Did you know the average person can live without air for three minutes, without water for three days, and without food for three weeks. How long do you think a person could live without hope? There have been countless stories in the news of people in unthinkable horrific situations that miraculously held onto hope and survived. Some how their hope gave them the courage to stay alive, doing whatever they needed to do to survive. Even though their situation looked as hopeless as hopeless could be, they remained hopeful in spite of what their outward circumstances were.
There are many examples of those holding onto hope in the Bible. Think of Joseph, his story is found in Genesis chapter thirty-seven through chapter forty-eight. Joseph was well loved by his father and hated by his brothers. The were jealous of him and made a plan to kill him. Then Reuben, the oldest brother, felt some sense of responsibility and conscious, so he encouraged his brothers that they should not take his life, instead he suggests, they throw him into the pit. So, they stripped him and put him in the pit. Then they sat down to eat a meal. When I think about this; to eat a meal would have entailed a lot of preparation and time. It wasn't like they brought sack lunches with them. So, as they are going about preparing and eating a meal, their brother is naked in a pit, they seem to carry on as if their brother isn't even there and this is just a normal day.
Sibling rivalry is nothing new, however, it seems rather evil to strip your brother and put him into a pit with no water, food, or hope of ever getting out. And then go and sit down to enjoy a meal together. They couldn't have been very far from the pit. I wonder...was Joseph yelling or screaming, HELP ME! SOMEBODY GET ME OUT OF HERE, as he stood in the pit, while they were causally eating? Do you think Joseph fought them as they stripped his clothes off and put him in the pit? Did he ask them why they were doing this to him? Did he try to run away? Or was Joesph afraid and intimidated by his older brothers and simply succumbed to what his brothers did, maybe he felt if he fought back or tried to bring attention to the situation, he would be in worse shape. Or maybe he was simply holding onto hope. The hope that the Lord gave him in his dream. The dream that showed him someday he would be over his brothers, as well as his parents, and they would bow down to him. Was he simply going along with his brothers knowing and trusting that hope was on the way and all he had to do was cling to it? (* later on in chapter 42:21-22 it does say Joseph pleaded with his brothers, yet they did not listen)
One of Joseph's brothers Judah, convinced the rest of the brothers it would be a better idea if they sold him to the Ishmaelites as a slave. The brothers agreed and along came some Ishmaelites and they pulled Joesph out of the pit and sold him for twenty shekels. I have to wonder if Joseph ever said anything or did he simply bow his head and go along with everything, courageously clinging to hope?
Some how the oldest brother who convinced them not to kill Joesph and to put him in the pit (apparently with the motive to go back for him later), he left and returned to find his brother missing from the pit. When he realized what his brothers had done, they decide to come up with the plan to say that Joseph was killed and they slaughter a male goat and put the blood on Joseph tunic (that they had stripped off of him) and took it the their father. Joesph's father believed Joesph had in deed been eaten by a wild animal and he tore his clothes and put on a sack cloth and mourned.
In the meantime the Ishmeleites took Joesph to Egypt and sold him to Potipher, who was Pharaohs Captain of body guards. Here again I have to wonder, did Joseph try to explain the situation to anyone? or was he simply trusting God that there was a plan a purpose in all of this? I will confess that even if I felt the Lord telling me a specific outcome for my future, if I were ambushed by my siblings, stripped and thrown in a pit then sold into slavery...I don't think I could do it quietly. My flesh would want everyone to know the truth. Especially since Josephs dream did not explain how he would get into the position of authority or that he would have to endure some serious trails before he got there. I guess that is why God choose Joseph. God knew Joseph had enough faith and hope to get him through the dark tunnel as he led him to the other side.
TO BE CONTINUED...Please tune in tomorrow to find out the conclusion of Joesph's life...how did Potipher treat Joesph as his slave? What word does Mrs. Potipher not like? and you wont believe what she does when she hears it! Find out what a cup bearer, a baker, jail, and dreams have in common with Joesph. You wont believe what Pharaoh does to Joesph! Will Joesph lose the hope he started off so strongly with? What becomes of the brothers who betrayed him? Tune in tomorrow to find out!
Until then remember....There is always HOPE!