Few things cause us as much regret and sleepless nights as a foolish decision. We look back on poor decisions, wondering how we ever thought they were good choices at the time. It seems like we had lost our common sense for a while when the foolishness of the decision is highlighted by hindsight. A group of brothers in the Bible got caught up in such a moment.

When Joseph’s brothers decided to sell him into slavery, it seemed like a good idea at the time (Genesis 37). Joseph's life would be spared and their lives would not be destroyed by a brother who could do nothing wrong in his father’s eyes. But it turned out to be the regret for what they did that almost destroyed them. Whenever anything went wrong in their lives, they accepted it as punishment for their big flop. “Judah answered, ‘...God is punishing us for our sins. My lord, we have all returned to be your slaves—all of us, not just our brother who had your cup in his sack’” (Genesis 44:16, NLT). Even our most foolish decisions do not trump God’s sovereignty.

The worst mistake of Joseph’s brothers’ lives was miraculously transformed into a powerful instrument of God’s bigger picture. “‘But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives’” (Genesis 45:5, NLT). God still works through his children’s disastrous choices today.

God’s ability to use our mistakes for his purposes does not mean that we should be foolish on purpose. It means that when we surrender ourselves to Jesus when we are saved, we surrender our will to his. Our mistakes become subjected to his purposes for us, not to the evil plans of the enemy who tempts us into them. “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, NLT).

Let us trust God with our poor choices of the past. He knows exactly why He allowed them and how He plans to use them for his purposes. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28, NLT).

Scripture readings:

Proverbs 20:24

Genesis 37:18-30

Genesis 44:14-17

Genesis 45:3-8

Galatians 2:20

Romans 8:26-30