Genesis 37:5,19-20,23 (NIV)
The Bible Says... “Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more...’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’. So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing”.
Just A Dash
Have you ever shared a dream or a vision with someone who immediately told you all the reasons that dream was unattainable or foolish? Have you ever had someone shut down your vision and later found out they were trying to carry it out for themselves or helping someone else fulfill that dream? In Genesis 37, Joseph shares a dream with his brothers, which caused his brothers to hate him even more. They hated him so much, that they plotted to kill him (Genesis 37:18 NIV).
Even before Joseph has a dream, his brothers were jealous that his father demonstrated his love for Joseph by gifting him something (an ornate robe) that he hadn’t gifted his other sons. Joseph’s brothers hated him because of the favor their father had shown him. In fact, The Bible Says... “they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him” (Genesis 37:4b NIV). But isn’t that how it goes: People don’t hate what you are given; they hate that it was given to you. Just as this was the case with Joseph and his brothers, so it is when we receive a vision from God that someone else didn’t want us to have.
Not everyone will understand or be accepting of the dreams God places in you, especially those who hate, or are jealous of, the vision God has your life. Instead of killing Joseph, his brothers stripped him of the robe his father had given him and sold him into slavery. However, this was less an attack on Joseph himself and more of an attack of his actual dream. More than harming Joseph directly, they wanted to inhibit his ability to dream.
A Pinch More
It has taken some time, but I am learning more and more the importance of guarding my dreams. I remember when God started to reveal His vision for my life. I was all at once ecstatic and terrified! My immediate reaction was to share with others exactly what God was sharing with me. There was one problem: I didn’t really understand for myself what God was trying to do in my life, so I knew that trying to explain it to others would be challenging. But rather than immediately going back to God to ask for understanding and direction, I sought the counsel of others. So many times, I’ve told someone about a dream I had, and they immediately began to suck the life out of it. I’ve been told how ideas wouldn’t work because I was ill-equipped, or because I lacked resources, or because it was out of my reach.It’s difficult to explain what you’ve already seen to someone who lacks vision.
I have had my dreams attacked both intentionally and unintentionally, but in either case, the reason was because they didn’t understand God’s vision for me. It is important that we guard our dreams against jealously, malicious intent, and even death. Joseph’s very own brothers hated and planned to kill him because of God’s vision for his life, and how it didn’t look like what they thought Joseph deserved or should be capable of. Someone else’s vision will always lack your sight. God gives His vision to those who have the capability to see and believe in the fullness of it.
Joseph’s brothers stripped him of his robe, but not of his dream. I encourage you to continue reading through Genesis to find out what becomes of Joseph and his dream.
Q: What was the last dream you shared with someone that was attacked in its infancy?
Q: What are some reasons people may attack your dreams?
Q: Why is it that when God gives us a dream or a vision, we seek to share with and consult others before we discuss it with God?
Continue Reading Joseph’s Story
Genesis Chapters 37-50 (It’s a lot, but it’s definitely worth the read).
Highlights: Genesis chapters 37, 41-42 and 45