Genesis 44:29-31 And if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave. 30 Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad's life; 31 It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave.
Life is a balancing act. We must delicately balance all of the different opportunities and responsibilities that we are accountable for. A lot of our problems begin when we are not able to keep these things in a proper balance and in a proper order.
That is what we see in the story that revolves around our verses. Of Jacob’s children he had one who was obviously a favorite. That was Joseph, the first child of his beloved wife. If having a family is a balancing act, having 12 sons with four different women is a serious balancing act. Jacob did not handle this well which showed in his favoritism towards Joseph. As a result, Joseph ended up in Egypt, and now he is going back-and-forth with his brothers. The brothers are supposed to take Benjamin back to Egypt and facilitate the return of their brother. Benjamin had taken Joseph’s place for the most-favored status.
Jacobs is hesitant and unwilling because he does not want to lose Benjamin like he lost Joseph. Benjamin of course is the second son from his beloved wife, and Jacob’s life was more wrapped up in him than in the rest of his family. He does eventually relent and send Benjamin to Egypt. But notice the phrase in the verses as Benjamin’s brothers describe his relationship to his father. They state that Jacob’s life is now bound up in the life of the youngest son, the last son of his beloved wife.
Although we may, to some degree, understand Jacob’s feelings, he had a lot more going on than just that one son. He had many sons, a daughter, and grandchildren. He had a mission from God that he was to fulfill. And yet his whole life was out of balance and focused more on that one son than on anything or anyone else.
Before we are too hard on Jacob, we might want to take a look at our own lives. If we are honest, there are probably things in our life that we place too much of an emphasis on, that gets too much of our time, resources and energy. We may not publicly state that these are the most important things in the world to us, but in our actions and emotions they are.
How often does our life get out of balance? We spend our time on things that are just not as critical as other things. We spend time that should be spent at church on hobbies or self. We spend time that could be invested in our marriage and family on things that will not stand the test of eternity. How easy it is for this to happen? We will pay lip service to things that are important, but our schedule and activities say otherwise. We find time for things that are temporal and neglect the things that are eternal.
How often does our love get out of balance? You see, what we do in our life shows what we truly love. There are many people that would state publicly that they love Jesus. They have the bumper stickers, they have the t-shirts, but their love never reaches down into their actions and everyday life. Their obedience level would say that their love for Jesus is very cold and their love for self is very hot. It is like Jonah who cared more for a plant than he did for the souls of Nineveh.
For many years I played on our church’s softball team. Some years we did well, other years we did not. I remember one time as we sat around after a loss changing our shoes, the guys talked about the fact that we should practice a lot more, several times a week. One of the men mentioned that some of the men in the softball league played in several leagues on several nights throughout the week. I felt compelled to chime in and tell the men that we have a lot more important things to do. We cannot spend several nights a week playing softball when we have a lot going on in our church, and all of us have a lot going on in our families. It may have meant that we did not play as well as we could have had we spent more time playing and practicing, but it dead sure meant that we kept our lives in the proper balance.
Take an honest evaluation and look at your life and answer a couple of questions. What is your life bound up in? Is your life in proper godly balance?
The decision of identity determines the direction and end of our conversation or lifestyle.
What if we had to have church in your house? What kind of sanctuary would your home make?