Monday, January 11, 2021

2021.01.11 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?!)?

What dreadful effects an attitude of grumbling and self-pity can have upon ourselves and those around us!

It trains ourselves and others to fear God’s good providence instead of being thankful. “They [including their father] were afraid” in Genesis 42:35. Why? It’s a repeated, and increased, instance of the “what is this that God has done to us?” from Genesis 42:28. Rather than rejoice over God’s goodness to them, they mistrust His intentions. This is the result of having responded with murmuring to God’s previous mercy and goodness.

It gives us a blaming and accusing mindset. If the self-focus of our ingratitude is willing to mistrust God, it will not stop with Him! The sons have just finished telling Jacob that it was almost just one of them that returned, and he immediately accuses them of bereaving him of Joseph (little did he know; maybe he suspected?), Simeon (who obviously was not their fault, as they try to plead in Genesis 43:7), and Benjamin (prospectively, who isn’t yet gone and never will be!).

It makes us value God and others less. It’s hard to love and appreciate the family around you, when you’re focused on what you wish you had but don’t. 

“My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he is left alone” (Genesis 42:38).  His ungrateful heart can’t even hear himself telling them that they have no value to him as sons or to Benjamin as a brother.

“If any calamity should befall him [who cares about you!] along the way in which you go, then you would bring down my gray hair with sorrow to the grave.” Nothing but Benjamin can move the needle on his contentment and joy. Not even God Himself.

Things were so bad that it actually occurred to Reuben that though Jacob might not enjoy the fellowship of his other sons, he might take some comfort from vengeance upon his grandsons (!, Genesis 42:37).

It makes us irresponsible. Apparently, Jacob was going to try to send them without Benjamin (Genesis 43:3-7). And, Jacob had ignored the problem, allowing them to run out of grain (Genesis 43:1) rather than keeping the supply uninterrupted by accounting for the time the trip would take (Genesis 43:10). Now they’re down to delicacies that would have been for special occasions and are needed for Israel’s bribe plan (Genesis 43:11). 

It puts us in danger of taking God’s Name in vain. We finally hear Jacob refer to God in Genesis 43:14. “May God Almighty give you mercy.” But, the real condition of his heart is revealed in slightly devaluing Simeon when he says “your other brother and Benjamin.” And it is especially exposed by his, “If I am bereaved, I am bereaved!” It’s a very fatalistic way of talking, not really consistent with confessing a God of might and of mercy!

Instead, we need to see God’s might and mercy behind even our bereavements. At the end of the day, we are sinners who have been granted the opportunity to know God as Savior through His promise and blood. When we see what God has committed Himself to and done for us in Christ, we are prepared to be grateful super-conquerors in any circumstance whatsoever! 

What has God done for you? What does that mean God is always doing for you?

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH341 “Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed”

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