Guilty Conscience

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings
Genesis 41-42, Matthew 12:1-23

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So they prepared to do this. 21 The brothers said to each other, “We are clearly guilty for what we did to our brother when we saw his life in danger and when he begged us for mercy, but we didn’t listen. That’s why we’re in this danger now.”

22 Reuben responded to them, “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t do anything wrong to the boy’? But you wouldn’t listen. So now this is payback for his death.” 23 They didn’t know that Joseph was listening to them because they were using an interpreter. 24 He stepped away from them and wept. When he returned, he spoke with them again. Then he took Simeon from them and tied him up in front of them (Genesis 42:20b-24, Common English Bible).

When I read this part of the story, it always gets me. That old saying, “Time heals all wounds,” well. it just isn’t true. This story is evidence that there are some things we just can’t get past, regardless of how much time may have past since our infraction occurred.

It was a while in coming. We really don’t know how long but we do know it was more than seven years. From the day the brothers sold Joseph to a Midianite trader until the day of today’s lesson, more than seven years had gone by.

We know Midianite traders bought Joseph from his brothers but we don’t know how long the Midianite traders held him captive. We know Joseph ended up in the house of Potiphar, who held Joseph in high esteem. We don’t know how long Joseph was held captive before Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him and Joseph was sent to prison. We don’t know how long Joseph was in prison before he was brought to interpret Pharaoh’s dream and he was released. We do know that after Joseph’s release from prison that there were seven years of plenty and that was followed by seven years of famine. We also know that sometime during the seven years of famine, Joseph’s brothers showed up to buy food, but again we don’t know when they actually showed up. It might have been in the second year or the fifth.

My point with all that is, a significant period of time had passed before the sons of Israel made their way onto the scene in Egypt. I really think we can pretty safely assume ten years or more. When trouble comes there way, where to do their minds go? Their guilty conscience shows up as they once again (probably not for the first time) remember what they did to Joseph and they know they are guilty. They don’t even know it is Joseph and yet they say, ““We are clearly guilty for what we did to our brother when we saw his life in danger and when he begged us for mercy, but we didn’t listen. That’s why we’re in this danger now.”

Time will come for the guilty parties to face up to what they had done, but this was not yet the time. So why did they go there? When I read verse 21, their guilty consciences show. When we commit a serious wrong, few of us can just put it behind us forever. At some point, at least for most of us, we can’t quite get over what we did to someone else. It is time to confess our sin and cleanse that guilty conscience.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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