Everything is against me! Genesis 42:35-36

Photo credit: Cheo70, Creative Commons

Read Genesis 42:35-36

Genesis 42:35-36

So the brothers are unpacking, and there, in each one of their sacks, is their silver! When their father Jacob sees their money pouches, they all freak. Jacob says to them, You deprive me of my sons. Joseph is gone, and Simeon is gone, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!

Everything is Against Me:

I’ve never done this before, but, I have a few things I’d like you to pray about if that’s OK with you. My family has had an interesting three months. In chronological order, here’s what’s been happening (I’ve listed these in such a way as to protect the privacy of each person):

An older close family member is diagnosed with cancer, she has only months, or even weeks left (I thank God this person’s a believer): 3 months ago.

Another close family member is experiencing serious health problems — we’re still looking for answers: Also 3 months ago.

Another close family member is diagnosed with a serious health issue and undergoes major surgery, she’s still recovering: 2 months ago.

Another close family member, suffers an injury and requires help every few days: 1 month ago.

Another close family member is diagnosed with a serious health problem: Also 1 week ago.

Another close family member is admitted into ICU: Found out last night.

(I just realized, I need to set up a macro to type, “Another close family member”)

You might think this sounds kind of like a country western song. And similar to Jacob, I might be tempted to think, “Everything is against us.” But wait, thinking back, what have I been praying for over the last four or so months? As I ponder that question, I realize I’ve been praying to God: “turn our hearts toward You,” and “fill us with love for You, with all our hearts, and all our souls, and all our minds.”

When Jacob sees the silver in with the sacks of grain, he thinks back to what he thinks he’s lost. Joseph is gone! Simeon is gone! And now you want to take Benjamin!

Everything is against me!

But Jacob can’t see what our Lord sees. God sees what’s in store for Jacob. He knows the ultimate result of what’s happened will be good.

We’ll see in the following chapters, when Jacob travels to Egypt, he’ll be reunited with his son Joseph, who is now rich and powerful, and a hero to the nation of Egypt. Jacob will be received with honor. He and his family will be given the best land to settle in. God has in mind an extreme makeover of his entire family’s socioeconomic status. God has something spectacular in mind for Jacob, and his family. It turns out, by God’s grace, everything is not against Jacob. In fact, everything is working toward Jacob’s good, and toward a good way beyond Jacob.

That’s how it is for my family. And no matter what you’re going through, that’s how it is for you and yours. God used Joseph’s brother’s cruelty. God used Potiphar’s wife’s false accusations. God used Joseph’s time in the dungeon. God used the imprisonment of Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker. God used all these for good.

God can use all these illnesses, injuries, and problems in my family. God can use what seems to be bad, from our human perspective, in your life too. The point is…

God uses everything!

When I realize this, I recognize, I can’t see what He sees.

When I get this, I begin to have faith He’ll use the problems I listed for His glory, and to draw people to Him.

When I understand this, I recognize, I may not even learn what good has come from these problems while I’m still this side of heaven.

But God knows.

I know my family doesn’t have it nearly as bad as some of you reading this blog. And I know we’re blessed, way beyond what we deserve. Believe me, I know.

Even so, we’re taking some pretty good hits.

We need your prayers.

I appreciate anything you offer up to the Lord on their behalf.

I thank you in Jesus’ name.

And concerning whatever difficulty you or your family might be going through, have faith, because…

God uses everything.

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.

Romans 8:28

Fear from Sin vs. Fear of God: Genesis 42:3-38

Fear from Sin vs. Fear of God (Photo credit: Bjorn Giesenbauer, Creative Commons)

Read Genesis 42:3-38

In our last post on Genesis, we saw how Jacob encouraged his sons to go to Joseph for help from the famine, and where you and I can go to receive help when we experience famine, be it financial, physical, or emotional famine. (see previous post: Help in Times of Famine)

In today’s post we’ll see what happens to Joseph’s brothers when they meet with Joseph, for the first time in years, to buy grain. Then we’ll look at the secret to eliminating fear from your life.

