Their father Jacob said to them, “You’ve taken my children from me. Joseph’s gone. Simeon’s gone. And you are taking Benjamin. All this can’t really be happening to me!”-Genesis 42:36
When reading about Jacob’s sons and pondering that it is through these men and their descendants that God will choose to save the world, it strikes me with renewed intensity that God definitely didn’t choose Israel because they were great men.
I struggle to find something admirable about Jacob’s sons.
Simeon and Levi led a gang that murdered every male citizen of Shechem.
Reuben slept with his father’s handmaiden Bilah.
Ten of them were responsible for selling their younger brother Joseph into slavery.
Now nine of them (minus Simeon) have returned to their father in Canaan bringing the grain they “purchased” in Egypt.
They’ve already come to the realization that the rough treatment they received in Egypt was because of what they did to Joseph so many years before.
So I find it interesting that after returning home they still aren’t confessing to Jacob what they did to their little brother.
This whole experience of going down to Egypt must have been quite traumatic.
They were all thrown into prison and now their brother Simeon is being held hostage.
However, I believe that if they would have confessed to Joseph what they had done, they would have found mercy.
The Book of Proverbs says,
“He who conceals his sins does not prosper.
But whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
Jacob’s sons are concealing their sins.
That’s why Joseph didn’t extend them any mercy.
It still pains me to think that even until that very point when Joseph revealed himself to them, they never did confess to selling Joseph into slavery.
Like I said, in many ways, these brothers are scoundrels.
But aren’t we all scoundrels?
I’m relieved to know that if God can use men like Jacob’s sons to carry out His will, then He can use anyone.
Our God is a great God indeed!
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
So what are we saying?
Are we better off?
Not at all.
We have already stated the charge:
both Jews and Gentiles
are all under the power of sin.