I first wrote these studies in the summer of 2006. My own life began to show some parallels to these lessons as they unfolded. I had some bad experiences as a result of being a little too open about my dreams. I did have encouragement from a number of people who were well grounded though. I had more encouragement from the Lord, who gave me a warning in a vision. Joseph too had a dream, but a good one, and saw it fulfilled.
And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt. And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number. And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. Genesis 41:46-52
The end of Joseph’s trouble was restoration, as Job too had experienced. His brothers still did not know this though. They still hid their terrible secret, thinking they had caused Joseph’s death. Their lie to their father had become their belief. But their secret was about to rise from the dead, like the resurrection to come.
Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another? And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die. And Joseph’s ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt. Genesis 42:1-3
When they go to Egypt for food, they are discovered by their brother Joseph, who they do not recognize. He knows who they are immediately, and he remembers the dreams God had given him. They were indeed about to bow to him as God had shown him.
And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth. And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food. And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him. And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come. Genesis 42:6-9
When my own problem arose, I had a premonition of the coming trouble. While walking my dog on a trail in the hot Texas brush, I sensed the “accuser of the brethren”, Satan. Accusations were being raised against me on the Internet, and I knew it even before I got home to turn the computer on. I felt a wave of grief from knowing that friends had turned against me.
I did not initially know what the charges were, but the web site was closed to my password. I was banned before I could be informed of the issues. I was charged with undermining the goals of the group, which I never intended. E-mails were quoted out of context, which can paint a biased version of events. But I had my warning, my vision, to steady me as this unfolded.
Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself! And David said unto Michal, It was before the LORD, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel: therefore will I play before the LORD. And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour. Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death. 2 Samuel 6:20-23
When Michal described David’s dancing as lewd, he was offended. He responded with a hard discipline. When, in the New Testament, religious leaders ascribed the healing of Jesus to the devil, the Holy Spirit was offended. Jesus warned them that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is a sin unto death.
And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. Mark 3:22-29
My friends, who judged me without talking to me in person, accused me of various misdeeds. My church suggested that their intent should be to restore the fallen, not to destroy them. Even if I was guilty, they rejected the path of Matthew 18:15-17. I had presented this lesson in a previous bible study to the same group. I can take correction, but I am grieved if my friends do not ask my side of the story. They took action without including me in the discussion or investigating the facts. I was not being allowed to have a pastor mediate either. The steps Jesus commanded always allow the one being investigated to participate in all the discussions.
I lost a fellowship that seemed good at the time. I gained some real Christian friends in Texas though. I got the training and the help I needed. I also endured a long period of unemployment that tried me like the affliction of Joseph’s prison. But I had friends who made me feel like royalty even in my bitter times. I took my compensation in the beauty of each day. I will see my redemption.
Joseph was richly redeemed, and ready to give his brothers a wake up call. They were alarmed to be accused of being spies. Then they remembered a brother who they thought they had killed.
And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come. We are all one man’s sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies. And he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye are come. And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not. Genesis 42:10-13
This is where it might have paid them to be spies. They might have known who this man was if they had a good intelligence system like the modern Mossad. But they were clueless.
And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God: If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses: But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so. And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us. And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required. And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter. And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes. Genesis 42:18-24
Joseph had a source of inside information; his God. He even tipped his hand by acknowledging God as his source. They missed the clue! But they didn’t miss the guilt message of thinking Joseph’s blood was coming back to them. Joseph heard their conversation and understood the Hebrew language. He again had the intelligence advantage. He planted more cause for fear in their grain sacks.
Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man’s money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: and thus did he unto them. And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence. And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the inn, he espied his money; for, behold, it was in his sack’s mouth. And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored; and, lo, it is even in my sack: and their heart failed them, and they were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that God hath done unto us? Genesis 42:25-28
They and their father were to discover that every sack held its money. And they acknowledged that this man (Joseph) was the lord of the land.
And they came unto Jacob their father unto the land of Canaan, and told him all that befell unto them; saying, The man, who is the lord of the land, spake roughly to us, and took us for spies of the country. And we said unto him, We are true men; we are no spies: We be twelve brethren, sons of our father; one is not, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan. And the man, the lord of the country, said unto us, Hereby shall I know that ye are true men; leave one of your brethren here with me, and take food for the famine of your households, and be gone: And bring your youngest brother unto me: then shall I know that ye are no spies, but that ye are true men: so will I deliver you your brother, and ye shall traffick in the land. And it came to pass as they emptied their sacks, that, behold, every man’s bundle of money was in his sack: and when both they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid. Genesis 42:29-35
They were about to witness Joseph as being the lord of the land as he had told them in his dream. His father had taken note of that dream long before.
And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying. Genesis 37:9-11
My own troubles are less when I remember to keep my dreams to myself. I hope my trials will eventually provide good things to everyone I have met along the way. I know that the web site that disappointed me is gone now. But those are still my friends, and they have been in my prayers through all these years. I look forward to seeing them when God has finished his work in all of us.