Dreams & Consequences: Genesis 37:12-35
Joseph’s brothers do not take the family feud lightly… instead, the brothers begin planning to remove Joseph from the situation. As the brothers conspire to manage the situation, the first thought is “let’s kill him!” Wow – talk about a rough crowd!
Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits. Then we will say that a fierce animal has devoured him, and we will see what will become of his dreams.Genesis 37:20, ESV, Holy Bible
Luckily, Reuben steps in and squashes the “let’s kill him” plan and trades it for a “let’s leave him in this pit” and whatever happens happens. Now, Reuben didn’t offer this plan for purely selfless reasons. Reuben spied an opportunity to earn respect of his father and while it may not be the seat of the favorite it may secure second place (Genesis 38:22).
Reuben’s plan wasn’t motivated by a pure heart. Yet, even in the midst of the hatred and chaos, God raised up a friend for Joseph…even among his enemies. Reuben served Joseph as an unlikely source of safety and protection. As the oldest, Reuben knew protecting Joseph would bring him honor in the eyes of their father.
But then Judah gets a wild streak and becomes an entrepreneur. I can see the light bulb moment pop over his head with a thought bubble: ‘what if we sell Joseph to Midianites and make some money?’ Money talks and here, money wins. Joseph’s life becomes the property of the Midianites for 20 shekels of silver (depending on the value of silver, Joseph’s price tag ranged from $200-$400 in today’s world). Reuben didn’t know the transaction took place and was crushed to find the pit empty (we will give him some credit that his emotional reaction was for both selfless and selfish reasons). The Midianites then sold Joseph to Potiphar in Egypt.
Your dreams will inspire many people, but your dreams will also summon opposition for disrupting the status quo. If Joseph knew sharing his dreams would lead to his brothers considering murder and ultimately selling him into slavery, I jump to say he would have kept quiet. Dreams, especially those from God, will shake things up! There will be those in your life who celebrate and support your dreams. You will hear from some who mumble about reasons your dreams won’t work. And then you will find those who simple don’t want your dreams to succeed be it because they see your dream as direct competition or they just don’t like anyone else to win.
Joseph’s brothers certainly fall into the final category – they simply cannot imagine their little brother as their leader. Instead of watching Joseph receive the affections of their father, they reject him and without realizing it begin a process that prepares Joseph to do just that – lead.
Stop and really process your life and dreams.
- When did you last share a dream?
- Who did you tell? How did they respond?
- Was it with enthusiasm and excitement or dread and resentment?
- Can you look back and see a season God prepared you to serve or lead in a position today?
God actively moved in the life of Joseph when he pastured the flock with his brothers, when Jacob gifted him the robe, when Joseph shared his dreams, and when the brothers sold him into slavery. Yet I wonder how close Joseph felt to God on the day he was sold by his brothers compared to the mornings he woke up from his dreams?
Wherever you are in the dream – waiting for one, sharing the dream, suffering push back, or celebrating the victory – God is with you.
The LORD was with Joseph…Genesis 39:2a, ESV, Holy Bible