Depending on Others
When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?” He continued, “I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die.”
- Genesis 42:1-2
The situation for Jacob and his family in Canaan had grown dire. Without help from Egypt, they were doomed. No amount of hard work in Canaan, no ingenuity, no amount of diligence will pull them out of this mess. Their only hope – as far as they know – lies in the hands of a foreign bureaucrat.
This family carried the covenant blessing: all of the nations of the earth were supposed to be blessed through them. And now they’re starving. Was this a natural consequence of their evil decision to rid themselves of their young dreamer? What would have happened if Joseph had stayed with their family? The story doesn’t tell us.
Jacob sends his sons to Egypt on the strength of a rumor. They have money for grain. They aren’t coming as beggars. But if the rumor is wrong or if the Egyptians refuse to trade with their neighbors, they’re sunk.
Try to connect emotionally with this story. The great destiny promised to your family through Abram seemed thwarted. Hope might be on the other side of the horizon, but that hope utterly depended on people you don’t even know
These experiences challenge the way we see ourselves. The myth of the self-made, bootstrap-pulling, hard-working, independent hero stumbles in seasons like these. We need other people. We benefit from the insight, foresight, and hard work of others. They may be off-stage, but their influence can still be felt.
How do you respond to those times when you inevitably have to depend on others? What emotions do you experience? What actions do you tend to take in those seasons?