Genesis Day 64: Train Wrecks, Collisions and Other Family Events
“Oh, there no place like home for the holidays”—so the song goes.
Yet not everyone looks forward to gathering around the table for a meal with their family.
Not sure where you land on the family dinner scenario, but consider the following...
When I invited people to read Genesis, here was part of that invitation:
“Read Genesis with me. It’s a story with family drama, epic battles, evil kings, betrayal, intrigue, romance, and more. Most importantly, it’s a story about family! Do you ever think about God’s family? God’s family (that includes us!) is all connected. And sometimes it’s messy. But we need to learn our story. Not facts, but rather our family story. Because at the heart of that story is our God.”
Perhaps the sentence that says “sometimes it’s messy” should be in BOLD, and a larger font, with a few exclamation points on the end!
It has been amazing. I still stand by my statement that this is about God’s family, and that includes us.
The family journey we have been following has had me trying to consistently do a few things.
First, I have been inviting you not to dismiss parts of the story that don’t make sense to you. Second, I have been encouraging you to see how God has been present in a wide range of situations. Finally, instead of critiquing all the people, I have been trying to honestly look for parallels in my life, and the lives of humans in the 21st century.
A few days back I titled a blog, Life is Never a Straight Line.
I could add to that title – And You Take Others with You on Your Twists and Turns!
My point: all the twists and turns in my life happened in the midst of other people’s lives. Some of my twists and turns were adventurous and exciting. Others were moments of real failure, and a few were downright... well, bad.
And in all of them, there were other people—often members of our family. For better or for worse, my twists and turns affected them, and sometimes theirs affected me, too.
Isn’t that what we have been reading about? We are on the fourth generation.
Joseph has laid a trap for his family. Even though they have no idea how in Round One the money ended up in their saddle bags, here in Round Two they confidently allow a search and offer their lives. The results are not just bad, they are the worst possible results. Benjamin is seemingly lost.
Are you wondering why Joseph set this trap? Was it to get Benjamin his biological brother to stay with him? Was it to torment his brothers who sold him into slavery?
I do not know. Some Bibles put headings on sections of the Biblical text. Always good to keep in mind that these headings are human inventions. My Bible says, for this story, “Joseph puts his brothers to the test.” Seems a bit leading to me.
Here is what I observe from the text. Judah pleads with Joseph. Judah shows true concern for his father, Jacob. Judah is not trying to save his own neck. Back in chapter 42 it was Ruben who was trying to get Jacob to release Benjamin into his watch care. In this segment, it is Judah who gave the assurances to Jacob.
I am left to wonder. At this moment, does Joseph see the care and love Judah has for Jacob? Does Joseph, who up until this point has not revealed his identity, believe the men in front of him are different from the ones who threw him into the well?
Why do I ask such questions? Because it is family. Joseph has had almost 20 years to reflect on his.
And Joseph takes the risk, he reveals his identity—and the brothers are reconciled. The text says, “And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them. After that his brothers talked with him.” (45:15).
Earlier I said this is story of family—God’s family. When we live according to God’s plan, the end is always reconciliation—reconciliation with God and one another. (Romans 5:6-11)