Then they [Joseph’s brothers] said to one another, “We are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us, and we would not hear; therefore this distress has come upon us.” Genesis 42:21
As Paul wrote to the Galatians, we always reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). Because the brothers of Joseph sinned by selling him into slavery to Egypt, there would be a reckoning. Just as they sold Joseph into bondage, the brothers had to prostrate themselves in fear and anguish before the one they betrayed three decades earlier.
The consequences of sin aren’t solely retributive; they are meant to be redemptive as well. Writing about the trials we experience in life—even the trials of our own making—the apostle James wrote that they can produce perseverance. And the purpose of perseverance is to produce maturity in our life (James 1:2-4). That was the result in Joseph’s brothers’ lives when they discovered that Joseph was still alive and was a ruler in Egypt. They repented of their sin and were r-united with the one they had tried to be rid of.
When trials appear in your life, let them do their redemptive work. The path to spiritual maturity is paved with stones of repentance.
None of us can come to the highest maturity without enduring the summer heat of trials. Charles H. Spurgeon
Guilt, Genesis 42:21-22 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study
If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 1 Corinthians 15:19
Her name was Saralyn, and I sort of had a crush on her back in our school days. She had the most wonderful laugh. I’m not sure whether she knew about my crush, but I suspect she did. After graduation I lost track of her. Our lives went in different directions as lives often do.
I keep up with my graduating class in some online forums, and I was intensely sad when I heard that Saralyn died. I found myself wondering about the direction her life had taken over the years. This is happening more and more the older I grow, this experience of losing friends and family. But many of us tend to avoid talking about it.
While we still sorrow, the hope the apostle Paul talks about is that death doesn’t have the final say (1 Corinthians 15:54–55). There is something that follows, another word: resurrection. Paul grounds that hope in the reality of the resurrection of Christ (v. 12), and says “if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (v. 14). If our hope as believers is limited to this world only, that’s just a pity (v. 19).
We will one day see those again who have “fallen asleep in Christ” (v. 18)—grandparents and parents, friends and neighbors, or perhaps even old schoolyard crushes.
Death doesn’t get the last word. Resurrection does.
Reflect & Pray
What does Christ’s resurrection mean to you? How might you express your faith and point someone to the hope of the resurrection?
Jesus, may the power of Your resurrection become more and more evident in my life. May it be clear in my words and actions, especially as I interact with those who do not know You.
2 Corinthians 5:9-10
Every Christian is answerable to Jesus for how she or he chooses to live. But we will not stand before the great white throne of Revelation 20:11—that is where unbelievers will be judged. Instead, we will go before Christ’s judgment seat and give an account of ourselves.
If it seems like a contradiction to say believers won’t be judged but will stand before Christ’s judgment seat, look at 2 Corinthians 5:10. The Greek word used there for “judgment seat” is béma, which means “a place where justice is administered.” Those who believe in the Savior won’t be condemned to death, because they are saved. They will live and be accountable to Him.
Do not confuse accountability with giving a defense. We won’t defend our ungodly actions—those things we said and did that brought no honor to the Lord or His name. God likens our selfish works to wood, hay, and stubble, which are items fit only for the fire (1 Corinthians 3:13). The valuable thoughts, words, and deeds that serve the Lord are exchanged for rewards in heaven.
What we’ll be judged on is the quality of our work. God has given every believer an individual purpose, along with the personality, talents, and spiritual gifts needed to fulfill it. The question that will be answered at Christ’s judgment seat is, Did I live out my purpose to honor and glorify God?
Standing before Christ’s judgment seat is something to look forward to. We need not fear, since believers are co-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17; Rom. 8:34). Because of His sacrifice, we have a right to the treasures of heaven. And the Lord is eager to bestow them as a reward for faithfulness and obedience.
“But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.” (2 Peter 2:10)
In context here, Peter is speaking of the false teachers who would later come into the Christian community, leading many to “follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of” (2 Peter 2:2). Among other characteristics, these teachers would “despise government” and “speak evil of dignities.”
Again in context, it seems clear that the “government” Peter has in mind primarily is the divine government that had been established by God for the universe (the “principalities and powers in heavenly places”—Ephesians 3:10) and the “dignities” refer to the angels—even those that have rebelled and now follow Satan. Jude notes in a similar passage that even the archangel Michael spoke respectfully to Satan, the premier fallen angel (Jude 1:8-9).
Therefore, it is carnally arrogant and dangerous for men to insult or to ridicule such powerful beings. They are for God to judge and deal with, in His own time and way.
And the same must be true of human “dignities” and “government.” We must remember that “the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1) and that “the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will,” and sometimes He even “setteth up over it the basest of men” (Daniel 4:17).
Even if we live in a republic, therefore, and can participate in the selection of our leaders, our main responsibility is to “be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men” (Titus 3:1-2). HMM
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
These words are addressed to those of God’s children who have been pierced with the arrow of infinite desire, who yearn for God with a yearning that has overcome them, who long with a longing that has become pain.
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6)….
A dead body feels no hunger and the dead soul knows not the pangs of holy desire. “If you want God,” said the old saint, “you have already found Him.” Our desire for fuller life is proof that some life must be there already….
In nature everything moves in the direction of its hungers. In the spiritual world it is not otherwise. We gravitate toward our inward longings, provided of course that those longings are strong enough to move us. Impotent dreaming will not do. The religious urge that is not followed by a corresponding act of the will in the direction of that urge is a waste of emotion. SIZ017-018
Oh, God, I have that longing to know You, that hunger and thirst for righteousness, that “desire for fuller life.” Move me along in the direction of that hunger, Lord, and give me the strength to follow “in the direction of that urge.” Amen
Ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.—1 Thessalonians 4:9.
If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us.—1 John 4:12.
This is the great business and meaning of our life on earth: that we should more and more yield up our hearts to God’s great grace of love; that we should let it enter ever more fully and more freely into us, so that it may even fill our whole heart and life. We must day after day be driving back, in His strength, the sin that doth so easily beset us, and the selfishness that sin has fastened in our hearts; and then His love will day by day increase in us. Prayer will win and keep it; work will strengthen and exercise it; the Bible will teach us how to know and prize it, how to praise God for it; the Holy Eucharist will ever renew and quicken its power in our hearts. And so (blessed be God!), love and joy and peace will grow in us, beyond all that we can ask or think; and He will forgive us, for love’s sake, all the failures, all the faults in whatever work He has given us to do; and will bring us at last into the fullness of that life which even here He has suffered us to know; into that one Eternal Home, where Love is perfect, and unwearied, and unending; and where nothing ever can part us from one another or from Him.
“The Lord will be with you.” 2Chron. 20:17
This was a great mercy for Jehoshaphat, for a great multitude had come out against him; and it will be a great mercy for me, for I have great need, and I have no might or wisdom. If the Lord be with me, it matters little who may desert me. If the Lord be with me, I shall conquer in the battle of life, and the greater my trials the more glorious will be my victory. How can I be sure that the Lord is with me?
For certain He is with me if I am with Him. If I trust in His faithfulness, believe His words, and obey His commands, He is assuredly with me. If I am on Satan’s side God is against me, and cannot be otherwise; but if I live to honor God I may be sure that He will honor me.
I am quite sure that God is with me if Jesus is my sole and only Saviour. If I have placed my soul in the hands of God’s Only-begotten Son, then I may be sure that the Father will put forth all His power to preserve me, that His Son may not be dishonored.
Oh for faith to take hold upon the short but sweet text for today! O Lord, fulfill this word to thy servant! Be with me in the house, in the street, in the field, in the shop, in company, and alone. Be thou also with all thy people.