God Wrestling. To What End?

We read an intensely powerful family restoration in Genesis 44:18 – 45:14, as Judah approaches and Joseph reveals. It is, from a human perspective, an impossible reconciliation. Yet, from heaven’s perspective, it unfolded according to the Lord’s will.

Judah in Genesis 44:18 unknowing stands before his long lost brother Joseph. Lost, not by accident but plot; and he boldly pleads for the life of Benjamin.

Judah’s pleading reveals the depth of his own journey since that fateful day. Judah has lost sons. He knows what it is to be a grieving father; and through the journey of his own pain, he is able to take his prophesied place as leader of the brethren.

The journey of repentance is witnessed in Judah’s unwillingness to now cause Jacob pain, or as he says, “overwhelmed by anguish.” This is sharp departure from the Judah of seventeen years earlier, who, in anger and jealousy, proposed the sale of Joseph, “What advantage is it to us if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites, instead of putting him to death with our own hands. After all, he is our brother, our own flesh” (Gen. 37:26-27).

Judah certainly did not seem to mind overwhelming his father with anguish when Joseph was the thorn in their side, the dreamer of dreams, and the tattletale. He had no difficulty deceiving his father with the blood stained coat.

Time and experience, under the hand of the sovereign Lord, have a way of changing us in the most dramatic of ways.

Yet, we see the hand of the Living God at work, even in the midst of deception, pain, jealousy and arrogance. Joseph was sent, not sold. Unbeknownst to him, a journey of years to save his family from a famine that would have destroyed them, and God’s promise to Abraham. He was sent to secure the vision of seven years of plenty and seven years of scarcity; and once this was secure, the Lord would reunite Joseph with Jacob and give them seventeen years of blessing.

The Lord used the breach, He ordained the restoration and He poured out the blessing.

Nevertheless, it started when Joseph was sent; as he says, “And now, do not be grieved nor displeased with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life” (Gen. 45:5).

How many of us have wondered about our lives, “How did I get here?” So often as we stand in our current circumstance the answer eludes us; but not God. In every twist, turn, up, down, right, wrong, He is and was there. When viewed through the lens of faith, He is leading us, even through the valley overshadowed by death, along those winding ways in life to the place He has prepared for us (Ps. 23; Jn. 14).

Beloved, we had to get here; but heaven’s perspective may not have yet reached ground level. As the psalmist writes, “The steps of a man (an upright, valiant man) are established by the Lord, and he delights in his way” (Ps. 37:23), and He does so to bring us exactly where He needed us to be.

Still: to what end? With all of the struggles we face, especially as the end of the age draws near, more and more followers of Messiah Yeshua/Jesus are facing indescribable trial. Let us not forget that He has sent us, just as Joseph was sent. In order to be in His harvest field.

We will have our own seasons of breaches, of restorations, and of blessing.

Being sent by Messiah is not an easy task. In some cases we are clearing the way for those coming behind us, and in others, we are finishing what has been started. Nevertheless, being sent by Messiah gives us the certainty that our current condition is not beyond His reach or repair: that we are not simply bounced around by random actions in life.

If I might encourage you: you have been sent, and you are moving exactly to where He desires you to be. On that journey there will be joy, there will be pain, but as with Joseph, it all serves His purpose. There will be times when we doubt that purpose, when it seems unclear to us; but we keep moving forward in faith (II Cor. 5:7).

Jacob wrestled with God. Joseph wrestled with God. Judah wrestled with God. You are the fruit of their wrestling and restoration, caught up in the prophetic harvest of God’s people in Messiah Yeshua. And it is to this end where we find the answer: Christ Himself (Ro. 10:4).

If you are wrestling, stay in the match, and He will bless you.

Be well. Shalom.

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