The Restored Orchard

Deeper Roots – Genesis 42:23-38

two bare trees

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.

Of course, they didn’t know that Joseph understood them, for he had been speaking to them through an interpreter. 24 Now he turned away from them and began to weep. When he regained his composure, he spoke to them again. Then he chose Simeon from among them and had him tied up right before their eyes.
25 Joseph then ordered his servants to fill the men’s sacks with grain, but he also gave secret instructions to return each brother’s payment at the top of his sack. He also gave them supplies for their journey home. 26 So the brothers loaded their donkeys with the grain and headed for home.
27 But when they stopped for the night and one of them opened his sack to get grain for his donkey, he found his money in the top of his sack. 28 “Look!” he exclaimed to his brothers. “My money has been returned; it’s here in my sack!” Then their hearts sank. Trembling, they said to each other, “What has God done to us?”
29 When the brothers came to their father, Jacob, in the land of Canaan, they told him everything that had happened to them. 30 “The man who is governor of the land spoke very harshly to us,” they told him. “He accused us of being spies scouting the land. 31 But we said, ‘We are honest men, not spies. 32 We are twelve brothers, sons of one father. One brother is no longer with us, and the youngest is at home with our father in the land of Canaan.’
33 “Then the man who is governor of the land told us, ‘This is how I will find out if you are honest men. Leave one of your brothers here with me, and take grain for your starving families and go on home. 34 But you must bring your youngest brother back to me. Then I will know you are honest men and not spies. Then I will give you back your brother, and you may trade freely in the land.’”
35 As they emptied out their sacks, there in each man’s sack was the bag of money he had paid for the grain! The brothers and their father were terrified when they saw the bags of money. 36 Jacob exclaimed, “You are robbing me of my children! Joseph is gone! Simeon is gone! And now you want to take Benjamin, too. Everything is going against me!”
37 Then Reuben said to his father, “You may kill my two sons if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you. I’ll be responsible for him, and I promise to bring him back.”
38 But Jacob replied, “My son will not go down with you. His brother Joseph is dead, and he is all I have left. If anything should happen to him on your journey, you would send this grieving, white-haired man to his grave

Genesis 42:23-38 NLT

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.

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