“’It’s all right,’ he said. ‘Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks; I received your silver.’ Then he brought Simeon out to them.” (Genesis 43:23).
Some people just can’t enjoy life because they’re worried about so many things. Perhaps, that describes some of you. So, what can you do to alleviate the stress? the anxiety? the worry?
Well, I think we can learn some lessons from Joseph’s brothers in the Old Testament. They were in a panic after they returned from Egypt. They had to beg to buy grain from a powerful Egyptian ruler, their own brother Joseph, whom they did not recognize and who accused them of being spies. He took one of them as prisoner and demanded that they bring back their youngest brother to prove the veracity of their story. Joseph had also put the money they used to buy the grain back in their sacks of grain, which they later discovered and realized they would now also be accused of theft.
Their father, Israel, said to them, “Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. Take your brother also and go back to the man at once. And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.” (Genesis 43:12–14). Israel was resigned to the worst fate possible. He feared losing his family, and his sons feared losing their freedom as they returned to Egypt.
So, they took double the money, and Benjamin, and presented themselves before Joseph. “When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, ‘Take these men to my house, … they are to eat with me at noon.” (Genesis 43:16). “The men were frightened when they were taken to his house. They thought, ‘We were brought here because of the silver that was put back into our sacks the first time. He wants to attack us and overpower us and seize us as slaves and take our donkeys.’ So, they went up to Joseph’s steward and spoke… ‘We beg your pardon, our lord … we came down here the first time to buy food. But at the place where we stopped for the night we opened our sacks and each of us found his silver – the exact weight – in the mouth of his sack. So we have brought it back with us. We have also brought additional silver with us to buy food. We don’t know who put our silver in our sacks.’ ‘It’s all right,’ he said. ‘Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you the treasure in your sacks; I received your silver.’ Then he brought Simeon out to them.” (Genesis 43:18–23).
They were confused, anxious, and unsure what to think. How do you find peace in the midst of such uncertainty? How do you alleviate the anxiety in stressful times like these? We need to look back at Israel’s words in verse 14. As he sent his sons off to Egypt, he said, “May God Almighty grant you mercy.” Israel was recalling what his own father had said to him years before when he left home for the first time while he was running from a brother who had threatened to kill him. Israel’s father, Isaac, had said, “May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers …” (Genesis 28:3). Israel was also recalling what God Himself told him when he returned home: “I Am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number.” (Genesis 35:11). Israel was remembering his Almighty God, and that’s what you need to do to overcome your fears. Realize that God is the Almighty One. He is able and willing to care for you. Your Heavenly Father has the power and the desire to protect and provide for you.
REMEMBER THAT GOD IS FAITHFUL … Please, remember that! If you want to alleviate your anxiety, and if you want to win over your worry, remember that you are FORGIVEN! Realize that God no longer holds your sins against you. Joseph’s brothers were scared because they didn’t know that they were forgiven. They thought God was out to get them and that he was going to use this powerful Egyptian ruler to do His Will. But look how Joseph treated them.
Joseph was moved to tears at the sight of his brothers, and especially at the sight of Benjamin. This is an answer to Israel’s prayer in verse 14; “May God Almighty grant you mercy before the man…” The word for “mercy” literally means “brotherly love” and comes from the Hebrew word for “womb.” Those who have shared the same womb have a special relationship, and this word speaks of that relationship. They were astonished because this Egyptian ruler seemed to know so much about them. You see, Joseph was not out to get them. He had already forgiven them – if only they had known that they were forgiven, they wouldn’t have been so afraid.
What about you and I who know Christ? Do we sometimes forget that we have been forgiven and live our lives in fear during those times? If you want to overcome that fear, then remember that you are forgiven as believers in Jesus Christ. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). Christ paid the price for our sins on the cross. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1). Let this truth grip your heart: YOU ARE FORGIVEN! Let the truth of your forgiveness drive away your fear, for the Bible says, “Perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18). The point is: God loves you! God is not out to get you. God is out to give you the riches of heaven when you trust in His Son, Jesus Christ. Don’t ever forget it. For if you want to overcome your fears, then you must always remember: God is faithful, and you are forgiven.