Every successful football season begins with two-a-days. In the grueling heat of summer, teams will practice two times a day for the first two weeks of preseason camp to strengthen the resolve of the team. Two-a-days take football players to their mental and physical breaking point. Most players often attribute success in late-game winning drives to the testing of their will in two-a-days. In this last of Josephs test’s, we see Judah and his brothers taken to the brink, only to respond in ways of true repentance and character change.

  • What are some of the tests God is putting you through? How are you being shaped by these tests?


1 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, 2 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 Joseph told him.

3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away with their donkeys. 4 They had gone only a short distance from the city. Now Joseph said to his steward, “Up, follow after the men, and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? 5 Is it not from this that my lord drinks, and by this that he practices divination? You have done evil in doing this.’”

6 When he overtook them, he spoke to them these words. 7 They said to him, “Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing! 8 Behold, the money that we found in the mouths of our sacks we brought back to you from the land of Canaan. How then could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? 9 Whichever of your servants is found with it shall die, and we also will be my lord’s servants.” 10 He said, “Let it be as you say: he who is found with it shall be my servant, and the rest of you shall be innocent.” 11 Then each man quickly lowered his sack to the ground, and each man opened his sack. 12 And he searched, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13 Then they tore their clothes, and every man loaded his donkey, and they returned to the city.

14 When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, he was still there. They fell before him to the ground. 15 Joseph said to them, “What deed is this that you have done? Do you not know that a man like me can indeed practice divination?” 16 And Judah said, “What shall we say to my lord? What shall we speak? Or how can we clear ourselves? God has found out the guilt of your servants; behold, we are my lord’s servants, both we and he also in whose hand the cup has been found.” 17 But he said, “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.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. What plan did Joseph devise to test his brothers? What was Joseph doing?
  2. How did Judah respond to Joseph’s test (vss. 6-13)? What is admirable about his response?
  3. How does Judah and his brothers approach Joseph (vs. 14)? What would you have done in this situation?
  4. Judah makes an admission of guilt in verse 16? Is he admitting to stealing Joseph’s cup or something else? Why?
  5. Do you recall a time when you were falsely accused of doing something wrong? How did you respond?


It may seem cruel at first, but Joseph was helping his brothers come to a true place of repentance by putting Judah in a situation where it would be easy to walk away. Judah, however, went back to fight for his brother’s life, proving his true repentance. This critical act of Judah, to place his life on the line, was the last necessary piece of information Joseph needed to finally trust his brothers again. In doing so, the brothers become reunited to Joseph, but more importantly, they were reunited with God in covenant relationship.  

  • Pray about the tests, trials, and struggles of your life. Ask God to give you a heart to receive them as the means for God to bring you to himself.
  • God never promises to remove our trials before he is done shaping our character. Pray about your response to the trials of your life and ask God to give you the courage and strength to respond to them in faith.