Sunday, July 20, 2008

Genesis 42 - Run

I used to think that if I put enough time between me and something I had done wrong in the past, everything would be OK. Time would heal the wound, enough other memories would cover up the bad one I didn't want to deal with and everything would work itself out. I wonder if Joseph's brothers thought that too.

That was what struck me the most about chapter 42 of Genesis. There is a palpable sense of dread in the air. The sin of the brothers travels with them like a phantom, haunting their words and their actions. Even though they tried to escape it, it is so close to the surface in so many ways:

Jacob was living in fear - verse 4
But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph's brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him.

The brothers can't tell their story without Joseph - verse 13
"Your servants were twelve brothers, the sons of one man, who lives in the land of Canaan. The youngest is now with our father, and one is no more."

The brothers sense punishment - verse 21
They said to one another, "Surely we are being punished because of our brother.

They remember the agonizing details of their decision - verse 21
"We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that's why this distress has come upon us."

The brothers are divided - verse 22
Reuben replied, "Didn't I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn't listen!"

Joseph is not a thing that happened, he is an intimate part of their past - verse 22
"Now we must give an accounting for his blood."

Everything comes back to that moment - verse 28
Their hearts sank and they turned to each other trembling and said, "What is this that God has done to us?"

Jacob keeps coming back to that moment - verse 36
"You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!"

The whole story revolves around the brothers' decision to sell Joseph into slavery. Although maybe they just needed more time to forget what they had done. Perhaps that was the problem. But it had been more than 20 years. They had emotionally and spiritually run for more than two decades. Do you think Reuben saw the young Joseph in his own sons? Do you think the brother's did not notice how that event ate at their father Jacob? Do you think they had a moment of peace in the last 20 years?

I doubt it. And maybe peace is what you need to. Maybe you need to stop running from that thing or that person. You might not have a younger brother to plead with. You might not have a situation that can be healed fully this side of heaven. But you do have a Father that cares, a God that is invested in your heart and a Lord that doesn't want to see you run for 20 years.


Campman62 said...

[que Flock of Seagulls hit, I Ran]
"I rannnn, I ran so far a-way-hey-hey..."

I ran for nearly 10 years.
Whatta time of "sifting-me-out" that was.

The "Hound of Heaven" pursued me, hounded me and relentlessly worked in my heart of hearts and my psyche, too.

*Time + God = the Healing of Many Wounds*

~His mercy & grace reign forever !!!

[Blessings my brother. May the Lord be well pleased with your worship today, your writing-always, and your choices-each day.]

Christianne said...

wow. that was powerful. especially the way you pulled out all the evidence of their act haunting them. chills on my arm, man. thank you, jon.

StitchinByTheLake said...

I don't comment often but I read every day. Just wanted you to know. I am blessed by your thoughts. Marlene

Indy (a.k.a. IndiNana) said...

*shivers* Our pastor spoke about peace this very morning. I was in tears most of the sermon. I do believe God is telling me something. Thanks for your part in it, Jon.

Barbara said...

Thank you