Changed From the Inside Out
Moms frequently express their concern to me about their children’s behavior. I can’t help but smile as I remember my own fears and trepidations about raising a family. The longing of my heart was to see my children walk with God. It was quite a challenge as I felt inadequate and unprepared, but I discovered that God filled in the gaps where I failed. And what the Lord impressed on me was simple. Look at the heart. As I prayed earnestly for my sons, God helped me look within them. Was the behavior a heart issue? Did I see tenderness? Compassion? I tried not to make a big deal out of outward actions unless I saw a deeper root of concern. The Bible tells us: God looks at the heart. Out of the heart the mouth speaks. Above all else, guard your heart for out of it are all the issues of life. Let’s review the next part of Joseph’s story to see how God was working in the hearts of Joseph’s brothers.
Read Genesis 44:1-9
1. Note how Joseph tested his brothers once again. What is significant about the cup?
2. How did the brothers declare their innocence? What did they promise?
Read Genesis 44:10-12
3. How did Joseph’s servant soften the penalty proposed by the brothers in declaring their innocence?
4. What is interesting about how the steward searched the brothers’ sacks? What is significant about Joseph putting the cup in Benjamin’s sack?
Read Genesis 44:13-16
5. Why did the brothers tear their clothes? What actions further fulfilled Joseph’s dreams?
6. Compare verse 16 with Genesis 42:21. What is interesting about Judah’s reply in verse 16?
Joseph noticed that his brothers truly had changed from the inside out. Their behavior proved their hearts had been transformed. He sensed their devotion to their father and strong family spirit. As he continued to test them, he recognized there was a difference in their actions. A real heart transformation had taken place. What a beautiful story of redemption!