Jesus is warning us in Matthew 10:16 that we’re innocent in a world full of predatory wolves. We need to be cautious and aware so we don’t become prey.
Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Time for another End Times post.
I was reading through Genesis in January, and the day I wrote this post I had got to Genesis 37. This chapter is the beginning of the story of Joseph, Jacob/Israel’s son. And Joseph suffers a horrible tragedy at the hands of jealous family members in Genesis 37. Why? It was all because Joseph told his brothers about his dreams, and they got jealous.
God speaks to us through dreams, and the Wisdom we gain this way is precious. But it’s not for everybody—we must be careful who we share it with. It’s not a good idea to tell everyone about what’s on our mind. It can cause us horrible problems if we do.
But if we take a close look at Genesis 37, we can see where Joseph went wrong. And we can learn from it, avoiding his mistake. A Wise person learns from the mistakes of others, wouldn’t you agree? So let’s look at the tragic story of Genesis 37 and see what it tells us.
Dreams are one of God’s Favorite Methods
Acts chapter 2 tells us that in the End Times, all kinds of people will have prophetic dreams from God. People of all walks of life and socioeconomic status will receive Wisdom, prophecy, and warnings from God. God will pour out His spirit on all people, and the people will prophesy.
(17) In the last days, God says,Acts 2:17-18 (CEB)
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your young will see visions.
Your elders will dream dreams.
(18) Even upon my servants, men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
Perhaps even you, the person reading this, have had interesting dreams in the last few years. Maybe they were dream warnings about an event which later came true, or maybe they gave you insight into the true Spiritual nature of this world. Insights into the Spiritual realm, or our true enemies who live there, the demons.
God most definitely does speak to us through dreams, that’s a fact. Besides our own experiences of dreams from God, we can also read the Bible and see that one of God’s favorite ways to talk to His people is through dreams. God first spoke to Solomon in Solomon’s dreams, for example. But we can read about God speaking to people in dreams going all the way back to Genesis. God showed dreams to Jacob/Israel, and He also used dreams to speak to Israel’s son, Joseph.
But Joseph’s story, which starts from Genesis 37, is a cautionary tale about our God-given dreams and we need to learn from it. We need to be careful of who we tell our dreams to, especially in these dangerous End Times. Not everyone can be trusted. Joseph wasn’t careful about this, and ended up paying a heavy price. Although it was all part of God’s plan, and Joseph would become prosperous, powerful, and happy in the end, he first had to go through years of slavery and painful suffering.
We can avoid that pain though, if we heed the lesson of Joseph’s mistake in Genesis 37.
Joseph’s Mistake — Genesis 37
The story starts in Genesis 37, verses 3 to 11. Joseph was Israel/Jacob’s favorite son, which made Joseph’s brothers envious. When Joseph received dreams from God, he told his brothers and that made them even more envious. At this point, even though Joseph was young, he should have realized he was making his brothers envious. But he didn’t realize his mistake. He received another dream from God, this one showing Joseph even more powerful than the previous one. He told his brothers about the dream again, making them even more jealous.
(3) Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons because he was born when Jacob was old. Jacob had made for him a long robe. (4) When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of his brothers, they hated him and couldn’t even talk nicely to him.Genesis 37:3-11 (CEB)
(5) Joseph had a dream and told it to his brothers, which made them hate him even more. (6) He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had. (7) When we were binding stalks of grain in the field, my stalk got up and stood upright, while your stalks gathered around it and bowed down to my stalk.”
(8) His brothers said to him, “Will you really be our king and rule over us?” So they hated him even more because of the dreams he told them.
(9) Then Joseph had another dream and described it to his brothers: “I’ve just dreamed again, and this time the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
(10) When he described it to his father and brothers, his father scolded him and said to him, “What kind of dreams have you dreamed? Am I and your mother and your brothers supposed to come and bow down to the ground in front of you?” (11) His brothers were jealous of him, but his father took careful note of the matter.
