Where's Our Hope?
- Thursday, May 14, 2009
Joseph had cause to feel a sense of hopelessness. He was rebuked by his father and sold into slavery by his brothers. He was taken to Egypt and served as a slave to Potiphar, until he was unjustly thrown into prison by him for supposedly trying to sleep with his wife.
Through it all, Joseph never displayed anything but obedience and concern for others. Everyone he came in contact with saw the Lord’s presence with, and within him. As a result, Potiphar put him in charge of his household, the warden put Joseph in charge of all of the other prisoners and activities in the prison, and Joseph became the second most powerful man in all of Egypt.
This didn’t happen because Joseph exuded negativity or despair over his situation. He faithfully (and hope-fully) worked and served whoever was placed over him, and God gave him success in everything he did.
May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you (Psalms 25:21).
Moses, by worldly standards, had it all at one point in his life. He lived in the palace of the Pharaoh, raised as one of Pharaoh’s own grandsons and had access to everything in the kingdom. After killing an Egyptian and fleeing to the desert, God called to him.
I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt. But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:10).
Moses didn’t exemplify the actions of someone full of hope and compassion for his people. He sounded resigned to live the rest of his days as a shepherd in the desert.
Many of us may be feeling like Moses - beaten down, lack of enthusiasm, and content to live out our life in our own personal desert. However, the Lord hasn’t left us, just as he never left Moses.
Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them (Exodus 7:6).
Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone….For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel (Deuteronomy 34).
Moses listened to God and followed His instructions. He didn’t listen to the crowd or go along with the pressure to conform, he chose to live differently.
Job lost more than many of us could ever imagine: ten sons and daughters, thousands of livestock, his livelihood and almost all of his servants. Yet in the midst of this, his hope in the Lord persevered.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised (Job 1:21).
Job had many friends come by to console him, but even the Lord questioned Job on those who were speaking into him.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ (Job 42:3).
While going through an affliction or a misfortune, we often reach out for empathy and understanding, and, as a “friend,” we want to help a fallen brother. However, we must be cautious of receiving or giving counsel that is not of the Lord. We may be exchanging empty worldly information, not spiritual wisdom and insight.
What we can learn from each of these men can serve us well in our relationship with the Lord:
- Abraham feared and obeyed the Lord.
- Joseph was faithful and served with the utmost integrity.
- Moses listened to God and didn’t allow others to influence him.
- Job persevered, never denouncing God.
These traits allowed each of these men to maintain their unfailing hope in God through some of the most difficult of situations. They showed us that hope is not dependent upon what we may hear, what other people say or do, or even how bad our situation may look. Our hope is based upon our relationship with God.
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