Genesis 42:3-38

After Jacob tells his sons to stop looking at each other for answers, and to go to Egypt for grain, ten of Joseph’s brothers head for Egypt. But Jacob keeps Benjamin with him, because he’s afraid something bad might happen to him. So Israel’s (Jacob’s) sons go to buy grain, because their area, Canaan, is one of the many areas devastated by the famine.

Joseph’s brothers will try to buy their grain, which will be their salvation, but they won’t be able to purchase it, because Joseph will give it to them for free. Our Joseph, Jesus, is the same. Our salvation can’t be bought, but we receive it freely, from the One who already paid the price, on the cross. (Isaiah 55:1)

So Joseph is the governor, and as the governor, it’s his responsibility to sell grain. So when Joseph’s ten brothers arrive, they bow down to him, all the way to the ground. Joseph recognizes his brothers immediately, but he pretends he doesn’t, and he speaks harshly with them.

Where are you from? He asks.

From Canaan, they reply. We came to buy food.

Joseph realizes, even though he recognizes his brothers, they don’t recognize him. It’s at this moment he remembers his dreams about them bowing down to him.

You’re spies! You come to scout our land to find where our defenses are weak. Joseph says.

Not so, my lord, the brothers answer. Your servants have come to buy food. We’re all the sons of one man. Your servants are honest. We’re not spies.

We’re honest, they say? Honestly, how can they claim such a thing. They sold their own brother into slavery, then lied to their own father about it. They told him Joseph was dead. Joseph had to test them, to reveal to them what was really in their hearts.

No way! Joseph says. You’ve come to see where our land is unprotected.

But they reply, Your servants were twelve brothers, the sons of one man. We’re all from the land of Canaan. The youngest of us is still with our father. One of our number is no more.

Joseph says to them, It’s just like I said, you’re spies! And here’s how you’ll be proven to be so: On Pharaoh’s grave, you won’t leave unless your youngest brother comes here. Send one of you to get him, the rest I’ll keep in prison, so your words can be tested to see if you’re being straight with me. If you’re not, then as sure as Pharaoh lives, you’re spies!

Then he puts them in prison for three days.

On the third day, Joseph says to them, Do what I say and you’ll live, because I’m a man who fears God: If you’re honest, let one of your brothers stay here, in prison, while everybody else goes back with grain for your starving families. But, you have to bring your youngest brother to me, so I can verify your words, and so you may not die.

So they say to one another, We see what’s happening here. We’re being punished because of what we did to Joseph. We saw how upset he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we wouldn’t listen; that’s why this distress has come upon us.

Reuben says, I told you! I told you not to sin against the boy. But you guys wouldn’t listen! Now we’re paying the price for his blood.

In Matthew 27:25 the descendants of these very brothers said of Jesus, “His blood is on us and on our children!” (see Matthew 27)

They don’t realize Joseph can understand every word they’re saying, (let alone he’s the very one they’re speaking of) because Joseph is using an interpreter.

Joseph turns away from them and begins to weep,

Jesus wept over his brothers in Luke 19:41.

…but then he comes back and gives instructions for Simeon to be taken from them and bound, right in front of them.

This is very interesting because Simeon’s name means hearing or hearkening. So the brothers leave Joshua without hearkening, even as the Jews left Jesus for crucifixion without hearkening. (Isaiah 6:9-10)

He gives orders to fill their bags with grain, and, to put the silver he received from them, back in their sacks with the grain. He also gave them provisions for their trip home. After all this is completed, they load the grain on their donkeys and head for Canaan.

On their way home, when they stop for the night, one of them opens his sack to get some grain for his donkey, and he finds his silver in with the grain.

My silver’s been returned, he says to his brothers. It’s right here in my sack with the grain.

Ohhhhhh man, their stomachs do flips, and they turn to each other trembling with fear and say, What has God done to us?

