October 30, 2010: Between a Rock and a Hard Place:
He was caught between a rock and a hard place. Either he could send his beloved son Benjamin with his other sons back to Egypt to buy grain, or they could starve to death. The story starts some 22 years earlier and most of you are probably familiar with the story. Jacob had 12 sons but only two of them were from Rachael, the wife he had worked for 7 years for. Then she had died in childbirth with Benjamin the younger of two sons she bore. She had died while they were traveling so Jacob couldn’t even bury her in the family burial cave that Abraham had purchased in the land of Canaan. Their two sons were the only mementos he had left of the woman that he loved so intensely.
Gen 29:20 says: And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.
The older of Rachael’s sons, Joseph had been sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers but they tricked their father Jacob into thinking Joseph was dead. Now 22 years later there was a terrible famine in the land and unbeknownst to them Joseph was the ruler of Egypt. Some months previous to this occasion Jacob had heard there was food in Egypt and had sent 10 of his sons there to buy grain. Joseph recognized them and found out through an interpreter, (to keep his identity secret) that his father Jacob and his young brother Benjamin were still alive. Joseph locked up one brother Simeon and demanded they return with Benjamin if they wanted Simeon’s release and to purchase more food. Now Jacob was agonizing over a decision, to send Benjamin or starve.
GEN 42:36 says: And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.
He finally relented and let Benjamin go with these words.
GEN 43:14: 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.
Little did Jacob know that he was sending his son Benjamin back to the care of Benjamin’s older brother and his lost son, Joseph. Little did Jacob know that that his entire world was about to change and that he was about to get back everything he had lost with interest. You see - God knew that there was a terrible famine coming and God himself had sent Joseph before them to prepare the way, to keep them from starvation. All of the things that Jacob felt like were against him had in reality been for him and the welfare of his family. The man he was so terrified of, was none other than his lost son Joseph who had his welfare, and the welfare of his family at heart. It is interesting, that the man that was heir to the blessing of Abraham and the lineage of Christ had to lose or release what was most precious to him for God to work his will in his life for his salvation and the salvation of his family.
God doesn’t just take stuff from us or make us face hardship because HE wants to make us suffer. He loves you with everything within HIM and as your older brother, Jesus holds that trial you are walking through in his hand and he has your welfare at heart. No matter where you walk or the circumstances you face you can trust him. Many times HE can’t tell us what HE is up to, because we would mess up what HE is trying to do. Can you imagine what would have happened if God had told Jacob that Joseph was alive in Egypt. Jacob would have probably killed or at the least totally rejected the sons that had sold Joseph and then searched from one end of Egypt to the other until he had found him. God had to wait until the time was right to reveal to Jacob what his plan was from the beginning.
Did you know that God has a plan for your life and that HE is working in you to will and to do of HIS good pleasure for your benefit.
In the NIV JER 29:11 we read: For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Like Jacob of old, God has to wait until the time is right to reveal to us what HE is working in our lives. Then, when you least expect it, many times when it seems the worst is upon you, you will find the situation reversed and you will reap benefits that could not be obtained in any other way than the path you walked. Job faced a trial most of us will never have to face but from the depths of despair he was able to say:
JOB 23:10, But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
The Apostle Paul walked through trials that would make most of ours seem trivial and yet he penned these words:
2 CO 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
2 CO 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Dearly beloved of GOD - keep holding to that UNSEEN HAND. HE has good things in store and the best is yet to come.
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