Then he said to his brothers, “My money has been returned, and behold, it is even in my sack.”
We have seen this week that God often takes drastic steps to bring us into a right relationship with Him. Nevertheless, you can be embarrassed about your sin. You can feel sorry for the consequences of your sin. You can realize that you are responsible for your sin, and yet still never receive God’s forgiveness. There’s a fourth step God uses to reactivate our consciences and that is He showers us with His grace.
That is what Joseph did with his brothers. Remember, Joseph’s plan for his brothers is not for retribution; it’s for reconciliation. He is using an elaborate scheme to bring that about.
Joseph told his brothers that he would keep Simeon in Egypt and let the rest of the brothers go back with the grain. “Then Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain and to restore every man’s money in his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey” (Genesis 42:25). Joseph instructed his men, “Load up their sacks with grain, but in one of the sacks return all of the money they paid for this grain.” So the brothers got back to Canaan and unloaded the grain they purchased. “As one of them opened his sack to give his donkey fodder at the lodging place, he saw his money; and behold, it was in the mouth of his sack” (v. 27). If that happened to you, you would have celebrated. Wouldn’t that be the natural response?
But notice how the brothers responded. When they discovered the money, one brother said, “‘My money has been returned, and behold, it is even in my sack.’ And their hearts sank, and they turned trembling to one another, saying, ‘What is this that God has done to us?’” (v. 28). You might think that doesn’t make any sense. But that is the response of somebody with a guilty conscience. When you are not in a right relationship with God, you are afraid of everything that happens to you. You can’t even accept God’s blessings without wondering, “What is God up to? He is trying to get even with me.” You can’t enjoy anything because you are scared that at any moment God is going to pour out His wrath on you.
That is what was going on here. The brothers couldn’t understand why Joseph was being so gracious to them. Maybe today, you are living apart from God, and God has brought some good things to your life. You are wondering, “If God is upset about my sin, what about all these good things?” The grace of God leads us to repentance. Grace is God giving us what we don’t deserve. If God gave us what we deserve, we would all spend eternity separated from Him. Thank God He deals with us according to grace. God is not interested in retribution; He is interested in reconciliation. God wants you and me to have a right relationship with Him, and He will go to whatever lengths necessary—including His grace— to achieve that.
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.