Jacob looked at the barren landscape, then, at his grown sons. “You ten go to Egypt. I’ve heard there’s grain to be bought there. Benjamin will remain with me.”
The ten elder sons obediently loaded enough belongings for the trek westward.
Jacob counted his sons as they approached in the distance.
He had one question for them when they dismounted their donkeys. “Where’s Simeon?”
Reuben, the oldest son, stepped forward. “The lord of Egypt treated us harshly. He accused us of being spies. We told him we’re ten of twelve sons of our father in need of food for our families, nothing more. He took Simeon until we return with Benjamin as proof we’re telling him the truth.”
Jacob dropped to his knees. “NO…NO! I’ve lost Joseph…now Simeon. You can’t take Benjamin, too. He’s all I have left of Rachel.”
Reuben placed a hand on his dad’s shoulder. “You can kill my two sons if we don’t bring Simeon back. We can’t leave him in Egypt.”
Jacob grabbed Reuben’s arm and stood to his feet. “NO, you’re not going back with Benjamin.”
A few weeks later, after the Egyptian grain was gone, Judah walked up to his dad. “Abba, listen to me. We’re all out of food. You have to let Benjamin go to Egypt with us or we’ll all die of starvation. We could have been there and back by now if you’d let us do what needs to be done. Look, you can hold me personally responsible if anything happens to Benjamin. Do whatever you want to me if we don’t bring him back to you.”
Israel looked up through tear-filled eyes. “Very well, take Benjamin to Egypt. Take a gift to the man you must deal with: a little honey and myrrh, some pistachios and almonds. Take twice the money with you. Maybe there was a mistake made. If I’m bereaved, I’m bereaved.”
This is one of the most interesting sections of narrative in the entire Bible to me. Joseph has had many years to work through how he’ll deal with these brothers who sold him into slavery. Yet, he doesn’t have them thrown into prison as he’d been. No, he tests them to see if they’ve changed and/or regretted their actions.
I see two important lessons being presented here.
First, just because everybody believes a lie, that doesn’t make it the truth.
The father was led to believe Joseph was killed by wild animals. The ten brothers were the ones who painted that picture for him. Even they believed their own lie by this time. They had no way of knowing that Joseph was still alive. By this time even they assumed and believed Joseph was dead.
Second, Jacob/Israel had to give control of something important to him back to God.
The way I prepare these blog posts is by having a Bible open in front of me every morning for breakfast. I re-read the same section to let it soak into my sub-conscious mind and pray for the Spirit’s guidance.
The Bible I use has the 42nd and 43rd chapters of Genesis open at the same time. I noticed the patriarch of the family is called Jacob in the 42nd chapter, but, Israel in the 43rd chapter. Why?
Do you remember when Jacob’s name was changed to Israel? It was in the 32nd chapter, after he physically wrestled with God one night. Well, the man is again wrestling with God here.
He’s stubbornly refusing to allow his youngest son, the last link to his first love, Rachel, to leave his presence so he doesn’t lose him, too.
Here we have a similar situation that Abraham had to deal with. God wants us to give Him every part of our lives, even our children. This isn’t as dramatic as Abraham’s test on Mt Moriah, but just as imperative.
God wants you to release everything you have to His control. That includes your children, spouse, job, career, friends, body and soul.
I know, you don’t like to think about your body needing to be included in this equation, but it belongs there, too. As a born-again believer your body is the tabernacle of God’s Holy Spirit. You’re responsible for the upkeep of that dwelling place of God.
So, how’s it going? It’s not too late to make improvements. Don’t let your physical condition slip just so you can supposedly get more work done for God in the short-term. Schedule work-out times into your life. You’ll be much more productive when you do conduct God’s work when you’re in the best physical shape possible.
No, it isn’t easy, but, God didn’t call us to an easy life. He’s looking for people who are all in for Him. That includes body, mind and spirit.
Another important thing I saw in this story here, Jacob wasn’t convinced to let Benjamin go when Reuben offered his two sons in place of Benjamin. No, Israel didn’t relent until Judah offered his own self in place of his youngest brother.
Guess which of the twelve brothers was the ancestor of Jesus. Yeah, Judah handed this gene to giving of one’s self in place of another to our Savior. You see, that’s what I mean by being all in for Him.
When’s the last time you gave of yourself to someone else?
Yeah, it’ll cost you something. Those are the best gifts to give and for the recipient to receive.
Perhaps your next vacation should be spent on a short-term mission trip. Give of yourself rather than selfishly soaking up your time merely relaxing or doing something for your desire.
I’m not saying you should never relax. That’s part of put fast-paced world we live in, we need to slow down more and simply relax.
What I am suggesting is giving of yourself to someone who can’t give anything to you in return. The rewards are internal and eternal.
Give Jesus your all. After all, that’s what He did for you.
Be all in for Him.
I’ll see you later. Wade