I’m so sorry I’m a day late with our study this week. Being quarantined with the family made it difficult for me to sneak off and do a little writing here and there. Just this evening I set up a home office and now it’s 2am and finally putting this post to bed, so to speak.
Have a wonderful Easter weekend. Stay healthy and safe!
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Week 4 – Concluding Thoughts on Genesis Chapter 43
Chapter 43 opens up by stressing the severity of the situation. You see, there wasn’t merely a shortage of food in the land. It wasn’t simply a matter of stock being low, or someone doing a routine shopping trip to Egypt. We’re told there was a “severe famine” in the land. These words are a warm reminder that God’s hand is upon their lives. He’s giving them clear direction by causing them to hunger. He’s taken away any option they had of staying in Canaan by closing a door behind them and opening another ahead. And so, the brothers head back to Egypt, with no other choice but to bring their youngest brother Benjamin with them.
What they’re about to experience next is nothing short of pure grace which isn’t surprising since Joseph has been a type of Christ throughout this story. We know that where sin abounds, God’s grace abounds all the more. The deeper we sink, the further down He reaches to save us.
God doesn’t leave us in our sin. He reached down to us while we were yet sinners with the gift of His Son, and He continues reaching down every day. We see that here, in the life of Joseph, as he continues to draw the brothers closer to him. We also see that this path to repentance isn’t a feel-good journey through faith—it’s a life-changing trial by fire designed to convict them of sin.
So, what am I talking about here? Is it grace or the trying of our faith? It’s both, really. God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. There are times when we must be tried, and we must be tested, and we must experience loss in order to grow.
Who would have thought that a famine in Egypt was a blessing disguised as a trial? Could it be that your blessings are also disguised by your trials? Just maybe that difficult situation you’re going through is God’s way of closing one door while he opens another. It’s probably not the way you’d do it, but God’s plans rarely are. Trials are not meant to punish us, they’re meant to shape us. They’re meant to empty us of ourselves to receive the fullness of God. Grace is everything God gives us—what we deem as good or as bad—to shape us, to refine us, and to draw us closer to Him.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Genesis 50:20, NIV)
Week 4 – Concluding Thoughts on Genesis Chapter 44
The idea of true repentance is more than turning away from your sin, it’s a complete turning away from yourself. After all, isn’t that what baptism is about? It’s an outward expression of an inward decision to die to ourselves as we’re risen together in Christ. This is the mark of a true believer, as we let go of self-centered behavior to imitate Christ-like behavior.
Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. (Ephesians 5:1-2, NIV)
We’re seeing that imitation of Christ in this chapter as Judah offers to give up his life for his brother. The last few verses in this chapter beautifully parallel our Savior’s love for His Father, and the substitutionary atonement of Christ.
Your servant guaranteed the boy’s safety to my father. I said, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, I will bear the blame before you, my father, all my life!’ Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. (Genesis 44:32-33)
It’s easy to say we believe in God, to attend church on Sunday, and recite scriptures we learned in Sunday school. But what does our heart reveal when we’re tested and tried? Would we give up our lives for a brother? Would we give up our lives for our Lord?
Some Christians wouldn’t give up a parking space for another let alone give up their lives. Some of us—perhaps most of us—need to be broken before we can grow.
The word “broken” can mean a lot of things. In fact, you’ll find 17 different adjectives describing this word at Dictionary.com. To some it means fragmented or incomplete, to others it means weakened in strength or spirit. Looking to the Bible we find yet another kind of brokenness—one that is pleasing to God.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. (Psalm 51:16-17, NIV)
There’s something about a breaking point that changes a person. There’s something about being stripped of everything that moves us to lean into God—an emptiness that invites God to pour Himself in. We saw that here in the life of Judah and his brothers. We saw 10 men who were finally ready to lay down their lives for each other. We saw 10 brothers who were finally ready to let go of themselves and let God take the lead.
I’ve created some 8.5 x 11 high res images for you with some of the thoughts and verses from this study. I’ll have two of them for you each week, making a collection of 12 of them in total. Please click the images or the links below to view and print your copies.
Darlene Schacht and her husband Michael live in Manitoba Canada where the summers are beautiful and the winters are cold. Together they’ve come to learn that relationships aren’t always easy, but that marriage, the way God intended it to be, is a treasure worth fighting for.
She began her publishing journey about twelve years ago when she pioneered one of the first online magazines for Christian women, known at the time as “Christian Women Online Magazine.” After three years, Darlene left CWO to blog as a solo author at Time-Warp Wife Ministries.
It was also during this transition that she worked alongside actress Candace Cameron Bure to write the NYT Best-Selling book, Reshaping it All: Motivation for Spiritual and Physical Fitness. Reshaping it All was the winner of both the 2011 USA Best Book Awards and the 2012 Christian Reading Retailers Choice Awards.
Author of more than 15 books, Darlene continues to write and to minister to her readers through her blog at TimeWarpWife.com.
Connect with Darlene:
You are loved by an almighty God,
The Time-Warp Wife