The Dreams Of Joseph
„And Joseph saw a dream and told it to his brothers: and they despised him even deeper...”
Genesis 37: 5-11, 39: 1-23
Often we ask ourselves the question why sometimes in life misfortune comes to us. In general, it is considered that people suffer and pay for sins from the present or the past and try to find out the reason for that. We can see that Joseph’s life happened so because of two night-dreams, which he told to his brothers. Of course, they interpreted these dreams in the wrong way, accusing him of having secret plots and ulterior purposes. And in order to prevent him from becoming their leader, the thought of eliminating him comes to their minds. Moreover, as you see, these are not strangers, but Joseph's own brothers. So at the first chance, they caught him and sold him to the Ishmaelites, whom on their turn re-sold him to an Egyptian. Thus started the period of trials for Joseph – God tried out his character.
Human life is nothing but a series of trials – they are the touchstone used to test human character. The most valuable thing in the soul of a man is his character that must pass through the fire – the trials. And just after he has gone through the fire and resisted every test, only then can we say that the man’s character is valuable, firm, eternal – he has an eternal home to live in. Character – this is man’s home.
As we see, scourges came to Joseph one after the other; after those that followed the two night-dreams, more and more came, which are narrated in Chapter 39, namely: since he was a handsome young man, the wife of his master fell in love with him; she wanted to make love to him, but he said, „No, my master has given everything into my hands, except you, you are his property, his right, and I cannot commit this sin before God.” We see that God reigns in the soul of this young man – everything he wants to do first he weighs it to that measure - whether it is right, whether it would comfort God, or not. Although he knew that troubles would follow for his refusal to fulfil the desire of a woman like that, he preferred to suffer rather than to commit a sin. After this test he really found himself in prison. But God helped him there, too – if you review the whole story in this Chapter, you will see that God never leaves him, but takes him out of prison by interpreting two other night-dreams of the king of Egypt.
When we pass through different tests, we don’t know what God’s aim is. You want to go to Heaven, but if anyone asks you what the words Heaven or Paradise mean to you, you wouldn’t know what exactly to answer. You have a certain idea about Heaven, but it is so obscure to you, as were the two dreams in the mind of Joseph. And indeed how would the sheaves, the Sun, and the Moon relate to him? But they implied certain future events – his selling, the temptation by the woman, his imprisoning, his saving, and his exaltation.
Now, which is that kingdom and who is the woman? Egypt is the kingdom where we live, and the wife of the courtier that tries to tempt us is the world. You are slaves that have been sold and chased away by your own brothers, you are in Egypt and the wife of the courtier is trying to seduce you – the world offers you some goods and is tempting you. It is not so bad for a man to have pleasures, but there are things that are forbidden. When Adam was in Paradise, God told him to taste everything, with the exception of one fruit that was forbidden and for his disobedience came all the suffering that followed. Also in this world, there are forbidden things and if you try to eat the forbidden fruit, suffering will surely come. There are people who would take the money of others – they need it to build houses, for pleasure, for trips abroad. However Joseph looked at this in a different way, he could have the goodwill of the courtier’s wife, but he thought, “I prefer to have the goodwill of God rather than the goodwill of a woman.” The world is a woman, who doesn’t belong to us; tomorrow, after she satisfies her lust for pleasure, she can discard you. It is your external beauty that attracts her. The present-day delusion is based on the following: when people hold us in esteem due to our outer appearance, we are wrong to think that it is because of our merits. There is a well-known, famous singer, but everyone respects only his talent to sing, his throat; if his larynx is ruined, he will be thrown out like a rag – all the respect he receives is only because of a little membrane in his throat. There is also a great fiddler: everybody respects him as long as he can use the bow; but if his arm is paralyzed, no one wants to hear of him. You can be a good preacher, but everyone will listen to you only as long as your voice is soft; but if your voice cracks and grows hoarse, you will hear the words, “We don’t want a preacher with no voice.” The woman has many suitors when she is beautiful, but if her beauty dims, they will say, “Let another woman take her place.” Joseph knew that self-delusion above all things and he practiced only things internal, stable, and eternal which can always give peace to the man and in that way he can have the goodwill of God.
