Decisive Leader

Genesis 43:1-14

1Now the famine was still severe in the land. 2So when they had eaten all the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little more food.” 3But Judah said to him, “The man warned us solemnly, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ 4If you will send our brother along with us, we will go down and buy food for you. 5But if you will not send him, we will not go down, because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’”

6Israel asked, “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?” 7They replied, “The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. ‘Is your father still living?’ he asked us. ‘Do you have another brother?’ We simply answered his questions. How were we to know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?”

8Then Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die. 9I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life. 10As it is, if we had not delayed, we could have gone and returned twice.”

11Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds. 12Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. 13Take your brother also and go back to the man at once. 14And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”

Election

During election, what are your criteria when you elect leaders? Would you choose candidate because they are popular? Do you choose people you know personally? Would you choose the decisive and not hesitant in making crucial decisions? When leaders are elected, do you agree that God had chosen them?

It says in Ephesians 4:11-13, 11Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers have similarity to gym instructors. They equip the church for ministry works. The church, the body of Christ needs to be healthy and strong. Ministry involvement is like gym exercise. Regular gym exercise helps us healthy and strong. Regular ministry involvement helps believers to be spiritually healthy and spiritually strong.

Practice helps an athlete ready to perform when necessary. God will surely call genuine believers to lead one day in His right timing. All believers are called to lead. Christ’s instruction for us to make disciples is the Lord’s mandate of leading people to believe and grow spiritually in Christ.

Pray that the Lord leads you to the ministry He wants you to be equipped and trained for. And make sure that you pray to be filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. God’s empowerment is crucial to leadership tasks.

Among the sons of Jacob, the Spirit of the Lord was with Joseph, and he became the prime minister of Egypt and not his older brothers. He’s also Jacob’s favorite, why? Like most parents, Jacob favored Joseph because he’s obedient.

It says in Proverbs 12:15, 15The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. In Proverbs 19:20, 20Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Proverbs 23:19 says, 19Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path:

Do you want to increase your wisdom and understanding? Learn to listen.

Did Joseph and his brothers argue with their father? Probably! Joseph was more obedient than his brothers. His brothers might have ignored Jacob’s advice. It says in Genesis 37:2, 2Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers… and he brought their father a bad report about them.

Joseph might have warned his brothers about their foolish escapades but being a younger brother, they ignored him. When he reported their wickedness to their father, his brothers were furious so that they sold him as slave.

The successful life of Joseph exemplifies when children listen and obey parents, they will have better and greater life ahead. It says in Ephesians 6:1-3, 1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise 3“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

Let me ask you a fictional question: If you can only choose your father, would you choose Bill Gates or Michael Jordan?

Do not even entertain such idea, why? It is foolish question that uncovers if you have very little or no respect of your father. If you have great respect or high regard of your father, you won’t entertain foolish question, why? It’s disrespectful.

If you treasure respect of parents, you can treasure respect of authorities.

Respect of parents would progress to respect of authorities. Obedience and respect of parents are practical foundations of great leaders like Joseph.

Joseph was great leader in Egypt but his older brother Judah shown some essential leadership quality and his brothers followed his lead. When Joseph’s brothers planned to kill him, Judah suggested that they just sell Joseph instead.

It stated in Genesis 37:26-27, 26Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.

Judah avoided the guilt of bloodshed, and his brothers agreed to his idea.

When Judah appealed to their father, his brothers followed his lead again, and they supplemented what he said when Judah told Jacob that they have to prove their innocence before they can buy grain in Egypt. The only requirement to prove their innocence was to bring Benjamin to Egypt.

After Jacob told them to buy some grain again, the explanation of Judah exhibited that he was regardful of the command to prove their innocence.

1. Regardful

1Now the famine was still severe in the land. 2So when they had eaten all the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little more food.” 3But Judah said to him, “The man warned us solemnly, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ 4If you will send our brother along with us, we will go down and buy food for you. 5But if you will not send him, we will not go down, because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’”

Jacob did not want Benjamin go Egypt but his family was starving. Severe famine has caused shortage of food supply. He told his sons to buy grain again.

