Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Mon, 07/12/2009 – 13:16
Bible Book: Genesis
Chapter: 37
Verse: 1 – 36

“Dream” is a popular word nowadays, especially in devotional or religious literature. So look for “God Dream” (without the brackets) on Google and see how many references there are. The reasons for this will of course evoke long discussions. Suffice here to mention that it probably also has to do with Martin Luther King Jr’s famous speech “I have a dream” in Washington on 28 August 1963.

I quote but a few of the sentences from this well-known speech: “I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.” (The full speech is available on

God has given us the capacity to dream and to imagine. If dreams only remain in the realms of the night or imagination – what use do they have in the bringing about of God’s reign on earth? Imagination needs to be followed by imaginative practices for justice and love and the well being (Shalom) of humanity and the earth.

Without detracting from the “complex intricacies of motives and relationships” (SW van Wyk) of the story of Joseph that starts in Genesis 37, it may be significant to take note of the fact that Joseph had a dream when he was a boy (37:5-11). I can imagine that preachers and authors of devotional literature who want to encourage believers to dream, to discover God’s dream for their lives, to live God’s dream, may consider this a “handy” text.

What I notice, however, is that the effect of HIV and aids, in the context of poverty, has the ability to stop people from dreaming. When there is no hope of a “future”, when the road ahead has become a dead-end, when the present seems bleak, then dreams become cruel reminders of what could have been.

To call on people to dream once more, to discover God’s dream and to dream together with God, may be a practical mechanism for fostering a positive mindset. It may even play an important role in a preventative strategy to combat the spread of the HI virus. But we will have to be careful!

Those who want to preach about Joseph’s dreams (or mention it in a sermon) will only be able to do it through a solid understanding of the “complex and intricate” story of Genesis 37 – 50.

Those who want to call on people to dream in the context of HIV/AIDS and poverty will only be able to do it through a solid understanding of the “complex and intricate” interaction between HIV/Aids and poverty.

Author: N du Toit (Ds)
Language: English