We should be careful of the little causes that bring the misfortunes. If Joseph had not told his brothers about the dream he had, this misfortune wouldn’t have come to him. Then the following question rises: wouldn’t it come in other cases too? There are tests that cannot be avoided. I will not talk about these internal laws, but I will say that there are things absolutely determined by God – if we try to avoid the little ones, bigger ones would come. In order to nullify suffering, we must learn a lesson from the behaviour of Joseph. We should not be under the delusion that if today our life is okay, the next day no misfortune will come, which we never expected. The Destiny or the Providence has determined the tests through which human life has to pass; and those tests are necessary. Why are they necessary? I will give you just one comparison: in order to cross a deep river you need a boat; to cross the ocean, you need a ship; so, to pass from one world into another you need the ship, called Faith. The tests and misfortunes are also necessary – they are the fuel, your ticket for the trip. Everyone, who wants to change the path of the needed law, is stupid. Everyone, who says, “Why has God sent me such sufferings?” and mutters, is a stupid man in the full sense of the word. However, those who say, “I want to learn the meaning,” and is grateful for that, is a clever person.
Note: when misfortunes came upon Joseph he did not mutter, but faced them with joy in his soul and thanked God, and when in the court of his master he reached a position of having everything, he did not become conceited. When his master offered him greater goods, he was not tempted by what the woman offered, because he said to himself, “I must follow one law – I must not sin.” So in that sense pleasure is a sin.
And what is sin? Anything that does not give birth, has no fruit or an embryo in itself, is a sin. A woman, who procures, fornicates, without giving birth to a child, commits a sin. The Conception redeems the sin. Any activity that does not bear Life in it is a maleficent waste of God’s power. When someone urges you to commit a sin, he wants you to waste God’s energy that is given to you. You drink a glass of wine – and on the next day, you have a headache; what have you achieved, have you become nobler – no, you haven’t. Why should we wish to do things that do not add anything to our character? We all have to restrict ourselves only to those pleasures that are allowed, rightful, and natural. Let’s take as an example a boy and a girl, who play with horses and dolls – on one side these things, bring them some pleasure, but on the other they have an educating role – they prepare them for other activities. In the same way for adults, there are certain pleasures in life, which can also be useful for them; however, there are pleasures that always bring destruction of human feelings, of human power, of human salvation. The unnatural life, the so-called hidden, illegal love, that some men and women practice, has a destructive effect on their hearts and on their minds. You love somebody; ask yourself if that is pleasing to God, is it useful for the one that you love, don’t deprave his soul, his mind. Joseph was young and pure; a lecherous woman wanted to desecrate him, but he resisted her temptation to stain his name, which would mean nothing if he had fallen to the temptation. Note that it was first the woman, Eve, who was put on trial, and she did not resist, then it was her man; now is the turn of the man to be put on trial. It was the same snake that tempted Eve in the garden, „Look, if you taste the fruit of that tree, what knowledge and power you will have – you will become like God!” Eve could not resist and said, „For glory I can do it,” – because it was a definite betrayal. The same snake appeared to Joseph in the shape of a woman and said, „Come with me,” but his reply was, „No!” And then the sufferings followed, but also the elevation.
The man and the woman represent two principles, two great reasonable powers that are active: the first power we call active, and the other – passive; one is – active, and the other – perceiving; they are two processes in Nature that interchange. God does not always give, sometimes He takes – in one respect He gives, but in another, He takes. On one hand, the ocean sends moisture to the land, but on the other –this moisture goes back to the ocean again through the rivers. In that sense, the man and the woman are two principles that work: one of the principles is – creative, called man; God the other – passive, called woman or God – it is the same. Therefore, in both moments of Life we have to be faithful to these principles. If the world wants us to obtain goods, we will obtain them only if we follow this supreme principle of God's. If you are faithful to Him, all dreams and desires of your mind and your heart can be achieved. You will achieve them only in one way – by God, only He can satisfy your thoughts and desires. The mother brings up the child, the teacher educates the student, therefore, as the child cannot be brought up and cannot grow without the mother, so the student cannot learn without his teacher. Joseph listened to the voice of his Teacher, who was inside him – the voice of God, who taught him to follow the great law of the motion and movement of Life.
