Joseph’s family has been through the wringer. Little do they know what is yet to be unveiled! This week I’ve been posting principles for turning the corner from regret to resolution. To date my observations from Genesis and the story of Joseph include remembering that God is always at work, even in undetectable ways; the importance of facing reality (not unlike Jim Collins’ confront the brutal facts); and remembering that God is for (and with) His children.
The fourth element is to Accept Responsibility (Genesis 42:37-43:10). Aware that they cannot return to Egypt without Benjamin, Reuben made a generous offer. He told Jacob that he would be responsible for Benjamin and that if anything happened to him he could avenge the loss by taking the lives of his two sons. Jacob immediately refused this offer, primarily, I think, because Reuben had slept with his father’s wife Bilhah back in an earlier chapter. “I don’t trust you.”
As the clock ticks the food supplies diminish and the children get hungrier. It is at that point that Judah stepped up to the plate. Judah told Jacob that he would personally accept responsibility for his brother’s welfare. Period. Judah, you may recall, was the one who had the bright idea to sell Joseph to the slave traders to begin with. In short, Judah accepted responsibility for his action. It’s amazing what can happen when we are willing to accept responsibility for what we’ve done. Jacob permitted Benjamin to go.
The final piece to the puzzle is evidenced in Jacob resting in the strength of his God (Genesis 43:11-15). Jacob commended his sons, including Benjamin, to “El-Shaddai,” the mighty God. He finally came full circle and chose to place his trust in God. Martin Luther once wrote, “I know not the way he leads me, but well I know my guide.” Put another way, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.”
Have you noticed what is happening? The conversation has become elevated. This family is now thinking about God, looking to God, and talking about God. Sometimes the most important step we can take is not a step forward, it’s a step upward. Elevating the conversation from the physical, temporal plane to a spiritual plane will help you discover that God is indeed real and relevant. After all, God is all about conflict resolution.