Maybe you needed to make a decision as to whether or not you would attend college, or the choice of a particular career path, or the types of people you would call friends. The choices did not appear to be important, but now as you look back you wish you could choose a different path. I believe we all have these moments in our lives, but seldom do we get a chance to do it all over again. We simply have to come face to face with our poor choices, name them, and then take the steps to move forward to do what is right from this point forward.
The Brothers’ Crucial Moment
Our series Grace and Brokenness will bring the brothers of Joseph to a crucial moment. How will they respond when a series of events brings about their worse nightmare? Will they abandon a brother to slavery, as they did so many years ago, or will they respond differently when given a second chance?
Our story continues with Joseph’s plan still unfolding as he directs his servant to return all the silver to the men from the party. However, he adds one more object to the plan: he instructs the servant to place his special cup into the bag of the youngest brother. The brothers wake with the effects of the party still lingering, pack up their belongings and begin the journey for home. A short time after they leave, Joseph sends his servant to find them and instructs him to accuse them of theft. The servant finds the brothers and accuses them of the theft. The brothers deny the accusations and swear that if it is true, the one who has committed the crime will die, and the rest will become slaves to the man of Egypt.
As instructed, the servant goes from the eldest brother to the youngest brother’s bag until the cup is found in Benjamin’s sack. The brothers are surprised and horrified by the discovery and they return to the city with the servant. The brothers throw themselves on the mercy of Joseph and plead their innocence. Judah, speaking for the family, refuses to let Benjamin take the responsibility and includes all the brothers in the punishment. It is at this point that Judah realizes something profound: God has discovered their guilt. Judah is not speaking of this moment; rather, he now comes face to face with what they had done to Joseph so many years ago and he believes they are going through all of this because of their actions. However, Judah realizes that Benjamin was not a participant in those actions and now is going to try and protect him.
My Crucial Moments
Have you ever had to go back into your own story and be forced to take ownership for past decisions that were poor or broken? The longer that I have journeyed in my relationship with God I have come to the realization that life seems to be circular at times. I will make a poor decision or choose not to do the right thing at a particular moment, yet somehow years later I seem to be in a similar place that provides me the opportunity to choose a better way. Sometimes I realize this in the moment. Too often, I am sad to say, I miss the opportunity to do it right the second time. I believe that is part of God’s restoration process in each of our lives. We serve the God of Mulligans and do-overs. Take responsibility for your past, but do not be consumed or overwhelmed by it.
Joseph tells the brothers that he will not hold all of them responsible for the actions of one man; rather, he will make the thief his slave. How will the brothers respond? Will they abandon Benjamin to save their own lives or have the brothers changed?
Judah shares the story of his father and the special relationship he has with Benjamin. At this crucial moment, Judah chooses to offer himself in place of Benjamin in order to honor his promise to his father. How will Joseph respond to Judah’s offer? Join us this Sunday when we discover this.
Your Crucial Moments
In concluding this portion of the Joseph story, we need to wrestle through some questions: Are you in the midst of a crucial moment? Do you have a series of choices before you that could potentially change the course of your life? How are you making these decisions and who are the people you are including in this process?
Quite often we make a series of poor decisions, and due to shame and embarrassment, we hide or isolate ourselves from the very voices that could provide help. Do not become overwhelmed by broken decisions; rather, learn from your past and choose to make better decisions in the future. Sometimes we will look at a series of events and want to take the role of a victim rather than taking responsibility for our poor choices. Please have the courage to be honest with yourself and the people around you and begin to make choices out of hope, faith, and love, rather than fear, doubt, and hate.
Listen to the entire message here on our podcast and be sure to check out other teachings you may have missed.