Joseph was a problem for his brothers. He was favored above them and took advantage of that. Humility was not his greatest attribute and that continually irritated them. Eventually, they became convinced that it would be good to get rid of him. They even figured out how to pad their pockets in the process. All they have to do is sin against their brother and lie to their father. The problem is gone. Move on.
Guilt probably hit them when they saw their father’s intense reaction to the news that Joseph was “torn apart by wild animals.” How many times did the decision haunt them in the following years? Every brightly colored object becomes a reminder of a bloody coat. Each trip to graze the sheep retraced earlier steps. Joseph’s absence was always before them.
Their guilt and regret surfaced as they stood before Joseph. They knew their sin and felt like God was finally punishing them for it. For years, they lived looking over their shoulder and now it seems their sin finally caught them.
Sin presents an appealing shortcut but we fail to see the consequences until it’s too late. One lie leads to another, then another until we almost convince ourselves it’s the truth. But there’s a skeleton hiding in the closet, waiting to be uncovered. A life of guilt and regret is a high price to pay.
The good news is that God is waiting, ready to forgive. You don’t have to carry your sin and regret any more. The only condition is that you come clean. Jesus died to take your sin, cleanse your guilt, and remove your regret. Bring Him the burden of your sin and let Him give you rest.
1. How is this account truly an illustration of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 23:12?
2. In 42:21-22, what do you think the brothers experience: True repentance? Worldly sorrow (feeling bad but not changing)? Pagan repentance (Telling God you are sorry in an effort to manipulate him)? Mere confession (acknowledging your sin with no intention of changing your behavior)? Blame shifting (refusing to accept responsibility for your actions but blaming someone/something else)? Cursing their misfortune? Why do you think so? Likewise, in 41:27-28?
3. Compare Judah’s words in 43:8-9 and 37:26-27. Do you think he has changed much? How so?