God didn't create people just to exist, and flow through the motions of life. Instead He created us with dreams, and a desire to see those dreams fulfilled. However, dreams don't just come to be suddenly. God didn't purpose that we just dream.
We study Joseph because his dreams were fulfilled, and through his example in Genesis we learn that dreams require skills that need to be sharpened and practiced. As we learned in the weeks past, dreams don't come to lazy people, and dreams won't be fulfilled through lazy people either.
Dreams Require Specific Skills
Extraordinary dreams are fulfilled by extraordinary skills. Looking at the story of Joseph we find a very skilled man. Joseph was a futurist. Genesis 37:5-8 states, Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, "Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it." His brothers said to him, "Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?" And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
Joseph was also a good manager of affairs. He had great responsibility in Potiphar's house and in the prison. Genesis 39:2-4 says, The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned.
And Genesis 39:20-23 states, But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph's care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.
Joseph also had the ability to interpret dreams as well. While in the prison, Joseph interpreted the dreams of the chief butler and the chief baker. Genesis 41:12-13 states, now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream. And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was hanged.
When we are born, God gives us natural talents, which we must sharpen and practice as we grow in order to better those talents. Our talents cannot be perfected unless we sharpen them. When we are born again, God gives us spiritual gifts, and in the same we must sharpen those skills to which God has gifted us, in order to accomplish His purpose.
How Do We Sharpen Our Skills?
A dreamer's skills are sharpened by hard times. Our dreams won't come true if we just sit back and pray. Though prayer is an important element, we must also work at it to see the fulfillment of our dreams. Therefore, a commitment to sharpening our skills is required.
Joseph did not sit back as he waited to see his dreams come true. He was active in pursuing that which he showed talent for, he worked at the gifts he was given as discussed above. However, it was not always easy for him to do so, as he faced great hardships but remained faithful to the Lord and the dream that was given to him.
Proverbs 27:17 states, as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. In sharpening our skills, we play an integral role in each other's lives. This verse encourages us to improve ourselves and by provoking one another to love and good works, therefore helping in making one another wiser and better in leading to the fulfillment of our dreams.
Sharpened Skills Will Be Noticed
If we put the effort forth and work to sharpen our skills, they will not go unnoticed. We all know the saying "good things come to those who wait." However, we cannot adopt this attitude because it forsakes the role necessary to see our dreams fulfilled. Therefore instead we should adopt the attitude that good things will come to those who work while they wait. Joseph is a grand example of working while waiting. It took thirteen years for Joseph to see his dreams fulfilled, but all along the way in spite of the challenges of his situation, he was at work honing his skills. Because of this his skills did not go unnoticed.
Last week we read that Joseph interpreted the dreams of the chief butler and the chief baker. However, though the chief butler had promised to remember Joseph, he had not. Nevertheless, in Genesis 41, the chief butler remembers Joseph when Pharaoh had a dream that he wanted interpreted. The butler had recalled Joseph's accurate interpretation of his own dream and the dream of the chief baker, and told Pharaoh about him. Pharaoh had Joseph brought to him at once to interpret his dreams.
Sharpened Skills Lead to Fulfilled Dreams
Sharpened skills that are used faithfully secure a dream. Joseph spent thirteen years sharpening his skills, while waiting to see his dreams fulfilled. And they would be because of that. Genesis 41:39-41 states, Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you." So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt."
Joseph was seventeen years old when he first dreamed of what his future held, and now he was thirty years old when Pharaoh placed him in charge of the land of Egypt. If Joseph had not been sharpening his skills during those thirteen years, but just sat waiting around for his dream to be fulfilled, he would have never been prepared for such a responsibility therefore his dream would never be fulfilled.
An Appointed Time
In this we also see that skills are sharpened for an appointed time. Time is often a difficult thing for us to deal with because waiting is hard. However, in spite of the challenges we may face, when we are waiting, and using that time to sharpen skills, we then know we are doing what God purposes for us. We can rest in knowing that man cannot thwart God's purposes. Therefore, there is no need to worry about whether are dreams will be fulfilled because they are under God's control. Joseph is our example and encouragement in this. He waited for thirteen years, to see his dreams unfold into reality and faced great challenges as he waited yet never wavered in his trust in the Lord.
We will see next week, God fulfill the dreams he gave to Joseph at the age of seventeen, because Joseph was faithful to use the gifts God had given Him. We have read of the process of getting there and seen that it had its ups and downs but Joseph did not give up. When we don't give up, and work to perfect the skills God has given us, He will open up the door and blow our minds with what He has in store for us, as He did with Joseph. Everything God had in store for Joseph and what He has in store for us is beyond our wildest dreams.