Have you ever felt disillusioned and felt like giving up? There is a story in Genesis 37-40 that I want to look at with you. Joseph really amazes me.
First, we find Joseph having a dream. Two of them, actually. Here’s the first one:
“Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”
Here’s the second one: “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” (Gen. 37:6-7, 9)
God gave him amazing dreams. The next thing we see is Joseph, in the bottom of a well, being sold by his brothers into slavery. Can you imagine his thoughts on that long walk to Egypt with the slavery traders?
“Man, the wrong person is bowing here. My sheave seems to have been burned.”
“What was I thinking? I must have drank waaay too much of dad’s secret stash the night before those dreams.”
Or maybe he was more hopeful. “I don’t know how God is going to fix this one, but the sun, moon and stars are in Egypt too.”
Well, it wasn’t long before things started looking up. He was a servant in Potiphar’s home and rose to the top of the ladder. Maybe he would find a way to go home.
Just when hope was about to really take root in his heart, Potiphar’s wife accused him of rape, and he ended up in prison. There is really no way out of prison.
Now, here is really amazing part. Joseph had been sitting in prison just about long enough to lose heart when two people come in and have dreams that need interpretation.
Now, let’s review Joseph’s position:
- his dreams he believed to be from God had proven themselves bankrupt – not once, but repeatedly.
- every time things started to look up for him, they got worse.
Yet, when he comes across two dejected men, he immediately believes that God will give him the interpretation of their dreams. He kept hope against all hope for all those years. Not just that God would show up someday, but that God would use him now.
In fact, over about 12 years, he kept enough hope to be able to stand before Pharaoh, in boldness, without warning. You can’t stand as a leader if you are riddled with doubt and fear.
When life is piled against you, follow Joseph’s example:
- Do what you can. Joseph always put his hands to work.
- Look to help others.
- Believe that God will show up – probably when you least expect Him.