I recently read the story of Joseph telling his cellmates the meaning of their dreams. You can read the full story in Genesis 40, but Joseph is in charge of a couple prisoners who have dreams they think are important and are bummed. Joseph interpret’s their dreams, crediting God, and things happen like he predicts. But what I noticed was the two prisoners were visibly upset and the reason the Bible gives is they had no one to interpret their dreams. This leads me to wonder, did everyone in their culture believe some dreams were significant and needed interpreting? It seems so, as the next chapter shows Pharaoh determined to know what his dreams mean. Do all people in their culture (outside prison) have access to dream interpreters? Were there wisewomen or people gifted in this area who offered this service? And if so, were they legit? Did they indeed understand messages sent by God in dreams?
It would seem Pharaoh’s dream interpreters were successful (and for that matter Nebuchadnezzar’s wise men) because if they weren’t, they’d be dead. So did God hide Her meaning in these particular cases to allow Her followers to identify Her as the one true God? Did God communicate with Egypt’s dream interpreters the rest of the time? Did they, like the wise men from the East, get answers from God when they sought truth?
Joseph was confident God was communicating with these two Egyptians. He held no bias against them as heathen or incapable of hearing God. Later, Daniel would operate on faith God was interested in revealing truth to Nebuchadnezzar. I see no territorial posturing in either of these men. They seem to know God is the God of all. Do we know that? Or are we surprised when God has spoken to people who aren’t Christian or Seventh-day Adventist? Do we see God as favoring us over others?
Joseph was confident God was communicating with these two Egyptians.
Israel was commissioned to bless the world and they failed most of the time. Joseph’s life was a splendid moment when a person from Israel actually fulfilled its purpose of bringing blessing everywhere he went. And none of it would’ve been possible if Joseph didn’t know God was reaching out to people outside his tribe. We are also commissioned to bless the world with the good news and we won’t be effective if we’re attached to seeing ourselves as God’s favorites. We will not share God with others if we actually want Her all for ourselves.
This is a call on my heart to notice when I’m thinking of groups of people as the “others.” The ones different from me, of different faiths, of different political views. God is God off all people and if there is breath in their lungs, God’s breath, the breath of life, She’s not done communicating with them. Which makes them not so different from me.