And Joseph’s brothers said to one another… Look, here comes the Dreamer now… let’s kill him, and throw him into a pit and we’ll say that some evil beast devoured him; that will take care of him and his dreams! (See Genesis 37:19-20).
Envy, rejection, hatred, these all find their place in the human heart. If we look back we can usually find the entry point, often it results because of an offense committed by another against us, offense occurs and we are wounded… the perfect place for our enemy to build his fortress. Indeed, here we have the story of Joseph whose father favored him over the other boys and gave him a special coat. The favored boy wore that beautiful, colorful coat, and the brothers grew in their hatred toward him because they saw the favor their father, Israel (formerly Jacob) placed upon this dearly beloved child that he fathered in his old age. Add to this, God had given the boy the ability to interpret dreams.
Youthful Joseph had several dreams, and in naivety perhaps, he shared them with his elder brothers; it angered them and “they hated him even more for his dreams and words.” “Who does he think he is!” they thought. “We will not bow down to him—ever!” Little did they know what lay ahead (Genesis 50:18).
Joseph was a dreamer that God used mightily in His Kingdom. One of Joseph’s great qualities was that he was given these dreams and the ability to interpret them, yet he did not aspire to greatness in a proud and domineering way. He seemed to live out the verse we find in Micah 6:8 (NKJV) ” He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you: to do justly (righteousness), to love mercy (loving-kindness), and to walk humbly with your God.” How do I know this? Read his story in Genesis chapters 37-50 and you will see.
So what about you, Dreamer? You have vision and purpose given to you by God; have others despised or rejected you because of your response to the Father’s call? Well, you’re not alone. To be sure, there will always be people who misunderstand God’s purpose in someone else’s life; we’ve all misjudged others. So how do we walk in a manner that does not exacerbate this condition but rather facilitates loving-kindness toward someone who is treating us wrongly? The verse from Micah 6:8 is a good foundation to work from. When we surrender every situation to the Holy Spirit for guidance and step out of God’s way, by living under His control through obedience, He now has the freedom to use our lives powerfully – just as He did with Joseph! Read his story and see how the many twists and turns were a demonstration of his faithfulness to God and how that provided eventual freedom for him!
Battles within and without are a part of the Christian life. Before we step into God’s Kingdom by way of the new birth experience (See John Chapter 3) we have battles within our heart and for which there seems to be no way out. Many around us are living under the torment and fear of demonic powers. Once a door is opened to this dark world, spiritual reality comes to life. Relief can only come from this tormenting world if we choose to step out of the old and enter a new realm with God. Once there, we enter another fray; deciding daily to let go and let God be our Source of life. Those who’ve done this realize there was a huge battle involving the spiritual realm of letting go and becoming new in Christ. Prior to giving ourselves over to God, we belonged to self and were influenced by the “Principalities and powers of this world.” Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Now that we are “walking in the Light” (I John 1:7) we gain a whole new perspective on who appears to be our enemies, and who actually is.
Jesus warned his followers of many things, including the posture some may take against us when we live for His Kingdom and no longer for ourselves. Rejection, hatred, and even death for some will accompany those who make God their supreme ruler and King. Human control over others is a powerful motivator in mankind. When a person has control over another and that is threatened somehow, there will be a response.
When you decide to come to Christ and surrender your life to Him, you will face persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). It takes on various forms and all of us who have made this choice soon experience the consequences of choosing the Kingdom of God over others. Our life changes from what we have known and trusted in; you become an alien of sorts, someone just passing through (Hebrews 11:13) and the world no longer has a grip upon you. Those around you may not like this. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.“ (Luke 9:23-26)
Idols are powerful things in our hearts that have a grip or hold upon us, yet often we do not realize they are even there. So when Jesus talks about “hating” something or someone, he is referring to the principle of having some supreme idol in place of Him as the King of our heart; loving someone or something more than God. For example, where Jesus tells us to hate someone or lets us know that we will be hated by some people we need to understand what He is saying.
Luke 14:26 (ESV) “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”
Matthew 10:22 (ESV) “And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
John 15:18-21 (ESV) “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.”
Some will view you as Joseph’s brothers did him. “Who do YOU think you are!” they thought, as Joseph was given dreams about the future. Perhaps it wasn’t wise of Joseph to actually tell the brother’s what God was showing him at the time (Genesis 37:5). It fueled their angry and hate-filled hearts toward him. They ended up rejecting him and selling him as a slave into Egypt.
Remember that Jesus himself was scorned, despised and rejected.
Matthew 13:54-58 (ESV) And coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.
Matthew 6:24 (ESV) “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” One of the fears family members place before new believers is that they are going to be required to give all their money away! I’m reminded by this scripture that money is such a huge idol in people’s lives, so naturally they go there first. In reality, God doesn’t need our money; although he does say we will be blessed if we give cheerfully. Rather he uses money as an indicator for us to determine our heart-change toward Him. When we love Him, giving becomes a pleasure and joy to us and it’s a tangible way of measuring our love for Him and others we may give to.
Giving and serving becomes a way of life for believers. I’m amazed at how much money people spend on themselves! Take for example someone rescued out of a self-centered, worldly life; they (or their family perhaps) didn’t mind when they spent money on unnecessary clothing, sports-idols, fine-dining, alcohol, movies (mostly geared toward sex and violence), fine-coffees, psychic readings, endless therapy, drugs, or social and religious causes. Yet once delivered from the world of sin and self, they realize there is a greater purpose then self-pleasure. So when they begin to give time, energy or money to God, there’s great concern now that their “addicted” to God! “Whoa!” they say, “You are getting way too serious about this God-stuff. Hold-on… what are you doing!” The hedonistic habits of the world (popularity, sexual pleasure, distinguished career, upscale drugs, fine alcohol) are encouraged by many over committed service to God. It’s amazing how when we surrender our lives to God and give, we become a threat to those who will not.
Remember, in dealing with offense and rejection from others — a posture of humility is always good. Humility does not mean victimization, it means you know that God is in control of your life and therefore you can walk in a way that does not exalt self; it’s placing your human strength (and natural pride) under the control of God. Another way to view humility is strength given by God to those who find their confidence in Him. Stand strong, therefore, and be of good courage, God is teaching you how to dream and live for His glory!
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