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A Dream Is Tested Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
January 6, 2022 1:00 am

A Dream Is Tested Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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January 6, 2022 1:00 am

How do you remain confident in God’s plan for your life? The Almighty unveiled a dream for Joseph that he never could have foreseen. One minute, Joseph was in jail. The next, he became vice-regent of Egypt. But he kept it all in perspective: he knew that God was working out a perfect plan. Whatever injustices or setbacks you face, you can learn to submit yourself to God’s kindness. Only God, who sees the future, knows what dream is best for you.  

 Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. One minute, Joseph's in jail. The next, he's vice regent of Egypt. But he kept it all in perspective. He knew that God was working out a plan, a plan placed into his heart in a dream.

So, how's your dream coming? Stay with us. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer set the stage for us as we watch the hand of God on Joseph today. You know, Dave, it's hard for me to believe that there's any story in the Bible that is as encouraging as this one, especially when people experience injustice. One of the most important things in the life of Joseph is this. We read that and the Lord was with Joseph and Joseph had this important position in Potiphar's house. And then he's falsely accused.

He's thrown into jail. And it says, and the Lord was with Joseph in jail. I say to everyone who is listening today that God is with you in your ups and in your downs. And speaking of downs, I have in my hands a book entitled When a Good Man Falls. This book actually talks about some of the people in the Old Testament and the new who fell. Some of them fell morally and in other ways.

And yet in the end, God also revived them and still used them. It's the story of people like Moses, people like Jonah, Lot, who was overcome by greed. I think that you'll be encouraged with this book. It's entitled When a Good Man Falls for a gift of any amount, it can be yours.

Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. And now let us listen as we continue our study of the life of Joseph. There's ever any way now that this dream is ever gonna come alive. I'll tell you, talk about an impossible dream.

God was gonna have to resurrect it from the ashes and the stench, the smell, the grime, and the vermin of a dungeon. Well, you know, it's interesting. Chapter 41, Pharaoh has a dream. Everybody's dreaming in here. Reminds me of a college class I had in psychology. Everybody's dreaming.

He has his dream. Fourteen cows come out of the Nile River. Seven of them sleek and fat and then behind them another seven skinny ones and the skinny ones eat the fat ones and they still stay skinny. Eat your heart out, Jenny Craig.

Boy, this would make a slim-fast commercial. So then finally the cupbearer says, oh, yo, yo, yo, hab for gasin'. And so they go get Joseph. He says, you remember, there was a guy in jail, Joseph, and he could interpret dreams and Joseph comes and shaves and Pharaoh says, what in the world?

Tell me my dream and tell me what the interpretation is. And Joseph says, look, you're gonna get seven years of plenty and then there are gonna be seven years of famine and if you're smart, you're gonna save during the years of plenty because the famine is coming. Pharaoh's impressed. Verse 38 of chapter 41, Pharaoh said to his servants, can we find a man like this in whom there is a divine spirit? And he gives Joseph his ring and he gives him his chariot and he says, you're gonna be second to me in all the land of Egypt.

By the way, what does that do with old Potiphar? You know, Joseph went up the corporate ladder rather quickly at this point. In fact, all of his peers said he jumped a couple of rungs and as a result of that being next to Pharaoh, he could have gotten even with Potiphar who believed that lie and Potiphar's wife, wait till I get ahead of you in the corporate structure.

I'm gonna teach you a thing or two. He's a bigger man than that, bigger man than that. And so what happens is Joseph actually ends up getting married. He could have said to himself, well, you know, this can't make any sense.

Strictly speaking, I shouldn't even be here in Egypt. How could God have a wife for me? But Pharaoh named Joseph and they gave him an Egyptian name and he gave him Azzanab, verse 45, to wife because even there God had a wife for him, of all things.

Students say, well, you know, I'm at Moody Bible Institute. What if the one that God has chosen for me is at Philadelphia College of Bible and will never, never meet? God's providence is much bigger than that, much bigger. Even if you took the wrong train, God has his ways.

Well, he has two sons. In fact, one he names Manasseh, verse 51, which means to forget. That's looking at the past. I'm forgetting the past. I'm turning over a new leaf, verse 52.

And the second is Ephraim, which means fruitful. Past, I'm forgetting a fruitful future. Joseph begins to feel as if life is coming around for him again. And as we shall see next time, soon he's going to be on his way to his dream. Well, as you know, we're learning lessons about dreams. And if you missed last message, I suggest that you get it because these are part of a whole piece of cloth that fit together about dreaming and how we can find out whether a dream is God's dream and how to handle broken dreams. Let me give you four lessons that we've learned so far today about dreams.

Four more added to the four that I believe I gave you in the last message. Number one, don't ever sacrifice a great dream on the altar of a lesser dream. Don't sacrifice a great dream on the altar of a lesser dream. Oh, the history of so many lives can be written of foolish, immediate decisions which sabotage the possibility of something so much greater.

