Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Life of Joseph - A Man With A Dream


Joseph was the first born son of Rachael, who was the second wife of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham. He was born in the Syria in the 14th year of his father’s sojourn to the house of Laban. Joseph’s birth coincided with the full and final payment of Jacob’s debt to his uncle Laban in dowry payments for his two daughters which Jacob had taken as wives. Jacob worked 7 years to purchase each daughter. First he was given Leah and then Rachael.

For 7 years Rachael had been barren and now, in the year of final payment, she conceived and bore her first son, Joseph, who immediately became Jacob’s favorite among the 11 sons he had fathered during his time in this land of Syria.

Genesis 30:25  And it came to pass, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, "Send me away, that I may go to my own place and to my country.

As far as Jacob was concerned he had gotten what he came for and felt it was time to move his family back home to the land of Canaan and begin building on the inheritance bestowed to him by his father Isaac.

Genesis 30:30  "For what you had before I came was little, and it has increased to a great amount; the LORD has blessed you since my coming. And now, when shall I also provide for my own house?"

Since arriving at his uncle’s house Jacob had grown in responsibilities and was now in charge of all of Laban’s flocks. Jacob tended the goats and Laban’s wealth had increased measurably during this time. All who had observed these past 14 years realized that God’s hand of blessing was evident upon Jacob. No one knew this more than Laban and thus he did not want to see Jacob leave his employ.
31  So he said, "What shall I give you?" And Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep your flocks:
32  Let me pass through all your flock today, removing from there all the speckled and spotted sheep, and all the brown ones among the lambs, and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and these shall be my wages.”

After some discussion a new agreement was reached and Jacob continued tending the flocks of Laban taking only the goats which were born with multicolored hair for his pay.

Genesis 31:41  "Thus I have been in your house twenty years; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times.

When Joseph was 6 years old, in the 20th year of his father’s time in Syria, Jacob moved his family back to the land of Canaan. They first settled in the plains near the city of Shechem, now known as Nablus, which was the site of the first altar built by his Grandfather, Abraham, in the land of Canaan. It was there that Jacob bought a piece of land

Genesis 33
18  Then Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padan Aram; and he pitched his tent before the city.
19  And he bought the parcel of land, where he had pitched his tent, from the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred pieces of money.
20  Then he erected an altar there and called it El Elohe Israel.

When Jacob named the altar which he build near the site of the altar his Grandfather Abraham had built over 150 years earlier, he was not referring to the God of the Land of Israel, but rather to the “Mighty God of Jacob”, his Mighty God. The land of Israel did not exist, only his name had been changed by God from Jacob to Israel, meaning “God prevails”.

At 6 years of age this had to be one of the most exciting events Joseph had ever witnessed and at such an impressionable time of life, it stands with reason that Joseph would have been greatly affected. There is something powerful about a young child seeing the dedication of their parents to the things of God. Over 100 years later Joseph would still remember this place and on his death bed he decreed that his bones be carried with the Children of Israel in the coming exodus and buried on the piece of ground where his father first made this altar.

Genesis 50
24  And Joseph said to his brethren, "I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob."
25  Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here."
26  So Joseph died, being one hundred and ten years old; and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

(Show picture/video of the filming of our TV program @ the Joseph’s grave.)

Almost 500 years after this event, Joseph was laid to rest on this spot.  

Joshua 24:32  The bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel had brought up out of Egypt, they buried at Shechem, in the plot of ground which Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for one hundred pieces of silver, and which had become an inheritance of the children of Joseph.

Joseph was a dreamer
Genesis 37
2  This is the history of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brothers. And the lad was with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to his father.
3  Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors.
4  But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.
5 ¶  Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more.
6  So he said to them, "Please hear this dream which I have dreamed:

Dreams figured heavily into Joseph’s destiny. Not only was Joseph given to dreams he was also a man who respected the dreams of others. On several critical occasions in Joseph’s life, God used dreams to position him for a greater day. Even Joseph’s rise to fame was due to other people’s dreams.

When Joseph was a young man he spoke of his dream – When Joseph was an old man, his dream spoke of him.

When Joseph was 110 years old, after living in Egypt for 93 years, Joseph dreamed of a greater day. God visited Joseph in his old age and gave him a glimpse of glory beyond the grave. What was it that Joseph saw that made him take an oath from the Children of Israel that his bones would not be left behind? Although there have been some great sermons preached concerning this subject, we cannot know for sure. Whatever it was, Joseph rightly believed the dream!

What do we learn from this dreamer that we could begin practicing in our lives today?

1.  God has a plan for our life.
a.   It may not always be easy
b.   It may not always seem profitable
c.   Don’t give up
d.   If it’s bad, God is not finished yet
2.  Don’t discount dreams.
a.   Our dreams
                                         i.    Our youthful dreams
                                        ii.    The dreams of our latter years
b.   The dreams of others
                                         i.    Just because it is not ours, does not mean it is not God or that it won’t affect our life
3.  Some dreams take time.
a.   Give your dream the time it requires
4.  We can still afford to dream.
a.   With our last breath we can boldly declare … “My greatest day is yet ahead!”