The people of all the earth came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the earth.
—Genesis 41:57

Our conscience is a valuable tool God has given us to alert us to danger and make us sensitive to His voice. If we damage our conscience, God sometimes enables us to repair it—but repair takes drastic steps. The remainder of this week we will look at four steps God took to reactivate the consciences of Joseph’s brothers.

First, God will bring adversity to reactivate our conscience. Look at Genesis 41:57: “The people of all the earth came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the earth.” This famine God had prophesied affected not only Egypt but the whole world. Notice that God was willing to cause a worldwide famine in order to bring Joseph’s brothers from Canaan to Egypt to bring about reconciliation. God is willing to go to whatever lengths necessary to bring you back into a right relationship with Him.

Genesis 42:1 says, “Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt.” He and his sons were hungry. So he said to his sons, “‘Why are you staring at one another? . . . Behold, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down there and buy some for us from that place, so that we may live and not die’” (vv. 1–2). You know, there are times to wait upon God, but there are other times when what we need is a kick in the pants to get moving. Usually, God works through our efforts, not apart from our efforts.

Now Joseph was in charge of all the grain in Egypt. Little did these brothers know that the person from whom they would be buying grain was that brother whom they had sold into slavery 22 years earlier. When Joseph’s brothers came, they “bowed down to him with their faces to the ground” (v. 6). When Joseph saw his brothers, he remembered the dream he had as a teenager, when God said, “One day your brothers are going to bow down before you.” Joseph recognized his brothers, but they didn’t recognize him.

Joseph said to them, “‘Where have you come from?’ And they said, ‘From the land of Canaan, to buy food’” (v. 7). He goes on to say, “You are spies; you have come to look at the undefended parts of our land” (v. 9). Why would Joseph make this false accusation? It was an act in order to bring his brothers to repentance and reconciliation. We see that God uses adversity in our life, not because He hates us but because He loves us and wants to bring us to repentance. Hebrews 12:6 says, “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.”

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Value of a Clear Conscience” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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