You don’t get much more insignificant in a family of 12 than being number 11. As the 11th born you aren’t the baby of the family. And in this case you aren’t even the last baby boy. You are just number 11 with an abundant allotment of big brothers.
Joseph was an insignificant son with significant dreams. One night Joseph had a dream that one day he’d rule over his brothers. This was a seemingly impossible dream. And, sophomorically, he told his big brothers about his dream which lead to them hating him.
All throughout Joseph’s life he lived in the reality that he was chasing his dreams but his anti-dream was also chasing him. Over and over again we see Joseph’s life take wicked turns. His brothers staged his death while selling him into slavery. His slave owners trade him like a camel and he ends up in Potifer’s house. There he becomes the object of a cougar’s affection causing him to flee naked from the house before being caught, accused of adultery, and thrown in prison. On and on this calamity continues– his whole life!
Life didn’t just deal Joseph lemons. Life dealt him poison. Joseph was a man with big, significant dreams but a murderous monkey on his back.
But that never stopped Joseph’s dream. He worked towards that dream, not knowing if it’d ever come true. Until one day it did!
We are all Joseph
Most of us are insignificant. By birth, by education, by performance, and by recognition… we are not born rulers or leaders of tribes.
But we all have dreams. Some are aspirational and within reach. And some are so big that our dreams make the 6 year old who lives inside of us blush to mention them in public.
We are all driven by dreams while gravitational held back by circumstance.
With all the crap that hit the fan in Joseph’s life no one would have blamed him if he’d defined himself by the poop splattered on the wall of his life. Everywhere he turned there were people sinning against him, seeking to destroy both him and his dreams.
Instead, Joseph makes a radical choice. He refused to allow the sins of others to define his life and ruin his dreams. No one could have forced him to do that. It came from within. It was a daily posture he took as he continually kept his eye on his dreams. He worked hard, he overcame, and eventually– his dreams came true.
The Cycle Ends with Me
When I think about my own life and my own dreams it is easy for me to think of all the obstacles. I can point to specific instances where my dreams were thwarted because someone sinned against me. (In some cases, maliciously intending to harm me.)
But the choice is mine. I can define my life by taking a victims posture or Joseph’s posture. I could be destroyed, defined, and devastated by the sins against me OR— supernaturally and by God’s grace– I can decide that the cycle of retribution, revenge, anger, malice, and sin ends with me.
I can’t control my circumstance but I can control my response to my circumstances.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.