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The Lesser of Two Evils

Jan 06, 2005 06:33 PM EST

Judah said to his brothers, "What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come, 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. (Genesis 37:26-27 NIV)


Judah was worried about having to deal with the guilt of having killed one of his brothers. Both the personal guilt, plus what might happen to them if they got caught. Murder was murder, after all. Even if they thought Joseph deserved it. They might all have to pay for Joseph's death if they killed him. But if they sold him into slavery... well, that wouldn't be so bad. They would have the same result. Joseph would die anyway. d Most slaves didn't last very long back then. So the brothers would accomplish their purpose in getting Joseph out of their lives permanently, without technically having his blood on their hands. Judah and the rest settled for the lesser of two evils.

But it was still evil. Their jealousy had built to such a frenzy that all they could see as a way out was to get rid of the object of their jealousy. To get rid of Joseph. Their end was not justifiable no matter what means they used to get there.

Think about this when you have to make a decision in your life. Look at the end you're trying to achieve. Is it a worthwhile end? Is it really something that would be within God's will? If so, what are your choices to arrive at that end? Some choices are obviously evil, obviously sinful, obviously wrong. But the alternatives can be deceiving. Because they are not so evil, not so sinful, not so obviously wrong, they can be very enticing.

Like Joseph's brothers who chose selling Joseph into slavery over killing him to satisfy their desire to get him out of their lives. If they had examined their desired end result in the cold light of day, they would have seen that the problem was within themselves, not with Joseph.

If every choice you have to arrive at your end result means doing something that is even a little bit wrong, perhaps you need to re-examine your desired end result. Maybe, like Joseph's brothers, the problem lies within you, not with what you see as the problem.

From Newsong Ministries

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Used with permission.

Bonnie Ricks

thisdaysdevotional.org/