January 14

Genesis 43-45, Psalm 14

As we continue through the stories of the patriarchs, it's easy to applaud Joseph who always does the right thing. He is a picture of Christ in a way. As we continue to look at Jacob continuing to flesh it out it’s a little frustrating. We can't understand why Jacob keeps resorting to manipulating and why he continues to make mistakes in his walk with God. But Jacob is a more accurate representation of the believer and of ourselves. Though we like to fancy ourselves as being like Joseph we are more like Jacob. Chuck Smith reflecting on the life of Joseph said, "I am afraid that I would not have passed the test as well as Joseph, saying prayers that expressed my doubt in God's goodness, love and concern for me."

Though Jacob has come a long way since his earlier days living in the house of Isaac with his brother Esau, we see him getting angry at his sons for not lying, then attempting to sway the favor of the "Egyptian" in charge. We read in Genesis 43:6-7, "And Israel said, "Why did you deal so wrongfully with me as to tell the man whether you had still another brother?" But they said, "The man asked us pointedly about ourselves and our family, saying, 'Is your father still alive? Have you another brother?' And we told him according to these words. Could we possibly have known that he would say, 'Bring your brother down'?" Jacob was angry they didn't lie, the brothers said they had to tell the truth. In 43:11-12, we see Jacob trying to rectify the situation in his own strength. Finally, when in his strength with nothing more to offer personally, do we see him reach out to God in 43:14, "And may God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may release your other brother and Benjamin...". Jacob just like most believers fleshes it out first, then reaches out to God. Joseph knows this in his family, you have to love his words after revealing himself to them and sending them to Canaan to get their father in Genesis 45:24, "So he sent his brothers away, and they departed; and he said to them, "See that you do not become troubled along the way."

Again, we would all like to be like Joseph, but if we are honest with ourselves, since we know ourselves better than anyone else other than God, we are all a lot more like Jacob. It's easy to be critical of Jacob, but we as believers are often like him. We see this articulated beautifully by Paul in Romans 7:15,18-19, "For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do...For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice." We see his conclusion and Who he relies on at the conclusion of this section in Romans 7:24-25, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God- through Jesus Christ our Lord!" So as we continue on this marathon journey called life, where we often find ourselves falling short, we have a Savior who knows our shortcomings and will never leave us or forsake us, as we continue to learn to lean on Him and right our path. Knowing this about ourselves we should all be overflowing with grace as we see many of our brothers and sisters stumbling in their walk.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster