Dream Realization The W Factor
Sermon Summary
This message looks at Joseph's dream realization and how it included and impacted people around him, especially his family. Joseph had been elevated to second in command in Egypt while his family back in Canaan were suffering under the effects of the famine. The story follows Joseph’s brothers as they attempt to buy food from Egypt and end up discovering Joseph was still very much alive.  A close look at the details of this story reveals at least five very valuable life lessons:
Decisions you make don't just affect you!
Ungodly decisions can put you and others in serious bondage!
Your faith or lack of it has an impact on others!           
Sometimes you have to step out on faith even when your faith is weak!
The dream itself was not the most important thing after all!

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. Can you personally relate to Joseph in any way? Explain. (his personal trials, his family issues, etc)

2. Can you personally relate to Joseph’s brothers in any way? Explain. (their jealousy of their brother and later their guilt over what they had done, their fear, etc)

3. If you’ve ever been trapped in a prison of guilt, remorse, anger, worry or fear, how did you eventually find freedom?
Rom 8:1  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
Rom 8:2  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
Rom 8:3  For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,
Rom 8:4  in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
Rom 8:5  Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
Rom 8:6  The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;

4. Joseph’s dream was that his brothers would someday bow down to him and that dream came to pass. However, God had more important things to accomplish through the dream. Name at least one additional thing God used Joseph’s dream to accomplish in his family.
Gen 45:5  And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.
Gen 45:6  For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping.
Gen 45:7  But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.


Full Sermon Notes
Dream Realization: The W Factor

Last week we talked about the U Factor which is the Y O U Factor. In other words, God's dream and vision for you is about YOU and for YOU, but it's not just about you or for you! It's also about others. In other words, it's not just me, but we! If your dreams and plans only include you, you can be assured they're not from God! God is always concerned about others in your life, especially your family and friends. Of course He cares about people you don't even know, but we'll talk about that next week in our T Factor message.

Today we'll continue to look at Joseph's dream realization and how it included and impacted people around him, especially his family. There's some very important take homes from this part of Joseph's story. Let's Pray and ask God to help us discover those take homes today. PRAY!

Our story continues in Genesis 42 and goes through the first part of Genesis 46. Time will not permit me to read the entire story, but I wish I could. It's so powerful. However, we'll deal with much of it and along the way discover some important "W" or "We" factors.

Let's pick up our story in Genesis 42:1...

1 When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?”
2 He continued, “I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die.”
3 Then ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt.
4 But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him.

Ok, are you getting the family dynamic here? Jacob, or Israel, as he was also known, was still upset with the fact his older sons had allowed something terrible to happen to Joseph. He wasn't about to trust them with Benjamin. You see, when the brothers sold Joseph, they didn't get rid of their problem, they just added a whole new list of problems to the ones they already had. And the problem with Joseph was more with the way they handled their dads favoritism towards Joseph than it was Joseph.

Getting rid of Joseph had certainly not helped their relationship with their dad.

So here's the first We factor in our story today...

We Factor # 1
Decisions you make don't just affect you!

Jacob's decision to show favoritism to Joseph had affected the whole family negatively. The decision the brothers made to get rid of Joseph affected the whole family negatively. As we'll see today, God was able to make good come from the bad, but we must know this: If they had made better decisions, God would have still gotten Joseph to Egypt, He would have just taken a different route and maybe there would not have been such family division.

5 So Israel’s sons were among those who went to buy grain, for the famine was in the land of Canaan also.
6 Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the one who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground.

Wait a minute…Did Joseph's brothers just bow down to him? Dream realization!
They had no idea it was Joseph! Joseph had grown up. He looked much different now. But….look at verse 7…

7 As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to

them. “Where do you come from?” he asked. “From the land of Canaan,” they replied, “to buy food.”

8 Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him.

9 Then he remembered his dreams about them and said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see where our

land is unprotected.”

10 “No, my lord, ” they answered. “Your servants have come to buy food.
11 We are all the sons of one man. Your servants are honest men, not spies. ”
12 “No!” he said to them. “You have come to see where our land is unprotected.”
13 But they replied, “Your servants were twelve brothers, the sons of one man, who lives in the land of Canaan. The youngest is now with our father, and one is no more.”

