Morning Bible Study
What does it feel like to be hopeless?
In 1970, two days into the Apollo 13 mission, the astronauts were on their
way to the moon and doing routine maintenance procedures when…
For the next four days, the whole world wondered if the three astronauts on
board would make it back alive.
In 1940, the German forces had been sweeping across Europe, pinning the
entire British army on the coast of France.
330,000 troops were facing slaughter at the hands of the Germans as they
waited unprotected on the beaches awaiting evacuation.
If help didn’t arrive, the British army would be gone, and Europe would be
Maybe your life isn’t as dramatic as these situations, but when we lose
hope, it’s hard to keep going.
It might be a situation at work.
It might be your finances.
It might be your health.
It might be your marriage.
It has been said you can live 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water,
and 3 minutes without air, but you can’t live a second without hope.
We’re going to look at three stories in the Bible that teach us about hope.
Joseph was a young man from the ultimate of dysfunctional families.
His dad had four wives, all at the same time, all living under the same
He had eleven other brothers, and since he was his daddy’s favorite, his
brothers all hated him.
One day his father sent him out to check on his older brothers, and when
they saw him coming, they decided to grab him, throw him into a pit. They figured they could make a little money
off their little brother.
(Genesis 37:28 NLT)
when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers
pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver.
And the traders took him to Egypt.
Do you think you have a bad family situation?
Joseph would then spend the next couple of years of years as a slave in
Egypt, working for a man named Potiphar.
While Potiphar liked Joseph, Potiphar’s wife like him even more.
She started flirting with Joseph…
(Genesis 39:10 NLT)
kept putting pressure on Joseph day after day, but he refused to sleep with
her, and he kept out of her way as much as possible.
Talk about sexual harassment in the workplace.
When Joseph continued to rebuff her advances, she eventually went to her
husband and accused Joseph of trying to rape her.
What did Joseph’s boss do?
(Genesis 39:20 NLT)
he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were
held, and there he remained.
Do you too have difficulties at work?
During Joseph’s time in prison he met two of Pharaoh’s servants and even
established a relationship with them.
They both had strange dreams and Joseph was able to interpret their dreams.
When one of these servants was released and went back to work for Pharaoh,
I imagine that Joseph was hoping that this man would put in a good word for him
with the Pharaoh and maybe even get him released.
But instead the man forgot about Joseph, and Joseph found himself stuck in
prison for another two years…
There seemed to be no hope.
We’ll zoom ahead about 1100 years to the time of King Hezekiah.
Hezekiah was one of the few “good” kings.
While other kings allowed the nation to slip away from God and follow after
idols, Hezekiah had brought revival, calling the nation back to God and had destroyed
the temples of all false gods.
One day, Hezekiah found something horrible on his front doorstep.
The king of Assyria had been slowly making his way through the civilized
world, conquering and wiping out one nation after another.
The Assyrians were a cruel, evil nation.
They were known to torture people by skinning them alive. They would capture a city, and those who
weren’t killed were marched off to a foreign land where they were resettled.
The king of Assyria had decided that Jerusalem was going to be his next
I have actual footage of the Assyrians marching on Jerusalem …
The Assyrians look a lot like Orcs, don’t they?
The armies of Assyria were encircling Jerusalem, and the Assyrian
ambassadors had come to deliver an ultimatum to Hezekiah, including this:
(Isaiah 36:10 NLT) What’s more,
do you think we have invaded your land without the Lord’s direction? The Lord
himself told us, ‘Attack this land and destroy it!’ ”
The Assyrian ambassadors followed up their initial threats with a letter
demanding the surrender of Hezekiah and the city of Jerusalem. Included in the letter was this reminder of the
Assyrian battle record:
(Isaiah 37:11 NLT) You know
perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone.
They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you
be any different?
It was the darkest of days for King Hezekiah.
It seemed as if God may have abandoned them.
It seemed as if all was lost.
There was no hope.
On the Sunday before the Passover, Palm Sunday, was a wonderful day with
everyone cheering for Jesus.
Within days the mood of the city had changed.
NKJV) Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His
In the middle of the week, Jesus says,
(Matthew 26:2 NKJV)
know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered
up to be crucified.”
At the Passover meal, Jesus now tells the disciples that one of them would
NKJV) Now as they were eating, He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of
you will betray Me.”
Jesus would say that they would all soon be scattered from Him.
NKJV) Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble
because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the
sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
And worst yet, was Jesus said Peter the “Rock” would deny Him…
NKJV) Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before
the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”
They spent that night in the Garden of Gethsemane, where the disciples
would be woken from their sleep to see Jesus arrested.
