A Scenario of Integrity
Consider this situation with me. Your father has entrusted into your care someone who is near and dear to him and you know that if something was to happen to them on the journey you’re about to take then your father would surely die. Now as it happens, things go well on the journey; but on the way back home you are stopped by the authorities and are accused of stealing something. As they examine your belongings, they discover the stolen goods among the one whom you promised to take care of. What are you going to do?
Previously in Genesis
This was the situation in Genesis 44. Judah and his brothers returned to Egypt to buy food for the family. Only this time, the youngest brother Benjamin, whom Israel loved, accompanied them according to the terms Joseph stated to them the last time they visited. In the previous chapter, Judah guaranteed the safety of his brother to his father and would take the blame if something was to happen to him.
Happy Time in Egypt
As it turned out, everything went extremely well. The brothers were even invited to have dinner with Joseph at his palace! I can imagine that they felt surprised considering how they were treated the last time they were in Egypt.
The Cup Test
However, Joseph had one more test to give to his brothers. While they were not looking, he placed into Benjamin’s belongings a silver cup. So when the brothers were on their way home, Joseph sent the authorities after them and accused them of theft. After searching all of their belongings, the cup was found with Benjamin.
A Consequence for Sin
In Genesis 44:14-18, it was clear that the brothers saw this crisis as a consequence for the sin they had committed against their brother Joseph many years ago. So much so, they were willing to accept punishment and be Joseph’s slaves. However Joseph wouldn’t allow it (he would not let them off that easily); instead only Benjamin would be his slave and the rest could go home.
For Judah, who promised to take care of Benjamin for his father, this was a crisis. If he accepted this judgement then he knew his father would certainly die when they returned without Benjamin. However, if he dared to approach Joseph (who was equal to the King of Egypt) and plead for Benjamin to be spared, he risks his own life.
What is More Valuable?
True to his integrity, in Genesis 44:30-34 , Judah begged Joseph to take him as his slave instead of Benjamin. He was willing to sacrifice his own freedom in order to be true to his word to Israel. Judah considered the life of Benjamin and his father far more precious than his own.
The Cost of Following Through
It is one thing to say you will do something no matter what, but what happens when a crisis comes and following through with the task would cost you something? Consider what Judah did. He knew the cost of keeping his promise and accepted the price.
Also consider what Jesus did for us. He knew that in order to save us and follow through with God’s plan meant that He had to die horribly. Nevertheless, Christ considered you more valuable than Himself and fulfilled His task. What about you? Are you willing to risk personal hardship for the chance of bringing one person to Christ?