Don’t you just love the people in the Bible? I mean, it’s such a breath of fresh air, to step into the lives of these men and women who are so…….. HUMAN. I mean, really, it seems like the big news this week has been what the stars wore at the Academy Awards! Well, I guess there HAS been the Charlie Sheen news.
For the past month I’ve been doing a pretty intensive study on Genesis. We all know the story of Adam and Eve. I understand how easily that could have been me. I mean on first glance, it seems like, how could Adam and Eve have been so STUPID? They had everything. It was just that one tree they were to stay away from. And of course, that’s the one they wanted.
I think of how blessed I am…… Oh, how very blessed I am. But I have days when I think I must have something else, or more. That human nature in me keeps trying to pull me in that direction of dissatisfaction and rebellion.
I’m encouraged when I think about Noah. I like to think of him as OLD & WAITING. Like so many of God’s annointed ones. Abraham. Sarah. OLD & WAITING. God had told Noah to build an ark. When Noah is first mentioned in Genesis 5:32, he is 500 years old. When Noah enters the ark, he is 600 years old. He building an ark during those 100 years, building and waiting. Waiting. For WHAT, he does not know. Abraham is old and called to a land he doesn’t know. He’s OLD & WAITING.
This week I have been studying the life of Jacob in his older years, when he sent his sons to Egypt to fetch grain, because there was a famine in Canaan. And they would have starved to death. So he sent his sons – well, not all his sons. Not Benjamin. No, he wouldn’t send Benji. Because years earlier, Benjamin’s brother Joseph, by his beloved wife Rachel (who died giving birth to Benjamin), had been killed by a wild beast. That’s what he thought. Benjamin was all he had left of his memory of Rachel. So he refused to send Benjamin, who by now was 24 years old. But when the brothers came back with the grain from Egypt, they also came back with some dire news! The pharoah’s official (who none of them knew was none other than Joseph himself!…. oh yes, what a story THAT was!) had demanded they bring back Benjamin to show their good will. And one of the brothers – Simeon – had been kept as hostage until they returned! But Jacob refused to let Benjamin go. WOAH!!!! What about Simeon? Yes, that’s what I love about the Bible. I love that we see the main characters of the Bible with the same flaws we have!
I have 4 children, a couple grown step-grandchildren, and two young grandbabies. Angel is 3 and Caleb is 2. I can’t IMAGINE what it would be like to lose any of these children, like Jacob (thought) he lost Joseph. I can’t imagine the scar it would leave on your psyche. I can’t imagine the people who have lost children to horrific crimes in our world today. How could you ever trust that your remaining children would be safe?
My son Jimmy was seriously burned by hot grease when he was 18 months old. It took me YEARS to ever feel like my children could be safe again. I was in a constant state of anxiety, worrying about what bad things could befall my children. And so when I read in Genesis 42:4 “But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he said, “Lest some calamity befall him.”, I understand.
But what about Simeon? Commentaries say he was there, held as a prisoner, for at least 2 years. The brothers DID eventually go back, and with Benjamin this time. Because the famine did not let up, and they had to go back for more food. Yes, God’s plan in this all worked out, through all this human drama. Just as his plan continues to work out through all OUR human drama.
Anyway, this story of Joseph and his brothers and Jacob: It’s a great story, and you can read it for yourself starting in Genesis 37.