14th September, 2020
BASKETS OF CONSEQUENCES.
TEXT: Gen. 40:16-23.
The message the Lord is sending our way today is a message the Lord has laid upon my heart for almost two years. Just as I said few Sundays ago during the message I titled “SECRET SACRIFICES WITH OPEN REWARDS”, life is full of choices and these choices have attending consequences. A popular Scottish novelist named Robert Louis Stevenson (author of Treasure Island, The Black Arrow, My Shadow, etc), said, “sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.” This I prefer to call “BASKETS OF CONSEQUENCES.”
Throughout the Scriptures, the truth is very glaring that our life choices are “Baskets of Consequences.” Our first parents were sent out of the ancient garden because of their choice to disobey God. (Genesis 3:23-24) The great Prophet, Moses was forbidden to enter the promised land because he decided to strike the Rock twice instead of speaking to the Rock as he was instructed. (Num. 20:7-12)
Truly our choices are tricky for they open us up to the attending consequences. Just as a man said, “you can choose to evade your responsibilities, but you cannot evade the consequences of evading your responsibilities.” A man was given the assignment to build a house by a rich friend. He decided to build a substandard structure for his rich friend. When he concluded the work, his rich friend asked him to move into the newly built house with his family. Unfortunately, the house collapsed on him and his family one month after. Life is indeed full of baskets of consequences.
THE CHIEF BAKER’S BASKETS.(Gen. 40:16-19) While Joseph was in the prison, God gave him favour and he became a leader even in the prison. At the same time, two officers of King Pharaoh, the Chief Butler and the Chief Baker were also in prison. The two of them had strange dreams and were troubled. The Chief Butler narrated his dream and Joseph interpreted it that he shall be restored to his office. According to Genesis 40:16, the Chief Baker also narrated his own dream because the interpretation of the dream of the Chief Butler was good. What interests me is that in his dream, he saw three white baskets. But these were no ordinary baskets, but that of consequences.
According to the Chief Baker, in the uppermost basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh and unfortunately birds ate them out of the baskets on his head. What a misadventure? The interpretation revealed the attending consequences, “with three days, Pharaoh will lift off his head and hang him on a tree and the birds will eat flesh from him.” What a basket and the attending consequences? From this text, note the followings:
1. BE CAREFUL OF THE BASKETS YOU CARRY – This simply means watch carefully what you do, what you allow and what you conceive and condone. They all have consequences. Your attitude has consequences both positively and negatively.
2. BE SOBER AS YOU CARRY YOUR BASKETS – The baskets were rightly on his head. The figures on Egyptian monuments show that was the usual manner in which men carried baskets, while women carried on their shoulders. The problem therefore was not in the carrying, but what happened while carrying the baskets. These were white baskets and not black baskets. But birds found their way unto the baskets. Don’t be overconfident. May God’s grace see us through. Amen.
3. BE WATCHFUL OF WHO OR WHAT IS FEEDING FROM YOUR BASKETS – According to the custom, meats were carried to the King’s table upon the head in three baskets, one piled upon the other and in the uppermost, the baked meats. And in crossing the open courts, from the kitchen to the dining rooms, the removal of the viands by a vulture, eagle, ibis or other rapacious birds, was a frequent occurrence in the palaces of Egypt, as it is an everyday incident in the hot countries of the East still. The risk from these carnivorous birds was greater in the cities of Egypt where they were held sacred and it was unlawful to destroy them.
Therefore, they swarmed in such numbers as to be a great annoyance to the people. In spite of these, the baker was expected never to expose the meat of the King to the vultures. Therefore, you need to watch who or what is feeding from you for there are consequences even when you have explanations. Your choice of friends, associates, acquaintances, marriage partner has consequences.
In summary, all actions and inactions, decisions and indecisions have consequences. The truth is that simple decisions could attract complex consequences while complex decisions might only attract simple consequences.
One basket that lands many of us in grave consequences is the basket of imitation.With his opening words “I too”, the baker pointed to the resemblance between his dream and that of the Chief Butler. But resemblance is not tantamount to sameness. Beware of who or what you copy. They may escape, you might not escape. There are many things that many of us might not understand, but one truth we must understand is that life is full of consequences.
A man went to a river to wash his body and he forgot his money by the side of the river. Another man came to the river, saw the money and went away with the money. A third man came there, taking his bath and was not aware of what had transpired before. The first man then came and stabbed him when he could not produce his money. Police arrested the first man for murder and he was sent to life imprisonment. What can you then say about all these consequences. Definitely, you will think this is not fair at all. But if you see the clearer picture, you will discover that life was fair to all of them. The first man actually stole the money while the second man was the man whose money was stolen. The third man had killed someone somewhere before he came to the river to wash off the blood of his victim.
With this understanding, can you now shout with me, “BASKETS OF CONSEQUENCES.” The message is this, keep on doing what you are doing. Your result will come. Be not deceived, life is full of baskets of consequences. But are you suffering negative consequences because of past decisions? Repent and let us plead the blood of Jesus for mercy and cleansing. He will save you. Are you presently free from negative consequences, be determined to walk in the fear of God. When the wisdom of God guides our choices, we have less reasons to fear the consequences our choices might bring. Shalom.