Then they said to one another, “look this dreamer is coming!”
“Come, therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit, and we shall say, ‘some wild beast has devoured him,’ we shall see what will become of his dreams.”
(To stalk is to pursue persistently, to attack) obsessed. Young Joseph had always had it very good. Not only was he the first born of his father’s favourite wife, but he had been born after a long wait, when his father was already old.
“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age and he made him a coat of many colors.” Joseph’s mother died while giving birth to his younger brother (Benjamin), so his father’s fondness for him had increased greatly. His father’s partiality towards him was no secret. His step-brothers’ resentment towards him was no secret either. The sibling rivalry was made worse by the fact that young Joseph would often report to his father any bad things his brothers did.
When Joseph turned 17 years his father gave him a dream coat of many colours. The brothers could probably have lived with the father’s partiality except that one day young Joseph turned up and made a provocative announcement.
“Guys, you won’t believe what I dreamt last night: we were out in the field tying up bundles of grain. My bundle stood up, and then your bundle stood up, and then your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!”
“So you are going to be our king, are you?” his brothers taunted.
The Bible says they hated him all the more for his dream and what he had said.
Like Joseph, we all dream. I have never met a truly converted believer who at one time or another did not dream about “doing something for God.” Over the years I have listened to great visions and dreams, and observed measures of extreme sacrifices made towards the fulfillment of these visions and dreams. Yet somewhere along the way many of these dreams die, and the visionaries and dreamers go back to their boats and begin to rebuild their fishing trade (like Peter when he thought Jesus had died for good).
From Joseph’s life, we discover some enemies that stalk God’s dream in our lives. Some kill the dreams at birth, while others lie in wait to kill it just before it flowers.
The following are six enemies that stalk your dream:
●Enemy number one: Our own immaturity or lack of wisdom
The first enemy of our dream is our own immaturity, lack of wisdom, presumption, or character flaw. Young Joseph did not make up his dreams… he did indeed dream them.
They were not a product of his own making, they were God’s purpose being revealed in advance. Young Joseph could, however, not see that far. He had always been favoured above the rest of his brothers.
So when he dreamt that his brothers sheaves had bowed to his, all he could see was the perpetuation of his favoured position. He saw himself moving beyond the favour of his old father to rulership over his family. This is where we have to be careful when God calls us to a specific ministry, whether this comes through dreams, or a spoken prophecy… we must be careful not to think that our abilities or contributions have made us deserving of God’s call.
The Bible lays this plainly. For God said to Moses, “I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.”
So receiving God’s promise is not up to us. We can’t get it by choosing it or working hard for it. God will show mercy to anyone he chooses. When God honours you, the rule of the thumb is this: bow down even lower before him.
When God blesses you ahead of others, still consider them better than yourself. It has nothing to do with your perceived abilities or attainments.
Enemy number two: Opposition from the enemy
A little while later, young Joseph’s father sent him to seek out his shepherd brothers and see how they were doing out in the pastures. When they saw him from afar, they rubbed their hands with glee as they saw an opportunity to put the “little dreamer” in his place.
“Here comes the dreamer!” they exclaimed.
“Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into a deep pit. We can tell our father that a wild animal has eaten him. Then we’ll see what becomes of all his dreams.”
Although Joseph’s brothers already resented him because of his favoured position, the latter part of the verse indicates an intent that went beyond sibling rivalry.
The intent to murder comes into the picture. And this intent did not originate in their hearts.
Satan already knew God’s purpose, not only for the nation of Israel but also for the root of Jesse who would eventually save all mankind.
Satan’s plan was not against Joseph as a person, but against the long term purpose of God for Israel and mankind. When God lays his dream in a man, Satan will attempt to eliminate the man, believing that the dream will die with him.
The devil’s tactics have not changed, he still looks at the called of God and declares to his demonic host, “let us kill him and see what becomes of all his dreams.” If you remain steadfast in your endurance God’s purpose will be fulfilled in the appointed season.
Enemy number three: Sudden reversal of circumstances
One day Joseph was dreaming of becoming ruler, not only over his family, but over the nations as well. Yet a few weeks later, he was worse off. One day he woke up as the favoured son of his father and went to bed a slave.