Why would they even mention Joseph? It had been 22 years now since they had sold him into slavery. There was Joseph's 13 years of slavery and prison plus the seven years of good harvest and now enough time of famine for Jacob's family to run out of food. We'll see why they mentioned him in just a moment.

14 Joseph said to them, “It is just as I told you: You are spies!

15 And this is how you will be tested: As surely as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here.
16 Send one of your number to get your brother; the rest of you will be kept in prison, so that your words may be tested to see if you are telling the truth. If you are not, then as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies! ”
17 And he put them all in custody for three days.
18 On the third day, Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God:
19 If you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here in prison, while the rest of you go and take grain back for your starving households.
20 But you must bring your youngest brother to me, so that your words may be verified and that you may not die.” This they proceeded to do.
21 They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come upon us.”
22 Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.”
23 They did not realize that Joseph could understand them, since he was using an interpreter.

We Factor # 2
Ungodly decisions can put you and others in serious bondage!

Think about this…Joseph had spent his time as a slave and as a prisoner, but he had been free now for over seven years. His brothers, on the other hand, were still being held captive by what they had done! That's why they mentioned him. They were haunted by what they had done. I would rather have been in Joseph’s shoes than his brothers shoes. Joseph had been a slave and a prisoner physically, but his brothers were slaves to their anger and prisoners of their guilt! They lived in fear. Sometimes mental and emotional prisons are worse than real prisons.

You might be here today and can relate to Joseph's brothers. You might be wondering if there's any hope of getting out of your prison. There is and we'll see this in just a moment! Hang in there with me. It may seem harsh the way Joseph handled his brothers, but he wanted to see if they had changed any at all. He wanted to see if they were still eat up with hatred towards him, but it wasn't easy for him. Listen...

24 He turned away from them and began to weep, but then turned back and spoke to them again. He had Simeon taken from them and bound before their eyes.
25 Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to put each man’s silver back in his sack, and to give them provisions for their journey. After this was done for them,
26 they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.
27 At the place where they stopped for the night one of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey, and he saw his silver in the mouth of his sack.
28 “My silver has been returned,” he said to his brothers. “Here it is in my sack.” Their hearts sank and they turned to each other trembling and said, “What is this that God has done to us?”
29 When they came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them. They said,
30 “The man who is lord over the land spoke harshly to us and treated us as though we were spying on the land.
31 But we said to him, ‘We are honest men; we are not spies.
32 We were twelve brothers, sons of one father. One is no more, and the youngest is now with our father in Canaan.’
33 “Then the man who is lord over the land said to us, ‘This is how I will know whether you are honest men: Leave one of your brothers here with me, and take food for your starving households and go.
34 But bring your youngest brother to me so I will know that you are not spies but honest men. Then I will give your brother back to you, and you can trade in the land. ’ ”
35 As they were emptying their sacks, there in each man’s sack was his pouch of silver! When they and their father saw the money pouches, they were frightened.
36 Their father Jacob said to them, “You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me! ”

Have you ever been in Jacob's shoes? He felt like everything was against him.

We Factor # 3
Your faith or lack of it has an impact on others!

Jacob had missed so many opportunities to be a leader in his family. He had missed many opportunities to exercise his faith in God and show his children that faith. All he could see was bad because he only looked at the circumstances. Little did he know that God was about to show up! Here's an important thing to remember. God wants the best for you! But you have to trust Him and allow Him to work through all the circumstances surrounding you. Your trust and faith in Him are all that stand between you and total defeat! Jacob couldn't possibly see what was about to happen. What seemed at the moment to be the end of everything was actually going to be a new beginning!

Reuben, if you remember, was the brother who had tried to rescue Joseph and return him to his father, but had been too late. Here's what he says...

37 Then Reuben said to his father, “You may put both of my sons to death if I do not bring him back to you. Entrust him to my care, and I will bring him back.”

38 But Jacob said, “My son will not go down there with you; his brother is dead and he is the only one left. If harm comes to him on the journey you are taking, you will bring my gray head down to the grave in sorrow. ”

He wasn't saying Benjamin was his only son, but the only one left from his marriage to his wife Rachel who he had loved so much.

Not Jacob, not Reuben or any of the other brothers could possibly see just yet that God was using the dream He had given to Joseph, those many years ago, for the whole family!!

