Joseph: How Faith and Character are formed
Leaving your dreams with God – Week 2
Sermon Date: June 10th
Sermon Reading: Genesis 37:12-36
Q1 - Can you remember anything from last Sunday's sermon that struck you?
Most of us seem to have dreams or sometimes nightmares. Often they are easily forgotten, but sometimes we have a recurrent dream which returns and it can become a factor in our wakeful hours. I have had one such dream over the years. It starts by gradually filling my mouth with teeth! My mouth gets fuller and fuller until all of a sudden I open my mouth and they all disappear! What a relief! Amazingly other people seem to have a similar experience. Another dream is the situation where we are late and can’t catch up.
Q2 - Could you describe your recurrent dreams? Are there any similarities?
Q3 – Now what do you do with them?
Worry about them as factual
Treat them as guidance
Lets see if Joseph can give us any help.
Let’s study an incident in the life of Joseph the dreamer.
Read two or three verses each in turn from Genesis 37 v 12-36.
This is a very well known story particularly since Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber introduced “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” to the London stage. So we will need to look carefully into the passage to see what message it has for us.
John Goldingay, the Professor of Old Testament at the Fuller Theological Seminary in the USA made a study of the famous characters in 1 and 2 Samuel which he published under the title “Men Behaving Badly”. He showed how even the great leaders of Israel had foibles and phobias, but despite these God used them. The story today has several such men; let’s look at them in turn and see what they were doing badly. It actually looks more like the play that goes wrong than Joseph and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat!
Q4 – What did Jacob do badly? (* hint)
Q5 - What did Judah do badly? (* hint)
Q6 - What did Reuben do badly? (* hint)
Q7 - What did the other brothers do badly? (* hint)
Q8 - What did the Midianites do badly? (* hint)
Q9 – What did Joseph do badly? (* hint)
Please read Acts 7:9-10
Joseph is named as a man of faith in Hebrews 11: 22 and Stephen (speaking in Acts 7) shows how God was in control throughout the whole of our story today despite so many men behaving badly. This is not an encouragement to misbehave but to recognise that God is in control even when things are proving difficult.
Q10 – In what ways do you see God in control despite our mistakes?
Q11 – Do you trust in God when it seems that everything has gone wrong?
In the midst of their grief and mistakes we find hope at the end of the passage. This always happens when we are dealing with our loving God. The end of the passage says: “Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. ‘No,’ he said, ‘I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.’ So his father wept for him. Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.”
Q12 – Do you ever feel like if your life has been thrown into a pit? What about the Church? This passage should encourage us to remember that while we mourn, God is on the move and we can trust in Him.
Take some time to recognise that God is in control in the midst of our mistakes and also hard times in our lives. If anyone feels that they are lost, in a pit and without any dreams, encourage them that God is control.
Q4 – Jacob had seen the awful results of favouritism in his life and Esau’s, yet he treats Joseph in a similar way.
Q5 – Judah suggests selling Joseph thus avoiding murdering him.
Q6 – Reuben the elder brother suggests throwing Joseph into a cistern as a weak compromise.
Q7 – All the brothers complicit in the whole event. They use the argument “he is our flesh and blood” on some occasions but not others.
Q8 - The Midianites a travelling caravan of gentile traders willing to buy and sell Joseph as a slave.
Q9 - Joseph tells tales on his brothers and also boasts of his dream thus causing resentment.
Howard Gracey, 29/05/2018