Judah tried to convince Jacob that they won’t go unless Benjamin would go with them. He was regardful of the command to prove that they weren’t spies.

Judah was smart. He discerned that it’s the proper time to convince their father. He knew that it was more reasonable to feed a starving family than worry of Benjamin’s destiny. And, Jacob saw the determination of his sons to disobey him. They were scared go to Egypt unless he allows Benjamin to go with them.

When the brothers were told in Egypt, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you,’ it implies that, to argue their case was futile. It has been decided that if they returned to Egypt without Benjamin, it only certifies that they were spies, and they will be punished as spies for certain.

When they were told to prove that they were not spies, the guards of Joseph were listening for sure. They heard the only requirement for the brothers to prove their innocence. They didn’t know about the brothers, and they’re ready to arrest the brothers if they returned without Benjamin.

It’s possible that the guards who personally keep Joseph secured and safe had received an internal communication that does not need to be told publicly.

King Xerxes

A similar situation happened when Queen Esther told her husband King Xerxes that Haman wanted to annihilate the Jewish people.

Esther 7:7-8 says, 7King Xerxes got up in a rage, left his wine and went out into the palace garden. But Haman, realizing that the king had already decided his fate, stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life. 8Just as the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was reclining. The king exclaimed, “Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?” As soon as the word left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. 

One may innocently wonder and ask, “Who covered the face of Haman?”

The names of those who covered the face of Haman are not significant to the story but their duties and responsibilities are essential to the situation.

You may have observed movies about kings, dignitaries, or high raking politicians. There are secret agents that are not actually very secret. They are very visible to keep the dignitaries, their boss, safe and secured.

If you’re president, prime minister, will you dare to appear in public alone?

Similarly, Joseph had personal guards and servants who readily attended to his needs. And that situation, Judah may or may not have explained them. Jacob was convinced. He allowed Benjamin to go with his brothers to Egypt. He also observed that Judah had already convinced his brothers to disobey. The brothers were encouraged to speak after Judah gave a rational argument.

2. Rational

6Israel asked, “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?” 7They replied, “The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. ‘Is your father still living?’ he asked us. ‘Do you have another brother?’ We simply answered his questions. How were we to know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?”

The phrase, ‘They replied’ (v.7) appears like simultaneous statement. Not necessarily! What Jacob’s sons said was supplementary to what Judah said. Jacob or Israel yielded to their appeal and agreed to let Benjamin go.

Observe the name of Jacob has shifted to ‘Israel.’ The name ‘Israel’ is literally interpreted ‘struggle with God.’ Jacob got his name ‘Israel’ when he wrestled with an angel of God. His name ‘Israel’ was properly used when he blamed his sons for his troubles. He struggled to discern that it was God’s will for Benjamin to go to Egypt, why? He was very much worried of Benjamin’s safety.

Israel represented believers who struggle to discern God’s will because of worry. They think life is unfair. In a little while, we will have DVBS Graduation. The kids learned that life’s unfair, scary, changes, sad, good but, “God is good!”

Can you agree that God is good when life is unfair, scary, changes, sad, or good? Can we accept that God allows unfairness for our own good?

That’s right! In all things, God works for the good of those who love Him. It says in Romans 8:28, 28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Nahum 1:7 says, 7The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.

Israel did not know that the Lord was redirecting his troubles for them to escape the severe famine but he was resistant so that he felt more anxious. And, to make it more intense, his sons described how harsh the ruler of Egypt was. Jacob understood that his sons were harshly maltreated in Egypt.

Struggle to discern God’s will is possible with or without apparent problem.

Commander Joab

King David was a man after God’s own heart. He would do whatever God required of him. Incidentally, he cannot appreciate the commander of his army. King David struggled on how to deal with Joab the commander of his army.

