Jacob lamented in Genesis 42:36 that “everything is against me,” yet, the Lord was actually orchestrating circumstances for his benefit and for the preservation of his family. Have you ever been in a situation where you felt “everything” was against you only to see later that the Lord was actually working for your good? In what ways has God surprised you in your life? How can understanding this reality help us face the difficult times we encounter in life?
Jacob and his sons were detested by the Egyptians because of their occupation as shepherds (Gen. 46:34). In what way did this aversion actually benefit Israel during their stay in Egypt? In what ways are believers looked down upon by our society today? Can you see any benefit for believers coming from the opposition of our culture?
As you look back over the lives of the patriarchs and their families in Genesis, does God’s choice of these people surprise you in any way? What does his decision to call and work in the lives of these people tell us about his wonderful grace? How does Jacob respond to Pharaoh? Given the fact that Pharaoh was not a believer, what does this say about how we should respond to leaders in our country who may not share our beliefs or views? Are we praying for and blessing those who have been given authority over us or are we cursing them under our breath? I Tim 2:1-4.