Weird is the New Normal: A Lenten Walk Through 40 Questions in Genesis- Day Thirty-Five

Weird is the New Normal:  A Lenten Walk Through 40 Questions in Genesis

Weird – “of strange or extraordinary character.”
Normal – “conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern”
-Merriam Webster

Day Thirty-Five – “Why are you staring blankly at each other?” – Jacob (Gen. 42: 1)

There were critical times in Joseph’s life where we read these words: “The Lord was with Joseph.” One was when the Ishmaelite traders sold him in Egypt to Potiphar.  We read in Genesis 39: 2, “The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.” Does that mean that everything went smoothly for Joseph? No! Remember how Potiphar’s wife came on to Joseph, and then falsely accused him when he turned her down. Joseph got tossed in Pharaoh’s prison.  But again those words… “But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.” (Gen. 39: 20b-21) Again, does that mean that everything went smoothly for Joseph? No! Remember that he had to wait two whole years before Pharaoh’s cup-bearer remembered his promise and spoke his name to Pharaoh.

I wonder what Joseph did for those two years while he was waiting? I can’t say for sure, but I would imagine that he took one day at a time, and tried to be faithful and not let bitterness take root in his heart.  After Joseph finally got remembered, he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, and the king recognized the wisdom and the Spirit in Joseph and put him “in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” (Gen. 41: 41) The Lord was with Joseph every step of the way.

For the seven years of plenty, Joseph saw to it that five percent of each harvest was stored up for the seven famine years to come.  And true to God’s forecast, the famine did hit hard. Everyone was suffering…including Jacob and Joseph’s brothers and their families. Jacob heard that there was grain to be had in Egypt. When none of his sons volunteered to go to Egypt and buy grain, Jacob finally asked our question for today:  “Why are you staring blankly at each other?” Let’s consider that question.  There IS a time to wait (like Joseph when he was stuck in prison). But there also comes a time when God has opened the door to the answer to our problem, and we don’t need to just sit and stare at each other…in denial. The question Jacob asked his sons was followed by a command.  “Go to Egypt and buy some grain so that we don’t starve to death!”

I’ve mentioned that the Lord was with Joseph, even in prison.  The Lord was also with Jacob and the whole family. God was providing. Just as God had provided for Abraham and Isaac before him, God was now providing for Jacob.

Reflection: Can you look back and see how God provided for you all along the way – even in the hardest times?

Action: Read Isaiah 41: 10. Write down your thoughts.

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