Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Joseph Makes Things Difficult By Only Wanting To Keep Benjamin - Genesis 44:17

But he said, “Far be it from me to do this.  The man in whose possession the cup has been found, he shall be my slave; but as for you go up in peace to your father.”

This is a great verse.  Here Joseph exhibits his many sides.  On the one hand he may well be extending kindness to his brothers.  On the other, he demonstrates his well-honed strategic planning skills.  He shows he can really weave a plot that will entangle almost all that he wants to engage in it as he decides to let the brothers return to their land and only keep Benjamin.  And his cynicism as well as his ability to demonstrate irony are uncanny when tells the brothers “to go up in peace” to their father.  That’s the last thing the brothers would have if they go back to Jacob without Benjamin.

Clearly, Joseph was now in control of his brothers.  The tables had turned 180 degrees from when he, perceived by them to be just an idle dreamer, visited them in the fields while they tended their flocks.  It was they that did with him as they had wanted to do then.  But now, he calls the shots.

So what’s the lesson here?  Simply this.  What are you and I like when the tables turn and we’re now in charge?  At this point in my life I have been to Africa twice and one of the things I noticed both times is how certain resident non-Africans treat Africans who work for them in Africa.  It is often atrocious, to say the least – economically, physically, and humanly-speaking.  I believe much of this type of behavior stems from the experiences these ‘new bosses’ had when they were children in their own countries and they saw their families treated likewise by white colonists.  Now they do the same to the Africans they are in charge of.

Instead of observing the evil that others do when they are in charge and vowing never to be like that when we are given the opportunity to lead, we succumb to practicing exactly what we experienced.  That is why child and spousal abuse continue from generation to generation in many families.  Godly is the person that can stop this type of vicious cycle.

May we always be mindful of Who our own Master is and may we act at all times, especially when we have the ability to call the shots for others, in the way He would want us to.

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