Sunday 18 August, 2019

Genesis 43:1-14

43 Now the famine was still severe in the land. 2 So when they had eaten all the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little more food.” 3 But Judah said to him, “The man warned us solemnly, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ 4 If you will send our brother along with us, we will go down and buy food for you. 5 But if you will not send him, we will not go down, because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’” 6 Israel asked, “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?” 7 They replied, “The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. ‘Is your father still living?’ he asked us. ‘Do you have another brother?’ We simply answered his questions. How were we to know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?” 8 Then Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die. 9 I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life. 10 As it is, if we had not delayed, we could have gone and returned twice.” 11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds. 12 Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. 13 Take your brother also and go back to the man at once. 14 And may God Almighty[a] 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.”

As I read this passage, I can’t help but think that things are not going very well for Jacob. Not only are they running out of food, but one of his sons is being held prisoner in Egypt. And if they go back for more food, they have to take the youngest son with them, the brother of Joseph who “died” all those years ago. It seems that things are out of his control, and he can only see them getting worse.

But he has this hope, that God Almighty would have mercy on them so that their brother and Benjamin would be allowed to return.

No matter how bad things look, or that we have no control over what happens, our hope is in a merciful God. Little did Jacob know that soon there was going to be a whole family reunion. Indeed, God was and is merciful to us.

We don’t know what is around the corner, but God does. I am reminded that no matter how much worse I think things could get, to focus instead on God who is merciful and kind. To trust him completely as he works things out for me according to his plans.

Thank you, Father, that you are a merciful God. That you are looking to show your mercy towards us. Help me to keep my eyes on you and trust you, no matter how desperate things may look to me.

Written by Andrew Martin

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