A Dream Is Revived

Selected highlights from this sermon.

After going through so many trials and hardships, Joseph is about to see his brothers for the first time in years—for the first time since they sold him into slavery.

In this message we’ll see how a divinely directed famine brought Joseph and his brothers together in a physical sense, and how emotional reconciliation was reached.

Those of us who have had our dreams shattered can look to Joseph’s story for encouragement and hope. God is still with us, and He has bigger dreams for us than we could ever imagine.

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We’ve been talking about dreams. Some of our dreams are fulfilled. Some of them are unfulfilled. Some will never be fulfilled. Others are in the process. Some are shattered. We all have them. We all need them. And the question is “Where does God fit into all of them?”

Remember that God gave Joseph a dream. At 17 years old he dreams that his eleven brothers are going to bow down before him. It’s kind of a prideful dream actually, but as it turns out it was a dream given to him by God.

And then God did what He frequently does when He gives us a dream. He causes that dream to die. It dies a very deep and lasting death. First of all, his dream died because his family tried to sabotage it. His brothers sold him into prison in Egypt, and that was the end of his dream. They said, “We will kill him and that will end his dream.” And some of you have families that wanted to do that, don’t you? And then once he’s in Egypt he is exalted. And then he is falsely accused of rape as we noticed, and as a result of that he gets thrown into the dungeon, and that is the end of the dream for sure. Two full years in prison for doing something that is right and good and pure and holy! And God says, “I want you to die to your reputation and die to your dream in jail.” But there the Word of God tested him.

And then he had to die to his friends. He helped the cupbearer and he said, “Remember me now when you get out of prison.” Well, we read that the cupbearer did not remember Joseph. He died to his friends. If the dream was ever going to be fulfilled, if it was ever going to happen, it would be because God would have to do it. God would have to do it, and today we learn that God did it. God did it!

What we’d like to do in the time before us is to sketch three portraits. It would have been nice to have a video camera so that we could have actually seen this happen. But all that we can do today is to describe it. And because we’re going to be covering three chapters of the Bible, I’m actually going to be going through those chapters and telling you the story, and making some comments before we wrap it up and develop and continue to develop our theology of dreams.

So I want you to take your Bibles and let’s look at the first portrait in Genesis, chapter 42. In chapter 42 the portrait is the first visit of the brothers to Joseph who was in Egypt. Well, chapter 42 opens with the famine in the land, and Jacob says to his sons, “Why are you staring at one another. I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us from that place so that we might live and not die.” So because Egypt has grain, you remember, because of Pharaoh’s dream, and Joseph was helping Pharaoh fulfill his dream, and Joseph became the leader, the secretary of agriculture… And by the way, he had a lot of wisdom in how was able to organize this massive, massive attempt to save grain for seven years so that there would be something to eat during the seven years of famine.

And so what happens is the brothers go down to Egypt. Now you must remember that at this point Jacob is still playing favorites. If you remember several weeks ago we talked about that. He had Joseph who was his favorite, and Benjamin, who was his favorite. Benjamin would have been in his early thirties by now, but Jacob keeps him at home. He can’t go with the brothers. And ten brothers make the trip.

What happens is this. Joseph decides when he sees them come and bow before him that he’s going to recreate as far as possible the conditions that he faced when he was in that pit. And he’s going to do that for them so that they see a mirror put up to their faces and they see themselves.

So he does three things. First of all, he accuses them of being spies. It says in verse 9: “Joseph remembered the dreams which he had about them and he said to them, ‘You are spies. You have come to look at the undefended parts of our land.’” They, of course, protested, saying, “No, we’re not.” And he repeats it in verse 14. Joseph said to them, “It is as I said to you. You are spies.” That’s what they said he was. “He’s coming to spy on us,” they said, as he was walking along with his multi-colored coat. So he accuses them of being spies.

Then he throws them in jail for three days to soften them up and to give them a taste of what it’s like to be under authority. And then he does a third thing. He binds Simeon before their eyes. Notice he says, “If you want to see my face again it must be with your younger brother,” who was left at home.

But notice in verse 21 it says, “They said one to another, ‘Truly we are guilty concerning our brother because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us. Yet we would not listen. Therefore, this distress has come upon us. We are getting a taste of our own medicine.’”

Now, what you need to realize is that they did not know that Joseph was overhearing their conversation because there was an interpreter present. They thought that he spoke only Egyptian and he did not know Hebrew. That’s what the interpreter was there for supposedly, but Joseph, of course, having grown up with them, understood full well what was happening.

