Who Do You Choose To Be Today? Jacob or Israel?


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Jacob or Israel

Yesterday’s reading was Genesis 42:36-38 KJV. This was when the sons of Jacob had gone to Egypt to get food, they met Joseph without recognising him, and they had to leave Simeon behind as sureity because Joseph accused them of being spies. Joseph had told them to bring Benjamin to prove that they were telling the truth. When they got home, Jacob was heart broken because he had lost Joseph, and now he couldn’t face loosing Benjamin too.
I’ll just start in the previous verse for context:

Gen 42:35
And it came to pass as they emptied their sacks, that, behold, every man’s bundle of money was in his sack: and when both they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid.
Gen 42:36
And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.
Gen 42:37¶
And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again.
Gen 42:38
And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.

What do we notice here?
– Jacob says what happened to Joseph was “mischief”
– Jacob says that Benjamin’s brother is dead and now he’s left alone. (Benjamin still had all the other sons of Jacob as brothers). This shows how Jacob really only considered Joseph and Benjamin as his real sons because they came from Rachel.
– Jacob says “Me have ye bereaved of my children”. This is a serious indictment. He is laying the blame for the loss of his children (Joseph and Benjamin in earnest) at his other brothers’ door. So somewhere inside he knew that his other sons were responsible for what happened to Joseph and they were to blame, it was no accident. So now He’s clearly saying that he knows what they did to his beloved son and now they are going to do it again and cause him bereavement of all his real sons. He says they basically kill him if they do this, he’ll die of heartbreak.
Then Reuben (who never really wanted to kill Joseph back in the day) rises up and says to his dad, “Slay my two sons, if I bring him (Benjamin) not to thee”. Two for two. So now Simeon is being held in Egypt as surety and when the brothers leave again, Reuben’s two sons are also surety! You kind of reap what you sow.

The main thing that comes to light here is that inside you know mischief when you see it. Jacob knew it. And this time he said NO WAY.
After they ate everything, they knew they had to go back to Egypt to buy more food. This time Jacob is not referred to as Jacob. He is called Israel.
Have a look:

[Gen 43:1-15 KJV]
1 And the famine [was] sore in the land. 2 And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food. 3 And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother [be] with you. 4 If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food: 5 But if thou wilt not send [him], we will not go down: for the man said unto us, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother [be] with you. 6 And Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye [so] ill with me, [as] to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother? 7 And they said, The man asked us straitly of our state, and of our kindred, saying, [Is] your father yet alive? have ye [another] brother? and we told him according to the tenor of these words: could we certainly know that he would say, Bring your brother down? 8 And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, [and] also our little ones. 9 I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever: 10 For except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second time. 11 And their father Israel said unto them, If [it must be] so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds: 12 And take double money in your hand; and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, carry [it] again in your hand; peradventure it [was] an oversight: 13 Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man: 14 And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved [of my children], I am bereaved. 15 And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph.

As christians, I think we are always these two people: Jacob and Israel. The person we were before God changed us, and the person we are becoming as God reveals the destiny He already gave and appointed for us. If we view the world through the lens of our former dead selves, we we say things like Jacob and we will behave as if we know that we have been treated unfairly but there’s nothing we can do about it. “These things are against me”. “Me have ye bereaved of my children”. “Ye shall bring my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave”.
If we view the world through the destiny God has given us, then we will say, let’s do this.
Gen 43:14
“If I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved”
He faced his fear and said NO!, we’re doing this!

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