when they came to jacob their father in the land of canaan, they told him all that had happened to them, saying, “the man, the lord of the land, spoke roughly to us and took us to be spies of the land. but we said to him, ‘we are honest men; we have never been spies. we are twelve brothers, sons of our father. one is no more, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of canaan.’ then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘by this I shall know that you are honest men: leave one of your brothers with me, and take grain for the famine of your households, and go your way. bring your youngest brother to me. then i shall know that you are not spies but honest men, and i will deliver your brother to you, and you shall trade in the land.’” [genesis 42:29-34]
have you told yourself a lie so long that you believe it? joseph’s brothers, weave a story to their father:
“the man, the lord of the land (an unrecognizable joseph) spoke roughly to us”–grown men, who have done much harm to their brother, feel that they have been done wrong–they avoided execution, but were shown grace. how often i complain when i feel mistreated by others! instead of pressing into the mercy and grace that has been lavished on me, i focus on what i think i deserve!
“but we said to him, ‘we are honest men; we have never been spies.’” we are so quick to claim what we are not–but slow to identify as the sinners that we are! joseph’s brothers assert that they are honest men–good people who don’t spy, but omit the fact that they have acted in evil ways out of jealousy, to sell their brother to slave traders, then lie to their father for 20 years about it. (we have other narratives of the wickedness of the brothers as well, so we know that ‘we are honest men’ isn’t an accurate description of them).
maybe we can hide from men–but before God we are exposed:
and no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. [hebrews 4:13]
rc sproul often stated–”don’t ever ask for the justice of God–you just might get it.” because of our sin, if we received the true justice of God, we would all stand condemned and we have no answer as to why we deserve anything other than eternal damnation.
if we absorb this truth we can despair–or we can hear two of the most beautiful words ever written:
but God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—[ephesians 2:4]
God is a God of justice, yes, but God satisfies that justice by pouring out his wrath towards sin on his only Son, he shows us mercy, and lavishes grace upon those who put their faith in Christ Jesus! o christian, stop trying to defend and justify yourself, stop telling lies about who you are and trust wholly in Jesus!