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Genesis 43





Genesis 43 is the story of Joseph’s brother’s second trip to Egypt.  When they went to Egypt the first time, Joseph told them not to come back with out Benjamin, their youngest brother.

Israel’s family has consumed all the grain from the first trip to Egypt and they are hungry again.  They know there is grain in Egypt, and they need more food. Their lives depend on it. They have a choice – be obedient to Joseph’s command or be disobedient and die.

Obedience is rough. Normally it takes deciding to do something difficult, something that we don’t naturally do.  God has yet to call me to eat an entire box of Girl Scout cookies - I’d be happy to do so.

When God calls me to obedience, it’s normally something I don’t have the courage or strength to do in my flesh.  I don’t even know the “how” or the outcome – I just know the next step.

Times I’ve chosen to be disobedient – to not pray for that person or give a word God has spoken – I remember.  I remember the disappointment of the Holy Spirit.  I remember my prayer that God would use me to use His glory – that I would be useful in His kingdom for His great name.  Do I really want God to use me, or do I want God to use me where I am comfortable?

Obedience always requires a supernatural step outside my comfort zone. Obedience might ouch a bit.

Back to our story – I see some maturity in Joseph’s brothers. As Joseph questioned them, they told the truth.  They could have lied about their father and brother, but I think they’d lived some life, watched their father grieve, had families of their own, and tried to reconcile the actions of their youth.

Dad (or Israel) concludes that there is no way out – Benjamin has to go.  Judah steps up to offer his protection.  In Israels resignation, he says in vs 14 “And 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.”

Israel accepts the fact that this may not turn out how he wants it to turn out.  Have you?  Have you accepted the fact that God may reconcile your situation differently than you expect Him to?  Have you allowed the Lord freedom in your situation?  Do you believe God has a plan and its better line up with the plan you came up with? 

In vs. 30, we see how the sight of Benjamin affected Joseph.  Commentaries differ on how old Benjamin was when Joseph was born into slavery.  Some say he wasn’t born yet.  Others say he was 10 to 11 years old.  I think this tracks as the mother of sons.  I can see Benjamin and Joseph wrestling and throwing rocks – brother stuff.  I wonder if Benjamin mourned the loss of Joseph.  It seems Joseph mourned the loss of Benjamin – so much so he had to leave the room to compose himself.

Joseph and his brothers sit down for dinner.  I’m reminded of Psalm 23:5. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Joseph has been through the fire.  He’s been beaten, falsely accused, imprisoned, and forgotten. I doubt he ever thought he’d see if family again – especially not the brothers who started the whole story.  In this moment, God prepares a lavish table in front of Joseph’s brothers – his enemies.  Joseph gets the opportunity to return good for evil, to share the blessings of God with the very men who sold him into slavery. What would you do with this opportunity?  Would you relish the position you were in, withhold what your enemy needed, refuse to reconcile, laugh in their face, get revenge? 

Pre-K Pause – when has your revenge ever turned out good? It doesn’t satisfy. We don’t want to forgive; we want to get even.  How has that worked for you? How has holding on to that grudge – nursing it by replaying and replaying the incident over and over – how has that worked for you?  As you spend your time and energy nursing your grudge, your offense, you have been sidelined in kingdom work.  You cannot be used by the Lord in your unforgiveness, friend. You cannot be used in your bitterness. Why?  Because all the energy and strength the Lord gives to accomplish his will on Earth is being used to be angry at Betty Sue for something she said ten years ago.  Really? 

I’m gonna rest in the Lord’s justice.  He’s so much better at it than I am.  Like Joseph, I cannot wait to see how God turns all of this for good.  You know that’s the end goal, right?  As it says in Romans 8:28  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Joseph loved God, served God and he saved his family and a nation.  What would happen if you trusted your situation to the Lord today?

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