21 then they said to one another, “in truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. that is why this distress has come upon us.” 22 and reuben answered them, “did i not tell you not to sin against the boy? but you did not listen. so now there comes a reckoning for his blood.” [genesis 42:21-22]
in truth we are guilty
after all these years, joseph’s brothers are finally verbalizing the consequences of their sin. on the surface, this current situation has nothing to do with what they did to joseph so long ago. so why are they talking about it?
sin has a way of refusing to let us go. we cannot, in our own actions, ‘get over it’, or ‘move on’ from unconfessed sin. it entangles itself into every decision, every action, and every relationship. the brothers feel the weight of sin’s guilt reaching across their lives even now, and sense that this current misfortune is a result of a sin committed long ago.
there comes a reckoning
although he doesn’t understand the full ramifications of what he is saying, reuben is right in that there is a reckoning for their sin against joseph. their sin wasn’t just in the deed itself: it was in the planning of it, the agreement to lie about it, and the failure to confess it. they now seem resolved to accept that fate. like all sin, theirs was not just a sin against a person, but sin against God. all sin separates us from God, and there indeed must be a reckoning.
thankfully we don’t have to bear this weight! I john 1:9 assures us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
the reckoning that we deserve was taken by Christ on the cross, and in him we can be forgiven, free, and confident that in every situation we are covered in his love and secured in His peace.
~ jason soroski