Hastily getting married without taking into account the larger dream that God may have for you. What would have happened if Joseph had committed adultery with this woman? Well, God wouldn't have given up on him. God would have had something else for Joseph to do, most assuredly, because God does not abandon his people when they fail. But the dream, the great dream here would have either had to been modified or given up because this all had to be a part of God's plan and Joseph had to play the role that God desired that he play so that it be fulfilled. And you look at the lives of even Christians that are basically strewn with the wreckage of foolish decisions, immediate dreams that are sought and that they've lost sight of the big dream, namely to know God, to enjoy him forever and to be fulfilled in the way in which he called them and gifted them.

Don't ever sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate. Don't give up a big dream just for a little immediate dream that will stand in the way of the big dream. It's lesson number one.

Lesson number two. God has as many dreams for us as there are circumstances of life. He has as many dreams as there are situations in which we find ourselves. You know, if we had asked Joseph back there in Canaan, what is your dream? My dream is to have a nice Jewish wife, to sit down with my father and to have a tent and some animals and just be content until I die. That was his dream.

Maybe something like that. He gets to Egypt and he gets to be Potiphar's assistant. God has another dream for him.

It is to be the best possible administrator that he can be because Joseph knew that if he was a good administrator for Potiphar, he would be a good servant of God. So he fulfills that dream. And that lasts a while and then he gets thrown into jail and does God abandon him and say, well, that's the way it is.

Life is tough. No, God is with him there in prison and God shows him kindness and guess what? God has another dream for him in prison.

It is to be a model prisoner and to minister to those who are in prison and to help them with their lives and get those lives unraveled and untangled. That's where his dream was. And then God brings him out of that and again raises him to a position of responsibility and now he has a new dream.

You see, I'll tell you, God is never caught off guard by our mistakes and by the zigzags of our own careers, which sometimes go up and which sometimes go down and which sometimes go all different directions and sometimes even belly up. God is not caught in a dilemma for which he can say to us, I have no more dreams for you. When God says I have no more dreams for you, you'll be taken up into heaven and it will be all over on earth. He has as many dreams as circumstances and there's no one to whom I'm speaking whose dream is so shattered but that God has a ray of sunshine that comes to us from a cell in Egypt and that sunshine says even there God has still one dream left at least. Third lesson, we often fulfill our dream when we help someone else fulfill his or her dream. People say I have no dreams left.

My dream is not being fulfilled. How about finding a needy child and fulfilling his dream? Listen to what Isaiah says, and if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will arise in darkness and your gloom will become like the midday and the Lord will continually guide you and satisfy your desire in scorched places and give you strength in your bones and you will be like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. Find someone who is hungry and thirsty and afflicted. Get involved in somebody else's dream and help them see it become fulfilled and who knows but that God may graciously be in the process granting your very own dream too.

I find this significant. Hear the dream of a pagan king and the dream of a 17-year-old boy. That's how old he was when he had the dream. Now when we're in Egypt at this point, he's about 23. But isn't it interesting that these two dreams should converge and as Joseph helps Pharaoh fulfill his dream, that is going to be the key to have Joseph see his own dream come to pass because in the sovereign work of God, these two dreams are concurrent.

They are joined and they meet together on planet earth. This morning, some of us prayed together. My prayer partners gathered to pray in my study before I came down and one of them, before we were praying, not even really knowing exactly what I was going to say today said, you know, I have a dream and that is to help my wife fulfill her dream.

Some of you guys who are hard to live with, of course if you are, you probably don't know it. You know what you ought to do? You ought to just begin to help your wife fulfill her dream for a little while and maybe what you'll discover is that in fulfilling her dream, your dream also will come to pass. Those of you without any dreams get involved in the life of someone else, maybe that child in Compassion International that we heard about this morning and help somebody else fulfill his dream and the promises that it will come back to you and light will arise and you'll be like a watered oasis in the desert. Finally, we must leave our dreams with God at the end of the day when everything is said and done.

By the way, have you ever noticed that when everything is said and done, usually more things are said than done? But when everything is said and done, God is the ultimate one who knows what dream is best for us. I urge you, give him the dreams, even your shattered ones, even your shattered ones.

What God does when he gives us our dreams, when we allow him to make the decision for us is he keeps us so wondrously sometimes from dreams that we want for ourselves that wouldn't be good for us anyway. I need to tell you this morning that standing right here today, I am fulfilling my dream. I've always wanted to preach. There are no preachers in our family on either side, father or mother. Yet here I am, a last born, growing up. The only thing I wanted to do was preach. I'd come home and listen to the sermon and come home and imitate the preacher.

I don't know why. I just always wanted to preach. I'm fulfilling my dream. But I want you to know today that the reason that I'm able to fulfill my dream is because God very graciously kept me from stupid dreams along the way that I thought I wanted. And if he had not kept me, I would not be here today fulfilling this dream. In love with a young woman one time, I thought it had the hand of God on it. If there's anything, any marriage that was made in heaven, it was this one.

