Genesis 37: 26-28
Then Judah said to his brothers, ‘What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.’ And his brothers agreed. When some Midianite traders passed by, they drew Joseph up, lifting him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.
Reflection by Janet Derby
Once when my two sons were young, I bought a pair of toys of some kind – one green and one blue. I gave them both to Matthew and told him that he and Joshua should decide who got which one. I overheard him explaining to Joshua how cool the green on was and asking which one he wanted to have. Joshua, of course, chose the green one, which was exactly the outcome Matt desired. I wasn’t sure whether to be pleased with Matt’s diplomatic skills or concerned about how devious he was. That’s how I react to Judah in this passage. I want to give him credit for saving his younger brother’s life, but his reasoning is certainly less than ideal, and his behavior in general was not something to be praised. Yes, it all works out in the end, but this part of the story doesn’t give a lot of honorable examples. I was heard an interview recently which was a great deal more inspiring with a woman who is working in Pakistan to help immunize children against polio. This has become a major issue there because the U.S. used immunization workers to learn the location of Bin Laden, so these people are putting their lives at risk to help stop the polio outbreak. I very much doubt if I would be willing to do that for any cause, no matter how worthy. It certainly makes my volunteer efforts pale in comparison. So, what can we learn from this story? Maybe it is that we do what we can under difficult circumstances by meeting people where they are and nudging them in a more positive direction. Or perhaps we simply learn that we are all flawed and God loves us and makes the best of things in spite of us.
Help us God, to stand up for what is right when that is not easy to do. Take our meager efforts and enable good to result from them. Amen.
(Source: Pilgrimage United Church of Christ)
Do you have a favorite prayer from your faith? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include “Faith” in the subject line.