Dreams, Vision, and Magic Eyes

When I was a kid there were these pictures that became a fad. I had a few hanging on the walls of my adolescent bedroom. They were called “Magic Eyes.” They looked like a whole lot of nothing unless you focused right. I learned that the trick was to relax your eyes rather than look at the surface of the image. Instead of concentrating on the picture I would allow my eyes to find a focal spot beyond it, as if I was looking through the wall to the yard outside. And then it would happen. The geometric world within the picture would come to life. I would see whatever the image-creator had designed for me to see and it would become crystal clear. Go on, try it!

saturn

In Genesis 40 we learn that Joseph doesn’t just have the gift of dreams. He also is able to interpret them. Dream interpretation was actually really common in the ancient near east. But Joseph operated a little differently. The IVP Bible Background Commentary on the Old Testament contains the following comments:

“Dream interpretations were usually carried out by experts who had been trained in the available dream literature. […] Since dreams often depended on symbolism, the interpreter would have to have access to these documents preserving the empirical data concerning past dreams and interpretations. It was believed that the gods communicated through dreams but not that they revealed the meanings of dreams. If they were going to reveal the meaning, why use a dream in the first place? But Joseph held a different view. He did not consult any ‘scientific’ literature, but consulted God. Nevertheless, he interprets along the same lines as some of the dream literature would have suggested.”[1]

This is one huge characteristic I see in Joseph – regardless of circumstances or what he must endure (being thrown in a pit by his hateful brothers, sold into slavery, prison, worked his way out of prison, falsely accused, back in prison again) his focus remains the same – His God. And all the rest of the image around him falls into perspective.

gn40_08a

What I also love is what we see about Joseph’s God. Again the quote from the commentary above: “the gods communicated through dreams but not that they revealed the meanings of dreams. If they were going to reveal the blindfold-removemeaning, why use a dream in the first place?” But not Joseph’s God. Joseph’s God wanted to be consulted. He was waiting to shed light, revelationupon reality. The God of Israel would ultimately reveal Himself in the Person of Jesus Christ, “the visible image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15), but this has always been who God is. He wants to be known, revealed, seen, understood. So, today I invite you…

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)

Prayer: Almighty God, You are so great and I am so small. Yet You would choose to stoop to my level, speak in plain talk, even dress up just like me. Open my eyes that I may see You more clearly, see myself more like You see me, and see others as the wonderful creatures You have made them to be. I focus on You today that everything else would come into proper focus. Amen.

[1] Matthews, V. H., Chavalas, M. W., & Walton, J. H. (2000). The IVP Bible background commentary: Old Testament (electronic ed., Ge 40:18). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

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One Comment

  1. Last night at our Wednesday night youth small group time we saw the first video of a series on God’s love – for us, in us, and through us. In the video the speaker confided about a truck his dad got him at age 15 as a surprise. The father spent a lot of time cleaning and polishing it to surprise the son. When the son was presented the truck, out from his mouth (and heart) came “it’s not what I wanted”. Wow. How many times (a day) does God present me with gifts and opportunities to serve Him, but I say “it’s not what I wanted”. Then there is Joseph with such an unfiltered heart for God. He knew God was with him, everyone around him saw that God was with him. He had many opportunities to say “that’s not what I wanted”. He had a pretty wild ride in his life, but God was always with him. If only I could keep such an unfiltered heart for God like Joseph.

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