In time, Joseph and each of his brothers died, ending that generation. But their descendants had many children and grandchildren. In fact, they multiplied so quickly that they soon filled the land. Then a new king came to the throne of Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph or what he had done. Exodus 1:6-8NLT
This opening passage in the book of Exodus forecasts an ominous future for Jacob’s progeny.
Joseph, the dreamer in the family, has died while the children of Israel are living in the land of Goshen in Egypt.
Joseph’s brothers, the sons of Jacob, have all died. They took to their graves an acute awareness of, not only the promises of God, but the specific instructions of God concerning their future.
They were not to stay in the land of Goshen that long. They were to enjoy God’s provisions for a season and then return to the Promised Land — the place of covenant and blessing.
When you fast forward, you will find that what was intended as provision became a prison where they would suffer in slavery for 430 years.
In this signal season when we remember another prolific dreamer — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — I pose this challenge to God’s children everywhere: Don’t forget your dream!
God-given dreams (instructions) are the spiritual motivations for you to accomplish your destiny and fulfill your purpose. Without the spiritual nudging we would be lost and without a sense of mission, purpose and identity.
God is faithful and speaks to his children daily. The question is whether we are tuned into the Holy Spirit to hear what God has to say.
God gave Jacob the patriarch specific instructions. Those instructions are recorded in Genesis 46:2-4: And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!” “Here I am,” he replied. “I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.” NIV
“I will surely bring you back?” What happened? It would appear that they got comfortable and stayed too long in a place intended for temporary provision.
Last month, along with my wife and minister to youth, I was privileged to attend one of the many memorial services for Tata Madiba — Nelson Mandela — in Durban, South Africa. We were amazed at the reverence and respect shown for him and the transforming impression he made upon the world.
Leaders from all over came to honor this leader who had dared to dream — from a prison cell — that his country would be free for all its citizens. His dream helped to abolish apartheid and the rest is history.
Dr. King, too, paid the ultimate sacrifice for not only African-Americans, but for all disadvantaged persons in this country to be free from the tyranny of racism, sexism, and other “isms” that plagued it. These men and countless numbers of people throughout history have held on to their dreams and changed the world.
What instruction has God given to you? What idea, dream, vision, plan has God revealed to you that has yet to be accomplished? Now, at this time of the year when we are being reminded of God’s dream through Dr. King, what is the Holy Spirit prompting and nudging you to do to make the world around you better than you found it? It’s time to dust off the dreams, visions, plans and move forward in their accomplishment. Don’t forget your dream!
Dr. William M. CAMPBELL JR. is senior pastor of Anderson Chapel A.M.E. Church in Killeen.