It says in verse 23: “They did not know however that Joseph understood, for there was an interpreter between them.” Did you notice that Joseph as a boy did not endure his time in the pit with tranquility as if to say, “Well, sure, go ahead and sell me?” He was just like any 17-year old. He pled with his brothers, “Don’t do it.” But they were so cruel that they sold him anyway. And now their memories, 20 years later, are beginning to reconstruct what happened. And they are saying, “This is the distress that we put upon Joseph, and it is now upon us.” Notice it says in verse 24, “And Joseph turned away from them and wept, but when he returned to them and spoke to them, he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes.”

Could I say in passing that you get two different glimpses of Joseph here? You see the strong Joseph who binds Simeon. But you also see the Joseph who is so tender, who is so overcome by the emotion of the moment, he has to leave the room to weep. And the brothers saw only the very strong arms, the rough hands. They did not see the hot tears. And may I say that that’s the way God’s dealings are often with us? Some of you know what it is like to have God deal with you harshly. You may feel like Naomi who said in the book of Ruth, “No longer call me Naomi. Call me Mara, for God has dealt bitterly with me.” And that’s the side of God we sometimes see, the side where people are taken away in death, the side where there is sorrow and suffering, and where there does not seem to be any resolution of the pain. That’s the side we begin to see and we begin to doubt God.

Well, I want you to know that there is another side, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ who is deeply touched with the feelings of our infirmities. If only we could see the compassion of God. If only we could see the lovingkindness of God. If only we could see that though we sometimes cannot trust His hand, for it is severe, if only we could see His heart, we would know then that all of God’s thoughts towards us and His dealings with His children are always benevolent. They are always benevolent. He has a hidden purpose, but His love toward us is tender, compassionate and kind.

Well, what was Joseph doing here? He, of course, put money into their sacks then. The money that they had brought with them was returned to them. And instead of rejoicing they say in the last part of verse 28, “What is this that God has done to us?” Conscience is beginning to be activated. Like a dying battery it is now being recharged, and they see in this something not to rejoice in, but it is the strange inexplicable hand of God.

They go back to Jacob and they tell him what happened, and they tell him about Simeon, and they continue to maintain the lie. They say, “We are honest men and we told him that one of the sons is gone. He’s dead.” They never did reveal to Jacob the truth. And what does Jacob say in the last part of verse 36? He says, “All these things are against me.” Jacob, if you have ever looked at his personality type, was not an optimist. He was not the type of person who ever saw the good side. All that he could think was, “All this is against me.” What he didn’t know is that actually all these things were for him, but he didn’t see it at that point.

What’s going on in the text? Joseph, you see, knew first of all that friendship and reconciliation have to be based on trust. What he needed to do is to test these brothers to see whether or not they had changed throughout the years, whether or not they had become trustworthy, or whether they were the same guys that he had grown up with, and he needed to test them. The reason that he could send them back, and knew that they would come back (By now, I’m sure, the dream was being revived and he thought of the dream, as the ten bowed down before him. He knew that Benjamin eventually would have to come.) is because when he had his dream there were eleven brothers that bowed down before him, eleven sheaves and eleven stars, so he knew that in the end the dream would still come to pass.

Well, that’s really the first snapshot. The first snapshot is of the dream partially fulfilled as the brothers bow down before Joseph and as they now recognize what it is to get a taste of their own medicine. I don’t think that Joseph had a malicious bone in his body. He did not want to even the score. In fact, later on he explicitly says (as we will see next time), “You know, God meant this for good. You meant it for evil, but do not fear. I am not going to take out vengeance on you.” Joseph was just testing them to see whether they had changed. That’s the first snapshot.

Well, let’s go to the second, and that is the second visit that the brothers have in chapter 43. Now, you have to understand that in the text there is this long argument that is going on between the brothers and Jacob because Jacob says, “The famine is severe in the land. You have to go and you have to get more grain.” And the brothers are saying, “We have to take Benjamin,” but he is saying, “No, you can’t take him because Joseph is gone, Simeon is gone, and now something will happen to Benjamin, my favorite son, and I will not let you do it.” But God used famine to stir up their nest.

When people are hungry they have to trust God in ways that they never had to trust Him as long as they are full and when there is bread to spare. And so God just allows this famine to grind on, and soon the men, the family, become very hungry, and they say, “We have to go.”

