Summary: For many Christians, there is a famine for God's Word that can easily affect their ability to face their problems. But it is possible to have spiritual feasting in the insurmountable riches of Christ. Let us learn from these characters from Genesis.
FROM FAMINE TO FEASTING
Text: GENESIS 43:1, 16, 31
Genesis 43: 1 "Now the famine was still severe in the land."
Genesis 43: 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.”
31 After he had washed his face, he came out and, controlling himself, said, “Serve the food.”
Today, we will continue our study on the Book of Genesis chapter 43.We have been looking at the life of Joseph, the Dreamer and how his dream has been realized and fulfilled.The Lord prepared and groomed his personality and his character to become the second highest in command of Egypt.He went through a lot of hardships and difficulties but eventually, after much waiting, his promotion came from the Lord.Several weeks ago, we examined how he was tested on the way he used his power and authority.In this chapter, we will learn the next step of his journey to achieving his dream when he welcomed and invited his brothers for a special family dinner.Think of it, in spite of the great famine in the land, Joseph was hosting a feast and an abundance of food for his beloved brothers. On one side, the famine was so severe, it was serious and relentless while on the other side, there was a celebration, a reunion and a happy occasion all within one chapter of Genesis.
"Slaughter an animal and serve the food."
There are people who are going through famine right now.
There are people going through feasting at the same time.
What made the difference? It is in our outlook at life that matters.
It is the way we use the vast spiritual resources that God has given to us.
It is the way we discover God's spiritual truths from the Bible.
Some Christians don't have any idea at all that they are rich in Christ but still they live in spiritual famine and poverty.
That is a great irony but it is true.
There were three characters who were involved. Each one acted differently and individually from each other.
These three important characters that we will study are: Jacob, Judah and Joseph - the three J's.Each of them was faced and confronted with a problem and had to make some major decisions in their lives.But each one looked and reacted at the problem separately and uniquely according to their individual personalities. We can see ourselves from these three characters and learn some valuable spiritual lessons from their lives.
THREE REACTIONS TO PROBLEMS:
1. JACOB: He reacted with pessimism, with despair and gloom.
Genesis 43: 1-2, 6, 13, 14 "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.”
6 Israel asked, “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?”
13 Take your brother also and go back to the man at once. 14 And may God Almighty[a] 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.”
He looked at this problem as a great trouble - a source of anxiety, of great concern and danger.
Twice, he declared: "I am bereaved, I am bereaved."
As if he internalized the problems in his heart.
He incorporate this difficulty within himself.
Jacob represents the man who is easily overtaken, overwhelmed and engulfed when faced by a simple problem.
The problem was there was famine in the land.
There was no food to eat.
Probably, there was not enough water to irrigate the lands.
And so, Jacob commanded his sons to go back to Egypt to buy more food.
But he knew that this decision would require some self-sacrifice and anguish on their part.
He had to decide whether to allow Benjamin to go with them or not.
He knew that if he allowed Benjamin to go with them, he might not see him again.
His heart was heavy on the events that are being unfolding before his sight - it seems that he had to face one problem after another.
Many years ago, he lost his favorite son Joseph.
He has not yet recovered from the lost and still grieving and felt deep distress in his heart.
Then lately, his son Simeon was left in prison during the first trip to Egypt.
Then, this famine that threatens and endangers the lives of his family.
And now, Benjamin had to leave him.
It seems that his problems are compounding too much and becoming unbearable.