All our striving in Life must be directed to the following – to develop our character. How? Character is constructed of thoughts and feelings, of positive power. We should not interpret Life in the way some people presently do – in the limited frames as it is interpreted by a scientist, a doctor, and a philosopher. No, we must understand Life in the way God has restricted it. All people see things partially: contemporary science shows only one side of things, the genius of a talented musician reveals just one little part of space, the mind of a philosopher – also, the strength of a healthy person is limited only to his muscles. But some people say, „Strong in the mind.” Strong in mind man can be, only when his power is in connection with all laws of God and when he is in harmony with all creatures around him – from the lowest to the highest. Then his strong, powerful character can do everything, because all creatures help him. When we are in contradiction with God’s laws, then this discrepancy comes to our mind as well as all misfortunes that we encounter in Life.
Why don't we ever succeed? We hesitate, we want to do good, but we don’t realize that what we are doing is not good. We think that what we plan is clever and that it will be realized – we turn it on all sides, but it doesn’t happen. Sometimes we wonder why we do not progress and why our memory gets weak, why it is dull. We alone constantly disturb our life to its very depth. It is normal to roil the water when you fish, but to roil it constantly – when you have caught all the fish, this is not right. Often the woman gets angry with the man and roils his water.
– What do you want?
– A dress.
– All right, there is a dress for you – says the man.
And the lake clears up. On the next day the woman wants to catch another fish, she roils the water again – now she wants a silk dress, a watch, to go for a walk.
– Here it is – replies the man.
But one day this man fails, he has no money and what does he do? – He decides to run away. So the lake gets dry and there is no more fish, there is no more water. What will the woman roil then? To roil Life constantly, to upset ourselves, this does not mean that we understand Life. We will roil, we’ll roil again and finally we’ll die.
Have you ever thought about what death is? It has been painted in pictures as a human being made of bones with a scythe in hand. Have you checked if it is so? – „No, my mother and my grandmother have told me it was so.” This may be true, but have you thought what the meaning of the bones is, why death is represented as a human without muscles? You have to be pure like the bones, which are white in colour – this means that you have to be virtuous. Anything that is not clean will be discarded; only Virtue will remain untouched. So you have a pattern not to be touched; if you violate God’s law, you will always be affected. Man should have fear of punishment before and not after committing a sin, crying will not save him. Salvation is based on organizing our mind, our heart and our body – this is our task on Earth.
And for this there is an excellent example in the Old Testament – the greatest character in the person of Joseph. When reading these chapters from Genesis, we have to study Joseph’s character thoroughly. We should not think he is stupid; he was very clever and therefore, as you see, his father loved him – love is always due to wisdom. Joseph also had a noble heart. His father realized that but his brothers thought that he was loved by their father for external qualities and they sold him. Whatever circumstances he would have been placed in, his character would again have elevated him, as it elevated him before. Due to his valuable qualities, his master places him in a high position. Another test sent him to prison, but there he was also elevated. Finally, God takes him out of prison, where he has spent two years – the time determined for the test. And what is your prison? Your present body. One day you must leave that prison, dirty and unhealthy. Until now, you have received Holy Communion, but you don’t know what model the wine presents: the baker had to be beheaded, and the cupbearer – restored to his service. One of the principles in Life – the active one – always must be sacrificed, and the wine must come in to cool Life. The wine has enormous power, but since the contemporary people are not prepared in advance, they get excited from it – they have no organism to use it. When the wine goes into the bottle and starts to ferment the bottle cracks up.
But let’s go back to Joseph’s character. We see that he had a sober, reasonable mind and understood the basic laws of Life. He had a noble heart and didn’t want in any way to be untrue to the promise he had given to God. – „I have promised upon my heart to my master and also to serve Him faithfully and I cannot betray Him.” So, he was not a young man who would float down the stream of bad intentions and desires, and in all cases he followed noble impulses and had a well-balanced heart and mind. If we want God to live in us, our minds and our hearts must be in harmony, and must be balanced. If dissension occurs between them, God would not live in us. There are places in a state of anarchy, as it is in Serbia now and all over the world, since the minds and hearts of the people are not in unison, because they want to take more, and nobody gives. Everyone aims to rob his fellow man and for that reason there are always conflicts between people – it is a common law for the small, as well as for the bigger creatures.
