“Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”
So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe — the richly ornamented robe he was wearing and they took him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it. Genesis 19:19-20; 23-24
Joseph was seventeen years old, and nothing was going to stop him. Like many young people on fire for God, he was filled with both God and a lot of himself. Yes, God had said he was going to be a great leader. He had even seen his father and all of his brothers bowing down to him in a dream.
When his father had gently tried to warn him about his presumption and pride, it hadn’t even fazed him. After all, he was the dreamer of dreams.
Filled with the lethal combination of youthful exuberance and arrogance, Joseph was totally unaware of the hatred and murder that had been growing in the hearts of his brothers as he approached their flocks that day.
When they fell on him with murderous intent, he was stunned. “Why? Why? Why?” he had screamed out repeatedly.
Now as he lay battered and bleeding in the depths of an abandoned cistern, he was not just broken in body – he was broken in spirit as well. When his brothers had finally pulled him out of the cistern and sold him into slavery, Joseph had simply hung his head and wept.
What lessons can you and I learn from this tragic tale of jealousy and betrayal? Although there are a number of lessons that can be learned, let me share two of them with you.
First of all, even a God-given dream or vision must be handled with wisdom and humility. Although Joseph’s dreams were from God, he shared them in a way that was both unwise and arrogant. In my own life, I have found that I need to be very careful about how I share God’s vision for my life, as well as with whom I share it.
Second, although Joseph was unwise, his actions do not negate the fact that he had received God’s vision and dream for his life. Tragically, his brother’s betrayal would only be the beginning of Joseph’s sorrows. His pathway to Pharaoh’s palace would also take him through the horrors of Potiphar’s house and the darkness of Pharaoh’s prison.
In Psalms 105:17-19 it says that Joseph was sold as a slave and put in chains until what he foretold came to pass and the Word of the Lord proved him true.
Do you see it now? The greater your dream, the greater your times of testing will be. You must never forget, that God uses more than the Bible and other Christians to prepare you for your purpose.
He will also take the most painful circumstances of your life and use them as tools to mold you and shape you for the destiny for which you were born.
Where are you today? Are you in the middle of a painful situation that is being used by God to prepare you for your destiny? Maybe your own pride and arrogance about the vision God has given you has even alienated you from some of the brothers and sisters you love the most.
Whatever be the case, you can take heart today.
Whether you need strength to walk through the circumstances you’re facing, or grace to humble yourself before the brothers or sisters you have offended, God is well able to give it to you.
© Copyright 2005 by Jim Laffoon