“And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.” Gen 39:2-4
The dreamer must continue to relate to God because your dream is only as alive as your relationship to the dream giver. Keeping the dream alive means maintaining your integrity and your walk with the Lord. Every obstacle you face is just a tactic to separate you from your God. Only God can fulfill your dream. You must continue to walk with Him.
The dreamer will face obstacles from others. Your brothers will try to remove your dream. The world will try to replace your dream. Your enemies will try to rob your dream.
All these obstacles are an attempt to separate you from God. The enemy cannot destroy your dream or harm the Dream giver, so he will attack the dreamer. His purpose is to cause the dreamer to forsake his God. Without God the dream dies. Your dream will live and breathe, or it will die based on your walk with the Lord.
If the dream came from God, He is faithful and will fulfill the dream. God shares His plans with His people in order to sustain them through the times of trail that come to all who dare to dream. Man’s part is to remain faithful and continue to allow God to develop the traits in us that we need to participate in what God is doing. God fulfills dreams; man must walk with God. Walking in the dream is walking with God.
We must steadfastly resist attempts to separate us from the Dream Giver. Our commitment is to a person and not a cause. We are relating to God and not a vision He has given. We serve the Lord not the dream. We must resist all attempts to separate us from the One who died for us and loves us.
Removing the Dream
“And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” Gen 37:19-20
Since the enemy cannot attack the dream, he will go after the dreamer. The dream is beyond his reach and against the Dream Giver he is hopelessly outmatched. So, Satan will use others and orchestrate events to bring pressure on the dreamer. Wherever God is moving, the enemy is also on the move. Wherever God’s kingdom is increasing, the kingdom of darkness is also active. Whenever God gives a dream, Satan must attack the dreamer.
Some of the first tools Satan uses to attack a dreamer are those closest to the dreamer. Your brothers are those who you expect to understand your dream. And yet often they see your dream is just another obstacle in their relationship with you. Your vision of what God wants to accomplish in your life is just one more thing that distinguishes you from your carnal family members. And thus, those that you might expect to understand your dream are the very first ones the enemy uses to attack you, and through you to attack the work God has planned for you.
There will always be friction between those who walk with the Lord and those who do not. This is a natural consequence of the two opposing kingdoms. The ragged edge is where the kingdom of God meets the kingdom of darkness. If God is working in your life, His goal is to expand His kingdom through you. This means that you your life will always be lived along the bloody front of the spiritual battle.
Living life along the bloody frontier causes friction between you and those closest to you who do not serve the Lord. There is already a tremendous contrast between you and your brothers in this way. However, when you throw in other mitigating circumstances, the conflict sometimes becomes quite intense. For example, circumstances like God giving you a dream that you share with your carnal brothers. To your carnal brothers, this is just another attempt on your part to distinguish yourself from them. They will work to remove the mark of distinction from you and prove to you that you are “no better” than they are.
This is how the enemy uses your carnal brothers to attack you. He causes them to come against you and your dream. Their efforts focus upon removing the marks of distinction between yourself and them. Therefore, the enemy uses your carnal brothers and sisters to come against your distinctive lifestyle, your holiness standard, your worship, your devotion, etc. It is all about removing the distinction between you. They want to show that you are no different than them.
Also, if they can separate you from the dream God has given you, this will further their effort to bring you down to their level. They want to knock you down a peg or two and then “we’ll see what will become of your dream!” “How dare you to think that you can accomplish something great for God!” “You are just trying to be better than us.”
This is the same attitude that confronted young David when he decided to meet the challenge of Goliath. David’s brothers accused him of trying to be better than them.
“And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle. And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?” 1 Sam 17:28-29
Eliab’s focus was on what he saw as David’s attempt to elevate self. David’s real heart was on God’s cause. Eliab tried to belittle David – “those few sheep in the wilderness.” But it was David’s wilderness experience that prepared him to face the giant. When you experience God’s provision in the wilderness, it prepares you to face your giants in battle.
When Joseph’s brothers stripped him of his many-colored coat, they were attempting to remove his dream. Their intention is indicated by their statement – “we shall see what will become of his dreams.” All your carnal brothers can do is to remove the outward signs of distinction; they cannot remove your dream. They can beat you bloody and throw you into a pit, but they cannot remove your dream. They can sell you into slavery, but they cannot remove your dream. Why is this so? Because the dream came from God, and only God can remove it or fulfill it.
Just remember the next time someone you love attacks your motives and brings a charge against your character. The enemy tries to use those you love to separate you from the God who gave you a dream. Your job is to keep the dream alive; God will take care of the opposition. Your job is to remain firm in your commitment to the Lord; He will handle the details.
Replacing the Dream
“And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.” Gen 39:1-2
The next attack against the work of God in Joseph’s life came from his new master, Potiphar. Potiphar was the Egyptian nobleman who purchased Joseph off the auction block. Potiphar was an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard. He was kindly toward Joseph and God blessed his house as the Lord blessed Joseph.
It was the next strategy of the enemy to use Potiphar to offer Joseph a replacement for his dream. Joseph was no longer in control of his own life and making his own decisions. He now was owned and worked for this Egyptian. And God blessed Joseph. The “Joseph syndrome” has often been observed when God blesses his people and those blessings slosh over to those who are kind to the people of God. And so, Potiphar and household were blessed due to Joseph.
As Potiphar noted the diligence and trustworthiness of Joseph, he gave Joseph more and more responsibility.
“And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.” Gen 39:3-4
Joseph excelled and seemed to enjoy his new occupation.
“And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat.” Gen 39:5-6
Even though he was in bondage and in Egypt, the blessings of God were upon Joseph. But his dream was still distant. Joseph has found favor in Egypt and began to fit in. Isn’t it amazing how Joseph could not fit in in the Promised Land with his brothers, but he was able to find a niche in Egypt!
This is how things often happen to the dreamer. They are rejected by those who are part of their dream but find acceptance in the world. This is how Satan works to replace your dream with something else. Joseph was a long way from Canaan and a long way from the altars of his childhood. He had nothing but conflict and rejection at home, but now he finds blessing and acceptance in the world. It would have been easy to accept this new lifestyle and success as a replacement for the dream God gave him.
My friend and instructor from Bible College, Brother Kelsey Griffin, teaches a lesson titled “The Death of a Dream.” He has been known to teach this lesson one-on-one to struggling home missions pastors. He begins with these words – “In a few days you will be presented with a substitute for your dream.” So many accept the world’s substitute and never regain the vision they once had for the kingdom of God. The dream dies when men accept a substitute.
It is hard to remember and do your part when the dream seems so far off. Your part is to keep the dream alive. God’s part is to fulfill the dream, but He requires your faithfulness. The fulfillment of a God-given dream rests upon God’s faithfulness to you and your faithfulness to Him. The fulfillment of the dream is all tied up in your relationship with God. If Satan can use the world to get you to accept a substitute vision, a counterfeit dream, he can drive a wedge between you and your God. And thus, the enemy can do through substitution what he could not do through resistance.
Satan attempted this tactic in the ministry of the Lord Jesus. Though He was God in flesh, Satan still did not understand His person. Satan saw Jesus as the Son, but did not recognize Him as the Father – till after the resurrection.
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” 1 Cor 2:7-8
Temptation 1 – “And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread” (Matt 4:3). “Prove who you are. Use your power to satisfy your own needs.”
Temptation 2 – “And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Matt 4:6). “Prove who you are. Show others that God takes care of you.”
Temptation 3 – “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me” (Matt 4:8-9). “Accept this vision as a replacement and I will give it all to you.”
Satan uses the believers’ “success” in the world as a substitute for God’s dream. But Satan’s replacement is a cheap imitation!
Robbing the Dream
“And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured. And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.” Gen 39:6-7
Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” (NIV) Gen 39:6-7
The fulfillment of your dream relies upon God’s faithfulness to His promises and your commitment to Him. The enemy cannot do anything to change God, so he will focus upon your faithfulness to the Lord. What God is doing in your life is forever tied to your relationship with Him. The enemy tries to destroy your relationship with God so that he might rob you of your dream.
The enemy uses three basic areas to destroy your relationship with God and thus rob your dream:
- Corruption of power
- Love of money
- Lust of the flesh and sex
God is faithful – the question is, are we? God will fulfill the dream He has given us, but will we be faithful in our walk so that He can? Make no mistake, the Lord will not fulfill a dream He has given if man disqualifies himself. There are some dreams that require certain things from man. You are not required to fulfill the dream, but you are required to be faithful.
It is during those unexpected situations in the world that many dreamers allow their dream to be stolen. When they allow their relationship with God to grow cold, the temptations the enemy uses seem more inviting. It takes a steadfast commitment to one’s relationship to God to answer the challenge as Joseph did.
“But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Gen 39:8-9
Joseph’s focus was still on his relationship with God. Then there was persistent pressure.
“And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.” Gen 39:10-12
Again, Joseph’s refusal to compromise his walk with God cost him his mark of distinction. It may be that maintaining your walk with God will cost you the prestige and respect in the world that you have earned.
And so, accused of a crime that he did not commit, Joseph ends up in prison.
“And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled. And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.” Gen 39:19-20
Many a dreamer in this situation have been convinced that it is better for them and their dream if they just “go along” with the world. But going along to get along will destroy your walk with God. It is God who fulfills the dreams He gives. You cannot forsake your relationship with God and see your dreams fulfilled. Faithfulness is still a requirement in God’s kingdom.
Remembering the Dream
“But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.” Gen 39:21
If you will remember God and make your relationship with Him your number one priority, He will remember you. And He will remember the plan He has for you. The pit your brothers throw you in cannot remove it. The house of Potiphar cannot replace it. And the temptation of the flesh cannot rob it.
Every dreamer will endure a time of testing. It is designed to prepare you. Your trials are merely stepping-stones to greatness. Your prison is just a time of learning and preparation. Your wilderness experiences are uniquely designed by a loving Father who always has your best and His purpose in view.
Your job is to keep the dream alive. You do this by focusing on your relationship with the One who gives dreams and visions. Walk with God and remember your dream.
We must steadfastly resist attempts to separate us from the Dream Giver. Our commitment is to a person and not a cause or a vision. We serve the Lord not the dream. We must resist all attempts to separate us from the One who died for us and loves us.
The dreamer will face obstacles from others. Your brothers will try to remove your dream. The world will try to replace your dream. Your enemies will try to rob your dream. But you must remember your dream.