Do not be afraid, I shall provide for you and you dependants.
~Genesis 50:21, REB
Whatever your present circumstances are: they will eventually change but Jesus love for you will not.
I love the book of Genesis, especially chapters 40-50 which detail the life of Joseph and his reconciliation with his brothers. Joseph’s brothers were not noble men. We discover a lot about these men from the words of their father. If you have never read the blessings of Jacob in chapter 49; you need to do so. Although Judah is the rising star of the future, Joseph was the prince of his era. Reuben, the first born had the potential to be the leader of the family but Reuben was never consistent which is another way of saying, “You couldn’t depend on him.” The bottom line is that all the brothers, especially the ten older deserved death for their behavior and they knew it. Joseph was in a position to give them what they deserved. When Jacob died, the ten older brothers became even more afraid, “What if Joseph was being nice to us for daddy’s sake?” This thought disturbed their peace. With Jacob out of the picture, what would restrain Joseph from getting even. So driven by fear, the brothers concoct a lie and go to Joseph. They send a messenger to Joseph that reads, “Daddy said before he died for you to forgive us.”
I imagine Joseph knew they were lying but he also knew that insecure people are prone to lie; it’s a defense mechanism. Joseph meets with his brothers and he is moved by tears at their pitiful fear; twice he tells them, “Do not be afraid.” You see in in verse 19 and again in verse 21. Remember, Joseph is a type of Christ and you recall how many times Jesus said to His disciples, “Do not be afraid.” This is because insecurity is a part of the curse from the fall and it is in all of us. No one is perfectly secure: Jesus excluded. When people tell you that are not afraid, they are lying. All humans have fears. The only thing that will fix the problem, or should I say the only One who can fix the problem is Jesus. Peter was in Rome during Nero’s persecution: Legends say that he escaped but later returned to Rome knowing he would die. Both he and Paul would die at the hand of Nero but both embraced their cross. Peter would literally die on a cross and Paul was beheaded because he was a Roman citizen. Where they afraid? Perhaps to a point, but the Jesus in them was greater than their fear.
The pandemic has made one thing crystal clear…People are afraid and the real disappointment is, people who should not be afraid are afraid. One of my friends bumped into an old Christian buddy, who asks him how he was doing. My friend said, “I am alive and well and that beats the alternative.” His old friend said without hesitation, “Not according to my bible.” We Christians talk about heaven, joke about heaven and sing about heaven and how glorious it will be but we don’t believe it because we keep going to doctors.
I have an urgent prayer request: one of my life long friends is in HH on a vent and they are not giving him any hope. His name is Jimmy Newby. If you don’t mind, say a prayer for Jimmy. I worked for Jimmy when I was in middle school. I have known him my entire life. Way back in the middle of the 70, Jimmy sent me a 50$ check for Christmas. It would be like 500$ today. Please pray that the LORD will have mercy and give Jimmy some more time here on earth because I want to talk to him one more time. Jimmy has been a huge source of encouragement. He always saw the best in me.