Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Genesis 44:3-6 (NIV)
As morning dawned, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys. They had not gone far from the city when Joseph said to his steward, “Go after those men at once, and when you catch up with them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid good with evil? Isn’t this the cup my master drinks from and also uses for divination? This is a wicked thing you have done.’” When he caught up with them, he repeated these words to them.
Genesis 44:3-6 (MSG)
At break of day the men were sent off with their donkeys. They were barely out of the city when Joseph said to his house steward, “Run after them. When you catch up with them, say, ‘Why did you pay me back evil for good? This is the chalice my master drinks from; he also uses it for divination. This is outrageous!’” He caught up with them and repeated all this word for word.
“As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their donkeys. When they had left the city, and were not yet far away, Joseph said to his steward, “Get up, follow after the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil [to us] for good [paid to you]? Is this not my lord’s drinking cup and the one which he uses for divination? You have done [a great and unforgivable] wrong in doing this.’” So the steward overtook them and he said these words to them.” -AMPLIFIED
We are almost to the peak of Joseph’s story; the climax of Joseph’s well planned out plot. We find that after the brothers’ had feasted at the lord’s house they must have taken their rest there too. This was a common occurrence of that day; if you were offered hospitality it would have included food, fellowship and a place to rest for the night. This would have been Joseph’s joy to do; having his brothers nearby so he could watch them.
We see in the first few verses of chapter 44 Joseph outlining the details of what was to happen next to his steward. One must assume that the servants, or at least the steward, were in on Joseph’s plan for all of this to work. This in turn makes one think that they must have had great respect and love for Joseph to even go along with this crazy plan.
Joseph directs each step of his well thought out plan; giving instructions to his steward. “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.” -Genesis 44:1-2 (ESV)
This was to be Joseph’s final test for his brothers and yes, a test was exactly what it was. Joseph was testing his brothers’ attitudes and responses to see if they had changed after all these years. This makes one wonder what would have happened in his story if he had not received the response that he did. This story could have turned out very differently.
Yes, Joseph did have his silver cup planted in Benjamin’s sack purposely. He then made false accusations to see what the other brothers would do. Had they changed? Thankfully they had! The cup was found in Benjamin’s bag and Judah offers to make good on his vow, which was made to his father, to take Benjamin’s place.
Joseph realizes that these brothers of his have indeed changed. They were no longer jealous and angry men; as they had been when they had taken advantage of the opportunity to sell him into slavery more than twenty years before. The years had changed them. The years of sorrow and sadness had changed them for the better.
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” -James 1:12 (NIV)
Lord, help me to be strong and do my very best during those times of testing in my life; in order to bring glory to your Name. Have your way, dear Lord; even when I may not understand why certain things are happening. I want to be found faithful and true to you. I want to come out of those tests shining like pure gold. Give me the strength and fortitude to trust you in every situation. Work your very best in me!