Throughout that night and into the early morning, Jesus had to face
ridiculous trials before the high priests, the Sanhedrin, Pilate, and Herod.
In the early morning, Pilate made the final decree, Jesus would be brutally
beaten, and then taken to Golgotha where He was to be crucified.
Crucifixion was the cruelest and most humiliating of all forms of
There would be no last-minute pardons. There would be no army of angels rescuing
It almost seemed as if even God was against Jesus.
When Jesus cried out to the Father, “Why have You forsaken Me?” there was
When Jesus breathed His last breath on the cross, most of the disciples had
abandoned Him. Only John and a few of
the women were there to see Him die.
Jesus would be taken down from the cross and buried in a borrowed tomb.
For the followers of Jesus, these were the darkest of days.
They had hoped He would be their promised Messiah, but now all their hopes were
Let’s go back and see how each of these stories turned out.
We last left Joseph in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, forgotten and
And then came the day when Pharaoh had a couple of really strange dreams.
Pharaoh was convinced these dreams were important, but nobody could tell
him what they meant.
And THAT’S when Joseph’s friend remembered Joseph.
Joseph soon found himself standing before Pharaoh, interpreting the dreams,
and then suddenly being elevated to becoming the second most powerful man in
Egypt in order to deal with the coming crisis that Pharaoh’s dreams predicted.
Wait for the last chapter
The story of Joseph starts in Genesis 37.
Joseph isn’t released from prison until Genesis 41.
And the best part is that by the time that Genesis 50 rolls around, Joseph
has not only saved the world, but he has been reconciled to his highly
Joseph would say to his brothers,
(Genesis 50:20 NLT)
intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this
position so I could save the lives of many people.
Our lesson from Joseph is that we need to be careful to not give up until
we get to the last chapter.
Don’t give up in chapter 37 of your life when you’re sold as a slave.
Don’t give up in chapter 39 when you’ve been accused of something you
Don’t give up in chapter 40 when you’ve been forgotten in your prison.
Keep going until the end.
We last left Hezekiah with a huge army of Orcs, I mean Assyrians camped
outside his doorstep.
Hezekiah has just received a letter demanding his surrender.
What did Hezekiah do? Did he
survive? Did he die?
NKJV) —14 And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers,
and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. 15 Then Hezekiah prayed to the Lord…
God responded to Hezekiah’s prayer by sending a single angel.
Just one angel.
(Isaiah 37:36 NKJV)
the angel of the Lord went out,
and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand;
and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all
Call on the Lord
Hezekiah took his problem, spread it all out before the Lord, and prayed.
Have you taken your problem to the Lord?
Have you made a serious effort to pray?
Sometimes the only reason things haven’t changed is because we haven’t
I’m hoping to end the service just a little bit early today to leave room
for you to get prayer.
God has been doing some amazing things lately. People have been healed. Lives have been changed.
We left our story of Jesus with Him being dead and buried in the tomb.
Things probably don’t get worse than that, do they?
We are in church today celebrating because Jesus didn’t stay in the tomb.
The disciples were a little bit slow to realize what had happened.
You too may be a little slow to realize happened.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is no joke.
It wasn’t the ultimate “April Fool’s” prank.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is one of the best attested
facts in history.
Because He lives
We now have the sure hope of heaven, guaranteed by the fact the Jesus rose
from the dead and is there waiting for us.
15:22 NLT) Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who
belongs to Christ will be given new life.
Do you belong to Christ?
Have you given your life to Jesus?
We sing a song that says, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.”
Because He lives, death is no longer the “end of the story”.
Death is no longer the worst that can happen.
There was a story about a king in Africa who had a close friend that he
grew up with. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever
occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, “This is good!”
One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The
friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently
done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun
from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off. Examining the
situation the friend remarked as usual, “This is good!”. To which the king
replied, “No, this is NOT good!” and proceeded to send his friend to jail.
About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have
known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took them to their village.
They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the
stake. As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king
was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone that was less
than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way.
As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb
and felt sad about how he had treated his friend. He went immediately to the
jail to speak with his friend. “You were right” he said, “it was good that my
thumb was blown off.” And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just
happened. “And so I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was
bad for me to do this.” “No,” his friend replied, “this is good!” “What do you
mean, ‘this is good’! How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a
year.” “If I had NOT been in jail” the friend replies, “I would have been with
This is not just a silly story.
God can in fact take things that seem so bad and use them for our good,
just as Joseph had found out.
8:28 NKJV) And we know that all things work together for good to those who
love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
4:16–18 NKJV) —16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is
perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our
light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more
exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things
which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are
seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are
The resurrection shows us that there is a future, and when
your future is with Jesus, it is very good.