July 14, 2011
Just a Little Sin?
"Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him." Genesis 37:17b-18 (NIV)
Today, there will be a moment. No one will snap a picture of it. It probably won't make it into the journals of those who journal. Or linger in the thoughts we carry with us to sleep tonight.
It will come.
It will go.
It will slip by seemingly unnoticed. But its affects won't slip. They'll stay. And if fostered, grow to epic proportions.
This moment where something creeps into our heart and pulls our focus from right to wrong. It will be just a hint of distortion. The smallest amount. But a slight and seemingly insignificant amount of skewed thought will take root.
Beyond what you can even imagine.
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is where Moses goes to Pharaoh and sings that song, "Oh Pharaoh, Pharaoh, woah ohhh, gotta let my people go. Huawh! Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah."
Totally a loose translation, but you know what I'm talking about.
But here's an astounding chain of events to trace and consider. Why was the nation of Israel in captivity? Why was the entire nation of Israelites — all God's people — all twelve tribes — enslaved in Egypt?
As I trace this story backwards I find it's because of one seemingly insignificant moment.
The course of history was changed because a few family members got a little cranky and a little jealous of their brother Joseph. Envy and anger slipped in. Just a hint. But just enough.
It doesn't take much.
Joseph was thrown in a pit and eventually sold as a slave.
Years went by.
Years of heartbreak and confusion passed.
Eventually, Joseph landed in a position of great power in Egypt and had authority to provide food for his family. So, all 11 of his brothers and their families moved to Egypt. Joseph and his 11 brothers make up what became the 12 tribes of Israel. As these tribes multiplied they became the nation of Israel.
What the brothers meant for evil, God used for good. He saved the Israelites from the famine. But there were still lasting effects of the brothers' choices that came out years later.
After Joseph died, "Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. 'Look,' he said to his people, 'the Israelites have become much too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.' So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. (Exodus 1:8-11)
So, the entire nation of Israel suffered oppression and slavery. Why?
Because a few brothers on an ordinary day got a little jealous and allowed anger and envy to slip in.
And the moment it slipped in, the course of history changed.
In a moment.
May we never assume our moments don't matter. The decisions we make every second of every day matter.
There are no little moments or little sins.
There is a domino affect to it all.
So, I fall hard upon soft grace. I thank God for this realization. I ask Him to make my soul even more sensitive, more aware, more in tune to my constant need for forgiveness.
Though I am weak, I walk in the strength of utter dependence.
And I refuse to beat myself up for mistakes made yesterday. Today is a new day. A new chance to set things going in a different direction.
Joseph's brothers had years to try and rescue Joseph — find out where he was — help him — set their past mistakes right.
Years. They had years. But they never did set about to turn things around.
Oh sweet sister don't let today slip by.
Watch for a moment today where you are given the choice to let anger, envy or something else negative slip in. Recognize it. Refute it. And replace it with God's spirit of love.
Dear Lord, You made me. You know me. I need Your help where I am weak. Make me aware of any place where I'm off course today. Give me the desire to do what pleases You. I want to do your will. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Lysa will be speaking in more than 40 cities this year. Click here to see her schedule. She would be honored to meet you.
If today's devotion touched your heart, consider reading Chapter 8, "But I Want What She Has" in Lysa's book, Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl.
When you are facing a situation where jealousy is involved, take a step back and examine your heart. Ask God to show you what His desire is for you and use His power to help you overcome this debilitating emotion. Submit to God's control and let Him work through you.
I refuse to beat myself up for mistakes made yesterday. Today is a new day. A new chance to set things going in a different direction.
James 3:16, "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." (NIV) Proverbs 27:4, "Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?" (NIV)
© 2011 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Thursday, 14 July 2011.