Have you ever found yourself in a situation where the thing you feared the most has come upon you? It gives the feeling of been punched in the gut and have the wind knocked out of you. It holds the same fear of losing the one you love but know it is best for you both.
Such is the position that Judah finds himself in after he made a promise to his father Jacob to return his youngest brother Benjamin safely home from their trip to Egypt.
In this week’s study, I want to share with you what I learned from the actions of Judah. The narrative of this portion of Scripture (Genesis chapters 44 to 47) teaches us that sacrifice can lead to life, and that God always provides for those who are in covenant with Him.
Judah was afraid to lose his brother Benjamin because he knew how it would affect his father Jacob. Judah went before Joseph to plead his case and to have Benjamin return to his father with his other brothers. Judah humbled himself before Joseph.
He Drew Near:
Then Judah came near to him, and said, “Oh, my Lord, please let your servant speak a word in my Lord’s ears, and don’t let your anger burn against your servant; for you are even as Pharaoh. My Lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father, or a brother?’ We said to my Lord, ‘We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother; and his father loves him.’ You said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him.’ We said to my Lord, ‘The boy can’t leave his father: for if he should leave his father, his father would die.’ You said to your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will see my face no more.’ Genesis 44:18-23 WEB(World English Bible)
Judah knew going home without Benjamin would cause the death of his father. He was willing to sacrifice his life so his brother could live. He was already living in guilt because of what they did to Joseph (Read Genesis 37), but he could not bear even the thought of causing the death of his father if Benjamin doesn’t return home safely.
Judah did not know the man to whom he spoke was his brother Joseph because Joseph had not yet revealed himself to him or the rest of his brothers. Upon hearing Judah’s pleadings for Benjamin’s life and that of his father Joseph was moved with compassion to reveal himself.
The Great Reveal
It was then that Joseph told his brothers not to be afraid, it wasn’t them who sold him to Egypt, but it was God at work sending him ahead of them to prepare a place for them because there have been two years of famine and there are yet another five years to come.
Genesis 45:1-8 (WEB)
Then Joseph couldn’t control himself before all those who stood before him, and he called out, “Cause everyone to go out from me!” No one else stood with him, while Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2 He wept aloud. The Egyptians heard, and the house of Pharaoh heard. 3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Does my father still live?” His brothers couldn’t answer him; for they were terrified at his presence. 4 Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” They came near. He said, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 Now don’t be grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are yet five years, in which there will be no plowing and no harvest. 7 God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to save you alive by a great deliverance. 8 So now it wasn’t you who sent me here, but God, and he has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his house, and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
Judah’s willingness to face his fears revealed God’s plan for their lives.
The hardships that Joseph experienced because of his brothers were the tools God used to prepare him for his position in Egypt. Joseph was seventeen years of age when his brothers sold him to the the Ishmaelites who then sold him to merchants from Egypt. Thirteen years later Joseph stood as second in command to Pharaoh. He was a Hebrew slaved whom God promoted as ruler in Egypt to fulfill His promise to always be with His people.
What do I have to gain:
Like Benjamin and Jacob we took have someone who was willing to sacrifice His life so we can live. He is our Joseph whom God sent to prepare the way for us to survive during times of famine. Though most of us will never experience natural famine, we will experience different kinds of famine. We will experience the famine of losing a loved one, financial struggles, loneliness, unforgiveness, abuse, and depression, among others. If we are willing to sacrifice our fears and pride we can draw near to Him and receive the gift of life.
The Bible tells us that Yeshua (Jesus) our Messiah sits at the right hand of the Father daily making intercession on our behalf (Romans 8:34). He has gone to prepare a place for us (John 14:1). It is God’s will for us to be with Him. We don’t have to worry. We don’t have to be afraid because God’s desire is to give His children good gifts. Jesus made the sacrifice for us that we may have abundant and eternal life, all we need to do is draw near to Him in humility.
Next time you are afraid to face your fears ask yourself these questions:
1. What am I willing to sacrifice to gain life?
2. Am I in covenant with God?
3. To whom do I need to humble myself and draw near?
4. Could this be the moment that God will reveal His plan for my life?
Scriptures for Strength:
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8
God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6
Now we know all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 TLV (Tree of Life Version)
I look forward to hearing from my readers, please leave your thoughts on what you have just read.