Dream Fulfilled

Genesis 42:1-8

1When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?” 2He continued, “I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die.”

3Then ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him. 5So Israel’s sons were among those who went to buy grain, for there was famine in the land of Canaan also.

6Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the person who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. 7As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. “Where do you come from?” he asked. “From the land of Canaan,” they replied, “to buy food.”

8Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him.

Sibling Rivalry

Who among older brothers or sisters can accept that younger siblings will be much greater than them? Older children tend to be dominant among siblings. They feel superior over younger ones. And if younger children stand their ground, older children may feel disrespected. And, that may pressure sibling rivalry.

From the 1st siblings, Abel and Cain, rivalry often occurred among siblings. Is it an offshoot of survival of the fittest? Among siblings, rivalry will always be possible. How about God’s children, are there rivalry in the church? One reason for church splits could be rivalry? Rivalry may ignite conspiracy among believers.

Sibling rivalry in the family of Jacob has become apparent when Joseph told his dreams to his brothers. In his excitement, he recounted his dreams. He did not consider how his brothers may react. His brothers correctly interpreted his dreams. They felt dishonored and then, conspired against him.

Let’s recall the dreams of Joseph in Genesis 37:6-9, 6He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” 8His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. 9Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.

Joseph’s dreams were revelations of God’s plan for him but he was not aware of it. He may have thought that it was just a weird dream but his brothers were very serious after they heard it. They interpreted that Joseph will be greater than them, and that he will rule over them. For sure, they cannot appreciate that.

#Listen: “Whenever God reveals personal matter, does God wants us to keep it to ourselves?” If God wants others to be involved in His plan for us, should He declare it in their presence? Have you observed that not many people, even believers can rejoice for other’s glad tidings or great news? Why? It says in Romans 12:15, 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

It is a godly command to rejoice with those who rejoice. Sad to say, that his brothers did not appreciate should Joseph become greater than them. So, they conspired and sold him as slave to prevent his dreams from getting fulfilled. His dreams were revelation of the plan of God for him to rule over his brothers.

Of course, if it’s God’s plan, nobody can prevent it from its fulfillment.

Indeed, God’s revelation was fulfilled. His brothers bowed to him just the way they interpreted his dreams. When Jacob urgently implored and besought them to go to Egypt to buy some grain, it happened just as they imagined.

1. Beseech

1When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?” 2He continued, “I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die.”

Have you ever experienced hunger but no one sells enough food? In 1990, after a strong earthquake caused landslides, all roads to Baguio City were not accessible. Food supply was scarce. Just to buy no more than two kilograms of rice, you’ve got to fall in line. It took many weeks before access roads opened.

Think about that. You’ve got money but nobody wants to sell food. Or, you can only buy enough food to survive a day. And, that was similar to what Jacob and his family had experienced. Jacob had money. He had livestock but they’ve got no grain for his family, for his servants and also for his livestock.

When Jacob asked his sons why they were staring at one another, it may imply that they were helpless. They may have been asking each other where to get their next food. They may not be very hungry yet, but they anticipate harsher days or weeks may come. There’s shortage of food supply in the whole Canaan.

Worrying how they may survive in the next few months was possible.

Jacob and his sons were shepherds, not farmers. They sold livestock and used their profits to buy grain or exchanged livestock for grain. There’s scarcity of grain supply in Canaan, and merchants went to Egypt to buy grain supplies.

So, Jacob besought his sons (with urgency) to go and buy grain in Egypt. It was God’s plan to have seven years of abundance in all the land of Egypt, and Joseph stored much grain that can sustain their food for seven years of famine.

The plan of God that Joseph will rule over his brothers was fulfilled when his brothers have to buy grain from him, and they bowed down to him.

It says in John 1:14-17, 14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15(John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

Do you agree that the word of God in the Old Testament is the Christ who became human Jesus in the New Testament? Do you agree that the Lord who was with Joseph is the same Lord who was born Jesus Christ? Did God the Father ever speak and show Himself to humans? Have you heard or seen God?

Did God the Father give the task to communicate with humans to His Son Jesus Christ? The Lord Jesus said in John 14:10, 10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.

If we believe that the Lord Jesus speaks the exact words of God the Father, then, we should believe what He has declared in John 14:24, 24Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

Faith in Christ as Lord and Savior is practically proven when we obey Him.

The sons of Jacob should have loved him so that they obeyed him when he urgently implored or besought them to buy grain in Egypt.

2. Buy

3Then ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him. 5So Israel’s sons were among those who went to buy grain, for there was famine in the land of Canaan also.

Joseph and Benjamin were sons of Jacob with his wife of Rachel. Rachel has died and it was reported that Joseph may have been torn to pieces by wild animals. Since then, Jacob had been very protective of Benjamin. Did Benjamin want to go to Egypt with his brothers? Possibly, but Jacob prevented him to go.

It may have been the first time for Jacob’s sons to go to Egypt so that they joined a caravan of merchants who went to buy grain in Egypt. But, they could have bought grains from merchants, right? Why did Jacob have to beseech, urgently appealed to his sons to go and buy grain in Egypt? Why so urgent? How severe the famine was, so that Jacob saw the urgency to buy food supplies?

We can recall that it says in Genesis 41:57, 57And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.

Well, not just people in Canaan or business people who usually passed by and transited in Canaan went to buy grain in Egypt. People from other nations who heard that there was much grain in Egypt went to buy grain from Joseph.