1 Now the famine was still severe in the land.
2 So when they had eaten all the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little more food.”
3 But Judah said to him, “The man warned us solemnly, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’
4 If you will send our brother along with us, we will go down and buy food for you.
5 But if you will not send him, we will not go down, because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you. ’ ”
6 Israel asked, “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?”
7 They replied, “The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. ‘Is your father still living?’ he asked us. ‘Do you have another brother?’ We simply answered his questions. How were we to know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?”
8 Then Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die.
9 I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life.

You might remember that Judah was the brother who talked the others into selling Joseph rather than killing him. God was using everything in this story to help the members of this family to get their eyes off themselves and to realize just how important family really is!

11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift —a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds.
12 Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake.
13 Take your brother also and go back to the man at once.
14 And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”

We Factor # 4
Sometimes you have to step out on faith even when your faith is weak!

Remember, it's not how big your faith is, but who you put your faith in that counts!
When there seems to be no way, and for Jacob, it sure seemed there was no way, put your trust in God and let Him handle things.

15 So the men took the gifts and double the amount of silver, and Benjamin also. They hurried down to Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph.

16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Take these men to my house, slaughter an animal and prepare dinner; they are to eat with me at noon.”
17 The man did as Joseph told him and took the men to Joseph’s house.
18 Now the men were frightened when they were taken to his house. They thought, “We were brought here because of the silver that was put back into our sacks the first time. He wants to attack us and overpower us and seize us as slaves and take our donkeys. ”

Isn't it amazing how guilt can make you paranoid? Isn't it amazing the difference between Joseph and his brothers?
Do you remember the characteristics that helped Joseph overcome his horrible circumstances? Three things. Joseph...

Depended on God's presence
Was Dedicated to his calling
Was Determined to be faithful

Things were so different for his brothers. They were scarred out of their wits.
Listen...

19 So they went up to Joseph’s steward and spoke to him at the entrance to the house.

20 “Please, sir,” they said, “we came down here the first time to buy food.

21 But at the place where we stopped for the night we opened our sacks and each of us found his silver—the exact

weight—in the mouth of his sack. So we have brought it back with us.

22 We have also brought additional silver with us to buy food. We don’t know who put our silver in our sacks.”

23 “It’s all right,” he said. “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks; I

received your silver.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.

You gotta love this. This pagan Egyptian could see God working in this story. Wait a minute, that's next weeks sermon.

24 The steward took the men into Joseph’s house, gave them water to wash their feet and provided fodder for their donkeys.
25 They prepared their gifts for Joseph’s arrival at noon, because they had heard that they were to eat there.

26 When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts they had brought into the house, and they bowed down before him to the ground.
27 He asked them how they were, and then he said, “How is your aged father you told me about? Is he still living?”
28 They replied, “Your servant our father is still alive and well.” And they bowed low to pay him honor.
29 As he looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son, he asked, “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?” And he said, “God be gracious to you, my son.”
30 Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept there.
31 After he had washed his face, he came out and, controlling himself, said, “Serve the food.”

Now I'm going to have to skip over a bunch of the story. You need to get your Bibles and read chapter 44 for yourself. It's amazing! Joseph tested them once more and it's nerve racking as you read the story. He sends them off again and plants his personal silver cup in Benjamin's luggage. He tells them Benjamin would not be allowed to go home, but when Judah makes an impassioned plea and tells Joseph that Jacob would simply die if they went home without Benjamin. Here's what happens...

1 Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my

presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers.

2 And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.

3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him,

because they were terrified at his presence.

4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother

Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!

5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it

was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.

6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping.
7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.
9 Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay.
10 You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have.
11 I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’
12 “You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you.
13 Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly. ”
14 Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping.
15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him.

We Factor # 5
The Dream was not the most important thing after all!

God's great plan was not that Joseph's brothers would bow down to him, but that Joseph would embrace them and kiss them!
God's dream for Joseph and his family was for them to forgive one another, for them to love one another and for them to be together. Now I know there are families today who need this message. I also know that being together as a family is impossible for some, but forgiveness is not impossible and loving even those who have hurt you is not impossible in Christ. Remember, forgiving and loving is not okaying the wrong that has been done, but it is saying I'm not going to let the past define my future or my relationships. I'm going to let God's grace, God's mercy, and God's priorities be in control of my life, my attitudes and my dreams.

I'll close with these few words from the New Testament concerning God's will and dream for us today...

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,
10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment —to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,
12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.