Week Seven: Day 1

    February 19, 2024 | Be God's Light

    A Silver Cup in the Sack

    Scripture: Genesis 44(NIV)

    1 Now Joseph gave these instructions to the steward of his house: “Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each man’s silver in the mouth of his sack. 2 Then put my cup, the silver one, in the mouth of the youngest one’s sack, along with the silver for his grain.” And he did as Joseph said.

    3 As morning dawned, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys. 4 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? 5 Isn’t this the cup my master drinks from and also uses for divination? This is a wicked thing you have done.’”

    6 When he caught up with them, he repeated these words to them. 7 But they said to him, “Why does my lord say such things? Far be it from your servants to do anything like that! 8 We even brought back to you from the land of Canaan the silver we found inside the mouths of our sacks. So why would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? 9 If any of your servants is found to have it, he will die; and the rest of us will become my lord’s slaves.”

    10 “Very well, then,” he said, “let it be as you say. Whoever is found to have it will become my slave; the rest of you will be free from blame.”

    11 Each of them quickly lowered his sack to the ground and opened it. 12 Then the steward proceeded to search, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13 At this, they tore their clothes. Then they all loaded their donkeys and returned to the city.

    14 Joseph was still in the house when Judah and his brothers came in, and they threw themselves to the ground before him. 15 Joseph said to them, “What is this you have done? Don’t you know that a man like me can find things out by divination?”

    16 “What can we say to my lord?” Judah replied. “What can we say? How can we prove our innocence? God has uncovered your servants’ guilt. We are now my lord’s slaves—we ourselves and the one who was found to have the cup.”

    17 But Joseph said, “Far be it from me to do such a thing! Only the man who was found to have the cup will become my slave. The rest of you, go back to your father in peace.”

    18 Then Judah went up to him and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord, let me speak a word to my lord. Do not be angry with your servant, though you are equal to Pharaoh himself. 19 My lord asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20 And we answered, ‘We have an aged father, and there is a young son born to him in his old age. His brother is dead, and he is the only one of his mother’s sons left, and his father loves him.’

    21 “Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me so I can see him for myself.’ 22 And we said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father; if he leaves him, his father will die.’ 23 But you told your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.’ 24 When we went back to your servant my father, we told him what my lord had said.

    25 “Then our father said, ‘Go back and buy a little more food.’ 26 But we said, ‘We cannot go down. Only if our youngest brother is with us will we go. We cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’

    27 “Your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons. 28 One of them went away from me, and I said, “He has surely been torn to pieces.” And I have not seen him since. 29 If you take this one from me too and harm comes to him, you will bring my gray head down to the grave in misery.’

    30 “So now, if the boy is not with us when I go back to your servant my father, and if my father, whose life is closely bound up with the boy’s life, 31 sees that the boy isn’t there, he will die. Your servants will bring the gray head of our father down to the grave in sorrow. 32 Your servant guaranteed the boy’s safety to my father. I said, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, I will bear the blame before you, my father, all my life!’

    33 “Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. 34 How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery that would come on my father.”


    Judah is a main player in the tense history between Joseph and his brothers. Let’s take a look.

    Judah was the fourth son of Jacob born to Leah, the less loved sister of Jacob’s favorite wife Rachel. Joseph was Jacob and Rachel’s oldest son, and Jacob unashamedly loved him more than all his other sons.

    When Joseph the teenage dreamer went out to check up on his ten older brothers, some of them wanted to kill him. But Judah intervened and said, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood” (Genesis 37:26-27). Yep, it was Judah’s idea to sell his brother into slavery. He had to carry that guilt and shame around for over twenty years, while Joseph carried family rejection every day of his life.

    Two decades later, when famine struck the Middle East and North Africa, Joseph had stored up enough food in Egypt to feed the world. After their first visit to Egypt, Joseph told his brothers (who didn’t recognize him) that they couldn’t return for more food unless they brought Jacob’s now-favorite son Benjamin along. Jacob refused. Again, Judah intervened, telling his father, “I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life” (Genesis 43:9).

    And in today’s reading, it was Judah who offered to remain in Egypt as Joseph’s slave in place of Benjamin, who was framed for stealing a valuable item. Think about it. When Joseph was dad’s favorite, Judah sold him into slavery. When Benjamin became dad’s new favorite, Judah offered himself into slavery.

    Perhaps he learned something over the years. Certainly the guilt and shame that he bore weighed on him. People can either learn from their mistakes or repeat them. Proverbs 24:16 states “though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again” while Proverbs 26:11 says, “As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.” You can either learn from your mistakes or repeat them. Your choice.

    Judah had other issues in his own personal life. He was far from a perfect man. Yet one of his descendants was King David. The southern kingdom of Judah was named after him. And God chose to pass the Messianic line through him, making him an ancestor to Jesus Himself.

    God is never finished with us. He doesn’t look at our past and cast us aside. Rather, the Lord sees a bright future if we walk in His ways. How is God calling you to cast off your past and step into His future?



    I've thought long
    And hard
    I've devised
    My plan
    To get back at you
    For the web of deceit
    You spun
    Which nearly
    Strangled me
    I have a trap
    Now set for you
    I'll capture and hold
    And trick you back...
    Back into loving

    back to be god's light