The story of Joseph, thanks to Broadway, is one of the best known stories in the Bible! And it certainly is a good one to remind us that even though ‘stuff’ happens in the Lower Story, God is still in charge. But my thoughts are turning in a slightly different direction today.
Joseph is called ‘that dreamer’ by his brothers, and it doesn’t take much imagination to hear their tone of voice when they say it, does it? When they spot Joseph in the distance, the plan to kill him is immediate. Jealousy and hatred for their brother isn’t just beginning. There’s been seventeen years of cultivating it. (Which begs the question for us…are we holding on to jealousy toward anyone?)
I’ve heard some people speculate that Joseph was a brat. He may have been. We don’t know. What we do know is that he was Jacob’s favorite – and had the coat to prove it. We also know he had dreams – God-given prophetic dreams about grain and stars. The kind of dreams you can’t forget. Ever met anyone like that?
The prophet Joel was quoted by the Apostle Peter at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out and people began to speak in tongues. He said, “In the last days…Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” (Joel 2:28) While the idea may seem too fanatical for some of us, I think people like Joseph would be right at home in that environment.
I don’t think that people who dream prophetic dreams necessarily have a choice about it, you know? It just happens (as it does today), because God has a message of importance to share. I wonder if Joseph hung on to those dreams God had given him during all those years he spent in Egypt. Until they came to pass and his brothers finally bowed down to him. I know I would have.