This post is the first of four that will discuss what I have been learning from the story of Jacob recorded in Genesis. I hope you will find it an enjoyable, thought provoking, and encouraging read. This story reminds me of the goodness of God, and how He works over time, through multiple generations, despite our shortcomings, to bring his promises to pass.
Here goes part 1…
From Abraham to Jacob, three generations later
The story of Jacob in the Bible has a rich legacy. Jacob was a son of Isaac, who was a son of Abraham. According to the Bible, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). Abraham was called by God, walked with him, and ultimately through his lineage, the world received Jesus Christ.
God gave several promises to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-7). One of the main promises given to Abraham was that his descendants would be as numerous as the grains of sand in the sea. To Abraham, Isaac was born. Isaac then had two sons, Jacob and his brother Esau. In Genesis 43, we now find Jacob as an aging man who is now a father of 12 sons and daughters.
Most of us are familiar with this story but indulge me for a minute. In Genesis 43 the scene as it is unfolding through the eyes of Jacob is a difficult one. Jacob thinks his second last born son, Joseph is dead. A great famine is ravaging the land and the only place that has provision is the land of Egypt. His sons have visited Egypt once and had a strange encounter with the ‘Lord of land’ (Gen 42). This ‘Lord’ had accused his sons of being spies, and told them not to return to Egypt without the one brother they left behind to prove that indeed, they were not spies. This one brother left behind, Benjamin was the one remaining son borne to Jacob’s beloved wife, who had died in childbirth (Gen 42:38).
The brokenness: To save one or to save many?
At this point, food is running out for Jacob and his family. His entire household faces imminent death by starvation unless he agrees to release his last-born son, Benjamin, to go and meet the ‘Lord’ of the land of Egypt. Benjamin, his clear favorite, is a source of hope and joy for Jacob, and the Bible tells us that their lives were intertwined (Gen 44:30). I often wonder how I would have reacted if I was the one in Jacob’s shoes, being asked to release the very thing that is so dear to me. How would you have reacted?
Jacob’s reaction was one most of us can relate with. He said:
“You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!” (Genesis 42:36).
But was everything really against Jacob?
If we read the rest of the story, we find that in actual fact, all these things that seemed to be working against him, were for him. They were all divinely designed, though not in a way a man could understand, to save him and his family.
Sometimes, in what seems like a season of brokenness, God is setting you up for even greater and better things!
Whether or not our season of brokenness is caused by our own wrongdoing or external factors, God can still use it to bring his plans and purposes to pass.
God never wastes anything thing that happens to his children. What was meant for harm, he can turn around for good. He who began a good work in us, is faithful to complete it.
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”Philippians 1:6, NIV version
Like a stack of blocks, it will all come together one day, like a beautiful, God-designed tapestry. Just hold on and be strong in Christ!