When the World is Against You!

by | May 6, 2024 | Mission | 0 comments

I have no doubt most of us can recall a season of life when we felt the world was against us. This was the experience of the patriarch Jacob, father of the twelve tribes of Israel, and recipient of the Lord’s great promises to his forefather Abraham.

(Genesis 25-36) Jacob’s troubles began as a young man fleeing the anger of his twin brother, Esau, whose birthright and blessing Jacob had swiped with the help of his mother, Rachel. Jacob ends up working like a slave for 20 years under a dishonest relative, Laban, before he is able to return to his father’s land. Even though the Lord ensured Jacob’s growth and prosperity after those 20 years, it was a long, perilous season of life for him.

After a crippling time in prayer with the Lord, Jacob, reaching a makeshift peace with Esau, was able to settle back into his homeland and eke out an existence with continual challenges.

(Genesis 37-41) One such challenge was with his second youngest, Joseph, whom Jacob favored, which favouritism incited jealously in his older sons.

Their jealousy grew into hatred. And one day they sold Joseph as a slave into Egypt. To cover their tracks they faked a fatal animal attack to their father Jacob, which plummeted him into deep, unrelenting sorrow.

(Genesis 42) Fast forward about 15 years. Their father has never recovered, and he copes by holding close Joseph’s younger brother, Benjamin. Yet, by this time the older brothers deeply regret their evil toward Joseph and the grief it caused their father, a heavy burden they secretly carry.

During this time frame, utterly unknown to his family, the Lord had raised Joseph to second in command in Egypt, the superpower of the day.

In time the Lord also brought a severe famine on the mediterranean world. Yet, the Lord had abundantly prepared Egypt in advance for the famine through Joseph. In order to avoid starvation, Jacob sent his 10 older sons to Egypt to buy grain.

Thus, Joseph meets his brothers, whom he recognizes though they do not recognize him, thinking he was long dead. Joseph seizes the opportunity to test them to discern if any change has occurred in them for the good and to know the wellbeing of his father and younger brother.

Joseph, having charged his brothers with espionage, required them to produce their youngest brother, Benjamin, to prove their story and so continue to purchase grain. Believing God arranged for their judgment, and that their family was facing an existential crisis, the older brothers readily offer themselves in Benjamin’s place. Thus, it is evident to Joseph that his brothers have changed, and also that his father and younger brother are well.

Forced to comply, with the prospect of further losing his youngest son and one of his older sons, Jacob hits rock bottom and cries out (Genesis 42:36 NIV): “Everything is against me!”

In this moment, humanly speaking, Jacob’s long, difficult story appears anything but blessed of the Lord God.

Yet, the good news is that, even though Jacob and his sons could not see that through everything that came to pass, including the evil done to Joseph, God sovereignly worked for their true good and his glory!

God’s plan was simply beyond their comprehension.

Next time you feel the world is against you, even though you know not how, fully trust God is working out everything for the good of all who are in Christ (Romans 8:28-30).

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