What happens now is something very special. Judah begins to talk, and he takes the lead. Ruben, I believe, was the oldest, but Judah was an immoral man. He had been immoral and viciously cruel. Remember when Joseph was thrown into the pit, it was Judah who said, “Let’s sell him to the Egyptians.” That was Judah’s idea. Now Judah begins to talk and he says to his father, “Look, I will become a surety for him (verse 9 of chapter 43). You may hold me responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame before you forever.” He says, “I will stand in the stead of Benjamin if something goes wrong.”

Well, they were hungry and the boys were insistent, and so they decided to go, and Benjamin went with them. Well, you know, of course, that when Joseph saw Benjamin (verse 16) he said to the steward of his house, “Bring the men into the house. Slay an animal. The men are going to eat with me.”

Now, can you imagine? Here they are and they are the ones who don’t know what’s going on. They found money in their sacks. Simeon was still there somewhere on the premises in prison. Benjamin was with them, and suddenly they are invited to dine with Joseph. They are asked to come into the inner sanctum, into the palace, if you please, and eat with the man. And they were terrified.

Verse 26: “When Joseph came home they brought into the house to him the present which was in their hand (You see, Jacob had said, “Take him presents.”) and they bowed to the ground before him.” Well, there they are bowing and this time Benjamin is with them. Verse 28: “And they said, ‘Your servant, our father, is well. He is still alive.’ And they bowed down in homage. And as he lifted up his eyes and saw Benjamin, his mother’s son, he said, ‘Is this your youngest brother of whom you spoke to me?’ and he said, ‘May God be gracious to you, my son,’ and he hurried out, for he was deeply stirred over his brother, and he sought a place to weep. And he found a chamber and wept there.”

Then he comes back and he asks his brothers to sit down and he aligns them up according to their birth order beginning with the oldest, all the way to the youngest. And they are astounded as to how he might know that. And then he puts five times more food on Benjamin’s plate than the others. What Joseph was saying is he wants to discover if they are still jealous. Can they handle the jealousy of Jacob’s favorite son? That was the thing that started this whole terrible train of events. And so what he does is he does it to see the reaction of all the other brothers.

Well, I think you know the rest of the story, don’t you? They fill their sacks with grain, and Joseph said to his head steward, “Look, I want you to take my special cup from my table and I want you to put it in the sack of the youngest.” And so they do that, and early in the morning the men get up and they go, and the money was in the sack, too. And then Joseph asks his men to overtake them, and to begin to accuse them and say, “I was so kind to you. Why did you do that to me? How could you steal my cup which I use for divination?” I don’t think we should interpret that to determine that Joseph was in the occult. It was just the kind of cup that people had in those days that was special to the Pharaoh and to his assistant who was as high as he was in the land.

Well, they overtake them. And with one voice the brothers say, “We didn’t do it,” and they say “Whoever has the cup in his sack, let him die.” Well, you can imagine. They begin looking through the sacks, and there is the cup in Benjamin’s sack.

Verse 9 says: “With whomever of your servants it is found let him die, and we will be our Lord’s slaves.” So Joseph said, “Now let it be according to your words. He with whom it is found shall be my slave, and the rest of you shall be innocent.” And now it is crunch time. The question is will Benjamin die or will he not?

Well, wouldn’t you know it? Judah came through. If you notice beginning in verse 14 all the way to the end of the chapter, Judah stands before Joseph and makes a speech. This was Judah’s finest hour. Martin Luther once said that he wished he could pray to God as well as Judah interceded on behalf of Benjamin. He rehearses what happened. He talks about their father back in the land, and so forth, and he ends in verse 42 saying, “For your servant became a surety for the lad to my father saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you then let me bear the blame before my father forever.’ Now, therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad, a slave to my Lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers, for how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me, lest I see the evil that would overtake my father?” Judah is saying, “I’m willing to become the slave in Benjamin’s place.”

You know it takes time sometimes for God to work, doesn’t it? Twenty years in the case of Judah, but here’s a man, cruel, who finally ends up having his character transformed in such a way that he is now willing to die for his brother, to take his place, to be the slave in the place of his brother. And when that happened Joseph finally knew that his brothers could be trusted.

We’ve talked about the first visit. We’ve spoken about the second visit, and now the third part in our video series is the reconciliation. And this is the part that always brings tears to our eyes. It’s a difficult passage, I think, for us to read because of that. This is the place where the story suddenly breaks open with emotion as Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. We’ve all read the story, and I think we’ve all cried at this part.