Of course, lightning and thunder are also made in heaven, to remind ourselves. God graciously kept me from that relationship, graciously kept me from it even though it killed me. But I want you to know today that if I had married that young woman, I would not be here today absolutely certain that that is the case.

God kept me from it and then he had another woman prepared for me by the name of Rebecca so that we could share our dreams together. You don't know what is best for you. Don't be so confident that you know the very thing that is best.

Only God who sees the future knows. Why not give him the whole shebang and give up trying to plant your own dreams, which are going to break anyway? I love to tell that story about the guys who are walking through a sane asylum, come to a padded cell, this one guy beating his head against the wall, just saying, oh, Linda, how could you do it? Linda, how could you do it?

So the visitor said to the administrator, what's his problem? He says he was just madly in love with Linda. But Linda broke the relationship and she ran off and she married another lover and he couldn't take it and it broke him. And all that he does is sit here all day and hit his head against the wall saying, Linda, how could you do it? How could you do it, Linda? They walked a little further and they got to the end of the hallway and they came to another cell and here's a man hitting his head against the wall saying, Linda, how could you do it, Linda, how could you do it? The visitor said, what's his problem? He says, well, he's the man that Linda married. Do you really think that you know what is best for you?

Do you really think so? There have been all kinds of things that have happened in my life where I thought I knew and God graciously protected me from dreams that would have been nothing but detours from the bigger, larger dream. Give God your dreams. Give him your dreams. Broken, shattered, smashed, helpless, wonderful dreams, fulfilled dreams, partially fulfilled dreams.

God loves you and cares and will give you the best dream he can give you given with what you give him at this point in your life, will give you the best dream he's got for where you're at. You know, Fanny Crosby was not born blind. Six weeks old, a doctor comes by because she has some problems with her eyes, some kind of a rash and they put some medication on and she goes blind the age of six weeks. At the age of nine she wrote, oh, what a happy soul am I, although I cannot see. I am resolved that in this world, contented I will be.

How many blessings I enjoy that other people don't to weep and sigh because I'm blind, I cannot and I won't. You talk about somebody who wrecked her dream when she was six weeks old. She could have, she could have grown up bitter and angry saying, you know, why did this happen? Here I sit in darkness. What kind of a dream can there be for me?

Somebody wrecked my future. That's a possibility as to how she could have reacted. The other possibility is to say, oh God, you're bigger than all that.

You're bigger than a stupid decision by a foolish doctor. And as long as I'm alive, I still have a dream and I will sit here and I will dream. And today our hymnal has at least 25 hymns written by Fanny Crosby. It was about 1856, if I remember the year correctly, that she needed five dollars and those days that was a lot of money. And so she prayed about how she would get those five dollars, but she had no idea as to where it would come from.

And a visitor came to the house and as he left, he shook hands with her and left a five dollar bill in the palm of her hands. She was overwhelmed with God's gratitude to think that he would take note of someone who was so insignificant and so blind. She said, you know, God, I love you so much. I'm going to write a song just to remind myself and others of the faithfulness of God.

And so she wrote a hymn. All the way my Savior leads me, what have I to ask beside? When I doubt his tender mercy, who through life has been my guide, heavenly peace divinest come forth, hereby faith in him to dwell. For I know what air befoul me. Jesus doeth all things well.

Remember, God always gives the best dreams to those who leave the choice with him. Let us pray. Our Father, we thank you so much for the life of Joseph, for the reminder that you are with us in injustice and yet you work and you continue to be faithful. We ask, Father, today for those who go through those hurts. Help them to see God even in injustice, even in a prison cell. We pray today, Father, that graciously, graciously thy hand would be upon them. In Jesus' name.

Amen. My friend, this is Pastor Lutzer. Joseph was a very remarkable man. He did not fall into temptation. He resisted it and God did marvelous things through him. But perhaps you are among those who has fallen. I'm thinking, for example, of the fact that the news is constantly filled with those who have fallen into immorality or greed. What does God do with them?

Well, I've written a book which I think will be hopeful to you. It's entitled When a Good Man Falls. What is it that Moses and Jonah and Lot and Noah and Gideon, what do they all have in common? Well, they all fell.

And yet God in the end restored them and used them. When a good man falls, for a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to That's or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now, did I give you that phone number too quickly? Well, let me give it to you again. 1-888-218-9337.

Or you can go to You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life. Joseph's dream was almost destroyed by frightful circumstances, but God saw to it that this dream's fulfillment had international consequences. There was a far bigger purpose at work than Joseph even realized, and the same may be true for you. Next time on Running to Win, Dr. Lutzer brings his third message on the life of Joseph. Join us then for A Dream is Revived. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-01 10:57:57 / 2023-07-01 11:06:17 / 8

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