Genesis 37: 12-20
Now his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, and Israel said to Joseph, ‘As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.’
‘Very well,’ he replied.
So he said to him, ‘Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.’ Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron.
When Joseph arrived at Shechem, a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, ‘What are you looking for?’
He replied, ‘I’m looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?’
‘They have moved on from here,’ the man answered. ‘I heard them say, “Let’s go to Dothan.”’
So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.
‘Here comes that dreamer!’ they said to each other. ‘Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.’
This week we are going to think through how we navigate that time period between the dream being conceived and the dream being fulfilled. That gap or space where our vision of the future doesn’t yet come close to matching our daily reality.
Joseph had two incredible prophetic dreams promising promotion and prominence in his future. While initially he could have handled these revelations better, we also see someone who remained faithful in the hidden places while waiting for the dream to unfold before him.
When asked to make the 50 mile journey to visit his brothers, Joseph is unquestioningly obedient to his father. Think about it. From their previous treatment of him, his brothers weren’t likely to be excited to see him. He’s also incredibly persistent. When he finds out they have moved on further, he doesn’t give up and return home. Joseph keeps searching, he perseveres until he finds them.
The lesson is this: in between the dream and its fulfilment, we remain faithful and obedient in whatever place we find ourselves. We simply get on with what’s in front of us. We hold onto the dream but also show up each day and do whatever needs done.
Banning Liebscher helpfully offers this advice in his book ‘Rooted’:
“We get distracted watching other people in other assignments and seasons of life, and the grass always looks greener…. We can’t see that God is using what is in front of us to develop the root system we so desperately need. The need for significance makes us look at other areas that feel more exciting or more in line with our vision.
We’ll never thrive in the process unless we accept the place where God has put us, because that is the only place He will work with us…..
I understand why a lot of us have a hard time focusing on what is in front of us, because it usually doesn’t look like the promise, dream, or vision we have in our hearts. It takes faith and commitment to trust the God who gave us both the dream and our current assignment and to say, “I don’t understand how You’re going to get me from here to there. But getting me there is Your job, and this [assignment] in front of me is my job.”
A huge part of the reason God gives us visions and dreams is that we need them to keep us going, to spur us on, when we are going through times and seasons that seem to make no sense. We need to cling to His promises most at the times when they seem least likely to be fulfilled. We need to hold onto in the dark what God has spoken to us in the light.
How does your current reality line up with the dream God has placed in your heart? Be encouraged today, while holding onto your dream, to remain faithful and obedient in the tension between the ‘now’ and the ‘not yet’.