Joseph, Master of Dreams
In a touching tribute to actor Ray Liotta, Costner writes that he was “Devastated to hear the news of Ray Liotta’s passing. While he leaves an incredible legacy, he’ll always be ‘Shoeless Joe Jackson’ in my heart.”
The two actors had starred together in the fantasy movie “Field of Dreams,” in which Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, hears a voice telling him, “If you build it, he will come.” Ray interprets that to mean the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson, played by Ray Liotta. That message inspires him to plow under his cornfield and build a baseball diamond on his farm.
In Costner’s tribute to his co-star, he posted a clip from the movie of Kinsella throwing batting practice to Shoeless Joe, including a hit from Joe that nearly takes out Kinsella’s knees.
You see in the clip that this is Ray Kinsella’s dream come true—to pitch to his father’s sports hero, Shoeless Joe. The film encourages us to follow our dreams no matter the cost, and no matter how crazy it seems to our friends and family.
Joseph had no choice but to follow his dreams—indeed, they weren’t even his dreams, but God’s plans for his life. If Joseph had known how his dreams about his relationship to his family members were going to play out, he may have been a bit more circumspect in how he shared his visions. Maybe he couldn’t keep quiet about the exciting prospect of taking over as head of the family. Possibly the dreams confused him and he genuinely wanted some help interpreting what they meant. In any case, he certainly misjudged his brothers’ reactions to the messages. One way or another, God’s script for Israel’s future would play out.
Once in Egypt, God empowered Joseph with the gift of rightly interpreting the dreams of others. Joseph used this ability to give the imprisoned cupbearer the good news that Pharaoh would soon lift up his head and restore him to his previous position. He also had the grim task of revealing to the baker that Pharaoh would lift up his head also, only on a gallows.
When Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams about the seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine, this established him as the master of dreams. God’s gift helped preserve Joseph’s family through the famine, though the brothers didn’t deserve Joseph’s kindness. Through his act of mercy, Joseph became a type of Christ, a savior to his people.
Connecting: What is one of the weirdest dreams you’ve ever had? Did it have any basis in reality for you?
Sharing: The story of Judah and Tamar is sandwiched in the middle of Joseph’s story (Genesis 37-39). Compare Judah’s response to Tamar’s seduction with Joseph’s reaction to Potiphar’s wife. What do these two episodes tell us about their characters?
- Joseph is wise, and Judah is foolish
- Joseph learned faithfulness through the hard experiences of life, but Judah had yet to learn that lesson
- Tamar was probably much more attractive than Potiphar’s wife
- God orchestrated the sordid relationship between Judah and Tamar, as Jesus was born from their offspring
- God empowered Joseph’s faithfulness—Joseph needed to meet the cupbearer in prison so he could recommend Joseph to Pharaoh and Joseph could therefore provide for Israel’s salvation
Applying: Do you have a friend or loved one who has a big dream for his or her life? What can you do to help them achieve that dream?