Perseverance Pays

Persisting in trust pays off and in the case of Joseph’s brothers pleading with their father, it seems the third time’s a charm in our series “Joseph: A Life with Many Colors”.  First, all the brothers stated what must be done: bring Benjamin.  No, Jacob doesn’t budge.

Genesis 42:37 Then Reuben said to his father, “You may put both of my sons to death if I do not bring him back to you. Entrust him to my care, and I will bring him back.”38 But Jacob said, “My son will not go down there with you; his brother is dead and he is the only one left. If harm comes to him on the journey you are taking, you will bring my gray head down to the grave in sorrow.”

That went well.  Somehow the surety and guarantee of killing two other sons, Jacob’s grandsons, fails to be a compelling reason winning Jacob over to Reuben’s side. (Duh.) Meanwhile back in Egypt, the two brothers considered “no more” are still waiting, waiting, waiting…and very much alive.

Genesis 43:1 Now the famine was still severe in the land. 2 So when they had eaten all the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little more food.”3 But Judah said to him, “The man warned us solemnly, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’  4 If you will send our brother along with us, we will go down and buy food for you.   5 But if you will not send him, we will not go down, because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you. ‘”

Just a little theology note:  At this point in the Bible, Judah (later, the large tribe from which the Messiah comes) begins emerging as a leader, and Benjamin (later known for loyalty to Judah) would become the tribe that’s small but fierce, hence the wolf imagery in Jacob’s blessing from chapter 49.

Then Jacob, also known as Israel, asked, “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?”  (He’s still brooding over this, dragging his feet on the test.)

Genesis 43:7 They replied, “The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. ‘Is your father still living?’ he asked us. ‘Do you have another brother?’ We simply answered his questions. How were we to know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?”

Judah takes the leadership now.

 8 Then Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die.   9 I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life.

And then Judah states the pièce de résistance, pointing out that Dad has been dragging his feet.   Genesis 43:10 As it is, if we had not delayed, we could have gone and returned twice.”

Third time’s a charm, or at least perseverance pays off.

Genesis 43:11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift– a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds. 12 Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake.  13 Take your brother also and go back to the man at once.

If persistence pays in sending Benjamin,
there’s nothing like a little last-minute prayer as protection.

Genesis 43:14 And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”

Jacob’s not exactly the model of trust here, but the story’s not over. 
God has something far more amazing in mind.

Genesis 43:15 So the men took the gifts and double the amount of silver, and Benjamin also. 

Think about it:

  • How is dragging our feet in a test not the right response?  What does God desire from us instead?
  • Read James 1: 12 “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” 
  • Does God ever test us to do evil, bring fear, or cause destruction?  Why does He test us? 
  • Do fear and destruction fall into the category of test … or judgment?  Ought genuine followers of Jesus Christ ever be afraid of the test or the judgment?
  • Sometimes a succession of difficulties can move us beyond thinking we can handle it all.  To Whom do we cry out for help when we’re at our wits end?

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on October 27, 2019

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