Scripture Reading: Genesis 37:2-11:
This is the account of Jacob’s family line.
Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.
Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”
His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
In my Sunday school class that I teach, we are studying dreams from different stories in the Bible. This week we looked at the early dreams of Joseph who was not very well liked by his brothers. Joseph was a tattletale, as he brought to his father a bad report about his brothers. It probably didn’t help that when Jacob, the father, sent Joseph to check on his brothers that were tending to the flocks, that Joseph showed up in his long-sleeved robe of many colors. It was apparent that Joseph didn’t intend to do any work. And his brothers so despised him that they could not speak a kind word to him.
We know from the story of Joseph that God was preparing him to carry out God’s will and to save many people from starvation, including his father, brothers, and their households. Joseph’s dreams served to foreshadow events that were going to happen. It’s interesting that in Genesis 40:8 that Joseph gives the credit to God for his ability to interpret the dreams of others.
In our class today, we shared some stories about our own dreams, those that we have while we are asleep. I asked my class if they believed that God still speaks to us through dreams or did this just happen during Biblical times. Everyone in the class agreed that God can and does speak to us through dreams, although for most of us, it is very rare.
I was not planning on telling our class about a dream that I had seven years ago, but I felt led by God to relate my dream as we ended our class. I told them that I had not shared this dream with many people because it was a deeply personal dream about my calling into ministry. I also told them that after telling this dream to a few people, I could tell that they held some degree of disbelief that God had really spoken to me in a dream.
I had been struggling with a call into ministry for about eight months, so you could say that this was a matter that was on my mind. Many people might say that this was what caused my dream – that I was thinking so intently about my calling that I had a dream about it. I know, without a doubt, that this was a message from God.
This was my dream: I remember floating through the air for some period of time. Below me I could tell that I was approaching some kind of village or town , but it seemed far away. As I slowly began to get closer, I could see many people on the ground and they were all dressed in dark clothing. I saw a group of men and they all had on dark suits and white shirts but they were not wearing ties. I began to sense something familiar about this place or these people, but I was not sure what that feeling of familiarity was.
Continuing to “float” through the air, it seemed that I was finally getting closer to this group of men. In the distance I could make out a few buildings and I realized that one of them was an old country church. There seemed to be a lot of activity around that church.
All of a sudden, I was there, with that group of men. It seemed that I had traveled several miles in a matter of seconds and I came up behind this one man. Suddenly I was face to face with this man and he turned to me and said, “you will be a pastor.” The man that spoke to me was my grandfather, who had died while I was a high school senior in 1981. I woke up immediately and was both terrified and comforted.
I got up out of bed and I was very shaken at the sudden and abrupt ending to my dream. I knew at that moment that God had spoken to me through a dream and I believed that my personal struggle with my calling was over. I told God that I would accept this calling and would dedicate my life to following His will for my life.
Like Joseph, my calling has not been easy, there has been many ups and downs. Following God is like that though. As believers, we are not promised that everything will be easy and that our paths will always be clearly marked. Many times we must go through difficult times and trials in order to make us stronger in our walk of faith with God.
There are those that will tell you that God cannot and does not speak to us through our dreams. I am not one of those people. God can communicate to us in many ways, including our dreams. God is all-powerful, all-present, and all-knowing. God can and does communicate to us in any number of ways. The question is not, “can God still communicate with us today?” The question you should be asking is, “Are you open to God and are you allowing God to communicate with you?”