Thursday, March 03, 2011

Fear Strikes Joseph's Brothers -- Genesis 43:18

Now the man did as Joseph said, and brought the men to Joseph’s house.  Now the men were afraid, because they were brought to Joseph’s house; and they said, “It is because of the money that was returned in our sacks the first time that we are being brought in, that he may seek occasion against us and fall upon us, and take us for slaves with our donkeys.”

So Joseph’s house steward does exactly as he is told and the next thing we know is that the ten brothers (remember Simeon had been held back when the Israelites had been sent home to get Benjamin) find themselves in Joseph’s house.

The scripture says they were afraid because they were there.  What was in store for them?  Surely there was no rhyme or reason to Egypt’s ruler (next only to Pharaoh) to have invited these poor foreigners to his house for a meal.  Especially after they had somehow managed to have the money they were supposed to have used to pay for their grain found in their bags again.  So what did they do?

They started surmising why this awful thing may have happened to them.  And they attributed it to the Egyptian wanting to find reason, during their visit to his home, to take them for slaves.  And if it weren’t enough that he would take them, they also thought he would take their donkeys.

How similar was their reaction to those of our own when we get blown out of our comfort zone?  When things happen to us that we do not expect, and they appear to be ever so negative in our eyes, do we start looking for the causes within our own sphere of logic and reasoning?  If we do, we’re bound to be wrong more often than we are right.  For those of you who know the story of Joseph and his brothers, you know that they were wrong on both counts of their thinking.  Joseph, who was the Supreme leader of Egypt, next to the Pharaoh, needed no excuse to take these men as slaves.  He did not need to invite them to his house to find an excuse.  Secondly, he could have any donkey, any horse, and any other animal in all of Egypt if he wanted to.  Tired and well-worn donkeys that had made two long trips to Egypt from their owners’ places of residence were of no interest to him.

So, what’s the lesson for us as we face circumstances that catch us by surprise and cause us concern, especially for our safety?  Simply this, “do not lean on your own understanding”.  Turn to God and ask Him, “God why is this happening?”  Tell Him you trust Him totally and you know that He has His eyes on you and that He will only allow what is best for you, albeit from the perspective of His infinite wisdom and of his ultimate love for you.  It may not always look like what you would have ordered, but it will certainly be what you definitely need to prepare yourself for how God wants to use you in the future.  And even if death were to be the outcome, our God would be taking you ‘home’ to be with Him.

That is what we need to do daily as we face new circumstances.  We need to see them as opportunities to grow in Christ or to grow closer to Christ, even if it means dying.  That is what we are assured of as His children.  I pray it will be so with you and me.

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