“God Makes Joseph’s Brothers Become Accountable for their PAST SINS”

Genesis 42:1-44:34

Dr. Gary M. Barker

Published in the Paso Robles Press 6.16.21

There is an old saying that is true that says: “our past sins finally catch up with us.”  Sometimes we think that because a long time has past since we sinned against someone and deeply hurt them that we will never be held accountable for it.  This is especially true when we think we have cleverly hidden our sins with a deceptive lie.  This is exactly what Joseph’s brothers did when they sold him as a slave.  They lied to their father Jacob and said Joseph had been killed by a wild animal.  Joseph was taken to Egypt and remained a slave and prisoner for over twenty years before being reunited with his brothers in Egypt. A famine caused Joseph’s brothers to come to Egypt to buy grain.  They didn’t realize that their brother had become the prime minister in Egypt and was responsible for selling all the grain that had been stored in great abundance.  Thru a series of circumstances that Joseph personally planned, his brothers’ conscience was awakened and they became accountable for their past sins of hating and mistreating Joseph.

Joseph accused his brothers of being spies and to prove their innocence they had to return to Canaan and bring back their youngest brother, Benjamin, who was Joseph’s full brother.  This they did and this made Joseph weep with joy.  As all the brothers were returning to Canaan, Benjamin was accused of stealing a valuable cup of Joseph’s and they all returned to Egypt to stand before Joseph.  Joseph said that the man guilty of stealing his cup would become his slave forever.  Judah spoke up and told Joseph that keeping Benjamin as a slave in Egypt would break his father’s heart and that he would be willing to become Joseph’s slave (Genesis 44:16-34).  Judah was the brother that suggested that Joseph be sold as a slave twenty years before (Genesis 32:26-27).  All of these events caused Joseph’s brothers to acknowledge their past sins against Joseph (Genesis 44:16).  The amazing truth revealed in this historical account is Joseph never intended to punish his brothers for what they had done to him.  However, Joseph wanted them to admit and confess their sin before he could be restored in fellowship with them.  This did happen and now Joseph is going to reveal his true identity to his brothers.  Joseph displayed merciful compassion and forgiveness.


Lessons to Be LEARNED

  1. Our sins can be hidden from everyone but God. We can deceive ourself by believing we will never be caught and held accountable for our sins.
  2. God has both the desire and ability to expose our most deceptive and hidden sins. This is a display of God’s holiness.
  3. The godly way to respond to exposed sin is to REPENT with godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10).

God supernaturally enables people to both graciously and mercifully forgive others who have sinfully hurt them (Ephesians 4:31-32).  This is God’s cure for bitterness and damaged emotion