The Life of Joseph - Lesson 25, Continuing the Life of Joseph in Egypt.
Genesis 43:6,7 And Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother? And they said, The man asked us straitly of our state, and of our kindred, saying, Is your father yet alive? have ye another brother? and we told him according to the tenor of these words: could we certainly know that he would say, Bring your brother down?
Jacob responds in a natural way.
He tries to undo the past by asking why something was done as if to make it so that it did not happen.
Why did you tell the man you had a brother?
If you did not tell him this would not have been upon me!
Again he is putting the blame on his sons for the dilemma he is in.
When our trials become heavy oh how the complaining starts and the fears reveal themselves.
But what is the right thing to do?
It is to wait upon the Lord, wait upon his time, and rest in his promises.
But Jacob complains and whines about the situation the Lord has put him in when in reality what awaits him but a reunion with his long thought, dead son Joseph.
God only has good planned for Jacob while Jacob thinks God only has evil planned for him.
And the boys reasonably respond to Jacob's question.
We did not know where his questions were leading.
Yes, the Egyptian prince accused us of being spies but we did not know that telling him about our brother would lead to his asking us to prove that he was our brother,
We answered his questions honestly and without guile.
There was no resisting him.
We had no idea of how he would use against us the information we gave him!
Genesis 43:8-10, And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones. I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever: For except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second time.
Reuben had had his opportunity to convince his father to allow Benjamin to go by pledging the lives of his two sons if he did not bring Benjamin back.
That did not work so Judah comes forth with a more prudent suggestion.
Proverbs 15:23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!)
He did not put his sons at risk as Reuben had done but he puts himself at risk instead.
He brings sanity to the discussion by facing the facts.
Unless something is done we will all starve, including Benjamin. Judah faces the facts and convinces Jacob of the need for action.
Perhaps Jacob had more confidence in Judah and was looking for a way to save face because of his vow not to send Benjamin.
The last time we saw Judah was as a widower in Chapter 38 when we witnessed his shame in the affair with Tamar.
We see here that he has returned home, no doubt with his two boys and now takes a prominent position.
Judah exclaims: I will bear the blame forever if I bring him not unto thee.
I will do everything in my power to bring Benjamin home.
He indicates that this argument has been going on for weeks by saying
except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second time.
While we are discussing this I could have gone and returned in the time we have wasted.
But as the quantity of the foodstuffs became lower and lower this argument gained strength.
God knows the motivating force of hunger.
Genesis 43:11-14, And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds: And take double money in your hand; and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight: Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man: And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.
Notice how the scripture turns from the name Jacob, the supplanter to the name Israel, prince with God.
Jacob the natural man, now becomes Israel the spiritual man, who displays strength and this strength flows from his faith in God.
This passage indicates a calm trust in God whom he calls El Shaddai. (The Almighty One who will perpetuate the seed and fulfill the covenant promises.)
For Israel has no other in whom to trust.
The food is near gone, starvation is eminent.
He will have no sons near him in whom to trust.
Even Benjamin will be gone.
No more does he say that all these things are against me.
Judah's words are reasonable and true so Jacob, that is Israel, flees to God for refuge.
He must trust for there is no other way for him to go.
Isn't it just like a man to trust God as a last resort?
So he gives good advice to his sons.
Go to Egypt but be prepared to be successful.
Go with lavish gifts for this prince of Egypt.
Assume the money left in your sacks was an oversight and take double money for the new purchases.
Do everything to appease and do nothing in which to be accused.
He finally yields his favored son, Benjamin and says words which finally indicates a complete yielding to God.
If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.
If God sees fit to take my children I must yield to God's will and accept what comes.
I came into this world childless and if it please God I will leave this world childless.
If it is to suffer then I must suffer.
If I am to be left alone then I am to be left alone with God.
Jacob's faith is revealed here because he is prepared to lose his sons if it be God's will.
And this was the Jacob who in recent days exclaimed; All these things are against me!
But now as Israel he says: If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.
Genesis 43:15-25, And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph. And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon. And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph's house. And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph's house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses. And they came near to the steward of Joseph's house, and they communed with him at the door of the house, And said, O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food: And it came to pass, when we came to the inn, that we opened our sacks, and, behold, every man's money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight: and we have brought it again in our hand. And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks. And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them. And the man brought the men into Joseph's house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses provender. And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon: for they heard that they should eat bread there.
This is a passage of Grace.
It is Grace that brings confusion for it upsets any understanding that the brothers had and it upset their expectations.
That is the reaction when the unregenerate man is faced with the Grace of God.
It upsets every foundation upon which he has built his life.
Build your life on anything but the Grace of God and you will be upset.
Joseph's brothers had returned to Egypt with certain preconceived notions of how they would be treated but everything they expected to come about did not come about.
But they met Grace and Grace brought fear to their hearts.
That is what Grace does to the man who is without God.
And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph.