Life of Joseph – Part 29 – Getting Desperate

Today we’re looking at Genesis 43:1-14 which is posted at the end.

The grain that the brothers brought back from Egypt is gone. There’s severe hunger, destitution and starvation throughout Canaan . . . including Israel’s entire family.

So Israel asks the brothers to go back to Egypt and get more grain.

This time it’s Judah that speaks for the brothers. He reminds their father that they won’t be able to buy more grain unless they take Benjamin to Egypt with them.

And we’re right back in the family dynamics where the father blames the sons for telling “the man” too much information about the family, allowing him to require exactly what Israel doesn’t want to give.

Israel finally concedes that they have to take Benjamin because the family will starve without more grain.

In addition to Benjamin, he also sent gifts of the choicest produce from the land and prays for God’s mercy and favor to bring his sons (Benjamin and Simeon) back home.

Here are three truths I saw:

1. When our life is ruled by fear, we often blame others for causing it.

– The fear of losing Benjamin ruled Israel’s life. He blamed others every time something happened that brought that fear to the surface. Blaming someone else for our issues keeps us from having to face the fact that we are the only one choosing to let those issues control us.

2. Tough circumstances in life REVEAL where our thoughts are focused.

– These events didn’t cause Israel to fear. These events revealed again the fear that had been ruling his life for years.

3. Sometimes we have to get desperate before we’re willing to face our fears.

– Israel finally faced the fact that if he didn’t take a chance and let Benjamin go to Egypt with his brothers, the entire family was going to starve to death. He finally reached the point where the thought of losing his entire family, including himself, was more painful than facing the possibility of losing his favorite living son. Sometimes when we’re living in painful dysfunction, it takes a situation that is even more painful in order to wake us up and make us confront the dysfunction we’ve been living with. This is typically called “hitting bottom.”

Application Questions:

1. Who/What do I blame for causing the problems/issues in my life? What fears do I face on a regular basis? What issues do they cause in my life?

2. Where are my thoughts focused? What circumstances have happened that have revealed them?

3. What fear do I hold on to until I’m desperate? Why does that fear have such a stronghold on my life? What do I need to do about it?


Genesis 43:1-14 / Amplified Bible (AMP)

43 But the hunger and destitution and starvation were very severe and extremely distressing in the land [Canaan].

And when [the families of Jacob’s sons] had eaten up the grain which the men had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, Go again; buy us a little food.

But Judah said to him, The man solemnly and sternly warned us, saying, You shall not see my face again unless your brother is with you.

If you will send our brother with us, we will go down [to Egypt] and buy you food;

But if you will not send him, we will not go down; for the man said to us, You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.

And Israel said, Why did you do me such a wrong and suffer this evil to come upon me by telling the man that you had another brother?

And they said, The man asked us straightforward questions about ourselves and our relatives. He said, Is your father still alive? Have you another brother? And we answered him accordingly. How could we know that he would say, Bring your brother down here?

And Judah said to Israel his father, Send the lad with me and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, both we and you and also our little ones.

I will be security for him; you shall require him of me [personally]; if I do not bring him back to you and put him before you, then let me bear the blame forever.

10 For if we had not lingered like this, surely by now we would have returned the second time.

11 And their father Israel said to them, If it must be so, now do this; take of the choicest products in the land in your sacks and carry down a present to the man, a little balm (balsam) and a little honey, aromatic spices and gum (of rock rose) or ladanum, pistachio nuts, and almonds.

12 And take double the [grain] money with you; and the money that was put back in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again with you; there is a possibility that [its being in your sacks] was an oversight.

13 Take your brother and arise and return to the man;

14 May God Almighty give you mercy and favor before the man, that he may release to you your other brother and Benjamin. If I am bereaved [of my sons], I am bereaved.

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