Chapter 45: “Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, ‘Make everyone go out from me.’ So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. And Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?’ But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. So Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come near to me, please.’ And they came near. And he said, ‘I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.’”

Can you imagine it? Maybe someday we’ll see this in heaven if it was videotaped by God. Here’s Joseph who is suddenly in the arms of Benjamin, and then in the arms of Reuben, and yes, also in the arms of Judah. The scene is really too sensitive for us to try to reconstruct as Joseph and his brothers are finally united, and finally brought together.

Many Bible commentators have seen in this a little picture of how it is going to be when the nation Israel finally recognizes Christ to be the Messiah, to be their brothers. It says in Zechariah 12:10: “They shall look on him who they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child.”

They shall recognize Jesus Christ to be their brother, and Jesus will reveal Himself to the Jewish nation, and say, “I am your Messiah for whom you have been looking all these many, many years. And they’ll scarcely know how to answer, but Jesus will, in effect, take them in His arms, and they will be reconciled. And Paul says that there will be a generation of Israelites living, all of whom… It doesn’t mean every single one, but as a nation they shall accept Christ. That’s what Paul says. “All Israel shall be saved as it is written, ‘I shall bring from Zion a deliverer.’”
And so Joseph is reconciled to his brothers.

What does this teach us about dreams? If you’ve been here, you know that each time we analyze the whole business of dreams. I’m not speaking of those kinds of experiences that we have at night when we have those crazy, crazy dreams like I do that make no sense whatever, that are just jumbled together in absurd ways, but rather the aspirations that we have, the dreams that we dream, the desires that we have. What does this passage of Scripture teach us about dreams?

First, dreams are sometimes fulfilled in stages. Or we could say, “Sometimes dreams take a long time to be fulfilled.” When Joseph was there in prison he never saw the fulfillment of his dream. I believe that there the dream really died. And then the ten brothers come and they bow, and that’s not quite the dream. It’s just about the dream, but not quite because Benjamin has to bow before him too. And so, dreams are sometimes fulfilled in stages.

If you’ve got a dream, if it’s a reasonable dream and if you have prayed about it and you believe it to be God’s dream, hang onto it as long as you can because you don’t know but that God might yet fulfill it. There is that possibility.

Twenty years elapse from the 17-year old boy’s dream until the brothers bow down, and God has plenty of time on His hands. We are very busy. We’re the ones who somehow think that it has to happen today, but just let God lead you, and you never know, you never know but that that dream might still be fulfilled. Dreams are sometimes fulfilled in stages.

Secondly, a small dream can result in great blessing. Now, isn’t it interesting that the dream that God gave a teenager ended up being the means by which God was going to bring blessing really to the then known world, because when you think of it, there was a family that was blessed, the sons of Jacob. They had to get into Egypt in accordance with God’s promises. And so you have a family that is blessed. You have the Egyptians that are going to be blessed because the Israelites are going to be there. You have we who are blessed. We are encouraged to read this story. We say to ourselves, “Here’s a young man whose example has been an inspiration to millions upon millions of people through century upon century. Joseph didn’t know that when he was going through all that hurt. He didn’t know that someday there would be great blessings that would come as a result of a little puny dream really. A little dream in a little country by a man who was just scarcely more than a boy! And look at what God did.

Most of us know the name of D. L. Moody. We sure ought to, but not too many people know Edward Kimball (I think Edward was his first name.) who led D. L. Moody to Christ. And you remember he led that shoe salesman to Christ. And when D. L. Moody was being inducted into the church there out in Massachusetts, when he was asked about his testimony, he was rejected for membership, which should be an encouragement to those of you who, perhaps for one reason or another, have ever been rejected for membership. And the reason is because they asked him, “What did Jesus Christ do for you?” and can you believe his answer was, “I cannot think of anything particularly that Jesus did for me.” (chuckles)

Now, we tell those who interview perspective members that if somebody gives an answer like that, the answer is no, you are not fit for membership. You can’t think of anything in particular that Jesus did for you? We’d say, “Get saved.” well, that was D. L. Moody’s answer, and the next year he knew enough to say the right things, and was admitted into membership.

Kimball had no idea that this scrawny kid was someday going to be a great evangelist who would begin a school and a church, and his ministry and blessing would touch millions of people as an evangelist. He had no idea like that, but you know sometimes very small dreams, because God sets up the dominoes in such a way, result in great blessing.

