A humbled and open heart is fertile soil for God’s seeds of wisdom to be planted. Deeper Roots is focused on analyzing God’s word to discover truths, values, and lessons for application to our lives. Periodically, a scripture or passage calls for further exploration, like Genesis 42:23-38.
Our Deeper Roots passage in Genesis shows us that God allows us to sit in the tension of uncomfortable situations and feelings until we’re at a point of desperation. Our scripture selection begins after Jacob overhears his brothers’ remorse for the way they wronged him decades before. Hearing those words filled him with emotion. Once Joseph gets himself together, he moves forward with the plan to imprison one brother, Simeon, until the others return with their youngest brother, Benjamin. Before the remaining brothers depart, Joseph instructs his staff to secretly return their money, and give them grain plus additional supplies for their journey back home. On the return trip, one of the brothers finds the money in their newly acquired provision. The discovery fills their hearts with fear. As the brothers return to their homeland, they begin to recount their experiences in Egypt while buying food for their father, Jacob. The request of this Eygptian leader was too much for Jacob to bear. He had lost two sons (Joseph and Simeon) and he refused to lose another.
The common thread between Jacob and his sons is that they are all sitting in tension. Joseph has been unexpectedly reunited with his brothers and heard their remorse, but will they ever return? Remember, Joseph had finally gotten to a place where he had forgotten his previous troubles (Genesis 41:51). As he awaited their return, what would his response be? Forgiveness or Revenge? The brothers have grain and their money back, but what happens when the food runs out? The brothers have been in a place of harsh treatment and feelings of despair and guilt have emerged. If the famine continues, they will have to make good on their promise or they face punishment for stealing. Jacob has lost two sons under suspicious circumstances, but why must he lose his favorite? Jacob had experienced the loss of Joseph, one of his favorite sons, and now he must protect Benjamin. Benjamin was the last child that he had with his beloved wife, Rachel. Although Simeon was mothered by Leah, Jacob still considered it a loss and was willing to risk the family’s connection to provisions in order to preserve his favorite child.
It’s only when we sit in the tension of difficult places that we find ourselves desperate for God’s intervention. We try to ignore or do things on our own and wind up in big messes. We’re stuck under a mountain of debt or wrong decision after wrong decision has left us with no way out. We feel the urgency to get out, but sometimes God will allow us to sit in it. Not out of meanness, but out of wanting to see our maturation in Him. He lets us sit in the uncomfortable to bring out aspects of our character that have been buried under idols, guilt, or sin. God uses the situation to bring us to the perfect place of surrender and breakthrough.
Instead of rushing to get out, sit with it and ask God to give you context. Ask Him to help you see all the ways you can grow spiritually out of the situation. Don’t despise the tension, it’s providing the right pressure to be made perfect in God’s sight.