Reading Through the Bible, Saturday, January 15. Genesis 43-45

Are you a procrastinator?

Someone who is always putting off ‘till tomorrow what you could just as easily do today? You know as well as I do, the day always comes when you have to do the chore and if you’re like me, you kick yourself for not doing it sooner.

Procrastination comes to mind in Genesis 43.  So does the feeling Jacob is a whiner. His boys return from Egypt with food and tell their father that to get more food, Benjamin will have to return with them to Egypt.  Jacob refuses, basically saying I’d rather all of you and your families die of starvation than I take the chance of being bereaved with the loss of Benjamin.

Such a decision cannot have endeared Jacob to his children.  You can see they’ve had enough of Jacob’s irrational behavior in Judah’s reply to his father.  “We’re not going back to Egypt without Benjamin” and “if you weren’t so stubborn we could have gone down there and back twice by now.”

Though Jacob is old, he isn’t too old.  He is well enough to finally make the trip to Egypt, and he will live seventeen more years after he arrives there.  The problem is fear.  Jacob really doesn’t trust God.  Where is the legacy of his grandfather in Jacob’s life?  Abraham, at the news of Lot’s capture by the five eastern kings, gathered his household army and went to war to rescue his nephew.  All Jacob can do is whine: “Everything is against me!”

There are three steps to conquering fear: trust God, face facts, and act decisively.  God doesn’t give his people a “spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).  The Christian life is not reckless, but it is “bold,” because we know God is watching out for us.  I find a bit of contrast here between Joseph and his confidence, and Jacob and his lack of confidence.  Joseph is younger of course, but Jacob has lived long enough to know better.