When they arrive home, they tell their father Jacob everything that happened. They say, The man who’s lord over all the land spoke harshly with us and treated us like spies. But we told him, We’re not spies, honest! We’re twelve brothers, sons of one father. One is gone, and the youngest is with our dad in Canaan.

Then the man who’s lord over all the land said, This is how I’ll know you’re telling the truth: Leave one of your brothers here and take your food home to your starving households. But bring your youngest brother back to me, so I know you’re not spies and are honest. Then I’ll give your brother back, and you can do business here in the land.

As they’re unpacking, when they empty their sacks, each one of them finds his silver in his pouch with the grain! When Jacob and his sons see the money, their frightened. Their father says, You’ve deprived me of my sons. Joseph is gone, Simeon’s gone, and now you want Benjamin. Everything’s against me!

Then Reuben says to his father, You can put both my sons to death if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you. Entrust him into my care, and I’ll bring him back.

But Jacob says, My son won’t go down there with you; his brother’s dead and he’s the only one I have left. If anything bad were to happen to him on your journey, you would cause me to die from sorrow.

Fear from Sin:

All else being equal, the peace and absence of fear you experience is in direct proportion to how holy you live. Joseph’s brothers rightly determined their problems with the Egyptian governor were a result of their sinful behavior toward their little brother Joseph. As this dawned on them, their hearts sank and they turned to each other trembling… (42:28)

Those who strive to live as close as they can to the words of Christ and the scriptures have less to fear. Think about it. Are you a heavy drinker? If you are, you fear getting nailed for a DUI — your heart sinks when you see the police officer’s light bar in your rear view mirror. Are you promiscuous? If you are, you fear catching an STD, or you fear pregnancy — you tremble when you see the pregnancy test strip turn pink. Are you someone who steals from work? If you are, you fear getting fired — your heart sinks when your boss calls you into his office. Do you like to look at porn? If you do, you fear getting caught — you tremble when your wife, or father, or mother walks in on you.

Fear is one of the inevitable byproducts of sin.

I’ll never forget the time a grade school age relative came to spend a few nights at a log cabin, owned by a friend of mine. This log cabin is deep in the mountains of Oregon, where cougars, coyotes, bobcats, and bears are found. This young boy was used to having his way with his parents and with his mother in particular. He was spoiled and not accustomed to living with limits and boundaries. When his mother dropped him off, she shared that she often had trouble getting him to go to sleep at night. At my friend’s cabin, when it came time for bed, this little boy put up quite a fuss. “I can’t go to bed because I’m afraid,” he said.

My friend didn’t wait for the boy’s excuses to escalate. Instead he bent down to his level, looked him in the eye, and said very deliberately, “Listen, I’ll protect you from everything. So when you’re with me, you don’t have to be afraid of anything — except for one thing — me. Do you understand?”

The little boy nodded, and within a few minutes he fell asleep. And he went to bed just fine every night, for the rest of his stay. In fact, when it was time to go back to his mother, he cried, because he wanted to stay with my friend at his cabin.

Fear of God:

That’s how it is with God. He wants you to know you don’t have to be afraid. He wants you to know He’ll protect you from everything. He wants you to know, when you’re with Him, you don’t have to be afraid of anything — except for one thing — Him. There’s a peace that comes with that. Fear of God results in obedience to Him. It results in a holier lifestyle. And a holier lifestyle results in less fear from sin.

God wants you to know fear of Him, so, like Joseph, you won’t have to live in fear of anything or anyone else.

In verse 18 Joseph told his brothers, “…I fear God.” (Genesis 42:18) Joseph’s life is a great example of someone who lived with a fear of God. He’s one of only a few people in the Bible of whom there’s no mention of sin. Joseph lived in fear of God, so he didn’t have to live in fear from sin.

Over the years I’ve noticed something. The closer I am to God, the more I fear Him. And the more I fear Him, the less I fear everything and everyone else.

Draw close to Him, and learn to fear Him.

And He’ll deliver you from every other fear.

