When Jacob learned that there was grain for sale in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you look at one another?” Genesis 42:1
God sometimes awakens the conscience through unexpected events, but there is also a second way He does this—by arousing memory. When Jacob said the word ‘Egypt,’ all the brothers probably looked at each other. They must have thought, “That’s where we sent Joseph. Now the old man, who thinks Joseph is dead, is sending us there.” So the brothers went, following the same route that would have been taken by the traders twenty years ago.
When they arrived in Egypt, the brothers were thrown into prison. Now memory was really aroused. They must have wondered, “For no good reason, we threw our brother in a pit, and now, for no good reason, we have been thrown into prison.”
Then they discussed it among themselves, “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” (42:21). It was all coming back to them now.
God brought their past actions to mind and their own sins were real and alive, fresh and present. Conscience was awakened. They saw what God saw and knew what God knew. Then Reuben said, “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” (42:22).
Has God recently brought to mind a long-forgotten memory? Why?