How often does God give someone the dream of becoming…
●A successful business person.
●Break through .
●Prosperity in the country.
Only for the circumstances to be worse than they were (stages of the prophetic process).
We see Joseph wisely overcoming this trap of reversed circumstances from the enemy.
●As a son he had sought his father’s favour.
●As a slave he became the best slave his master could have
●And as a prisoner, he was the best prisoner in town
Joseph did not allow his commitment to swing with the circumstances.
Don’t be moved by the circumstances surrounding your dream.
Enemy number four: The enemy’s counterfeit
Things turned out rather well for Joseph in Potiphar’s house. His master gave him complete administrative responsibilities over everything he owned.
Joseph seemed to have finally made it in life, inspite of his earlier setbacks. Joseph could easily have thought that this was the realisation of his dream and stayed put.
What is Potiphar’s house? These are the false finish lines… substitutes of real things. False arrivals. We always talk of how Joseph resisted seduction from Mrs Potiphar, but we fail to see the greater temptation.
Joseph could easily have been content as a house boy (false finish lines)… yet his vision was greater than that… “Prime Minister!”
Reject the trappings of Potiphar’s house, the blessings and go for the full dream!
Enemy number five: Entanglement with other people’s dreams
Why would Potiphar’s wife desire to sleep with her husband’s slave? The Bible provides some useful insights.
“And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.
“But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master knoweth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand…”
“There is none greater in this house than I, neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
“And it came to pass, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.”
Potiphar’s wife wasn’t simply some loose woman out to sleep with just anyone. This man (Potiphar) was never at home. The Bible says he was the captain of Pharaoh’s bodyguards and the head hangman of Egypt, a job that certainly had it’s own stresses. This woman was a neglected woman, lonely. In her loneliness she admired handsome Joseph — she dreamt about him.
Imagine her telling Joseph her marital problems, telling Joseph how he was different from her husband. Her dream husband was Joseph — but Joseph had his own dream! Joseph refused to be entangled in her dream!
Like Joseph, somewhere along the dream we shall run into others who will want us entangled in their dreams. Others who can see us making their dream come true.
They will try to entice us away from our dream with many sweet words… “lie with me.” Not necessarily sexually, but all other ways.
Enemy number six: Jumping the gun — (Going ahead of God)
In the course of Joseph’s prison term, two fellow convicts had different dreams. Pharaoh’s chief cup-bearer and chief baker.
“And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt.
“And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. He put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound.
“And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward.
“And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison.
“And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and behold, they were sad.
“And he asked Pharaoh’s officers that were with him in the ward of his lord’s house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly today?
“And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.
“And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me…
“And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes.”
“And Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.
“And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days.
“Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh’s cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler.
“But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and show kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this House.”
The cup-bearer told his dream first. “In my dream, I saw a vine in front of me. It had three branches that began to bud and blossom, and soon there were clusters of ripe grapes. I was holding Pharaoh’s wine cup in my hand, so I took the grapes and squeezed the juice into it. Then I placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.
“… I know what that dream means,” he said,
Joseph said: “the three branches mean three days, within three days Pharaoh will take you out of prison and return you to your position as his cup bearer. And please have some pity on me when you are back in his favour. Mention me to Pharaoh, and ask him to let me out of here.”
The Bible tells us that after his release, the cup-bearer went out and forgot all about Joseph.
Joseph was not bitter, nor did he send sms messages to the cup-bearer to remind him. At the precise prompting of God, the cup-bearer remembered Joseph. The timing was perfect because the next phase of God’s plan was ready.
Supposing the cup-bearer had remembered Joseph immediately, what would have happened?
Joseph would probably have been released back into his slavery (or) “Potiphar’s house,” away from God’s purpose. Remember Pharaoh had not had his dreams. Joseph would have settled for Potiphar’s house instead of Prime Minister of Great Egypt. Satan has his own calendar and clock, different from God’s.
Here is the rule of the thumb: If God began it, He will finish it at his time. He needs no reminders or prompters! And he certainly does not need our help.
●Colin Nyathi is a senior pastor and founder of Harvest House International Churches. email firstname.lastname@example.org