It is not also a secret that most business-minded people can’t wait for them to raise prices of their products. Merchants during the famine may have sold grains in Canaan at a very high price. And for Jacob, it was not wise to buy from merchants. He had many children, grand children, and servants to feed.

Most probably, merchants had even stopped selling grain because they also needed food supplies for their own families. Furthermore, it was God’s plan for Joseph’s brothers to go to Egypt and bow down to him, which they did.

Apparently, there’s clear distinction of God’s grace showered in the life of Joseph as compared to the life of his brothers. Joseph became ruler eventually.

The life experiences of Joseph, and how he continued to be faithful trusting the Lord despite of the unpleasant troubles he had gone through, all of it was part of the series of necessary events that God has prepared to test his faith.

Can you accept that all troubles, difficulties, challenges, pleasant and unpleasant events are all necessary and essential parts of God’s divine strategy to develop our ability appropriate for the great plan He has designed for us?

Is it not proper then, for us to praise and worship Him at all times?

Do we need confirmation if we are worshiping God or not? As we mature spiritually, we become eager worshiping God with other believers with gladness.

Psalm 100:1-5

1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. 2Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

God’s faithfulness was displayed in the life Joseph. He was sold as slave, imprisoned for false accusation yet, the Lord was with him, even after his dreams were fulfilled. Joseph must have worshiped God with gladness. Can you agree?

Before he was forced against his will to go to Egypt and told his brothers about his dreams, Joseph may not spiritually mature yet. His brothers may have felt disrespected not just because of his dream but the manner Joseph told them.

His brothers were envious of him after their father Jacob gave Joseph the most beautiful robe available at that time. No one among his brother had such luxurious robe except him. Perhaps, with so much excitement, Joseph demanded their attention while he recounted to them his dreams. “Brothers, listen, listen!”

As people say, “Haters hate!” All the more, they hated him because they interpreted his dream very correctly. Can you accept that God gave them the interpretation that Joseph will become greater than them? Is it easy to accept that the youngest among your siblings will be more successful than you?

When Joseph told them his dream, his brothers cannot rejoice with him. Actually, all the more they hated him so that they planned to kill him. Eventually, they sold him as slave, in the hope that Joseph’s dream will not be fulfilled.

And, when they went to buy grain in Egypt, Joseph recognized them but did not introduce himself as their brother they sold as slave, just yet. Why? When his brothers bowed down before him, did his dreams come to his mind or did he remember his darkest moment when he pleaded for his life before his brothers?

3. Bow

6Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the person who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. 7As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. “Where do you come from?” he asked. “From the land of Canaan,” they replied, “to buy food.”

8Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him.

Just like many teenagers, Joseph may have been a lanky 17-year old teenager when he was sold as slave by his brothers. That was more or less 17 years of not seeing each other. Unless they totally forgotten him, his brothers did not expect that the governor who was selling grain in Egypt was their brother Joseph. And when they bowed down before him, it was out of fear or respect.

Let’s recall when Joseph told them his dream in Genesis 37:6-9, 6He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” 8His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. 9Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.

When Joseph called their attention, they attentively listened to what he said. They did not ask him what his dream meant. When they asked if Joseph intended to reign over them, it implies their interpretation that the sheaves represented them bowing down to Joseph. Actually, they even wanted his opinion when they asked if he will actually rule them. The narrator concluded that they become more hostile to him because of his dream and what he said.

What did Joseph say that they hated when they asked him if he actually rule them? Joseph told them, “I don’t intend to rule over you but I am very convinced you will bow to me when the right time comes.” Is it possible?

Furthermore, he had another dream similar to the first one. When he told his father about it, Jacob rebuked him but kept the matter in his mind. Jacob might have wondered silently, “My sons and have similar interpretation of Joseph’s dreams, why? Will I bow down to the ground before Joseph?”

Some parents are proud of their achievements and challenge children to strive hard to surpass what they achieved. Some parents may not expect their children to surpass their accomplishments. Others desire their children to succeed. When children become more successful than their parents, someone commented beautifully: “It’s improvement of the human race!”

Pertaining to material success, King Solomon the wisest king of Israel has advised how he became the most successful king of Israel in terms of material things in Proverbs 1:1-9: 1The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: 2for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; 3for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; 4for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young—5let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—6for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. 7The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 8Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. 9They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.

Are there young people who presumed to be wiser than their parents?

According to the wise king Solomon, wise children listen to their parents’ instruction. One can easily observe that children who respected and listened to their parents are more successful than their siblings who ignore their parents.

When Jacob heard the second dream of Joseph, he may have interpreted that Joseph will be more successful than his other sons.

For certain, Jacob had observed that Joseph had potentials to succeed because he was the most obedient and respectful among his children. And, it’s not a coincidence that Joseph became the favorite son of Jacob. When his brothers bowed to him when they came to Egypt, Joseph’s dream was fulfilled.

The life story of Joseph and the fulfillment of his dream has practically exemplified Psalm 146:5-6, 5Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. 6He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—he remains faithful forever.

Joseph may have lost his hope that he will be reunited with his family when he was sold as slave but he did not lost hope that God will fulfill his dreams.

Do you have a dream? Who can help us fulfill our dreams? God will!

Don’t wait for the moment when you cannot find help from anyone except from the Lord. Don’t wait for the testing of your faith in God.

Keep praying that God would increase your faith in Christ.

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