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Only a Test: Teacher Joseph, Part 8

by | Jun 7, 2024 | Patience, Perserverance, Teacher Joseph

I have to admit, I feel sorry for Joseph’s brothers.

They show great remorse for what they did to Joseph: “Then they said to one another, ‘We are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us, and we would not hear; therefore this distress has come upon us.’” (Genesis 42:21 NKJV).

They are much less self-focused than they had been 10 years earlier, and they actually worried about their father: “So now, if the boy is not with us when I go back to your servant my father…your servants will bring the gray head of our father down to the grave in sorrow. 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!’” (Genesis 43:30-32 NKJV).

In fact, they care so much about their father that they are willing to take Benjamin’s place when Joseph threatens to put him in prison: “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 43:33 NKJV).

Nonetheless, these two trips these 10 brothers make to Egypt for grain bring them nothing but trouble. First they are accused of being spies and are put in prison for three days; and then Simeon is left in prison. Then they find the money they gave this governor of Egypt in their sacks of grain, giving them unending worry about his reaction when they returned (see Genesis 42). How happy they must have been as all 11 brothers packed up their pack animals and headed back to Canaan. I can just hear them: “Whew! Finally! Hope this grain lasts until the end of the famine because we don’t want to have to do this again!”

Have you ever noticed that just when you think a problem is finally resolving, the worst part appears? And so it was with Jacob’s sons. Just as they are bidding “good riddance” to Egypt and its governor, hoof beats can be heard in the distance behind them. I can only imagine how their hearts must have sunk when they recognized the governor’s steward and heard those words: “Why have you repaid good with evil? Isn’t this the cup my master drinks from and also uses for divination? This is a wicked thing you have done.” (Genesis 44:4b-5 NKJB).

Would this trouble ever end? Would the completely unreasonable governor ever just … go away???

Can you relate?

I sure can; but in the midst of our problems we are in same boat as those luckless brothers: We don’t know the end of the story!

Truth is, all the trouble brought on to Jacob’s 10 sons was nothing more than a test. And when they finally passed that test, there was victory on the other side. The lost brother, found; the family invited to move to Egypt where there would be plenty for them to eat; a grieving father reunited with his lost son, etc.

What if we were to see our problems as a mere test? What if we were to understand the Truth that God will carry us through any and all problems: “Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, And all the remnant of the house of Israel, Who have been upheld by Me from birth, Who have been carried from the womb: Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you.” (Isaiah 46:3-4 NKJV)

What if we were to understand that all of the complications along the way are nothing more than mere tests provided in order for us to build character and patience and hope? “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3b,4 NKJV).

I don’t know about you, but if Joseph’s brothers were to have looked at their problems in this light, they might not have had so much dread and worry. What if we were to look at our problems in this light? Perhaps our stress would be lessened as well!

Think about it!

In His love,

Lynona Gordon Chaffart
Author, Moderator, Acting Director, Answers2Prayer ministries

(To access the entire “Teacher Joseph” mini-series, click here!)