It’s been so long since I last blogged about Genesis I almost forgot that there are only 50 chapters (only?!) in this opening book of the Bible, as I cast my memory back nearly two years ago when I first began the series I begin to wonder if I had any idea as to what I was doing.
Recollecting some of my actions from back then I can tell you that I surely didn’t know what I was embarking on ( I didn’t even count the chapters before I began) and that even now, embarking on my third decade of existence I still have no clue what I’m doing.
But since it has been so long since I blogged about anything a quick recap on my spring and summer – I completely dropped the ball on my exams, I was too apathetic, too self centered to work as hard as I needed and I failed two modules, if God blesses me I will hopefully manage to work hard enough to pass my exam later this week, and successfully submit passing coursework before I leave for LM5 at the end of the week.
Since the results in spring and the end of this past week I’ve thought a lot about what I’m doing with my life, got some great advice from near strangers, family and other assorted loved ones, who all told me the same thing – don’t be such a child and do the work you have to do. Well That’s what I intend to do! I’ve nearly finished one of two courseworks, and have started the second. The exam prep. starts tomorrow along with a list of chores that doesn’t quite make it down to my elbow.
Enough about me though! If you care so much about ‘me’ you can follow me on twitter for more regular (and variably boring results – https://twitter.com/AndrewGoudie)
(Genesis 42& 43, in the NLT http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%2042%20&%2043&version=NLT )
Genesis 43 – Joseph is the number 2 man in the whole of ancient egypt! His brothers have arrived in Egypt once already, and Joe took the chance to take a spot of revenge (Gen 42). The brothers can’t decide if they should go back or not, even though their brother Simeon has been left behind.
Judah breaks the deadlock between his father and the brothers before they get too hungry by saying he will take personal responsibility for his brother Benjamin, fitting as Judah was the one who saved Joseph from being killed by suggesting they sell him. (Which Reuben, his eldest son tried to do in 42)
Finally persuaded that it is the only course is to risk his sons again, so he gives them gifts for “the man” and makes sure they have enough money to pay any potential debt and buy more food.
As soon as the brother arrive they are shown hospitality, when they have had time to recover from the journey and prepare they are brought to Joseph who is so overwhelmed by seeing young Benjamin that he has to leave to prevent from blowing his cover.
Joseph then snubs his government and friends to sit with his brothers, who he has sit in order of age, which messes with them even more, because how can this man know that!? Joseph feasts and drinks with them, although Benjamin is given more food and more drink than the others.
After all this time Joseph finally seems to have overcome the stash of emotions he had for his brothers, forgiven his brothers, perhaps he had to overcome anger, hatred, disgust or maybe, just a desire to get even and be done with them.
Yet God’s love wins out in the end, Joseph can’t bring himself to continue to punish his brothers mentally, barring one final test (come back for chapter 44!) Joseph will reconcile with his brothers.
By this point I was kind of hoping that God would have had something leap out at me from this passage, or that something in my study Bible’s notes would be so good I’d be able to make a three point sermon out of it, alas I can not do so. What I can do though is highlight a few key features.
Firstly that Judah takes responsibility and the role of leader here once again, in a way that Reuben had failed to do. Where Reuben would risk his sons, Judah put himself on the line. That’s the mark of a far more godly man. It is Judah the line of kings has descended from, Judah who is chosen to be the First among his brothers. Despite his screw up with Tamar (Gen 38) Judah has come a long way, in Chapter 49 we’ll see that the blessing of the first born son passes to the 4th Son of Jacob.
The second is that Judah again is responsible for being used by God. We often see Biblical Characters as being tools for God, rather than being tools of God, thanks to our excellent 20:20 hindsight and oh so humble approaches to life it is easy to forget that Biblical characters are human also. Judah is overshadowed by Joseph from birth, yet Judah is the one who saves Joseph at the beginning, and helps God to place Joseph into Egyptian government, so that Joseph can return the favor and save Judah and the rest of Joseph’s extended family.
So, he takes action, at God’s prompting, we don’t know if he knows that it is God guiding his actions, but it highlights to me that even an unimportant 4th son, who is humble and loving can do as much as Joseph, favourite of 12 sons, who learnt humility and selfless love the hard way.
In the same way some of the most important works of our lives might slip past us, unknown to us. We have to trust that God is weaving a tapestry that will bring the weak, ugly threads of our lives together into a beautiful picture.
Humility and selfless love are the two things I find hardest to manage – Arrogance and lust, their opposite numbers have had so much influence in my life for so long I know that they only way for me to move forwards is to drop the useless baggage in my life, pick up my cross and follow Jesus’ example.
Thanks for reading.