Study from Genesis 39 - 41; Passage for Reflection: Genesis 41: 32 … NIV The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.
My Journal for Today: My devotional author, F. LaGard Smith, takes an interesting tack in his entry for today, focusing on Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream in Genesis 41. In those days, in reading the Old Testament and from historians of the day, we learn that the Middle Eastern people were heavily influenced by dreams and dream interpretation. Pharaoh had his magicians, seers, and soothsayers to help him interpret the dreams which were perplexing to him to help him move forward into the future. And Joseph was brought in to help in this dream interpretation process because Pharaoh’s cupbearer remembered Joseph interpreting a dream for the cupbearer earlier in prison. Enter God’s man, Joseph, who interpreted Pharaoh’s dream; and the rest is history, as they say.
But do we rely on dreams as God’s messengers today they way mankind did in Joseph’s day? I think not; and Smith, in his devotional today points out that though God certainly could do what he did in Joseph’s day and communicate with His people through dreams, it is less likely that He would need to do that. And in asking why this is so, we only need to look at the inerrant source of truth, the Bible, which God has given mankind as His primary messenger to guide us. I firmly believe that God’s “M.O.” [i.e., primary method] of communication in this age of grace, the New Testament dispensation, does not reveal that many instances of dream communication from God as in the Old Testament times. Why? Well, it’s because God has given us His word; and He wants us to be guided by its powerful precepts and directions.
And we see the language and reality of dreams has changed in our culture from the pre-biblical times. When we, i.e., postmodern man, speak of “dreams,” we do so, as Smith points out, in such concepts as a “dream house,” or maybe a woman finding the “man of her dreams,” or quite possibly an NBA fan speaking of the “dream team.” All of these concepts point to the use of our “dreams” being ideal conditions or some idea we hold out as a goal or aspiration for the future. You hear motivational speakers ask, “What are your dreams?” Or maybe you might hear such a one saying, “What you dream, you can achieve!” And in doing so, they are trying to point the mind and heart of their followers in a future drive or motivation which can affect choices and behavior.
But I think it’s clear that we do not hold out dream interpretation in these days in the same way a Pharaoh did in Joseph’s day. We try to glean from our consciousness what our “dreams” might be for the future; and we then try to set ourselves on a goal path to achieve our dreams. So, I might ask you, my fellow Christian, “What are YOUR dreams?” And Jesus addressed this, did He not, when He spoke to His disciples (as He speaks to us today), in Matt. 6: 21, saying, “… where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” And Paul addressed what drives us to action as well when he wrote (in Phil. 2: 5), “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
And what these two truths say to me is that we need to set our “dreams” (i.e., our goals and aspirations) on the things which we find our Savior leading us to think, say, or do. We shouldn’t be relying heavily on modern-day motivational gurus, like Oprah Winfrey, to get us to think selfishly and pursue self-driven “dreams.” No, we should be pursuing THE “dream” of thinking and being more like Christ; and Jesus even told His disciples how to do this when He said to His followers of His day, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. [in Luke 9: 23, NKJV which I have memorized] That is the “dream” which should drive us to know our God, in the Person of Jesus, and to move us to obey His word and follow His path for our lives. That is my “dream prayer” for us all.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to formulate my “dreams” so that they coincide with Your will; and then empower me to follow in Your path. Amen