May 15, 2019

Moral Courage, part 2 

By: Larry Shaffer

Moral Courage, part 2 

Genesis 42 

Joseph, lesson 22 

Kendrick Castillo, 18, was the sole person killed at the recent Stem School Highland Ranch shooting, days before he was to graduate. He was called the ‘best kid in the world.’ He died a hero after lunging at the shooter, giving the others time to get underneath the desks or run to safety and escape the room. Another student stated, others joined Kendrick in his initial heroic action and she said, they ‘were brave enough to bring him down so that all of us could escape and all of us could be reunited with our families. I can’t thank them enough.” 

Kendrick is an example of doing the right thing under the most morally challenging situation. 

The ten brothers, now in their 40’s to 50’s, have never grown into God fearing, morally principled men. Perhaps the vile act of selling Joseph and faking his death had stunted their growth. They never dealt with the sin and it chipped away, year after year, at any fear of God that they might have had. On the other hand, under the most demanding of situations over the last 20 years, Joseph had acted noble and brave in most situations. 

The moral principle that is missing from the brothers is the conviction to do the right thing in all situations, regardless of the difficulty. 

  1. The brothers didn’t go to Egypt in the first place to get food until Jacob made them go. 
  2. No one volunteered to stay back so that the brothers could go get Benjamin. Instead, Joseph was forced to take Simeon. 
  3. They were forced to tell their father the whole story and the truth. In the past, they would have lied and deceived. 
  4. They were forced to ask their father to let Benjamin go back with them. They knew on their own, they didn’t have the credibility or trust of their father. They had no choice.
  5. At first, Jacob said no. He was willing to lose Simeon as the collateral in order to protect Benjamin. Ultimately, the severity of the famine forced Jacob to let them take Benjamin to Egypt. We’ll explore that scene next time. 

An additional moral principle, as I see it, is that the brothers only act when they are forced to act under difficult situations. 

The brothers are not found in Hebrews 11 which is the recounting of great acts of faith in the Old Testament. The Hall of Fame for the faithful and morally strong and God-fearing individuals of the Bible. 

And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight… 

…others were tortured, not accepting their release so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mocking’s and scourging, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountain and cave and holes in the ground.

There are many examples of moral courage in the Bible; the sons of Jacob, however, are not among them.

Father, the beginning of wisdom is the fear, respect and reverence for God. Courage, such as described above, doesn’t come quick and easy. May we apply ourselves to receiving You by faith, knowing You and Your Word, the source of all courage, that we might live lives that honor You and point others to Jesus. Amen.