Many people want to live: some are still with their fathers and tell what dreams they had; others are in the second category – sold by their brothers in Egypt, in the courtyard of this elevated courtier, where they are exposed to the temptations of his wife; a third group is in prison. The best position is to come out to the Pharaoh. But to meet the Pharaoh you have to pass through three stages – these are three schools, three courses: the first one – with the father, the second – with the woman, who examines how virtuous he is. And Joseph performed a very good test – he left his garment and ran away. What does it mean to leave your garment? It means to leave the cloak of your soul – the flesh. Like that woman, the world says to you, „Come with me, I am very pretty, or you will be sent to prison,” – she is testing you to see if you would be tempted, or you would follow God’s law. And what you have to do is to dispense with all goods that allure you, overcome the temptations and follow God’s law. Believe in God, have faith in Him and you will surely have a great future like Joseph. There are no two ways about it.
Here I show you a young man who follows the road that God shows him, he rises from the position of an ordinary shepherd to the highest position in Egypt – not by means of theft, lies or murders, but by means of self-denial to sufferings and following God’s law. Therefore, the Wisdom and Knowledge, that you may have in your mind, the Goodness that you may have in your heart – only they can help you. Never delude yourself with external things, which can attract your sight, whatever they might be – black or blond. What your hands or face would be, depends on your heart – whatever your mind and heart are, the same will be the house you’ll create and the same will be the windows in it. By his mind and his heart, man can always change his external social position – from a poor man he can become rich, but he will change it only if he follows God’s Laws.
If we proceed to review the second part of Joseph’s character – when the brothers came to him, we will see that he did not take revenge, but he cried together with them and poured all his love to them. Therefore, if someone has harmed us in our life, we should not answer back in the same way. To wish someone ill, to revenge, to gossip about people – this is not a character. Character is to forgive – only in that way can you rise to the level of nobility. This example we can also see in Christ, when he was crucified and He was mocked, He said, „Forgive them, God!” The time will come and you will be asked, „Did you forgive those who have offended you, who have sold you?”
A father said to his son, „You’ll never make good.” The son went abroad to study, came back, rose in society, became a governor and what he did first was to send several guards to bring his father, to him and the son asked, „Well, what do you think, will I never make good?” Then his father replied, “Was what you did very clever? Was that the way to bring me here – by threatening me? You are an unwise man who doesn’t know what he is doing. You had to send a carriage to bring me here.” This is also the way we do things – we want to threaten people: „If God gives me power, I know how to rule – I’ll send all to the gallows,” for thousands of years people have used this method – everyone is fighting and every house is crying. And how much has the world improved? Not a bit. Only Love can bring noble elements into the human soul. And punishment is used as far as it is imposed by Love – to root out the bad things. The one, who in his operation cuts healthy flesh, is not a clever surgeon, but a stupid one. Therefore, when you come to Life, this is what you have to do: to follow the basic Law – there must be a balance between your mind and your heart.
Many people doubt the existence of God. Some of you will say, „We believe He exists.” But if you were placed in Joseph’s boots, you would say, „If God existed, he wouldn’t put me in prison. He wouldn’t take me from my father, my mother, my brothers wouldn’t have sold me – is that God, I don’t believe!” You must accept all sufferings given by God’s hand, and when they come, you have to be happy – sufferings are the stones that you will use to build the stairs of your house, they will form your character. They are the connecting threads between man and God – only by means of which you can go from one world into another, a better one. And there is nothing better than the suffering in this world for your elevation. Indeed, you hate suffering, but in fact, it is the greatest blessing. When a soul has suffered for a long time, the suffering will give its fruits and the soul will be delighted. If the roots of the trees did not suck out the sap, would it be possible for us to taste the sweet fruits; if the mother did not suffer, if she did not carry a child in her womb, would she have a child to be happy with; if the father did not deny his individual life, would he be happy; can a teacher who does not make efforts have students that respect him? Who of those that have done nothing in life have been brought to Heaven and placed in a high position there? From one to the other end of the world Life is made only of sufferings – they are like the carvings of the sculptor, using them to create a statue. When we learn the deep sense of suffering, we will understand that this is a process that forms our character. And when we hammer down the last stroke for finishing our character, then the suffering will cease and the great statue of our Life will come out. We prepare to go to Heaven. What shall we bring there? – Our character – it is our wealth.