As we will see from the next passages, we need to be careful who we tell our dreams to. We need to be careful who we talk about Spiritual matters with. There are times when we’re better off keeping the dreams and Wisdom we receive from God to ourselves. Joseph did the opposite in Genesis 37, and suffered for it.
Moving on, we see the terrible consequences of Joseph innocently telling the wrong people about his dreams from God. One day, Jacob/Israel told Joseph to go see how his brothers were doing with tending the flock. His brothers saw him coming from far away, and decided to take a cruel revenge on him.
Joseph’s brothers beat him up and threw him in a cistern. They also took his prized robe. When they saw some Ishmaelites coming their way, they decided to sell their own brother into slavery. A horrible atrocity. And all this because of their jealousy over Joseph’s God-given dreams of prosperity and power. Jealousy is a powerful motivating force behind people’s actions. Beware of causing people to be jealous, it could end up creating massive problems.
We resume the story from verse 18 onward.
(18) They saw Joseph in the distance before he got close to them, and they plotted to kill him. (19) The brothers said to each other, “Here comes the big dreamer. (20) Come on now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns, and we’ll say a wild animal devoured him. Then we will see what becomes of his dreams!”Genesis 37:18-28, 31-32, 33-36 (CEB)
(23) When Joseph reached his brothers, they stripped off Joseph’s long robe, (24) took him, and threw him into the cistern, an empty cistern with no water in it. (25) When they sat down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with camels carrying sweet resin, medicinal resin, and fragrant resin on their way down to Egypt. (26) Judah said to his brothers, “What do we gain if we kill our brother and hide his blood? (27) Come on, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites. Let’s not harm him because he’s our brother; he’s family.” His brothers agreed. (28) When some Midianite traders passed by, they pulled Joseph up out of the cistern. They sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver, and they brought Joseph to Egypt.
(31) His brothers took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a male goat, and dipped the robe in the blood. (32) They took the long robe, brought it to their father, and said, “We found this. See if it’s your son’s robe or not.”
(33) He recognized it and said, “It’s my son’s robe! A wild animal has devoured him. Joseph must have been torn to pieces!” (34) Then Jacob tore his clothes, put a simple mourning cloth around his waist, and mourned for his son for many days. (35) All of his sons and daughters got up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted, telling them, “I’ll go to my grave mourning for my son.” And Joseph’s father wept for him. (36) Meanwhile the Midianites had sold Joseph to the Egyptians, to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s chief officer, commander of the royal guard.
Again, although Joseph’s brothers committed a horrible atrocity here, it was all part of God’s plan. Joseph would be triumphant, happy, and powerful at the end of his story. There would even be a reconciliation amongst this messed up family! The evil deed recorded here in Genesis 37 was what God used to bring about Joseph’s bright and prosperous future. The exact future that God showed Joseph through dreams. His brothers couldn’t stop that from happening—in the end they made it happen!
But that doesn’t mean we have to suffer the same pain as Joseph. If we learn from Joseph’s mistake in Genesis 37, we can move more cautiously than him. Genesis 37 shows what happens when we naively think everyone can be trusted with our most meaningful secrets.
Who Can Withstand Jealousy?
Let Genesis 37 be an extreme example of this basic fact of life: Not everyone can be trusted or has our best interests at heart. Not even family. When people get too jealous (even family), they do all kinds of wicked things.
Jealousy is an extremely powerful motivating force. Jealousy can make a person obsess about getting even or overcoming the person they’re jealous of. Jealousy can drive people to do all kinds of wicked things they normally wouldn’t do. When jealousy grows in a person’s heart, it takes a powerful hold over them and leads them to great evil.
Proverbs 27:4 points to how powerful jealousy is, how much it drives people to evil. Jealousy is compared to wrath and anger, and ranked more powerful than those. Who can stand before jealousy? When jealousy takes a person over, they won’t stop until they take down the target of their jealousy. Jealousy is a powerful motivating force behind people’s actions.
(4) Wrath is cruel and anger is a flood,Proverbs 27:4 (CEB)
but who can withstand jealousy?
