the courage to dream


Genesis 37:1-11

Jacob lived in the land of his father’s travels, in the land of Canaan.

2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was tending the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father.

3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a tunic with long sleeves.

4 But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak calmly to him.

5 Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more.

6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream that I have dreamed:

7 See, we were binding up sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf got up and stood upright. And see, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed themselves down to my sheaf.”

8 His brothers asked him, “Are you indeed to rule over us? Or are you indeed to have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.

9 Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “See, I have dreamed another dream. See, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”

10 But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and asked him, “Why have you dreamed a dream like this? Will I and your mother and your brothers really come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?”

11 And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father monitored the situation.


the courage to dream

Joseph enters the story already a victim of the sibling rivalry that had plagued his father. Jacob exacerbated the problem by having a special tunic made for Joseph. The wording is similar to the description of priests’ garments under Moses. The trouble with being set apart for something special is that it makes one a target for the envious, and a focal point for grievances. Even Jacob had problems with the dreams his son was having, indicating his future prominence. If you know the rest of the story, you know how important dreams were in Joseph’s story. It took a lot of faith for him to still allow God to use him as an interpreter of dreams. God often allows challenges to come into our lives in just those areas where he wants to use us.

LORD, give us the courage to trust what you are doing in our lives, even if it causes trouble for us personally.

About Jefferson Vann

Jefferson Vann is a former Christian missionary and a candidate for pastoral ministry. You can contact him at -- !
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