Thus spoke the patriarch, Jacob, as recorded in Genesis 42:36 from the NIV translation. “Everything is against me!” Jacob’s expression of despair came at a time in his life that outwardly appeared to warrant such a gloomy conclusion. Indeed, any observer of the events in Jacob’s life at that time would find it hard to disagree with his assessment. His life was a mess. Decades earlier he had lost his beloved son, Joseph to death by a wild animal, a death attested to by Joseph’s own brothers. Now he learns that his son Simeon is as good as dead being held captive in an Egyptian prison. And he is now being asked to relinquish his son Benjamin to the custody of the same Egyptian authorities. And all of this is happening in the setting of a severe famine in the land. And to make matters worse his only hope of averting hunger and starvation is by sending his remaining sons back to an undoubtedly hostile reception in Egypt.
What’s wrong with this picture? Isn’t this the same Jacob that God promised to bless and cause to prosper as recorded in the 35th chapter of Genesis? From Jacob’s viewpoint it may have seemed as if God had totally abandoned him. But as the whole story unfolds we see the “invisible hand” of God working and orchestrating events in a providential way that Jacob could never have envisioned.
On June 3, 2012 Dr. R.C. Sproul delivered a sermon appropriately entitled, “Everything is against me!” This sermon uses these events in the lives of Jacob and his family as the scriptural basis for a discussion of the providence of God. Click here to listen to the sermon. The sermon was recorded on my handheld iPhone so there are some sections of the audio that are less than optimal.