Do you know that you may want to be a missionary, maybe you want to be a pastor, maybe you want to do something great for God, and what you don’t know, and what I don’t know is that the greatest thing we do for God is possibly something that we do some Thursday afternoon when we minister to a single mother, and we show her the compassion and the love of Jesus? And she comes to saving faith in Christ, and she rears her two children to love Jesus Christ. And from that a series of events takes place that just causes us to be astounded at the mercy of God. And we even were not aware of what was happening, because sometimes just a small act of kindness, a small dream in the hands of God, can become a means of great blessing.

The little lunch that the boy gave to Jesus would eventually feed five thousand people, and he had no idea when he left that morning with his lunch that God would do something so wonderful.

You know, there are things that God may still do in your life, and through your life for His glory, things that will astound you, many of which you will not know about before you die. You’ll have to wait until you get to heaven to see all the good things that God did just because you lived for Him, because small dreams sometimes can end up with great, great blessings.

Number three, God is powerful enough to fulfill our dreams. I mean, if He really wants to, and I’m not saying that He wants to fulfill all of our dreams, but I mean if He really wants to He is powerful enough. Have you ever thought of the fact that God took the weather patterns of the Middle East and He controlled those weather patterns? Seven years of plenty, seven years of rain, seven years of a great harvest! And then the next year famine, and the famine lasted seven years.

I can just imagine that the people hurt during the famine, not only in Egypt but in other countries. They are saying to themselves, “You know, our children are starving. We don’t know where there is food, and we don’t know what to do. We don’t know where the next loaf of bread is coming from.” And people would complain about hard times, and they would have discussions about how awful things had become in the economy of their countries. They had no idea that the reason that the heavens were shut up for seven years and there was no rain was because God said, “Look, there is a family in Canaan that has to get to Egypt, and this is the way I have decreed that they are going to end up there. It’s going to need a world-wide famine to pull it off to see that Joseph has his dream fulfilled, and to see the promise that God made to Abraham. In the fifteenth chapter of Genesis God says, “Abraham, your descendants are going to be taken from Canaan and they are going to be put into another country in Egypt, and they are going to be there 400 years, and then they are going to come out.” That’s what God predicted, and He had to get the family of Jacob into Egypt. And that’s the way He chose to do it.

Now, of course, there were other options that God had. God has all kinds of ways to move one family—to move a family from one country to another. It’s just that this was God’s sovereign choice. And you and I know that God sometimes chooses things that we do not understand. They are mysterious to us. He does it all the time. And we don’t understand exactly what He has in mind when He does what He does. But of this we can be absolutely sure, that if God gives you a dream, He has enough power if He wills to pull it off. If He can shut up the heavens, if He can open the heavens, if He can create all of the circumstances by which Joseph came into Egypt, and to have all of this fit together, God is mighty and great. That’s why it’s okay, if we are Christians, to dream some big dreams once in a while. That’s why we can do that, because God is strong.

You know what we’re going to do next week. My text is going to be taken from chapter 45, verse 5: “Do not be grieved or angry with yourselves for God sent me. You sold me, but God sent me.” We’re going to talk about the providence of God that is just absolutely astounding. They sold him in anger and God used this for good to preserve people. How do we understand the providence of God? That’s next week as we talk about the powerful resources that God has in mind to fulfill our dreams.

There’s another lesson, and that is, of course, that God is bigger than our failed dreams. He’s bigger than our failed dreams. We’ve already learned that He gives us dreams that we would never choose for ourselves, never in a hundred years. Joseph’s dream was to sit down in the land of Canaan next to his father, I’m sure, and as I mentioned marry a lovely Jewish woman and have some kids and enjoy life. That would have been his dream. He had no idea that God had a different dream for him, and that meant to be sold cruelly by his brothers to be in Egypt. But there, of course, we learned that God had all kinds of other dreams prepared, even a dream for him in prison, because God is bigger than our failed dreams. And He recreates new ones in accordance with the circumstances in which we find ourselves. He’s always got something new for us.

Did God have any dreams for these brothers? Yes, he sure did. I mentioned it before. In the fifteenth chapter of Genesis God says, “Abraham, your children, your descendants are going to be in the land and then they are going to be taken into Egypt.” The brothers blew it. They were cruel, and God does not in any way get them off the hook because of that cruelty. They were a group of half-brothers, as we learned, from four different mothers, a motley crowd of guys. It’s no wonder they didn’t get along. And yet they are going to be the ones who will be the beginners of what we call the twelve tribes of Israel. God had a dream for them. And you know, even despite their failure, somehow it came about. It doesn’t mean we excuse their failure. It simply means that in the midst of human failure and disappointment and crushed hopes and expectations that we hope would come to pass but don’t, in the middle of all that there still is God. And I say to those of you today who have brought your shattered dreams to this auditorium, to this sanctuary, I want you to know that at the end of your shattered dreams there is still God. Still God!

