Monday, January 24, 2011

Brothers Perplexed and Trembling At What God Was Doing - Genesis 42:25-28

Then Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain and to restore every man’s money in his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey.  And thus it was done for them.  So they loaded their donkeys with their grain, and departed from there.  And as one of them opened his sack to give his donkey fodder at the lodging place, he saw his money; and behold, it was in the mouth of his sack.  Then he said to his brothers, “My money has been returned, and behold, it is even in my sack.”  And their hearts sank, and they turned trembling to one another, saying, “What is this that God has done to us?”

So it was agreed that the rest of the brothers would go back to their father and bring their youngest sibling, Benjamin, back to Egypt, to clear their charges of being spies and to reclaim Simeon.  For their journey, Joseph shows extreme kindness.  He provides them with grain to take home and provisions for the journey.  As quickly as they could, they loaded their donkeys, said good-bye to their brother in prison, perhaps even thanked Joseph for the privilege of clearing their name, and departed.

Can you once again see the caravan of donkeys, burdened with their loads of grain and provisions making their way from Egypt back to Canaan with ten of Jacob’s sons? When the time came to lodge for the night and give the animals feed and rest, one of the brothers opened his sack to do so and saw at the top all the money that he had given to Joseph for the grain.  Under normal circumstances, any one of us may well have thought, “Wow, isn’t this nice of the Egyptian ruler; he really insisted on us not paying for the grain and had to find a way to return our money to us that would not embarrass us.”  Or so you would think.  But under these circumstances, the finding of the money simply caused the hearts of all the brothers to sink.  In fact, the text says they “trembled” likely with fear as they asked themselves and each other, “What has God done?”

What is interesting at this point is the fact that they didn’t question the Egyptian ruler’s actions.  They knew it was God that was doing something but what was He doing and why was He doing it?  And they assumed it was not good for them.  They got it part right and part wrong and therein lies the lesson for us today.

The brothers knew that what was happening to them was under the direction and control of God.  This they got right.  Have we come to accept that about all aspects of our lives?  But the brothers also assumed that whatever God was doing wasn’t so good for them.  That part they got wrong.  Oftentimes we tremble and fear at what God seems to be doing in our lives.  We worry about not seeing a positive end result.  We question Him.  We need to trust Him fully.  These few verses as they tell the story of Joseph and his brothers thousands of years ago, remind us today, to do just that – see God work in our lives and trust that His work is for our good.  My prayer is that you and I can doso.  God has not changed.  He gets involved and works with His creation the same way now as He did then.

 
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