And Proverbs 14:30 mentions the corrupting, unhealthy nature of jealousy. It harms us from the inside—it rots our bones.
(30) A peaceful mind gives life to the body,Proverbs 14:30 (CEB)
but jealousy rots the bones.
Knowing that jealousy is so powerful, we need to be more careful than Joseph was in Genesis 37. If God shows us a dream or vision of great prosperity, power, or Spiritual progress, we should be very careful who we share that with. If we make someone jealous, they’ll try to stop that dream from coming true, same as Joseph’s brothers did.
There are other, more practical concerns too. If God gives us a good idea, like a good business idea or any other kind of good idea, people can steal our idea if we tell the wrong person. The person who steals it might not even be jealous of us! But if they recognize we have a good idea, and they have the resources to start working on that idea right away, then they could. And they might.
See, our dreams are not limited to things God shows us in our sleep. Our dreams include our plans for the future, goals we want to achieve, projects we want to do, ideas we have in our head. All these things are precious treasures, and we should guard them accordingly.
If we aren’t careful who we tell our dreams to, like Joseph, people can steal them or try to stand in the way of them. But what’s even more likely than that is people becoming envious of us. And we never want people to be envious of us for anything. It’ll cause us nothing but problems. Even if the problems aren’t as extreme as Genesis 37, we still don’t want to deal with those if we don’t need to.
It’s sad that not everyone can be trusted. But it’s a sad fact of life here on this sinful, fallen world. And never more true than now, during the End Times.
Wise as Serpents, Innocent as Doves
Jesus Himself warned us not to trust just anybody. He warned us that the world was full of ‘wolves.’ So He told us to be wise as serpents—wise to the tricks and tactics of the wicked—while also keeping our own innocence. Wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
(16) “Look, I’m sending you as sheep among wolves. Therefore, be wise as snakes and innocent as doves.Matthew 10:16 (CEB)
Being wise as serpents and innocent as doves isn’t a contradiction. We can be knowledgeable about the tricks of wicked people without acting wickedly ourselves. The fact that we have knowledge of their wicked tactics does not force us to use these tactics. We’re always in control of what we do. But Jesus is telling us it makes sense to know how wicked people act, to know what they do.
Jesus is warning us in Matthew 10:16 that we’re innocent in a world full of predatory wolves. We need to be cautious and aware so we don’t become prey.
And since no Times are more dangerous than the End Times, this warning has never been more important. It’s a sad fact of life that not everyone can be trusted. It’s sad that this includes our own family and friends. But it is what it is, this is life on our fallen world. So we need to be careful and alert, wise as serpents, like Jesus said. That way we can avoid the painful, tragic mistake of Joseph in Genesis 37.
Of course, we can’t make it through life without some allies or friends. And God doesn’t want us to be paranoid either. But how do we know who to trust? How do we avoid the mistake of Joseph in Genesis 37?
That’s simple. We will know people by their fruits—their actions. A person’s actions reveals who they really are, and tells us what we need to know about them. A person’s actions are their fruit.
Jesus taught us this in Matthew 7:16. Although He was referring to how to recognize false prophets, the teaching applies to every situation. If we want to know who to trust, we must look at their actions, their track record, their history. What have they done in the past? What a person does is more important than anything they say, how they look, or anything else.
To avoid the mistake of Joseph in Genesis 37, gauge people by their fruits—their actions. We can only pick the most trustworthy people to talk about our dreams with. Dreams, which include our goals and ambitions, are far too precious to talk about them with everybody. We have to guard them carefully, or else we’ll suffer like Joseph. But if we learn this lesson from Genesis 37, we’ll be safe.
And now, I end with the words of the Savior from Matthew 7. We will know people by their fruits—by their actions.
(16) You will know them by their fruit. Do people get bunches of grapes from thorny weeds, or do they get figs from thistles? (17) In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, and every rotten tree produces bad fruit.Matthew 7:16-17 (CEB)
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Until next time, be strong and do good!
Your new best friend in Christ,
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