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Tag: Benjamin

Chasing Donkeys

Well, we’ve been reading through the book of Samuel and we’ve now made it to chapter 9. And even though this book is called “The Book of Samuel”, Samuel actually isn’t the focus of the majority of the book.

Of course, as you’ve noticed, in the first 8 chapters, the story did revolve primarily around Samuel (around his birth, life, and ministry) – but for the next 46 chapters, the focus shifts… and Samuel becomes more of a supporting character, while others take the centre stage.

And that shouldn’t be too surprising because as we noted last Sunday, the era of the Judges has now ended (with Samuel being the last of them) and a new era of Kings is about to begin.

Last Sunday we read how the people of Israel no longer wished to be led by Judges – they wanted to have king like all the other nations around them. Mind you, they already had a King – God was their King – and in reality, they were rejecting God as their King – not Samuel as their judge.

But to make a long story short, even though God knew that human kings would never serve Israel as well as He did, none the less, at their insistence, God choose to grant them their request and He agreed to give them a King.

And that’s just what we’re going to read about today.

1 Samuel chapter 9, verse 1 begins like this:

There was a wealthy, influential man named Kish from the tribe of Benjamin. He was the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 His son Saul was the most handsome man in Israel—head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the land. 1 Samuel 9:1-2

And I’ll just pause here for a moment because this is kinda interesting. In the chapter just before this, the people of Israel asked God to give them a ‘king to lead them’, right? They didn’t want to be led by an invisible God, they wanted to be able to see their king leading them into battle! They wanted a king that would look like a king.

And this fellow Saul certainly fit that bill! He’s was just the kind of man you’d expect to be king! As we just read, he came from a wealthy, influential family. He was good-looking – in fact, he was described as the most handsome man in nation! And on top of that, he was a goliath of a man! – standing head and shoulders taller than anyone else! He was tall, dark, and handsome – and wealthy to boot!

If the Israelites wanted a king that looked like a king – Saul would certainly be on the short-list! But of course, being a king isn’t all about appearances, but I just found it interesting that as far as appearances go, Saul was just about as Kingly as they come!

Anyways… let’s keep reading and let’s see what else we can learn about this Saul fellow. Verse 3

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Living in Fear

We have been taking an in-depth look at the life of Joseph throughout the summer. And it’s taken us a little while to get through it all… there’s a lot of information to cover – and a lot of good lessons to be learned from Joseph and from his family. However, we are nearing the end, and today, we’ll cover a lot of ground – probably about a chapter & a half.

Now even if you haven’t been with us for the last little while, I’m going to assume that most of you have heard at least the Sunday School version of Joseph’s story – so I’m not going to recap things from the very beginning, but I will just quickly help you get your bearings for where we are today.

Because of a wide-spread famine, Joseph’s brothers have just come to Egypt to buy food, but unknown to them, Joseph (whom they had sold into slavery many years before) had risen to be the second-in-command over all of Egypt – and it was from him that they would have to buy grain. 

Of course, they didn’t recognize him, (it had been about 20 years since they saw him last) but he certainly recognized them and instead of immediately revealing his identity, he decided to take advantage of this opportunity and put them to the test. We don’t fully know his motivations for why he decided to test his brothers, but we kinda assume it was to see what kind of men they had become in the years since they had sold him as a slave. Were they still heartless and cruel (men who would plot to kill their own brother) – or had they changed?

So to find out, this is what he did. First of all, he accused them of being spies and threw them all in prison for three days. (What youngest sibling hasn’t wanted to do that to their older brothers at some pointing their life….?) 

After those three days, he brought them out and told them that he would continue to hold one of them (Simeon) as his prisoner, while the other brothers were to take food home for their starving families. In order to prove their innocence and to prove their story of all being brothers from one family, they would have to bring their youngest brother back to Egypt with them when they returned the next time – or else Simeon would remain in prison and the brothers would not be allowed to buy any more grain in Egypt.

And Joseph comes across as being very harsh with them, but we can tell that he still cared very much about his family – as he sent them home with both the grain they bought for their families, as well as secretly giving them all their money back.

But of course, the brothers had not idea about this money – but when they discovered this it on their way home, they concluded that God was trying to frame them as thieves as punishment for what they had done to Joseph years ago and they were totally terrified about what would happen if the Egyptians though they were not only spies, but thieves too!

When they finally arrived home, and told their father, Jacob, about what had happened and what the governor had said, and Jacob certainly wasn’t happy either – as he had no intentions whatsoever of letting his youngest son Benjamin go with the rest of the brothers to Egypt. You see, Benjamin was Jacob’s favorite son, and he would not allow him to be put in any sort of risky situation.

And that’s about where we left off last time. Simeon is in prison, the famine is still devastating the land, and the food is very limited. But the brothers don’t dare go back to Egypt without Benjamin – and Jacob is absolutely refusing to let Benjamin go. It seem like they’re at a bit of an impasse – but something’s got to give! So we’re going to continue reading today in Genesis chapter 43, verse 1 to see how this all pans out.

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