“But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”

-Jesus Christ, Luke 12:5


Bible Gateway

Blue Letter Bible

Matthew Henry

Jon Courson

J.B. Jackson, A Dictionary of Scripture Proper Names (Bible Students Press 1908)

Help in Times of Famine: Genesis 42:1-2

Photo Credit: tvstar.com.mk

Read Genesis 42:1-2

Last post on Genesis we saw what happened to Joseph after Pharaoh heard him interpret his dreams. We also examined how Joseph determined direction for the nation of Egypt and how you can determine direction yourself. (see previous post: God, Joseph, and Direction)

In today’s post we’ll look at where Jacob sends his sons for grain during a famine. And we’ll look at where we can go when we’re experiencing famine, be it financial, physical, or emotional famine.

Genesis 42:1-2

After Jacob figures out there’s grain in Egypt, he says to his sons, Why just sit around and look at each other? Go where the bread is, go to the source of nourishment. Go to where you, and me, and our families can be saved — from this famine. Go to where the bread is, so that we may live and not die.

Help in Times of Famine:

Jacob’s sons” reluctance to go to Egypt for grain reminds me of another story:

“Do you want to get well?” Jesus asked the lame man at the pool of Bethesda.

I want to get down to the pool, because I think it’ll heal me, but I have no one to help me. Someone always gets there ahead of me, the lame man said.

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

The only problem was, Jesus did this on the Sabbath. So when the leaders found out, they were angry. That’s when Jesus said to them, concerning the Old Testament: “These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (emphasis mine, see John Chapter 5)

Jacob and his sons don’t know it yet, but it won’t be long before they’ll find out, Joseph is the source they’ll be receiving food from, so that they may live and not die. And we also know Jesus said of the Old Testament: “These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39-40) So here we have another example of how the Scriptures testify of Jesus. We again see in Joseph, a divine prophetic expression of Jesus Christ.

Jacob’s sons looking at each other, and their reluctance to go to Joseph to be saved, is a picture of how Jesus’ brothers, the Jewish leadership, were reluctant to go to Jesus. It’s also a picture of what you and I so often do when we respond to famine. When the famine comes, we often look to each other, and other human beings, to be saved. But what God, our heavenly Father, would have us do, is go to Jesus for our bread. Christ is the source of our grain, if you will. He is the Word made flesh. He is the Bread of life. (John 1:14)

Jesus is our Joseph.

And Jesus is the Word. So God’s word is where God would have us go “so that we may live and not die.”

Maybe things are so bad right now, you feel like you’re going to die. Maybe you’re experiencing famine. Maybe it’s a financial famine: you’re unemployed or just struggling to make it. Or maybe it’s a physical famine: you’re sick, or injured, or the doctor came back with a diagnosis of cancer. Or maybe it’s an emotional famine: you’re dealing with a divorce, or she betrayed you, or they’re attacking you personally.

The question is, where do you go when there’s famine? Do you look at those around you for answers? Or do you go to where the bread is?

The Bible, is where the bread is, and God has good reasons for sending us there.

When I read the Bible I’m gaining insight into the very mind of God. That, in and of itself, makes it the most important book to read there is.

When I read the Bible I’m reading the very same words Jesus studied and read.

When I read the gospels in the Bible, I’m studying the very words spoken by Jesus Christ Himself.

When I read the Bible I’m reminded of great truths.

When I read the Bible I’m more oriented toward what’s important to God and less anxious about the things of this world.

When I read the Bible I’m more mindful of eternal things, heavenly things, things that will matter forever (and that’s a long time).

I know from experience, reading the Bible regularly, changes who I am. When I read the Bible I’m a different person than when I don’t. I know this because my wife says she prefers the kurt who reads the Bible regularly, to the kurt who does not.

It’s true for anybody. Reading the Bible regularly will make you less like your current self, and more like the person both you and God want you to become.

So why just sit around and look at each other? Go where the bread is, go to the source of nourishment. Go to where you and your family can be saved. Go to where the bread is, “so that you may live and not die.”

Read your Bible.

It will change your life.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT