Sermon Reflections based on Dream Ignition | Alex Hardt | January 7, 2024
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
The New Year is always a time of reflection about what the year might have in store, goals you might like to see accomplished, and hopes and dreams for all the days that lie ahead. Sometimes we have things we know will take place in the coming year and we want to get ready for them-like a wedding, a baby, a vacation, a move, a new job or as with all of us the unexpected events that will fill the year. How much of your dreaming adds God into the equation? Do you seek His guidance when you are planning the wedding or the vacation, for the new job or when you think a new home is needed? Do you seek His wisdom for dealing with a new child, a new job or a budding relationship? In Pastor Alex’s sermon, he challenges us to dream, and dream big but also to consider God and to include Him when dreaming. He uses Joseph and his situation to show how God reveals and guides.
Joseph was 17 in our passage from Genesis 37:1-11. He was the favored son of Jacob the patriarch by his wife Rachel. Jacob learned favoritism in his growing up years with his mother Rebecca who favored him and his father Isaac who favored his brother Esau. His brother Esau disregarded his birthright and sold it to Jacob for a bowl of stew. But, when it came time for the patriarchal blessing, Esau wanted it back. Jacob used trickery to keep the birthright Esau had sold him. Jacob fled to his Uncle Laban’s home in Haran where he encountered an uncle who used trickery against him so that he married Leah, the older sister, instead of Rachel. Jacob had agreed to work 7 years for Rachel and after marrying Leah he had to work another 7 years to be able to marry Rachel, his beloved. Considering this history of favoritism, trickery and deceit, it should not surprise us that Jacob showed unashamed favoritism towards Joseph.
At this point we don’t know much about Joseph and his character except that he was young, favored by his father and would bring reports back to his dad about what his brothers were doing in the fields. He would go out into the fields, tend the sheep and then report back to his father. Genesis 37:2-4 “Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. Now Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” Their hatred of Joseph was due to jealousy, favoritism by their father and Joseph’s own inability to be sensitive to hurt they were feeling and the rift caused by their father’s actions.
Into this scene comes dreamer Joseph. Having dreams was not an uncommon way for God to speak with his people. In fact, I’m sure they had heard of the many dreams had by their great-grandfather Abraham about his calling to come to Canaan, their grandfather’s Isaac servant who had a dream about choosing their mother Rebecca when sent to find a wife for Isaac, or their own father Jacob who had dreamed of a ladder to heaven with angels ascending and descending upon it and his own wrestling with an angel. Joseph would have known all this as well as his brothers. Unfortunately, Joseph’s telling his brothers and father about his dreams that showed him lording it over them and their bowing down to him did not go over well. They attributed this to him as arrogance and just another example of how he was ‘better’ than they were.
What do we learn about dreams, God’s ways and God in this story?
God has unlimited ways He can get our attention. He can use dreams, prayer, other believers, His Word or He can speak to us himself. When we do hear from God, we need to take it in, reflect, pray, and consider those we share it with. Joseph’s audience was not receptive to the message. It would set in motion a chain of events that God would use to bring glory to himself and accomplish his plan. God could have accomplished his divine purpose another way but man’s human desires of envy, jealousy, favoritism and hatred intervened. God did indeed accomplish His plan and Joseph reflected on God’s truth of this in Genesis 50:20, our memory verse for this month. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” God is sovereign over all events and as Job 42:2 reminds us “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”
Joseph shared his dreams with his brothers and father and we know it increased his brothers’ jealousy but his father stored it away in his mind. “ His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.” Genesis 37:11 God used this too in the years to come when they discovered Joseph was a powerful ruler in Egypt and indeed ruled over them just as God had shown in the dreams. God’s power was confirmed and his guidance and trustworthiness was fully seen by them and by us as we read the stories in Genesis.
Ask yourself as you begin this New Year, how big is your God? Can you possibly dream a dream too big for Him to accomplish? Pray, seek His guidance, and let Him show you what He has for your New Year. Open your heart and mind to Him.
Click Here to View the Message on Youtube
Our Sunday service is online and in-person at 11:00am.
Come visit us at 5353 Concord Blvd, on the corner of Concord Blvd and Kirker Pass.
A collection of thoughts from our community