Day 9: An Unsuccessful Ally

Opening Prayer:Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.”

Daily Scripture Reading:

  • Genesis 37:21-22, 29-30
  • Proverbs 29:25
  • Isaiah 51:7
  • Matthew 10:28
  • Hebrews 13:6

Of all the brothers, Reuben was an unlikely ally for young Joseph. He was the firstborn and therefore should have received the favor Jacob unabashedly bestowed on Joseph. None the less, when the rest of the brothers plotted to kill the “dreamer” Reuben proposed another, less fatal plan. He suggested they merely throw Joseph into an empty cistern, as not to shed blood, while secretly planning to rescue him and return him to Jacob. Unfortunately, not only was Reuben an unlikely ally, he was also an unsuccessful ally. His weakness in not putting a stop to harming Joseph all together resulted in over 20 years of slavery and prison for Joseph and devastation for Jacob.

Rather than use his leadership as the firstborn to stand for righteousness, Reuben bowed to the hatred of his brothers. Rather than choosing to protect the one on the outside, he joined in with the crowd and still caused irrevocable damage. Rather than draw a hard line for good, he tried to have a foot on both sides of the issue. Reuben’s heart was in a good place but he didn’t have the courage to stand up to his brothers. He wanted to please everyone, but not even Jesus did that during His life on earth.

The truth is, none of us can fear man and fear God at the same time. We cannot gain the approval of the crowd and the approval of our Lord. Like we read in Proverbs 29:25, fear of man is a snare, and Reuben was in a bigger trap than Joseph. Planning to do right in the future, planning to stick up for someone later, planning on following God halfway will turn out for us just like it turned out for Reuben when he cries, “Where can I go now?” It takes courage to stand alone. It takes bravery to be the ally of the hated. It takes strength of character to speak Truth in this cultural moment. Righteousness shouldn’t be a secret.

Today’s Big Questions: Is fear of man an issue for you? Do you ever succumb to attitudes or actions because you want to please the crowd? Are you an ally for righteousness and the righteous?

Prayer Response: Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any areas of your life where you have been caught in the snare of fear of man. Ask Him to show you any people or Truths He wants you to be an ally for in your family, work, or with your friends.

Optional Action Step: Write the word ALLY on a notecard or post-it and put it somewhere you can see it for the next few days. Let it remind you to ask yourself who or what you are an ally for and commit to standing up for righteousness.

Closing Prayer:Now to Him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  – Ephesians 3:20-21

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