There are endless lessons to learn from the people in the Bible – many positive and many negative. Jacob (a.k.a. Israel) gives us a little bit of both.

Genesis 37 gives us the negative: parental favoritism. A note to the parents: hand-making a multi-colored coat for only one of your kids so they can display your extra love for them is a bad idea. Don’t try it. It could end up in one of your kids being sold as slave, you never know.

Early on in the story of Joseph and his father, Jacob, Jacob is especially possessive and attached to his youngest kids. He’s understandably crushed when Joseph disappears, and later on, he clings tightly to his youngest son, Benjamin. At first, he chooses Benjamin over grain to feed himself and his family, but a turning point takes place in Genesis 43, when Jacob tells his sons,

Take also your brother, and arise, go again to the man. May God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, and may he send back your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereave of my children, I am bereaved.

Genesis 43:13-14 ESV

Whatever it is that you tend to cling tightly to – your cash, calendar, college plans, kids – this is the best route to take: throw yourself and all you have at the mercy of God!

Benjamin’s trip to Egypt with his brothers was the final interaction the story hinged on. Joseph revealed his identity to the brothers and sent them home to bring their father and the rest of the family to Egypt, where Joseph promised to provide for them. The brothers return home to tell their dad the news. When Jacob first hears the news, Genesis 45 says, “his heart became numb, for he did not believe them.” But as he listened more and saw the provisions Joseph had sent, Genesis 45 records that,

“The spirit of their father Jacob revived. And Israel said, ‘It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”

Genesis 45:27-28 ESV

The news that Joseph was alive only came because Jacob was willing to let go of Benjamin, entrusting him to God’s mercy. Since he trusted and let go, the end result was a numb heart that was revived!

Revival takes place when we trust God’s promises and provision.

Trust that God has your best in mind, then surrender everything to His mercy!

K E V I N • M I L L E R

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