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The Cloud of Witnesses

Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible



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Lesson 1: Joseph – The Young Dreamer


Genesis 37:1-11.

The Young Dreamer

Joseph was born while Jacob was still working for Laban. He experienced the severance of the family ties, Jacob’s encounter with God leaving him with a limp and the reunion with Esau. He was, of course, Jacob’s favourite wife Rachel’s firstborn son. He was also born later in Jacob’s life, so was undoubtedly seen as a miracle baby and even more special. That led to him being doted on by his father who, as a sign of favouritism, gave him that world famous multi-coloured coat.

Joseph was 17 years old and obviously knew that he was his Dad’s favourite son and that enabled him to spy on his brothers and give bad reports about them to Jacob. Consequently, his brothers hated him. Nevertheless, he shared with them a dream. A dream he would have been wiser to keep to himself. A dream, which suggested that his brothers would bow down to him in due course. He then exacerbated their indignation by saying there was a follow-up dream where Mum and Dad bowed to the ground before him as well. Adding insult to injury, he boasted about it to his father. None was amused, although it seems Jacob pondered the whole thing over in his mind.

This introduction to Joseph is not the most admiring, is it? By 17 he surely should have got over telling on his brothers. I wonder how he got the dream. Was he asleep or did he just daydream about the future, like most teenagers?

Whatever the case, it got to him. He was so excited he couldn’t keep it to himself. He clearly hadn’t thought through the ramifications of sharing it and did so in a very arrogant way. Those who were the butt of the dream were understandably defensive about it.

I believe God wants us all to dream. To sit down with a blank piece of paper in front of us and ask Him what He has planned for us. Try to see where you are, where you have come from and what God may want you to do for Him. Remember that He is the Creator of the world and that nothing is impossible for Him.

Once He gives the dream to you, cherish it. Don’t go sharing it with everyone, try and be spiritually discerning. Above all, give it back to God and let Him make it a reality in His way and in His time. But don’t let it die, regardless of what happens next!

Joseph would say to us today...

Don’t be afraid to dream – ask God for one and then live in the expectation of its fulfilment - just be careful who you share it with.


Father, it’s an awesome thought that You have a specific plan and purpose for my life. Please help me understand what it is and help me fulfil it to the best of my ability. Amen.

Additional readings

Jeremiah 29:11-14; Ephesians 3:14-21; Psalm 37:1-11.


What does God want you to do with your life?

How much has been fulfilled so far?

What do you think is preventing the rest from happening?

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