Joseph’s story has long been one of my favourites. Maybe it was the theatre visits and the musical stage show that fixed it in place (even though it isn’t very accurate), or maybe it was because I could relate to Joseph and the way GOD spoke to him.
GOD spoke audibly to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Joseph was different. GOD spoke to him in dreams. He used pictures to tell him things. As you can probably tell, I am a pictures type of person in terms of art, photography and writing. I love to #seehimineverything when I am out and about. It has been a great exercise to train myself to do so. Often when the big bad world seems to be pressing in, if I can focus on the details that I can see around me, in creation for example, I can be encouraged to know that the GOD who cares about the detail will indeed care about the bigger picture that the detail fits into. I want to create art in my Bible that tells me of what GOD has spoken to me about and create books that awaken a conversation with the reader and GOD. Often in the picture or scene that GOD speaks in there is an opportunity for a conversation with Him … so much so that I think He even plans it that way!
I love that GOD speaks to us in ways that we can hear and understand. We don’t all have the same language! Have you ever asked how someone else ‘hears’ from GOD? It can be quite an interesting discussion. And if you think that GOD doesn’t speak to you I’d like you to think again. The clearest way is in the Bible, since it is the word of GOD. But He can speak through absolutely everything since He is not restricted by anything. The obvious routes may be in scripture, worship songs and preaching, but have you ever heard GOD speak through a commercial, film or bowl of soup??! Have you tried listening at those times?
Joseph had a clear vision from GOD. He knew that GOD had spoken to him. His wheat dream told him that even though he was number 11 of 12 sons, he was going to be put in the place of the firstborn. He would have favour and inheritance. The stars, moon and sun bowing down dream told him that he would have authority, leadership and influence over nations.
Joseph was unfairly treated in his home. His own father, Israel (Jacob), loved and treasured him more highly than all his other children. Joseph received gifts that made him the object of jealously by his brothers. Then Joseph has these dreams and tells them all about them. As Joseph wasn’t popular with his brothers, we can think that maybe he should have just kept quiet. We can judge him and say he was an idiot for sharing the dreams and that he was asking for retribution. However, GOD’s words to His people were valued and if you heard from GOD you were expected to say so. Joseph spoke with confidence and without concern for the consequences.
Joseph’s speaking changed a whole lot of things! We can be certain that when GOD speaks to us and we then speak it out, it alters and changes environments.
Joseph had not inherited his father’s tendency for fear. His fear of GOD overruled any sense of the fear of man (i.e. his brothers). The GOD who he knew was worth respecting, holding in awe and submitting to. GOD spoke a word of life to him that was ultimately the word of life for his family and nation. Joseph knew that the responsibility of GOD’s words belonged to GOD. If he had heard GOD then GOD would take care of the message once he had told others. I know that this is a challenge. When GOD speaks it can just be for us but often it is for others – what do we do with this? I have friends that often share what GOD is saying to others at coffee shops, supermarket checkouts and parks. They know that GOD wants to use their ability to hear Him to speak to those that don’t recognize GOD’s voice yet. When I think of it in terms of that kind of importance, I don’t see how I can let a little bit if fear stop me. GOD wants to speak and He wants you and me to be part of that incredible adventure and privilege.
I don’t want to ruin the story for those of you who do not know it, but I think that GOD had His hand on Joseph’s life right from the start. Joseph’s mother could not have children for a long time so when Joseph was born he would be treated differently. Joseph was trained to be a favoured son so that he could behave like a favoured son all his life wherever he was. He was the one who heard GOD’s voice in dreams preparing him for the message that would save his nation from death. He had the word of GOD to carry him through all the difficult stuff.
GOD is interested in the detail. He sees the end scenes but is a master of the details that enable the finale to happen.
I know that there are many times I have wanted to ask and asked ‘Why?’, but I know that I can trust GOD to remain just, good, loving, faithful and unchanging. Jospeh’s story is a great encouragement that GOD never lets go and will not forget.
Why don’t you set aside some time to listen for GOD’s voice today. Ask Him to speak to you in the everyday things that you do and see … I think that you might be surprised. Perhaps He will give you words for someone else … be courageous, that word could transform their life.