The verses we’re looking at today are about the brothers’ second trip to Egypt to purchase grain.
What grabbed my attention was the fear that ruled their lives. Check it out.
Genesis 43:15-23 / New International Version (NIV)
15 So the men took the gifts and double the amount of silver, and Benjamin also. They hurried down to Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph. 16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Take these men to my house, slaughter an animal and prepare a meal; they are to eat with me at noon.”
17 The man did as Joseph told him and took the men to Joseph’s house. 18 Now the men were frightened when they were taken to his house. They thought, “We were brought here because of the silver that was put back into our sacks the first time. He wants to attack us and overpower us and seize us as slaves and take our donkeys.”
19 So they went up to Joseph’s steward and spoke to him at the entrance to the house. 20 “We beg your pardon, our lord,” they said, “we came down here the first time to buy food. 21 But at the place where we stopped for the night we opened our sacks and each of us found his silver—the exact weight—in the mouth of his sack. So we have brought it back with us. 22 We have also brought additional silver with us to buy food. We don’t know who put our silver in our sacks.”
23 “It’s all right,” he said. “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks; I received your silver.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.
The brothers respond to everything with fear. And they always expect the worse case scenario.
In these verses, Joseph asked his steward to take the men to his house and prepare lunch for them. The brothers are terrified. In fact, they list four things they’re expecting Joseph to do when they go to his house. And none of them include lunch.
They’re expecting him to (1) attack them, (2) overpower them, (3) seize them as slaves, and (4) take their donkeys.
It would be comical if it wasn’t so sad.
And, as we’ve noted before, these boys are just living out the way they were raised. You’ll remember that just last week we saw where good ol’ Dad almost allowed the entire family to die of starvation before he would let Benjamin out of his sight — because he was afraid something would happen to him.
Living life from a heart of fear is such a poor way to live. In fact, I’m not sure you can call it living. I think a better term would be existing. Or maybe even wasting.
I “wasted” many years of my life. I would wake up every morning recalling the things I was afraid would happen that day, remembering the bad things that had already happened, listing the coming events that I dreaded, and facing the day already defeated.
Thankfully I no longer live like that.
One thing that helped me overcome the stranglehold fear had on me was memorizing relevant scripture that I could quote when I needed to remember and focus on TRUTH instead of the LIES waiting to defeat me. And my favorite passage, that I can still quote today, comes from Philippians 4:6-7, out of The Living Bible.
“Don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can comprehend. His peace will keep your thoughts and your heart quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.”
God doesn’t want us living life from a place of fear. That’s how Satan wants us to live, because it renders us powerless. And I can tell you from personal experience that living a fear-filled life is just a waste.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes from Corrie Ten Boom about worry:
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength. It does not enable us to escape evil, it makes us unfit to face evil when it comes. It is the interest you pay on trouble before it comes.”
And I’ll close with another great quote from her about fear:
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”