One Final Test
“‘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
When it comes down to it, there is but one question each person must ask himself: “Will I recognize God’s authority as supreme, or will I try to throw off the Creator’s restraints and lay claim to sovereignty?” In other words, will we bow the knee to the Lord gladly, or will we refuse to submit?
Adam tried to supplant divine authority and plunged the human race into sin, wherein all of us are born as children of wrath (Gen. 3:1–19; Rom. 5:12–21). But God was gracious and promised to do the work necessary to make for Himself friends and servants from some of Adam’s children. The Creator said there would one day be a people obedient to His precepts (Gen. 3:15; Jer. 31:31–34).
This people includes men like Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who by their sin showed that they could never merit the righteousness God requires, but had to lean upon His grace alone (Gen. 9:20–21; 12:10–20; 27). Nevertheless, the inevitable fruit of trusting the Lord for salvation is a life that increasingly conforms to the Almighty’s holy law (Gen. 17:1–2; James 2:14–26). Although they will struggle with sin until death, believers will repent and press forward toward the goal God sets before His people (Heb. 12:1–2).
Jacob’s son, Joseph, understood these truths well, and he knew that his brothers must repent and obey if they were to be the Lord’s people. Their crime of selling him into slavery because they were jealous of him (Gen. 37:25–28) did not automatically bar them from God’s promises — they would have been forever lost only if they, evidenced in an unchanged life, refused to serve God through an utter lack of faith. Happily, Joseph saw their newness of heart when they did not envy the favored position he gave to Benjamin (chap. 43).
Yet Joseph could not see the hearts of his brothers, and he further pressed them, looking for proof of their changed hearts. Since they had been disloyal to God’s people when they betrayed him, Joseph thought he might discern the state of his brothers’ souls by testing their loyalty to Benjamin. Today’s passage describes how Joseph initiated this test to see if their repentance was genuine.
The Lord our God puts us to the test so that we may reveal to others the true commitments of our hearts. Certainly, God knows in advance the outcome of any test that He gives us, but we are not to dwell on this truth. Instead, we should seek His aid that we might show our submission to His will and pass any test He sends our way. Today you will face the choice to trust and follow Christ or sin against Him. Lean on the Holy Spirit and by God’s grace you will pass this test.
Passages for Further Study
- Ex. 16:4
- Judg. 2:16–23
- Ps. 26
- John 6:1–14
- James 1:12
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