101-143 Genesis Part 3 Chapter 43
The Seven Flaws of Israel’s Leadership
Procrastinate: Whatever problems arise today is best dealt with tomorrow. Jacob delayed acting decisively on the issue of sending Benjamin to Egypt until the situation reached crisis proportions. Genesis 43:10
Minimize: No problem can possibly be as bad as it seems. If the first principle betrays a “manna mentality,” the second attempts to minimize the problem to the point where it is hardly worth thinking about. If a problem is not serious, then it can be put off indefinitely. Genesis 43:2
Lie: In a crisis, honesty is often not the best policy. Israel still had a lot of the old deceiver in him. He believed that good communication only causes problems. He thought that the less others knew about him, the better off he and his family would be. Israel’s sons were thus rebuked for telling Joseph any facts about the family. Genesis 43:6
Always look out for number one. Israel’s leadership was focused on seeking his own interests. It was Judah who urged his father to think of others rather than himself. Genesis 43:3
Pass the buck: As much as is possible, see to it that others receive the blame for your mistakes. Israel sought to place the responsibility for his troubles on Judah and his brothers, because they told the truth. A good leader is one who is willing to accept responsibility for his mistakes. Genesis 43:6
Bribe: If our efforts to solve a problem fail, add money. Israel hoped that his presents, along with a double payment, would help achieve his desired ends. Genesis 43:12
Get religion: Call on God for help, but don’t get your hopes up. It is no accident that Israel mentions God last. It never seemed to occur to him (as it did to Joseph) that God was actively involved in all of his troubles. His wish that God would be with his sons is only a last ditch effort, when it should have been his first line of defense. “Foxhole religion” is not new, nor is it a thing of the past. Jacob’s words, “As for me, if I lose my children I lose them”, is not an expression of great faith, but sounds much more like fatalism. Genesis 43:14
Israel did show prudence in three points of his instruction to his sons. Israel returned the money found in the packs of grain. 1. Honesty should cause us to not only return to others what has come by our own fault but also what has been mistakenly given to us. If we accept that which have been given to us in error, then we have kept it in deceit. 2. Israel also sent twice as much as the first time. The price may have increased for the grain or they may have to pay a ransom for Simeon. 3. Israel also sent as a present that which he had from the land of Canaan. Israel sent that which may have been scarce in Egypt as a token of his gratitude.
Men who so greatly treasure the luxuries of this world when in need of the basic necessities will trade then freely. Is it so that as we go through life we seek the pleasures of this world and deprive ourselves of what is truly needed, a right relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How quickly we should be willing to forsake them all for the grace and goodness of Jesus. Our way to prevail with men is to first prevail with the Lord through fervent prayer. Thy will be done, should close every petition for the mercies of this life, or against the afflictions of this life.
When the sons of Israel returned to Egypt they were summoned to the house of Joseph. A conscience of guilt will make the worst of every situation. They explained to Joseph’s servant that they had found the money in their packs and did not know how it was placed there. Joseph’s servant encouraged them, as it is evident by the words he spoke that his master, Joseph had taught him about the God of the Hebrews.
The servant did all possible to extend the hospitality of his master house unto the sons of Israel, Joseph’s brothers. He brought Simeon out to them and invited them all into Joseph’s house. He brought them water to drink and their feet were washed. Their donkeys were also fed.
The sons of Israel had prepared the gifts they had brought with them at their fathers direction. They had brought a little balm and a little honey, spices and myrrh, pistachios and almonds. These were the very things that the Ishmaelite traders were carrying when they had sold Joseph into slavery. When they sat down to eat their food, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelite’s coming from Gilead. Their camels were carrying spices, balm, and myrrh down to Egypt. (Genesis 37:25) How the sight and smell of these gifts must have pained Joseph and reminded him of what his brothers had done to him. Joseph remained resolute in his desire for reconciliation with his brothers and family.
Joseph extended all hospitality towards his brothers showing concern for their welfare and that of his father Israel. He brought them into his table to feast even in time of famine. He gave each brother a portion from his table but gave Benjamin five portions. Perhaps Joseph was trying to see if there was any envy towards him the son of Rachael. We should learn to be content with our own portion in life and not be envious of what others have.
Jesus shows those whom He loves more and more each day of our need for Him. He makes us to see that He is our only refuge from destruction. He will overcome our unwillingness and draw us to Himself. Then as we become obedient to Him He gives us a greater taste of His love and the abundance of provision from His house.