Daily D – Genesis 43:8-9
Genesis 43:8, 9 Judah said to his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will be on our way. Otherwise we will all die of starvation—and not only we, but you and our little ones. I personally guarantee his safety. You may hold me responsible if I don’t bring him back to you. Then let me bear the blame forever.” (NLT)
Genesis 44:33 “So please, my Lord, let me stay here as a slave instead of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers.” (NLT)
Among the most important qualifiers for leadership is personal sacrifice. Leaders show their sacrificial lead measures before asking others to join them.
Judah was the one of Joseph’s brothers who came up with the idea of selling him into slavery when his other brothers wanted to kill him and his brother Reuben tried to save him. (See Genesis 37:17-27.)
Then we have Genesis 38. This is an uncomfortable story. Judah would agree. Evidently, something shifted in his life during this season. Verse 26 gives us insight into what was happening in his heart and mind.
Judah recognized them immediately and said,
“She is more righteous than I am, because I didn’t arrange for her to marry my son Shelah.”
And Judah never slept with Tamar again.
The evidence of his turn away from who he had been to who he became is found in 43:8, 9. The rest of the story is found in 44:33. (Both verses can be found above.)
Judah’s full speech in verses 18-34 is a masterclass in humility and personal sacrifice. This is what led Joseph to reveal himself to his brothers (45:1 and following).
The last time Joseph and Judah looked one another in the eye, they were waving a not-so-fond goodbye. Judah had some spending money and had rid his brothers of a lordly little dreamer who thought he was better than everyone else. Now Judah was on his knees, on his face, and completely bankrupt before his little brother who had become bigger than life and everything he had ever dreamed.
Judah’s humility and personal sacrifice unlocked something inside Joseph. Something clicked. His whole life suddenly made sense. And so we hear words we need to take to heart when we find ourselves in a season of wondering, a season of loss, a season where the past is gone forever, and a new life has begun.
“Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer.
And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt.
But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place.
It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives.”
Genesis 45:4, 5
Humility and personal sacrifice are indispensable leadership characteristics in every age, in every situation, in every endeavor. There is one other ultimate expression of this truth. We find it in Philippians 2:1-11:
“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ?Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
I will humble myself and live sacrificially.
Our Father, thank you for showing us that the way up begins by stepping down. Empower us to humble ourselves. Empower us to give without reserve. Empower us to live and work for the best interests of others. Amen.
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Psalm 139:17, 18 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!
2 Corinthians 5:1-5 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.