35 As they were emptying their sacks, there in each man’s sack was his pouch of silver! When they and their father saw the money pouches, they were frightened. 36 Their father Jacob said to them, “You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!”37 Then Reuben said to his father, “You may put both of my sons to death if I do not bring him back to you. Entrust him to my care, and I will bring him back.”38 But Jacob said, “My son will not go down there with you; his brother is dead and he is the only one left. If harm comes to him on the journey you are taking, you will bring my grey head down to the grave in sorrow.” NIV

“Everything is against me!” (36).

G.Campbell Morgan wrote a book entitled, ‘The answers of Jesus to Job.’ It’s not a book I’ve read, but I remember the title because it interested me. Well, what about the answer of Paul to Jacob? “Everything is against me!” No Jacob. Not at all. It may seem that way now, but listen:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

There was a lot of ‘me’ and ‘my’ in Jacob’s response. I suppose it’s understandable. He had been through the grinder, it’s true. It’s also the case that these boys had been the cause of much of his grief (In fact more than he knew). But they were in distress too, and surely needed their father’s kindness and concern? They had made the long journey to obtain food, and then had a harrowing time in the cause. Whereas some people become softer and more sensitive to the pain of others through their own sufferings, others seem to turn in on themselves and can’t see beyond their own hardships.

Derek Kidner makes the point that Jacob was ‘locked in the suicidally defensive posture of verse 38 and of 43:1-10.’ (Tyndale commentary, p.200).

The truth is, that in “all” the “things” that happened to Jacob, God was working for his good, the good of his family, the good of God’s own people, and ultimately for the good of the world and His own glory. Often we can only see what is immediately in front of us, but the Lord sees the big picture. He calls us to trust Him.

‘When all things seem against me,
To drive me to despair;
I know one door is open,
One ear will hear my prayer.’

PRAYER: Lord, there are times in my life when pretty much everything looks bleak from where I stand. Give me grace to trust you, to keep doing the right thing, and know that ultimately all will be well.