dreams. This was not received well, however, it was sharing the dream that led to its fulfilment! Sharing what we believe that God is saying provides wisdom and accountability. Negative responses are also helpful! a negative response can be taken in two ways:
Firstly, after prayer, you may conclude that this response is God telling you that your ‘dream’ is not from Him.
Secondly, the negative ‘testing’ response can make you realise that you are prepared to ‘fight’ for the dream - the ‘fire’ makes you realise that this dream is ‘gold’ from God!
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - DESPISED BUT NOT REJECTED (JOSEPH PART 1)
What has been the clearest moment of God speaking to you?
Introduction - please read in your group
Please read Read Genesis 37:1-11.
This week we begin a series in the life of Joseph. He receives dreams from God that, after a long and winding road, will lead to the salvation of many from from famine.
This week’s message was entitled, ‘Despised but not rejected’. Joseph became hated by his brothers, but he remained loved and favoured by God.
If we are going to expect to receive dreams from God, and persevere in obedience, we must know that we are unconditionally loved, no matter how despised we may be.
This week, in the daily devotionals, we are covering how to receive dreams from God, please be going through these this week.
If you or someone you know was feeling rejected by God, what texts of scripture would you use to encourage them?
Discuss/share together in small groups from Sunday’s message:
What did you hear from the Holy Spirit?
What will you do because of it?
How can we pray for you?
Please share from this week’s Church News