Genesis37: 5 Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more.
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.
Genesis45: 5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.
18 His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, "Behold, we are your servants."
19 But Joseph said to them, "Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?
20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
The term pipe dream originates from the days of the opium den during the late 1800's. It seems that smoking the drug induced some rather incredible imaginings. Opium was used quite a bit by writers of that day among many others. Today the use of the term speaks of a plan or goal which is in essence beyond actual achievement. It is beyond the power of the "dreamer" to bring it to reality. Thus it will always remain a dream.
Praise the Lord this is not so with the plan of God.
There re many in the narrative of scripture that have had true God-given, i.e. prophetic dreams;
Jacob, Joseph the husband of Mary, even Pilate's wife was given a warning in her dream.
Probably the most well known passages re: a dream would be that of Joseph, the son of Jacob.
Genesis 37 gives us the foundation of Joseph's story.
The dream given to Joseph by the Lord was in reality, a revelation of the way God would fulfill the covenant-promise he had given to Abraham. (Gen12:6-9; 15:1-16)
The story is a very familiar one, and like Noah's ark and the Exodus, has become so familiar even to the unbelieving world, that it also loses it's significance to the church.
Joseph has two dreams which essentially mean the same thing. His brothers, and even his father will submit to him.
Now I have heard some say that had Joseph not said anything to his brothers who already had little love for him, the bad circumstances which were to come upon him need not have happened. Not so in the plan of God as Joseph and all of his actions were foreknown by the Lord. God used the "negative" circumstances to carry His plan to its' conclusion.
So Joseph endures being thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, being falsely accused by Potiphar's wife, thrown into prison, seemingly left to live his life out in obscurity and confinement.
However the scriptures also tells us that Joseph was successful even in those circumstances, as God caused him to have success in the circumstances. 9Gen 39:2-6; 39:20-23)
It is important to note that in both Potiphar's house and in the prison, Joseph was in essence second in command.
Now Joseph was no only given dreams from the Lord, h was also given the gift of interpreting the dreams of others. Because he had correctly interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh's cup-bearer and baker, both whom were briefly imprisoned with Joseph, he was to be set free 2 years later when his ability to interpret would become known to Pharaoh.
Joseph, at 30 years of age, by interpreting Pharaoh's dream revealing 7 years of plenty and 7 years of drought was given honor and authority as "second in command" in all of Egypt.(Gen 41:39-46)
The drought lead to Jacob sending his sons to Egypt for grain and there they encountered their younger brother who recognized them, but was not yet recognized by them. They entered into his presence and bowed. Then comes some of the most profound words in the scripture:
Gen 42:9 And Joseph remembered the dreams that he had dreamed of them.........."
From this point one Joseph began actively co-working with the Lord to bring about God's will for the establishment of a nation to be born from captivity. Joseph used his wiles to bring all of his brothers and father's household to Egypt. The rest, as they say, is history. From this incredible beginning would come
the "son of God". (Exodus 4:22-23;Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:14-15) and the Exodus of the regenerate.
What does this mean to the saints today?
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Isaiah45: 7 I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.
Everything that had happened to Joseph up to the point of his brothers coming to Egypt for grain were out of his control. All these things were done "to him" even the Lord giving him the dreams and the gift of interpretation. Nowhere does it say that Joseph wanted this, or actively participated in causing these things.
Therefore the Lord who is the source of both, light and darkness, well-being and calamity, did all these things. So Paul correctly tells the saints that ALL things work together for good to those who love God, i.e. those who are called according to His purpose.
Joseph loved God, and showed it by acting with integrity no matter where he found himself, and he was most definitely called to God's higher purpose.
After his brothers came to him in submission, Joseph remembered the dream God had given him, and began proactively participating in its' fulfillment
He got beyond himself and began to see the big picture. It wasn't about his destiny to become an important man in the government of a world power,it was about God's purposes in bringing him to such a place.
Oh that the saints of God would get hold of this vision.
We are no different than Joseph or Paul or any of the other saints They endured there own set of circumstances and so do we. We are not exempt. Even Christ endured the circumstances for the higher call. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight
9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ
10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
There is a purpose and plan; a higher calling beyond ourselves to which the Lord has called us to.
Whatever we go through; wherever we are, God has willed it to be so.
Well did Jeremiah encourage the exiles:
4 "Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:
5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce.
6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.
7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
8 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream,
9 for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the LORD.
10 "For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.
11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
14 I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
The plans for welfare, a future and hope, included being sent into exile.
Greater encouragement can be found in the fact the Joseph's story didn't end with his family settling in Egypt We would have them all live happily ever after.
22 So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father's house. Joseph lived 110 years.
23 And Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation. The children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were counted as Joseph's own.
24 And Joseph said to his brothers, "I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob."
25 Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here."
26 So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones with you from here."
Joshua24: 32 As for the bones of Joseph, which the people of Israel brought up from Egypt, they buried them at Shechem, in the piece of land that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of money. It became an inheritance of the descendants of Joseph.
Even in death Joseph's story reveals God's ways and thoughts, which are higher than man's.
Joseph had reached a point in his walk where he saw this. He had been given great revelation.
Matthew 16:17 And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
It's all about Him. He does it all, or it never gets done. He saves, or no one is saved.
He gives the dreams and visions and makes them come to pass.
Truly outside of Christ all of our dreams are pipe dreams. God's will always reaches its' fulfillment.
Isaiah 55:10 "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
Soli Deo Gloria!