Scripture Reading: Genesis 44:1-17
“Then he commanded the steward of his house, ‘Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack, and put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, with his money for the grain.’ And he did as Jospeh told him.” (Genesis 44:1,2)
God had been working mightily in the lives of Joseph’s brothers. God used Joseph to test his brothers. He remembered their lack of character from his childhood days. Therefore, he felt it necessary to test them. Had they changed or where they the same old fellows they had been in the past?
In the last devotion, we saw the first test Joseph gave them (43:33,34). Joseph prepared a great feast for them. He served Benjamin five times the portion he served the others. There was no hint of jealousy. But Joseph was not fully satisfied, so he gave them another test.
Joseph ordered his steward to fill the men’s sacks with grain. He also instructed him to put each man’s money that had been paid for the grain in the mouth of his sack. Joseph told the steward to place his silver cup in Benjamin’s sack and then to send them on the way. After the brothers left, Joseph ordered his steward to overtake them and to say, “Why have you repaid evil for good?” Of course, the brothers were shocked when this happened. Fear must have gripped them again. When the steward confronted them, they vehemently denied the charges. In fact, they were so sure of their innocence that they made a pledge to the steward — “Whichever of your servants is found with it shall die, and we also will be my lord’s servants” (v. 9).
Each man lowered his sack and opened it for inspection. The steward began with the oldest and ended with the youngest. When Benjamin’s sack was opened, the cup was there. The brothers returned to the city and came before Joseph. They fell to the ground before Joseph. Then Joseph pronounced his verdict — “Far be it from me that I should do so. Only the man in whose hand the cup was found shall be my servant. But as for you, go up in peace to your father” (v. 17). Joseph remembered how disloyal his brothers had been. Now he would test their loyalty to Benjamin.
Judah made a very moving speech to Joseph (vs. 18-34). This was not the old Judah; he was now a changed man. His intervention on behalf of Benjamin demonstrated his great love for his brother and his concern for his aged father. Judah demonstrated a self-sacrifice loyalty when he requested that he be kept instead of Benjamin.
The brothers’ relationship with God was transformed. God had made Himself known to them. And there was a change in the brothers’ relationships to others. Instead of selling Benjamin into slavery, they did what was right. They were willing to offer themselves as slaves.
God uses various means to test our faith when it is necessary — “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith — more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:6,7). Don’t be surprised when tests come. God uses them to strengthen our faith and to change us from the inside out.
Lord God, it is hard to rejoice when I face trials. But I know that You use trials in my life to test my faith and to build my character. Enable me to submit to You during trials and to learn what You are teaching me through them. I know my faith is weak at times and it is necessary for You to test me. You do this because You love me and want Your best for me.
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