You know the Puritans used to say, and this is a difficult quote because we may wonder whether it is really fair… But one of the things the Puritans used to say was, “He who has God and many other things does not have more than he who has God only.” (chuckles) Wow! What they were really saying was that they believed so passionately that if you had God you could accept failed dreams, and you didn’t need many dreams if God was the center of your life, because He would become your dream. That’s what the Puritans believed.

And I have no doubt in my mind that God shatters many of our dreams simply because He wants us to find Him as our ultimate dream. He who has God and many other things does not have more than he who has God only, because if you have God, you have all that you really, really do need. That’s what the Puritans used to teach.

Joni Eareckson Tada had her dreams—boyfriend, popular. She, of course, over 20 years ago dives and breaks her spinal cord. And you know today, of course, that she is in a wheelchair, still hurting. I just read a recent book in which she spent most of a recent year in bed with all those awful sores. Every dream that a young woman could have shattered. When it happened, she spent days wondering how she could commit suicide so that she would not have to live. Every dream crushed! Every one!

But, you know, today God had a different dream for her, and you know the blessing that she has been to millions of people, the organization she began, helping those who are disabled, blessing people with her speaking and her writing. And who could have ever predicted that with the death of all her dreams God would give her something so special and so unique. But that’s just like God. That’s just like God. He takes away the dreams upon which we attach our hearts. He shatters them. They lie at our feet unfulfilled, and in despair He comes to us and He says, “I love you. I care about you, and I want you to know that I’m giving you a brand new dream.” That’s just like God. That’s the way He is.

The only requirement for you to still have a dream is that you be alive. Once you are dead and the preacher has said all those wonderful things about you that make others in the audience wonder whether he’s talking about the person that you really knew… (chuckles) I’m being a little facetious there. Once it’s all over and things have been said about us, you can stop your dreaming on earth. But until then God has some purpose for you. And those who may even go through Alzheimer’s Disease may no longer be able to dream their own dreams, but they become a part of the dream of those who care for them, because God’s purposes toward us are always benevolent. There is always some reason why it is that he loves His people, and He goes on loving us, and He keeps giving us a dream.

There’s a final lesson that I’ve thought much about, and it does not grow out of the text of Genesis. But it is, I believe, Scriptural, and that is this. God’s dreams are really only for God’s people. God’s dreams are only for God’s people. As I was meditating on this the question occurred to me, “Does God have a dream for everyone?” And the answer is, I think, no. At least interpreted in the way I’m interpreting it, the answer is no.

He that believes on the Son has everlasting life (all the dreams) but he that believes not on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. God has a purpose for everyone, but He does not have a dream for everyone except those who are His people. And your dream with God, if it is to begin, has to begin at the foot of the cross by receiving Christ as Savior, transferring your faith to Him, being reconciled to God, and then you and God can begin to dream together. Until that time, you are under the condemnation of God. There is a purpose for your existence, but there is no use talking about dreams.

And there are many of you listening to me today who, if the truth were known, if the inside of what is within you were to come out and we could see who you really are, we would discover that you have never believed on Christ for yourself, which is the place where all dreams begin.

Joseph believed God. He lived before the cross, but his faith was in God and it was credited to him for righteousness. We now live from the standpoint of the cross. The cross is behind us. We look back to it, and we see that when Jesus died for us He gave us the opportunity to be reconciled to Him. And once we are reconciled, you and God begin your dreams together.

Let us pray.

Our Father, we thank You for Your faithfulness in showing us how powerful You are, how wonderful You are. We pray today, Father, for those whose dreams have long since been shattered. We pray today, Father, that You will replace them with Yourself, replace them with Your faithfulness and with Your strength. And grant to each of us a closer walk that we night know that You have the right to give dreams and to take them. And as long as we have You, we can endure both. Work in the lives today of those who come broken-hearted. We pray that You will reveal Yourself to them. Show Yourself that You are benevolent. And when we cannot trust Your hand, may we trust Your heart. And for those who do not know You, we pray that today they might reach out to Christ and receive Him as theirs. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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