Wednesday, February 18, 2015

We Know What They Are

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. (Proverbs 28:13 KJV)

That verse came up when we were studying Joseph’s meeting with his brothers. They had not heard from him since he was sold into slavery at 17 – but he was not forgotten:

And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not. (Genesis 42:13 KJV)

They had led their father to believe he had been killed by putting blood on the beautiful coat of many colors that they hated so much. That had not confessed their sins. Joseph, on the other hand, had been thrown in prison simply because he would not sin with another man’s wife. For many years it appeared that those who covered their sins prospered, while one who shunned temptation languished.

But, we know the opposite happened. Joseph prospered above all except pharaoh and his brothers bowed to him, just as the sheaves of wheat in his dreams. God’s timing is important. Keep that in mind when considering this verse in Moses’ address to the people before battling for their promised land:

But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out. (Numbers 32:23 KJV)

David discovered this truth when Nathan came to him:

And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. (2 Samuel 12:13 KJV)

The actions he took with Bathsheba damaged her, killed her husband, lowered David in the eyes of his captain, but he knew the sin was against God’s commandment.

Joseph’s brothers had no “Thou shalt not . . .” commandments, but they knew they had sinned and caused their father great sorrow.  To read Judah’s explanation in chapter 44 gives voice to that knowledge. It is overpowered by the forgiveness Joseph offers in Chapter 45, and the one verse that set his brothers free:

Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. (Genesis 45:5 KJV)

It is possible for us to recognize God’s work in our lives? To see the path that led us to see Him in all we do? To glorify Him even when we feel imprisoned? Could we be as strong as Corrie ten Boom and forgive a guard at Ravensbruck? Could we, as a Coptic Christian this last week, die with the word “Jesus” on our lips?

We have it so easy, don’t we? Yet we hold on to slights that are not damaging, hurts that are only open wounds because we pick at them. When will we forgive and tell our brethren why:

And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. (Genesis 45:7 KJV)

For us it’s not given to save a chosen nation – but it might well be that we are to show one life the great deliverance that Christ offers for eternity. Isn’t that enough?

1 comment:

  1. And it could be any life-including people not in our family. And it could be simply our family.


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