When our children were little, my husband and I bought a swing for them as a Christmas gift. Imagine our Christmas morning surprise when the opened box revealed not one, but six identical swings! While we could have easily given the extra swings away or sold them for a profit, God required something more of us. In order to serve him with truthful hearts, we needed to return the extra swings and inform the toy store of their oversight.
- When was the last time you were faced with the choice of whether or not to respond in an honest way? What did you choose, and how did it affect your heart?
READ THE WORD: GENESIS 43:16-25 (ESV)
16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Bring the men into the house, and slaughter an animal and make ready, for the men are to dine with me at noon.” 17 The man did as Joseph told him and brought the men to Joseph’s house. 18 And the men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph’s house, and they said, “It is because of the money, which was replaced in our sacks the first time, that we are brought in, so that he may assault us and fall upon us to make us servants and seize our donkeys.” 19 So they went up to the steward of Joseph’s house and spoke with him at the door of the house, 20 and said, “Oh, my lord, we came down the first time to buy food. 21 And when we came to the lodging place we opened our sacks, and there was each man’s money in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight. So we have brought it again with us, 22 and we have brought other money down with us to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks.” 23 He replied, “Peace to you, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has put treasure in your sacks for you. I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them. 24 And when the man had brought the men into Joseph’s house and given them water, and they had washed their feet, and when he had given their donkeys fodder, 25 they prepared the present for Joseph’s coming at noon, for they heard that they should eat bread there.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Upon seeing his brothers, what instructions did Joseph give his steward (vs. 16)?
- Why were the brothers afraid when they were brought to Joseph’s house (vss. 16-18)?
- In verses 19-22, the brothers recounted the story of their first grain-buying trip in order to proclaim their innocence. What was the steward’s response to their confession, and what does it teach us about God’s role in this story (vs. 23)?
- Take note of how Joseph’s brothers were treated throughout this passage. What was done for them, and what were they given? Why do you think these things are important?
- Is there any situation in your life right now that calls for an immediate show of responsibility and honesty? What can you expect from God as you come clean (see 1 John 1:9)? How does this encourage you to do what is right?
RESPOND TO GOD
Can you feel the weightiness of the brothers’ fear? This same band of brothers who many years before had committed the unthinkable toward their younger brother, Joseph, were eager, on this occasion, to make things right. What a relief when the steward ushered in peace and absolution! Haven’t we all been in the shoes of these brothers, at times feeling desperate fear coupled with the urgent need to come clean? If only we truly believed that relief awaited us on the other side.
- Confess to God your fear, and pray that he would help you move forward to make it right today.