Opening Prayer: “Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.”
Daily Scripture Reading: Genesis 37:1-4
Whose dream are you living? Whose purpose are you pursuing? I pray you have embraced the truth that God has a plan and dream for your life but the reality is He’s not the only one. In the first 4 verses of Joseph’s story, before God gives him His dreams, we see several other dreams Joseph could have chosen to live.
We see that Joseph’s family was settled in the land of Canaan which is famously known in the Bible as the Promised Land of the Israelite people. Generations before God told Joseph’s great-grandfather Abram to “Go from your country to the land I will show you (Genesis 12:1).” When he arrived as a foreigner God promised “to your offspring I will give this land (Genesis 12:7).” And He did. We find young Joseph living in that rich land, tending to the abundant flocks of his father. To the world, it would appear that Joesph was already living the dream. Wealth. Comfort. Safety. Those things were certainly not wrong, they just weren’t all God had for Joseph. C.S. Lewis wrote “Prosperity knits a man to the World.” Be aware, the world will try to sell each of us a counterfeit dream and it will probably look a lot like it did for Joseph- possessions, comfort, success, ease. God has more.
We see that Joseph was his father’s favorite because he “had been born to him in his old age (Genesis 37:3).” Joseph was also born to Jacob’s beloved wife Rachel and he wore his father’s favor for all to see in the form of a beautiful robe. Quite literally, Joseph was Jacob’s dream. That’s a lot of pressure! When others hold us in unhealthy esteem it usually comes with unrealistic expectations. I’m sure Jacob had dreams of his own for his son (as most parents do) but those were not the same as God’s purposes for him. Everyone from our families, to our friends, to our employers, to acquaintances on social media probably have an opinion of what we should do with our lives and we can get lost living for the permission, blessings, and approval of others. God has a different path.
Lastly, we see that the enemy had a plan for Joseph’s life as well. Through the seeds of bitterness planted by Jacob’s favoritism, Satan grew hatred in the hearts of Joseph’s brothers to the point that they couldn’t even say a kind word to him. Satan knew God had big dreams for Joseph and he wanted to destroy him before they could be fulfilled. So he fanned the flames of jealousy and division in Joseph’s brothers that resulted in a murderous plot. Satan wants to keep us from God’s best purposes for our lives as well. He is the thief that “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” the abundant life and eternal dreams of God in your live. He may attack that dream in us and he may just numb us into an apathetic vision for our lives. God has better.
We all dream of living a life of purpose because God has placed that desire in our hearts. But He loves us enough to grant us free will which means we can choose whose dream we will live. When we pursue the world’s dreams, other’s dreams, or the enemy’s dreams we will waste our lives. Could there be anything worse? But when we hold tightly to God’s plans, we will find the purpose we were made for.
Today’s Big Questions: Whose dream for your life are you living? Do you see the world’s dreams, other’s expectations, and the enemy’s plans having influence over your life today? Where?
Prayer Response: Get quiet before the Lord and ask Him to reveal the counterfeit dreams that are influencing your life. Confess any plans or purposes that are not from Him and ask Him to redeem His dream for you.
Optional Action Step: Make a chart with 4 sections or 4 separate lists labeled WORLD, OTHERS, ENEMY, and GOD. Now think about the direction your life is going, the decisions you are making, and the opportunities you have. Write them under the corresponding heading. For the remainder of this series, continue to assign the dreams and desires you have to one of these influences.
Closing Prayer: “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21