The famine was ravaging the land and when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he decided to send his sons to buy some. He did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, perhaps as he was the last remaining member of his nuclear family with Rachael. Benjamin was probably in his late twenties, having his own sons, but still Jacob was extra protective of him.
The remaining ten sons headed for Egypt where they came face to face with the governor of Egypt, Joseph, who was in charge of selling the grains they so desperately needed. Joseph recognized his brothers and took advantage of their inability to identify him. He spoke rudely to them, accused them of espionage and even threw them in prison.
After two full days Joseph decides to release nine of his brothers from prison on the condition that they come back with their youngest brother as proof that they were not spies. I don’t know whether he offered or if he was forced but Simeon was bound and put back in prison as collateral.
Joseph who perhaps wanted to clear his conscious and do something good for his family back home instructed his men to put back the payment received from his brothers into their respective bags. But his generous act created more chaos and confusion for his brothers who now feared a greater punishment if they ever were to return to Israel.
The brothers reached home and recited yet another incident of how they lost another of Jacob’s sons, albeit true this time, but still a setback for Jacob. Needless to say Jacob was totally against the idea of sending Benjamin to Egypt going as far as considering his son, Simeon as dead.
And Joseph is now added to the long list of people who have cheated Jacob in some way.
Jacob felt that everything was against him but it was in fact the people around him who were constantly cheating him. We sometimes blame God for our condition but seldom do we praise God for our accomplishments.
So many of us carry that guilt around, the guilt of our past mistakes. It is not God who burdens us but the deceiver who keeps reminding us of our past shortcomings so that we drown ourselves in sorrow and guilt and forget about our connection with God.. Like David kept his connection with God even during the rough times we don’t see Jacob going to God when he lost Joseph, Simeon or even Rachael.
How do we respond to the rough periods in our lives? Like Jacob, do we lie helplessly in our current state saying “Everything is against me”? Some abandon God completely because they always believed that if you do good, God will reward you. Or do we take every opportunity, both the highs or lows of our lives to reach out to God for guidance.
Lets not keep saying “everything seems against us” as we knowingly or unknowingly discredit the one who is always for us.
Questions Discussed in this Podcast –
V3: Why does Jacob send his ten sons and not his servants to get grain? (Is Judah back with his Family?)
V7: Why would Joseph not confront his brothers? Why the façade?
V9-17: Is Joseph looking for revenge for all that his brothers had put him through?
V21, V27 & V36:When bad things happen in our lives, do we also feel that God is punishing us for our past mistakes?