The Road to Repentance

isn't often walked willingly. It takes some nudging.

Genesis 42:26-34 (ESV)

Then they loaded their donkeys with their grain and departed. And as one of them opened his sack to give his donkey fodder at the lodging place, he saw his money in the mouth of his sack. He said to his brothers, “My money has been put back; here it is in the mouth of my sack!” At this their hearts failed them, and they turned trembling to one another, saying, “What is this that God has done to us?”

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.’”

They’re lying! Joseph made no such promise. He actually said, “Bring your youngest brother to me. So your words will be verified, and you shall not die.” – Gen 42:20 (ESV)

Shading the truth like this is way too natural for these guys; that’s part of what Joseph is trying to cure them of. They don’t want Jacob to hear Joseph’s death threat, so they just make something up.

Of course, they were also lying when they said, “We are honest men.” No one should believe anything they say. This is about to come back to bite them.

It’s all part of this grand wake-up-call they’re in the middle of.

Jacob’s sons are traveling down the road to repentance. We delude ourselves if we think we can skip the toll booth on this road. The first of Martin Luther’s 95 theses made this clear.

  1. When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said "Repent", He willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

This permanently repentant heart Luther refers to will never stop changing us. That’s the lifelong process of sanctification.

Real Christian fellowship (koinonia) is the secret sauce. Our friends should nudge us along in sanctification. If you don’t have a friend in whom you can (and do) confide completely, you’re in danger. Curiously, the safest people to confide in are the quickest to call you out when you’ve gone astray.

Those who Satan wishes to destroy must first be separated from meaningful fellowship. A real friend is one of God’s greatest gifts.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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