Read Genesis 43:1-15
1Now the famine was still severe in the land. 2So when they had eaten all the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, "Go back and buy us a little more food."
3But Judah said to him, "The man warned us solemnly, 'You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.' 4If you will send our brother along with us, we will go down and buy food for you. 5But if you will not send him, we will not go down, because the man said to us, 'You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.'"
6Israel asked, "Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?"
7They replied, "The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. 'Is your father still living?' he asked us. 'Do you have another brother?' We simply answered his questions. How were we to know he would say, 'Bring your brother down here'?"
8Then Judah said to Israel his father, "Send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die. 9I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life. 10As it is, if we had not delayed, we could have gone and returned twice."
11Then their father Israel said to them, "If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift — a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds. 12Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. 13Take your brother also and go back to the man at once. 14And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved."
15So the men took the gifts and double the amount of silver, and Benjamin also. They hurried down to Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph. (NIV)
We get to the point in the story where the grain that Jacob had his sons purchase in Egypt is running out. Here lies one of the problems we have with God. Joseph gave a command as to how Simeon could be restored. The anguish Jacob has as revealed in this passage did not have to happen. All he needed to have done was to send Benjamin down and the family would have been not only restored to one another, but made safe without worry during this terrible famine. But fear gripes Jacob in his response. Only when the situation becomes so disastrous, does he act.
I find that is how we deal with God all too many times. He simply tells us to trust and yet, we worry and fret. We don’t understand why things are happening. And yet God tells us that He is in control. There is always the worry of death in this life, but death is never and end. This is the greatest promise we have received from God, eternal life. Jacob struggled with death and loss. The sons who went missing, he counted as dead even though they were alive. God wants us to live an abundant life, but God also knows that this is a fallen and cruel world and the life he is preparing for us is to come.
I think the early church truly took this to heart. During the persecution of the church, they did not want to die, but they did not let the fear of death keep them from living. In the world we find ourselves today, we are getting caught up where the fear of death is keeping us from living a full life. We don’t trust God’s words anymore. We pick and choose what we want to believe about God and it causes us to suffer more than we need to. Jacob suffered more than he needed to. God put in place a plan to bring his family back together again and he could not see it.
And we also see in Jacob’s response our response to God’s goodness. We get caught up in thinking we need to earn it. Jacob told his sons to sweeten the pot by bringing gifts and more money. He was seeking to buy favor. God’s favor cannot be bought nor does God want us to try and do it. God simply wants us. That is all that was needed of Jacob.
How has your trust in God grown over the years? Have you had to go through experiences like Jacob did to see that your reaction was wrong and all you needed to do was to trust God? I know this is how I have grown in my life. I think we all have to learn this lesson the hard way at one time or another. God wants you. God loves you. God offers you life. All you need to do is to present yourself to him and accept his love. I hope you are doing that each and every day.
Blessings and Peace