Scripture Reading: Genesis 42:29-43:16
“Take also your brother, and arise, go again to the man. May God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, and may he send back your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.” (Genesis 43:13,14)
The perspective from which we view circumstances will greatly affect how we handle difficult situations that come along in life. Some people always look for the best, even in bad situations; others always see the worst. As believers we have to learn how to view life from God’s perspective. Sometimes this is very hard to do. Jacob, Joseph’s father, is an example of a man who had to change his perspective.
When Joseph’s brothers returned from Egypt, they gave an honest report to their father (42:24). They told Jacob that the Prime Minister of Egypt had spoken harshly with them and accused them of being spies. They also told their father that he made them leave Simeon in Egypt until they returned with their youngest brother Benjamin.
After Jacob heard the report, his heart was heavy and he began to feel sorry for himself — “You have bereaved me of my children: Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and now you would take Benjamin. All this is against me” (42:36). Jacob had forgotten God and his promises. He reverted to his old ways and lost God’s perspective.
A notable change had taken place in Jacob’s life. Years ago Jacob’s name had been changed to Israel. Jacob means “deceiver.” Israel means “one who has been conquered by God.” At this point in the story (chapter 43), Jacob’s name was changed to his new name Israel. Two significant actions of Israel are noted. First, he rightly appealed to his sovereign God — “May God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, and may he send back your other brother and Benjamin” (43:13.14a). Second, he resolved to trust God for his children — “If I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved” (43:14b).
There may have been times in our lives when we feel that everything is against us. When we focus on the difficult situations in our lives, we can easily lose the right perspective, and become filled with despair. At these times we must remember that we have a God who is greater than our circumstances — God Almighty — and one who promises to be with us and to carry us through every circumstance we face. We must look up to Him through and beyond our circumstances. As our gaze is fixed upon Christ, we shall see His goodness and mercy in spite of our circumstances. Then we can find peace for we know that He causes all things to work together for our good (Romans 8:28).
God Almighty, You are my sovereign Lord who is in control of all things. Forgive me when I lose Your perspective and began to feel sorry for myself. Forgive me when I do not trust You through the difficulties I face. Enable me to keep my eyes on Jesus, for I know that He is with me and will carry me through the troubles I face. Grant me grace to gain Your perspective when I face difficult situations.
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