You would like to be a man or a woman – beautiful, slender, with noble behaviour, but when you enter the world, what would people say if you were not noble in character? Would they say that in you they see a person possessing virtues? When a person is not good looking, but has a sound mind and good heart, people say, „This is a man of character.” And this is not the best praise that the world can give us. If we have such a mind and heart, the world will need us. In Egypt in the time of the Pharaoh, there were many noble Egyptians; why didn't Pharaoh put them in first place, but instead chose a foreigner? Was it for his good looks? No, it was for his mind and for his goodness. If we all are like him, the world will determine the same place for us, if we are stupid, the world will reject us. Contemporary people rely on the opposite – they say, „The man must not be virtuous, because virtue is nonsense.” They do not understand what they are saying. The external things, those we do not possess are taken from us even at Easter; however, character will always remain in us – namely it is the most valuable thing.
Today you are in the same tests: you are worried as the Egyptians were in the time when Joseph lived – you do not know what could happen on the next day, the destiny, the future is not in your hands, you cannot predict how the events would turn. However, destiny could be in your hands, if you have faith and trust God in the way that Joseph did. Then you will surely change your destiny, wherever you are, whatever position you are placed in – like butter you will come to the surface of the water. The first condition to achieve this is not to be afraid and not to worry. You have to possess courage and determination, not to be cowardly – fear must give way to prudence. You should hesitate only if you have not decided whether a certain question is right or not; but after you decide that it is right, you must surely state it and stand up for it. Joseph put the problem to the woman frankly „I cannot do that with you.” The bad consequences really followed – he was caught and put in prison, but God was with him.
When a character is formed it is necessary to have patience – it is the basis of things. And we definitely see great patience in Joseph’s character – in prison he did not worry at all, he worked, studied; he was ready to endure anything. Patience is a feature of the character that the human being does not have at his birth, but which he can acquire with efforts. All sufferings in the world only have the purpose to build patience in us – to learn to be patient, to be calm, to look towards the future with faith and whatever hardships and disappointments we have, never to lose heart. The young woman may say, „I dream to get married to a man according to my ideal,” and after she gets married, she says, „My life stops.” No, she is at the beginning of Life. Some people say, „I’ve lost my money.” What does it matter, you are at the beginning of your Life – you have lost nothing. – „I’ve lost my health,” – you are at the beginning of your Life; you will have new health. Whatever position we are placed in, we have to be patient and to set our faith in God even to the last minute. This Faith must be very deep in everything we do.
Some people want to have a good society, to be surrounded by good people. Joseph, as a foreigner, lived among strangers, but he managed with his heart and with his mind to make these people good friends. – „But," some people say, "People are sinful.” You should make friends exactly with these sinners – they have noble souls in them. The contemporary Christian says, „He is not faithful, he is still green.” And can he become mature if he is not green? The things that grow out from the earth are first green, they do not mature immediately; the state of being green is a process, in which the saps are sucked out and when they are gathered, then it starts maturing. – „I feel insulted that I was called green.” It is very good that you are green; he does not insult you by calling you green – if you are a noble person, by hard work one day you will mature. The man who is not green cannot become mature; if he is not green, he will be dry, and in the dryness, there is no process of development. If you are green, I am happy about you – it is a noble feature to be green, and when you become mature, you will turn yellow like gold. Everyone loves money – maturing. There are some people, who have not matured. Do you know what money is? – To be mature.
Life consists of a gradual development of greenness to maturing – this gradual process is called in science evolution, development. It is necessary until all people finish the process of development and acquire all Knowledge and all Goodness in their hearts. When they get all these saps, God will send His Blessing and the fruits in you will mature. Then God will appear. When you are still green, He watches you from a distance, when you become mature he will surely come and pick your mature fruits, because He needs them.
When you begin to realize, to distinguish the essential things from the inessential, the temporary things - from the permanent, when your character is formed and becomes firm, when these fruits in the trees of your garden begin to mature, then you will be taken out of prison and presented to the Master of this world to tell the interpretation of the two dreams of Life. And you will bear the Truth not like prisoners, but as free people. Then the Truth will be a wreath on the head, and the sheaves in the field will bow to you and the Sun, the Moon, and the eleven stars in the Sky will greet you. And then you will understand the deep meaning of the earthly life. Then God will appear and the Kingdom of God will be established on Earth.
2nd August 1914, Sofia