Sunday, February 13, 2011

Genesis: Chapter 43

The opening of this chapter seemed to share a great truth for me...we often must reach the end of our supply before we will step out for God's plan.  The grain in Canaan was depleted, and Jacob was ready to send the boys back to Egypt again.  Judah held firm that he would not go unless Jacob was sending Benjamin along.  The dialog between father and son offers a great example of a respectful, productive disagreement.  Both men spoke firmly and honestly--without defensiveness and mostly without accusations.  It makes me think of Mrs. Billy Graham--who said that of course she sometimes disagreed with her husband--if she didn't one of them would be unnecessary.  We are not called to meekly submit to every demand or to pull rank and demand obedience.  God does not treat us that way and we can not do it to others.  We are to heed our convictions and desires, speak of them and act on them giving respect to all as we do so. 
As we move through these chapters, it is clear Jacob is still not fully trusting on the Lord.  Faith is indeed a lifetime journey.  Benjamin is the child he is clinging to for hope in life; that is a terrible weight to put on anyone.  Only the Lord is equipped to bear our weight.  As he sends all the boys out, Jacob does all he can do to ensure Benjamin's safety.  He could not know that he would get both Benjamin and Joseph back--and it had nothing to do with his efforts.  But doing our best is not wrong; we are to do all things well but our confidence must be in God, not our doings. 

I marvel a bit at the clues Joseph surely gave the brothers.  The intense attention simply unnerved them; it didn't pique their interest.  It is unusual for anyone to remember great details after one encounter, yet Joseph reveals a tremendous memory of their previous meeting. He even inquires of their father's health; he puts them in age order and gives special blessing to his half-brother.  Perhaps most revealing he clearly speaks of God in terms they had to have heard before:  '...Your God, the God of your Father.'  Yet none of that penetrates and surely the boys were immensely relieved as they left together and with life-sustaining supplies!  They did have a life-sustaining supply--the God of their father--the same supply we share.  He alone is worthy of our trust!

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