Genesis 37:10 – 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?
Genesis 37:11 –And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.
1 Corinthians 1:18 – For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
Galatians 5:11 – And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.
Hello readers, new blog today, and quite an obscure part of Joseph’s story, but an important part. To set this story up so we can understand how it relates to us today… we need to firstly understand the offense of the cross. Because the cross is offensive. Being told that you are a sinner who has broken God’s laws, who is dead in sins and under the wrath of God and condemnation of hell… well that’s offensive. Being told someone needed to die for you because you aren’t good enough is offensive. At the cross your pride is crucified, but for the children of pride, and that’s what we are… that’s a hard thing to take. Isn’t it? It’s why people don’t get saved, or even why those who do believe don’t follow Jesus Christ as disciples of him… because getting saved and following Jesus Christ comes at cost to self.
These days we have a scourge of seeker friendly Christianity and churches. They tweak the gospel story so that the offensive parts are removed and we all feel good about ourselves and nobody is offended. Jesus said in John 6… doth this offend you? The words of Jesus Christ are offensive. They are truth… and we are liars by birth and nature… so of course it hurts. His words are light… and we are darkness by birth and nature… so of course it stings. Christians likewise are meant to be salt and light in this world… while some might receive the truth, most will reject it. The cross is offensive, there is no way around that. The problem with seeker friendly Christianity and churches is because it attempts to make Christianity without offense. However in doing so, it also removes the truth of the gospel and the power of God… and produces false converts, and followers of Jesus Christ who go away. There were vast multitudes that went to see Jesus, but few got saved, even after all the miracles. The gospel is offensive, there’s no way around that. Man changes the gospel, and thus removes the offense of the cross, and thus people don’t get saved. They may get Christanized but they don’t get converted.
Today in this story we see that Jacob got offended by his son’s dream. The very notion that he would bow down to Joseph, his son… was offensive to his pride. Pride is at the core of our sin issue, and without checking our pride at the foot of the cross… it’ll stop us from getting saved and from serving God. With God’s word comes a humbling of us. Jesus said that the man who said “God be merciful to me a sinner” … his prayers were heard, and he was justified by his simple humility and faith in God. Pride was the last checkpoint in Job’s story before he repented… Job 41.
But here today we want to come to the simple point. It’s ok to be offended by God’s word… it does insult us, we can “not get it”, or it cannot necessarily be understood at first glance. I mean… Jacob didn’t understand it all did he? He couldn’t conceive how Joseph’s dream could be so. The gospel is like that, how can these things be? Nicodemus said to Jesus! It hits our pride and we don’t get it. Even after we get saved there can be things in the Bible we don’t readily understand or surrender to. Often because we don’t just understand God at all and how far ahead of us he is. He didn’t realize… Jacob that is… that that dream was the salvation of him and his sons from a grievous famine that would’ve killed them. We can read God’s word, but through the prism of our finite understanding we just can’t fathom it, we are unwilling to yield to God’s word… we don’t see the end, just like Jacob didn’t at the point in time. Look, you could just decide to obey God’s word, which is truth… or you can go it your own way, and see where it gets you in the end.
The cross is offensive, and Joseph’s dream which he faithfully relayed, God’s plan for his life, was not well received. His brothers hated him for it… expect that if you share the gospel with certain people, even supposed brothers! And his dad chided him for it… he scolded him, he told him off. Jacob didn’t get it, and we can not get it… but we should do the one thing Jacob did. The Bible then says that he (Jacob) observed the saying. Because after chiding Joseph, Jacob thought about it more, and kept it in his heart. He didn’t close off to truth. We should never want to get in to a state where we have slammed the door on truth. We can be in sin, but know it’s wrong, and not be right with God. It’s when we “perjure” our soul that we get in big trouble. When we not just sin, but we truly believe it’s ok, we truly embrace the lies of the devil, when we sin against light, when we choose not to retain God in our knowledge, when we choose to change the truth of God into a lie. David sinned horrifically, but he owned up to it and repented. Saul sinned, yet he justified his sin.
And it’s important to never surrender the truth, though it be offensive. There is a wonderful nugget of truth in Rahab’s story. She hid the spies. The Bible says, thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee. Rahab is a practical illustration of how we need to hide God’s word in our heart. God’s word spies us out, it spies out “all the land”. For many people, having all the land of your heart laid bare to the light is too much. It’s too offensive, the cost is to great, we don’t understand it in our own finite carnal minds… and therefore reject it. Most people don’t lodge the spies, but Rahab did. God’s word found a place in Rahab’s heart, as those spies found a place in her home. She protected them, and so we need to protect God’s word, his promises from the enemy. The king of Jericho, who is a picture of Satan coming for the word of God like in the parable of the sower, said they be come to spy out all the land. He was appealing to Rahab to surrender the spies, and Satan will appeal to you because you will have favorite sins, or things you aren’t willing to lay at the cross… and when that offense pops up, when the cost is too great, you’ll be like, ok Satan you can have the word and he will devour it up.
The cross is offensive, and that’s ok. Truth stings, that’s ok. It’s ok to be stung by truth and humbled by it. It’s even ok to react to it. There was a man who had two sons in the Bible. He said to the first go and work in the vineyard, and the son said no, but later repented and went and did it. The other said he would go, but didn’t. Which one actually did his father’s will? That’s Jacob in this story. He didn’t get the dream, the dream insulted his pride and he laced down Joseph for it… but the Bible says he observed the saying. We need to hear God’s word and it find good soil in our heart. People may react badly to God’s word, but you never know, it might just stay with them long after you threw some seed in the ground. Psalm 126:5,6 – They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. What a wonderful promise from God.
There were sheaves in the story of Joseph’s dream… he said their sheaves did obeisance to him. Joseph saved all their lives, just as the dream was… look what the dream cost him, he got betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery… but it turned into their salvation. They spited the very narrative of their own salvation. How often we can despise the word of truth, yet that same word is your salvation. That’s the gospel. If you are unsaved, the Bible is offensive to you, the message of Jesus dying on the cross for your sins is foolishness, senseless and offensive… yet it is your thread, your scarlet thread in the window, the scarlet thread of salvation… the blood of Jesus. It’s ok to be offended, but don’t dismiss it, don’t surrender those spies that have come to your home. The Bible called the spies messengers in James… God has a message for you today, it’s in his word, it may insult your pride, it may offend you, it may cause you to rail the person who has shared it with you… but it’s your salvation. What to do with the word of God you don’t like? Like Jacob… observe it, keep it, hold on to it, keep it in your heart, keep your door open to truth, don’t shut the door on your own salvation. You may find one day that that word you didn’t like was wiser than you could ever conceive, and more wonderful than you could imagine, and was in fact the very word that would be your salvation.
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)