READ: Genesis 42-43
THINK: How would you describe character or define integrity? These are issues of paramount importance to God. He's concerned about how we handle adversity and how we treat others. He looks at our motives and who we are on the inside. He hates hypocrisy. He expects His followers to do the right thing no matter who sees or knows. Joseph did so through all kinds of adversity. His brothers, on the other hand, had often demonstrated questionable character and a lack of integrity. Over the years, their actions caused tremendous grief to their father-and to God. Thankfully, God is extremely patient, continuing to work through our weakness as long as we're willing to change. As we depend on God, He exposes our character flaws. If we remain open to His discipline, God will help us develop character that will honor Him, reflect His goodness and allow us to fulfill His purposes for our lives.
RESPOND: Why didn't Joseph reveal his identity to his brothers right away, but instead confronted them as if they were spies? What was he hoping to discover? (See 42:8 note.) Why did Joseph want to see the youngest brother, Benjamin? (See 42:4 note.) What did Joseph's brothers think was the reason for their troubles in Egypt? (42:21 note.) What do you think this revealed about the brothers at this time? What must we keep in mind if we feel that we've gotten away with sin? (See 42:21 note.) Why was Jacob reluctant to let his sons take Benjamin to Egypt? What can you tell about Joseph's brothers from how Reuben and Judah were willing to take responsibility for Benjamin's safety? (See 42:37 and 43:3 note.) Why do you think that Joseph cried after seeing Benjamin (43:29-30)? Looking back at 42:37 and 43:9, how did Joseph's brothers show that their character had changed for the better?
PRAY: If there is any known and unconfessed sin in your life, ask God to forgive you, then settle any related issues with other people. Ask God to expose any character flaws in your life and ask for His help in resolving them.
ACT: Have you recently done-or are you doing-anything of questionable integrity? This could include being even the least bit dishonest, treating someone unfairly, or participating in questionable activities with or without others. Rely on God's help and make the changes you know He wants you to make. If your actions have hurt or caused difficulty for anyone else, confess your fault and make things right with that person.
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