October 22, 2020

Holding Even Tighter

Genesis 42:18-38

“Everything is against me!”

—  Genesis 42:36

More than anything else, Jacob wanted to hang on to his ability to control life. He spent much of his adult life seeking to manipulate things and get his way. But here, his world was spinning out of control. He thought Joseph was dead. And now his son Simeon was held captive in Egypt. And for some reason all the silver used to pay for the grain was back in everyone’s sack! All that Jacob could think about now was that he might also lose his son Benjamin.

So Jacob does what many of us would do: in the face of increasing threats, he tries to hold on tighter to what he has. But God has a way of confronting us with the limits of our abilities. We do not find happiness and peace by being in control of our circumstances; we find these blessings by letting go and entrusting ourselves to God.

Jacob thought that everything was against him. But God, who gave his own Son to restore lost sinners to himself, promises that he will “also, along with [Jesus], graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:32). God strips us of the things we often hold so tightly so that we may learn to receive his blessings by grace rather than trying to grasp them for ourselves.

When you can’t hold on tight enough to what you have, remember God’s promise to hang on to you (John 10:28-30).

On our own, Father, we cannot stand even for a moment. The world, the devil, and our own flesh are against us. But you are always for us in Christ. Strengthen us, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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