18 They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him.19 They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. 20 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.”
The pastor who preached at my dad’s funeral used the last part of v. 19 as his text: “Here comes this dreamer.” He meant it as a complement. My dad always had ideas, dreams, hopes and suggestions for ministry projects, or solutions to problems. He was right. Dad always had a thought for me, an idea to share, or a way to grow the church or succeed in business. So the pastor spoke of dad’s ideas and dreams as a testimony to his faith.
Sadly, however, Joseph’s brothers had no positive thoughts about their younger brother. They didn’t like his cocky way of parading himself around showing off his coat of many colors, or telling them about his dreams. It seems that Joseph not only had dreams, but also an attitude to go with them. Their assessment of his dreams were not only non-complementary, but quickly dismissed as self-serving hubris. They thought that they could allay his dreams because they did not know those dreams were actually of God.
If, however, a dream is of God it will not be set aside by mere mortals. You can’t bury them in a pit in the ground. And while it may appear that the intervention has come from human agents – like Reuben intervening in Joseph’s behalf – the truth is that God will see that his dreams are realized. It might be that one’s attitude needs to be refined or humbled. It might be that the path to the dream’s fulfillment will be torturous and challenging. But be sure of this: God will see to it that those who lay hold of his dreams and visions will see the faithfulness of God. They will be a part of an adventure of faith and a testimony to God’s goodness and faithfulness. Watch as the story unfolds.
Jacob lived in the land of his father’s sojournings, in the land of Canaan.
2 These are the generations of Jacob.
Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father.3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe 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 peacefully to him.
5 Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: 7 Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” 8 His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.
9 Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” 11 And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.
12 Now his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock near Shechem. 13 And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” And he said to him, “Here I am.” 14 So he said to him, “Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock, and bring me word.” So he sent him from the Valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.15 And a man found him wandering in the fields. And the man asked him, “What are you seeking?”16 “I am seeking my brothers,” he said. “Tell me, please, where they are pasturing the flock.” 17 And the man said, “They have gone away, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.
18 They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him.19 They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. 20 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.” 21 But when Reuben heard it, he rescued him out of their hands, saying, “Let us not take his life.” 22 And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but do not lay a hand on him”—that he might rescue him out of their hand to restore him to his father. 23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the robe of many colors that he wore. 24 And they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it.