Bowing Down to Joseph (Genesis 37:11)

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Jacob, more than anyone else in his family, knew the importance of dreams.

He wasn’t too far removed from his father’s house when he had a dream in an area that would eventually be known as Bethel (Genesis 28). His grandfather Abraham had a night vision where he made a direct covenant with God concerning his ancestors’ sojourn in Egypt (Genesis 15). 

It must’ve been shocking (to say the least), when Joseph approached him with a dream of his own. Both of them are remarkably similar, although the components are different (sheaves and stars). They both have a central figure, which is Joseph, receiving honor from his family.

It’s bold, to say the least, for Joseph to tell these dreams to a family that already looked at him with a suspicious eye. Jacob knew that, and rightfully rebuked Joseph for his brashness in relaying these dreams.

But he didn’t forget them. Genesis 37:11 states that Jacob “kept the matter in mind.” 

It’s worth pausing here to note Joseph’s own relationships with dreams. Many are familiar with the dreams of the baker and the cupbearer that Joseph reveals in prison after he’s sold by his brothers (Genesis 40). Joseph is absolutely confident that God can interpret dreams, so he asks them to tell him about their dreams.

That later detail reveals Joseph’s complete trust in dreams as a connection to the Divine (at least, in those days — Hebrews 1:1). He most likely got that understanding from the stories he heard from Abraham and Jacob; when he had his own, of course he’s going to share them with his family. Why would he not?!

This explains why Joseph is so confident in his dealings with others. Never once do you see an ounce of uncertainty in his decisions. Never once does he betray any kind of trust in God. It took Abraham and Jacob quite a while to get to that point, but Joseph is rock solid from the beginning.

It’s part of what made him such an effective leader — not that he possessed amazing administration capabilities, but because he had full-fledged trust in God. It’s a trait that’s apparent in people like David and Daniel, as well.

In the end, it took more than a staged animal attack and bondage into slavery to stop Joseph. God was with Joseph. His brothers knew it, his dad knew it, and most importantly, Joseph knew it.