No Matter What
I had prayed fervently and was believing for a miracle. Instead, I found myself reeling from the bad news. Several years ago, my husband was facing an unbelievable increase in costs for the properties he manages and, while he was on the phone debating the challenges, I was behind the scenes calling out to God. That’s the benefit of working part time in his office. It allows me to pray with understanding right on the premises. Knowing he was in the middle of a huge battle, I was pleading with the Lord on his behalf. But after several hours of negotiating, the news was not good. Costs were skyrocketing. How would the company survive such a huge increase? It seemed as if everything was against us. Even though I had prayed.
Where does our faith go when it seems our prayers are unanswered? Can we still praise Him when the news isn’t what we expected? The football team in the movie, Fighting the Giants, learned to declare: “I praise Him when I win; I praise Him when I lose.” That’s the challenge. Do we need God’s blessings to build our faith or will we trust Him no matter what? It took a while but my husband eventually saw God provide where he didn’t think it was possible. In the following passage, we will see how Jacob thought everything was against him when He had no idea how God was about to reverse his circumstances.
Read Genesis 42:22-28
1. What did Reuben say to his brothers? What stands out the most to you in Reuben’s reply?
2. What do you notice about Joseph’s response when he heard the brothers arguing? Which of the brothers did Joseph have bound?
3. How did Joseph test his brothers this time? What detail seems important to you in verse 28?
Read Genesis 42:29-38
4. How did Jacob respond to his sons’ story? Have you ever felt the way Jacob did in verse 36B?
5. What did Reuben promise his father? How does this compare with what happened in Genesis 37:21-22?
6. Why do you think Jacob make this final decision?
Jacob blamed his sons for his distress. Knowing their character, he may have feared they had swindled the Egyptians to bring back their money. Jacob had given Joseph up for dead and believed Simeon and Benjamin were in grave danger. He concluded that all these things were against him when in reality all things were for him. He just didn’t see it yet. God had other plans in mind. In the weakness of our faith, we often perceive things to be against us when God is in the process of working it all together for our good. Can we respond with faith and trust, saying no matter what, God is for me and not against me? I hope each of us can apply that truth to our lives this week.