September 25, 2014

Joseph's Brothers: Repentance

Genesis 44:14-17

“What can we say to my lord?” Judah replied… “God has uncovered your servants’ guilt.”
—Genesis 44:16


Guilt—real guilt—is priceless. This may sound strange, but it’s rare that we are so blessed as to feel deep guilt for our sin.

This happens when we have exhausted our skills of evasion, denial, suppression, blaming, minimizing, rationalizing, justifying, and more—all to avoid facing up to our sin. When all the devices of our crafty hearts are used up or cast aside, the horrible reality of our own guilt meets us head-on.

At that eye-opening moment we face the stark, liberating truth. As an old spiritual song says, “It’s … not my father, not my mother … not my brother, not my sister … not the elder … not the preacher … but it’s me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.”

Over the years we build up a thick wall of immunity to facing our guilt; this is why redemption comes hard.

With great wisdom and love, Joseph confronts his brothers: “What is this you have done?” And Judah, knowing they have no other options, asks plaintively, “What can we say to my lord? … God has uncovered [our] guilt.”

With cleared vision, they finally see God’s hand upon them. With their guilt exposed and bowing low, the brothers surrender.

Father, be merciful to me, even if the mercy is severe. Open my eyes and show me my sin. Help me to welcome this rare gift, and guide me to repentance. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Kenneth D. Koeman

Rev. Ken Koeman is a pastor at Bellevue, Washington, Christian Reformed Church. He has written Today devotions in past years and has also authored numerous articles for The Banner, the magazine of the Christian Reformed Church. Ken and his wife, Kay, live in Bellevue and have two children and five grandchildren.

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