Dreams, A Hebrew Slave & God’s Sovereignty

I’ve been reading through Genesis lately.

A story I’ve been familiar with all of my life has stuck with me as I’ve been walking through these uncertain days. Of all this waiting. Wading in the uncertainty. Grappling with the questions. And struggling with what to do with the dreams that feel like they’ve been put on hold.

Joseph grew up with twelve older brothers. Being the youngest, Joseph struggled with his identity. His parents favored him, which of course strained his relationship with his brothers. As it would in any other family.

What really gets me about Joseph’s story is the dreams. And his unique ability to interpret them. I find it astonishing initially to read about how he interprets these obscure scenarios into specific future events. He was basically given a God-given talent, but flaunted it in front of his family to hopefully gain some sense of security.

He was Joseph the dream-interpreter, after all.

We know the story. What he got in return was a torn coat, a complete loss of freedom, and eventually two years in prison.

The whole time, the Lord worked in and through Joseph’s life in ways unimaginable to him surely before he was forced into a foreign land, living among a pagan people in a culture so different from his own.

Could this even be a place Joseph could use his talent? Had the Lord forgotten him completely? How could being a slave be a part of God’s plan for his life? Especially after all he thought God had been trying to tell him through his dreams?

I wonder if Joseph wrestled with doubt each night. If he cried himself to sleep over the loneliness and abandonment that he felt. I wonder if the hatred ate at him, if the bitterness was too much to bear if he felt like he couldn’t sink lower than that pit his brothers had thrown him into. And yet after Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him of sleeping with her, he faces another two years of a prison sentence wondering if God had forgotten him completely. If he would waste away and die there.

And then God provided him another opportunity. He led a few men to ask him to interpret their dreams. He eventually paved the way for Joseph to interpret Pharoah’s dream. And of course Joseph becomes his right hand man.

Joseph suffered in Egypt. He waited for years without answers. And the opportunities opened when God wanted them to open and when they happened Joseph gave all the glory to God.

I want to be faithful like Joseph. Through false accusations and jail sentences and seasons that just feel so dry and empty and lonely. I want to be a reflection of God to those around me. That not even a pagan culture could deny. I love that the Bible specifically states that people could tell that the Lord was with Joseph.

That is the most beautiful part of Joseph’s story. How God changed Joseph from a haughty, insecure young man to a humble, secure man confident in the Lord’s interpretation and the Lord’s Sovereignty. His refusal to cultivate doubt in his pain is something so beautiful. Even before we get to the part where he is faced with his brothers. Even before he ever sees his loved ones again, Joseph is changed completely by God, and his wrongs weren’t made right and the pain surely didn’t go away and the loneliness persisted, but God was so faithful in providing for Joseph and changing Joseph into the man and the vessel that he wanted him to become.

 

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