Saturday, January 09, 2021

2021.01.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 42:29–43:14

Read Genesis 42:29–43:14

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom do the brothers go in Genesis 42:29? Where? What do they tell him? About Joseph (Genesis 42:30)? About what they said (Genesis 42:31-32)? About what Joseph did and said (Genesis 42:33-34)? Now what do they discover in Genesis 42:35? Who sees it with them? How do they all feel about it? What does Jacob say they have done (Genesis 42:36)? What does he say are against him? What does he refuse? What proposal does Reuben make in Genesis 42:37)? Does Jacob accept the offer (Genesis 42:38)? What does he say about Joseph? What does he say about Benjamin? What does he say might happen to Benjamin, and what does he say this would do to himself? What does this imply about the comparative value of the ten other brothers? What was severe in Canaan (Genesis 43:1)? What had they done in Genesis 43:2? Who spoke to them? What did he say? Who spoke to their father in Genesis 43:3? Of what does he remind him? On what condition will they go buy food (Genesis 43:4)? Why won’t they go if this condition is not met (Genesis 43:5)? What does Genesis 43:6 call Jacob? How is this ironic with how he is thinking/acting? Whom does he accuse of doing what to him? By saying what to whom? What explanation do they give for how they came to divulge the information (Genesis 43:7)? What do they say was impossible to know? Again who speaks in Genesis 43:8? What does he request Israel to do? What does he offer as a surety in Genesis 43:9 (cf. Genesis 42:37)? What does he propose to happen if he does not bring Benjamin back? What does he say could have been the situation on what condition (Genesis 43:10)? What does Israel tell them to take in Genesis 43:11? As what? And what in Genesis 43:12? Why? And whom (Genesis 43:13)? Whom does he finally mention in Genesis 43:14? What does he pray might be given them, seemingly implying that it has not been given thus far? What would be the evidence that He has given them mercy? What does Israel imply would not be merciful (in a way that suggests that this would be the current status quo?!)?

“Jacob their father” (Genesis 42:29) should have been “their father Israel” (Genesis 43:11). Rather than “heel grabber” as he had begun, he should have been “God wrestles” as he would ultimately end.

But, he was still very much acting like a Jacob. After hearing their story (Genesis 42:29–34), and seeing that it was not just one frightful sack of money but ten (Genesis 42:35, cf. Genesis 42:28), Jacob whines about what they have done to him. And not just them, but “all these things are against me” (Genesis 42:36)! 

He is thinking only of himself. What kind of father must he have been that Reuben would think that the deaths of his two sons—Jacob’s own grandchildren—would somehow placate him. 

Jacob certainly seems willing enough to sacrifice any chance at regaining Simeon in order to take no chance at all of losing Benjamin. He tells the nine before him that all of them together are literally nothing to Benjamin without Joseph (“he is left alone,” Genesis 42:38a). And they would be of zero value for the comfort of Jacob, verse 38b). 

When the food is completely used up, Jacob still doesn’t seem to care about Simeon—or even about Benjamin by comparison to his devotion to himself(!): “”why did you deal so evilly with me as to tell the man that you had still another brother?” (Genesis 43:6). 

Judah, by comparison, puts not his children but himself on the line in Genesis 43:8-9. Jacob realizes that not just Benjamin, but all of them will die, if they have no food. So, he comes up with all of the plans and schemes possible, still living by his wits. Only at the end of the passage, does he finally seem to give any thought at all to God, or His power (“God almighty”) or His mercy (Genesis 43:14). 

And it is at this point that we put it all together. “If I am bereaved, I am bereaved” he whines, and we realize how impersonally he has been viewing providence. But providence is personal! In all of this whining and grumbling and self-pity and accusation, Jacob has been revealing a heart that little values or acknowledges the wisdom and goodness of God.

What a wicked thing is whining, grumbling, self-pity, and an accusing spirit! Not so much for what it does to those around us, though that indeed is harmful. But for how it treats our almighty, merciful God! May He preserve us not so much from difficult circumstances but from indulging such wicked sentiments!

About what are you tempted to grumbling or self-pity? How is God acting toward you in it?

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH231 “Whate’er My God Ordains Is Right”

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