The story of Joseph is one of the most interesting and intriguing stories in the Old Testament. The last thirteen chapters of the book of Genesis (37-50) are devoted to the life of Joseph. In fact, it is one of the few stories in the Bible that made it all the way to Broadway, being set to music in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
(You can watch Joseph [played by Donny Osmond] perform a song from the musical here.)
Joseph starts out as the favorite son of his father, Jacob. He was the next to youngest of twelve sons, but because he was the son of Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel, he had captured his father’s heart. The other sons were very jealous of Joseph, and who can blame them? It was bad enough that their father obviously loved him more, but Jacob did not even attempt to try to be impartial. While the other boys were out working the fields, Joseph was hanging around the house, waiting on the tailor to come by with his new, custom made clothes. Then there were the dreams! Can you imagine how the brothers felt when Joseph told them he dreamed they would all bow down to him one day? As we all know, they took a dim view of that, and Joseph finds himself sold into slavery in Egypt. Goodbye, and good riddance!
After Joseph’s unfortunate encounter with Potiphar’s wife, which landed him in prison, he must have felt all of his dreams for his life, disappear. He had fallen from grace and favor. God, however, had new dreams for Joseph. When Joseph’s dreams had faded, he found that he had the skill to interpret the dreams of others, and that became his ticket to freedom. His ability to help Pharaoh prevent a terrible famine in Egypt not only put him in a position of power, but it brought him face to face with the very brothers who had sent him there in the first place. When the brothers came to Egypt to get food, they did not recognize Joseph, but he knew exactly who they were. Joseph remembered his dreams about how his brothers would bow down to him, but the grown up Joseph was different from the spoiled child Joseph. After having some fun at their expense, Joseph could not longer hide himself from them any longer. In Genesis 45, he reveals himself to his brothers. They were terrified, but he tells them not to be angry with themselves, that this was all a part of God’s plan for his life. He embraced his brothers, sent them back home to get their families and their father, and come back to Egypt, where Joseph would set them up to live a good life.
Yes, Joseph’s dreams came true, but not at all in the way he expected. By the time his dream of his brothers bowing down to him came to be, he had learned a lot about forgiveness and humility. The path of his life was not at all what he dreamed of, but God had plans for him. What are your dreams? Do you feel your life has taken turns that make it seem your dreams will never happen? God is the ultimate dreamer. God’s dreams for us are so much bigger and better than anything we can dream for ourselves. With God, the best dreams really can come true.
- Janice Hinnant
Janice is the Minister of Music at ESBC, a role in which she has served for 18 years. She has one son, Kevin, who is a senior at the University of South Carolina.