Family In Crisis—Again
Creator God, You made me in your image and breathed into me the breath of life. I am forever Your grateful child.
Read GENESIS 43:1-34
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“God …made us out of his peace to live in peace, out of his light to dwell in light, out of his love to be above all things loved and loving” (Frederick Buechner).
Here, eleven adult brothers finding themselves seated according to age by an apparent stranger provides an astonishing end to a reluctant journey. Some time had passed since Jacob’s sons’ first visit to Egypt. The famine had continued; the food had run out. With his second son in custody and his youngest in jeopardy, Jacob had ignored his eldest Reuben’s earlier offer to take responsibility for the safe return of Benjamin, but, as the crisis worsened, the third son, Judah, put himself on the line. He had disgraced the family name in recent times (38:13-26), and may have been trying to make up for this. Perhaps he may have been purely pragmatic: urgent action was needed to save the family, despite the risks.
The gifts taken to Joseph were the most precious available: agricultural products from Canaan and imported spices and myrrh. Silver, not native to Egypt, was valuable for barter; the double measure would compensate for the previous mix-up. Due courtesy was paid to the trusted steward and Joseph, but neither paid much attention to the gifts. The overwhelming and culturally appropriate hospitality to the clan was their primary concern.
The part humans play in this unfolding drama is complemented by the part God plays. Jacob’s blessing of his sons as they left on their risky mission was that God Almighty, the God he had come to know and trust, would grant mercy and family protection in their endeavors. Joseph’s steward indicated that their gifts were due to the favor of their God, and Joseph, in his private but overwhelming gratitude at seeing his younger brother again, offered a benediction. Their feast together was the first of much more of God’s goodness yet to be revealed.
Give thanks for even small evidences of God at work in a family in crisis. Pray for families you know in crisis.
Lord, I am so quickly depressed when overcome by crisis. Help me see You at work so that I can stand firm and not be overwhelmed so easily.
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