This is the account of Jacob’s family line. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him (Genesis 37:2-4).
Joseph was part of a family that had its share of problems, just like David. He also started out as a shepherd, once again just like David. No one seemed to get along in Joseph's family because there were a lot of children to one father but to four different women who gave birth to them all. To make matters worse, the father had his favorites and let everyone know who they were! This created even more family problems.
Yet even though this family was far from perfect, God chose one of the brothers to play an important role not only in the family but in the world:
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 (Genesis 37:5-8).
Keep in mind, Joseph had this dream when he was seventeen and even though God knew it was going to cause problems among the brothers, He chose Joseph anyway. As we will read in the coming weeks, God actually used his brothers who disliked him to get Joseph exactly where God wanted and Joseph needed to be.
Perhaps you have a dream and your family, like Joseph's, also doesn't understand. Maybe you don't get along with your brothers or sisters as you would like. It may be hard but God knows what He is doing when He gives you a dream, and He will help bring it to pass with or without your family's help. So my advice to you in this chapter is to be clear as to what your dream is. Where do you want to go to school? What is in your heart to do with your life? What do you think you can do to get ready for your dream?
If you don't exactly know what your purpose, maybe you have a general idea. You suspect it could be in art, or medicine, or music. For now, that's close enough. Then take some time to daydream that you are doing something that's related to that dream. Maybe you are performing on a stage, or seeing patients, or watching people come to see your art because they like it. And of course, pray that God will help make your dream clear, just like He did for Joseph.
We will look in the coming weeks how Joseph held on to his dream, but for now, it's just important to know that he had one. God wants you to have one too—no matter how young you are. Trust God to show you and then begin to seek Him and plan how you will fulfill what you see with God's help, for God is a God of purpose and He will help you do it—just like He did for Joseph.