Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hope at Work--by Linden Malki

Joseph was a child of his father's hope--but his jealous brothers destroyed this hope, and almost Joseph himself. How often are slave traders the bringers of hope? When they are a piece of a puzzle God is putting together! Judah insisted saving Joseph's life. And, as been said since ancient writers put it, "where there's life, there's hope."

We are told that Joseph knew and served God. Jacob may not have been wise in the way he discriminated among his sons, but he had taught Joseph about his God. Joseph's faith--his knowledge of God--was the bedrock of his hope.

We also see that Joseph's faith and hope were not just lazy, wishful thinking. His actions gave his hope "boots on the ground." He didn't just kick back and do just enough to evade the worst; he proactively used all of his strengths--his faith, his intelligence, what he had learned growing up watching his father run a good-sized family business, his determination. 

At one point his character and self-discipline got him into trouble. This is not uncommon; there are people out there that will retaliate if you do not wallow in their muck. (People haven't changed much in 4000 years!) But again, he made this new crop of lemons into lemonade. Patience and hard work fueled his hope, even when he must have felt forgotten.

And it paid off. Not only did he gain the recognition and position beyond his hopes, but he recognized what God was doing all along. We see him telling his brothers that "God sent me here before you, to make sure of survivors in your land, and to save your lives..So it was not you who sent me here but God." (Genesis 45:7-8)

We see the fulfillment of his fondest hope--made possible by his faith and the use of all the strengths God had given him. He was reunited with his whole family--the brothers whom he was able to forgive, and his father and young brother whom he loved.

And the rest of the story: we saw Judah insisting on preserving Joseph when the other brothers talked of killing; and we see Judah also taking the responsibility for Benjamin's safety when they had to take him with them on their next trip back to Egypt. (Genesis 43:8 ) In the subsequent history of the Israelites, it was the tribe of Judah that became the royal tribe of David, and later of the Christ, the hope of mankind.

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