READ: Genesis 44-45
THINK: Are you a trusting person? Or do you tend to be more cautious, skeptical-even suspicious of other people and their motives? While God wants us to deal with people graciously and in good faith, He also wants us to be wise in our dealings and associations with others. This means extending trust when trust is due, but also being guarded when people have proven to lack integrity. This doesn't give us a license to put people through the type of elaborate test that Joseph did with his brothers, but we have a right to guard our integrity by reserving our trust for people who have proven to be responsible and trustworthy. Of course, this means that we can surrender wholeheartedly to God and His plans because He has proven completely trustworthy. Joseph understood that, and it carried him through some tough times and brought him success beyond his dreams.
RESPOND: Why do you think Joseph tested his brothers as he did? In what situations is it important to have a good idea of people's character, and why? After finding the items in Benjamin's sack, how did the brothers' actions show that their character had changed for the better over the years? (See 44:13 note.) At what point was Joseph convinced that his brothers' character had truly changed since selling him into slavery? (See 44:18-34 note.) How did Joseph demonstrate character and integrity in how he revealed himself to his family? How did he demonstrate faith in God? (See 45:5 note.) In what way did all of Joseph's difficult experiences lead to blessing and prosperity for his family? How did God work out a plan for all His covenant people through Joseph's situation? (See 45:7 and 45:10 note.) How does Joseph's situation relate to you as a follower of Christ today? How can Joseph's example of patient endurance through difficulty and injustice inspire your faithfulness and integrity?
PRAY: Ask God for discernment regarding those you should trust, and to help you trust Him to work His perfect plans, even through tough times. Thank Jesus for enduring the harshest suffering to provide you with eternal life.
ACT: Are you going through a tough time or experiencing extreme difficulty in any aspect of life? Determine that you will maintain a positive attitude as God stretches your faith. Then trust God with the outcome. Sometime today, read and be encouraged by the article on The Providence of God, p. 90 in the FBSE.
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