6. Stand up for what is right

Last week we saw how Joseph was searching for his brothers. They were supposed to be at Shechem, but instead they went to Dothan. Finally Joseph found them at Dothan. But he didn't receive the welcome that he thought he would get. Even from afar they plotted against him to kill him:

"Look, this dreamer is coming! Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, "Some wild beast has devoured him." We shall see what will become of his dreams!" Genesis 37:19, 20

They have had enough of him. They were past the point of thinking rationally. They didn't like the fact that their father treated him better than all of them. Plus they were not where they were supposed to be, so they didn't want another bad report given to their father by his favorite son. Killing him sounded better to them at that moment. They didn't think it through but reacted hastily.

Now Reuben was the oldest of all of Jacob's sons. And even though he didn't like Joseph either, he felt that his brothers were not thinking straight and that killing him was not the best way to handle the situation. However he didn't have the guts to tell his brothers to leave him alone. He rather took the safer route and told them:

"Let us not kill him. Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit which is in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him" - that he might deliver him out of their hands and bring him back to his father." Genesis 37:21, 22

Reuben's plan was that they cast Joseph into the pit and then later he will come back and get him out of the pit and take him back to his father. He didn't have the courage to stand up for what is right and to confront his brothers. They had to listen to him because he was in a position of authority over them as the eldest. But he didn't. He was either too afraid of them, or he wanted to still feel a part of them and he knew that they would treat him differently if they saw him siding with Joseph. Either way, he didn't stand up for what was right.

This decision haunted them all for decades to come. We see that in Genesis 42:21, 22 when they came to Egypt to collect grain:

"We are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us, and we would not hear; therefore the distress has come upon us." And Reuben answered to them, saying, "Did I not speak to you, saying, "Do not sin against the boy": and you would not listen? Therefore behold, his blood is now required of us."

The brothers and Reuben especially suffered trauma for at least two decades after they had cast Joseph into the pit. Fortunately God had a purpose for Joseph and allowed all things to work together for good for him. But the brothers didn't know that for two decades and they were haunted by their actions.

The lesson here is: Think carefully before you act. Think it through, sleep on it, pray about it, and do not act hastily. You normally do the wrong thing then. All your actions have consequences. Yes, when you repent you are forgiven by the blood of Jesus, but your actions still have consequences to be dealt with. Rather walk an upright path with God, follow His leading in all that you do and do not act out of your emotions. It normally just brings heartache and pain.

Secondly, when you know something is not right, stand up and say so. Reuben didn't protect Joseph from his brothers. Yes, he persuaded them not to kill him, but he still didn't stand up and told them to leave him alone. The same can be said of us. Many times at work, at school, between friends and associates we find that wrong things are being said, planned and done. It is then that we need to stand up and take a stand against it. We should not take the easy way out like Reuben. His plan of later rescuing Joseph backfired and it caused him so much regret, heartache and pain for twenty years thereafter. Do not allow that to happen to you. Rather face them head on and say your say. God will be with you. Maybe they will reject you and cast you out, but then I know that God will provide even better friends for you and will exalt you in due time for standing up for Him. Hallelujah!

Father, please give us the courage to stand up for what is right. Please help us also to think through our actions before reacting. Rather lead us with Your peace to the right thing to do. You are our Role Model, help us to act like You would have. Amen

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