Tuesday, 5 November 2013
Reading the Bible 32, Genesis 40 - Dreams, God’s Forgotten Language
Reading the Bible 32 Genesis 40 - Dreams, God’s Forgotten Language
After Joseph’s good deed is punished he finds himself in prison. However, God had not forgotten him and he had not forgotten God. Joseph’s God-given gift of dream interpretation was with him still. Previously the rashly shared prophetic dreams of his predominance in his family had set in motion the events which were still unfolding. However, that same gift now opens a way to release him from his current prison. He is able to interpret the dreams of his cell mates – the Pharos’s cupbearer and baker
Now the baker and the cup-bearer are in a difficult situation. They have had what could be called today, big dreams. However, they believed there was no one there to interpret them. They held the common understanding that not everyone could interpret dreams. That was the special purview of priests, magicians and other assorted wise men. Joseph rebuts this piece of orthodoxy by assuring them that interpretations belong to God. He goes on to correctly interpret the prophetic dreams of the two men to the joy of the cupbearer and the sorrow of the baker.
Today our culture has generally dismissed the understanding that dreams come from God. This understanding was the norm in biblical times and continued in the life of the early church being upheld by such church fathers as Tertullian and St. Augustine. The language of dreams that Joseph was able to understand through God’s grace, is something that our world has generally lost. However, it is something that can and is being rediscovered and relearned. Today it is not the secret purview of the magicians and wise-men self-proclaimed or otherwise.
Dream interpretation and understanding can be taught and learned. However, it is art as well as skill and it is a useful reminder to treat them as sacred object and that they are in the hands of the divine source of all wisdom as Joseph noted. It is important to be open to the inspiration that can come when trying to understand dreams.
May your dreams be fruitful and may you be open to the wisdom contained in them.