After Saul king of Israel died, David was installed king of Israel. There were soldiers loyal to King Saul, and David wanted to unify Israel. So, he arranged a meeting with the commander of King Saul’s army, his name was Abner.

David and Abner met without Joab. After he learned about the meeting, Joab suspected that Abner tried to deceive David. Joab did not tell anyone including David when he executed Abner. David abhorred Joab’s cruelty.

It says in 2 Samuel 3:28-29, 28Later, when David heard about this, he said, “I and my kingdom are forever innocent before the Lord concerning the blood of Abner son of Ner. 29May his blood fall on the head of Joab and on his whole family! May Joab’s family never be without someone who has a running sore or leprosy or who leans on a crutch or who falls by the sword or who lacks food.”

There were several instances when Joab made decisions contradictory to the principles of David. He acted on his instinct without first informing King David. Joab was incidental commander when David promised it.

It says in 1 Chronicles 11:6, 6David had said, “Whoever leads the attack on the Jebusites will become commander-in-chief.” Joab son of Zeruiah went up first, and so he received the command.

Joab led the attack, captured Jerusalem and he’s installed as commander of the army. He was stubborn but courageous and smart. David didn’t like Joab’s attitude sometimes, but he didn’t fire him as commander, why? Maybe, David trusted that God allowed Joab to be chosen as commander for good purposes.

In comparison, Israel resisted it when his sons told him to let Benjamin go with them to Egypt. Nonetheless, he was convinced that Judah was responsible enough to be trusted. Eventually, he let Benjamin go with reluctance.

3. Responsible

8Then Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die. 9I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life. 10As it is, if we had not delayed, we could have gone and returned twice.”

Judah promised to bear the blame all his life if Benjamin won’t return. Judah displayed that he’s reliable and decisive leader whom Israel can depend upon. Pray that God will let reliable leaders win the provincial, federal and also church elections. We’ve reliable church leaders but pray for additional leaders.

11Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds. 

12Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. 13Take your brother also and go back to the man at once. 14And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”

After his son Judah showed a responsible character ready to bear the blame if something wrong happens, Israel was challenged to accept it, if worse comes to worse. He remembered and prayed for mercy from the Lord who was merciful to him when he journeyed toward east and returned to Canaan safe.

Someone said: If you hang out with people who are not scared to take their chances, you’ll be encouraged to aspire for greater purpose.

Additionally, many people would like to follow a leader who is brave enough to take the blame when things go wrong.

Mayor Isko

Have you heard about the newly elected mayor who cleared the city streets with illegal vendors? Have you heard what he promised? It was reported that when illegal vendors return and occupy the city streets, such would indicate that he has accepted the hefty bribe recently offered to him.

The popularity of this mayor was not exclusive to his constituents. People from neighboring cities posted on social media their appeal for help to this mayor because their very own city mayor is very busy doing something else.

You are right if you are thinking that he will soon receive a death threat.

Whether good or bad leaders, there will always be oppositions who are not satisfied with the administration. Yet, it is better to do good that to be wicked.

By God’s grace, we can do good things even when others don’t want.

It says in 1 Peter 2:15, 20-21 15For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people… 20But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

Believers or non-believers cannot escape suffering in this world, why?

God has designed that fairness can only be experienced in His heaven by everyone who believe in His Son Jesus Christ.

By faith in Christ, we’ve got with joy and peace that comes from His Spirit so that we can also endure unfairness of life.

Be decisive! Trust Christ today! When life is unfair, scary, changes, sad, or good, God is good! And, keep growing as Christ’s disciples.

And the best practical proof that we’ve become Christ’s disciples is when we actively make disciples who actively make disciples.

Seek Christ’s empowerment to lead others to Him from now and onward.

><((‘> .. ><(((‘> … tmec\2019 … <‘)))>< .. <‘))><

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