"Why are you staring at one another?"

Richard Huls

READ : Genesis 42:1-7

I love this question of Jacob! There is a famine in Jacob’s land. The people are hungry. Worse, they feel helpless. They just sit around moping all day, staring at one another. Finally, Jacob cannot take it any more and in disgust, cries out, “Why are you staring at one another?” He decides to break the spirit of hopelessness, inactivity, pessimism and despair. He offers hope by saying, “There is grain in Egypt. Go get some!”

How often have you felt like the sons of Jacob? There is the loss of a job, not enough money, no business, crop failure, floods, bill collectors, sickness, etc. In many homes, conflict between parents and children leave people stunned. There is not even a whisper, “What do we do now?” No, only dumb staring at one another. There is nothing worse in life than to be in such a spot. It totally robs one of possibility thinking and creativity. It freezes the spirit and shuts off all options.

But, we need not remain in such a state of mind! Think of how miserable Jacob and his sons were. But there was food in Egypt. All they had to do was think, get beyond their problem, and plan to get the food. Jacob shakes them loose. We need people like that.

What is disabling you today? What resources has God promised?


O Lord, help us to remember that even in life’s worst conditions you will provide for us. Amen.