he said to them, “no, it is the nakedness of the land that you have come to see.” and they said, “we, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of canaan, and behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is no more.” but joseph said to them, “it is as i said to you. you are spies. by this you shall be tested: by the life of pharaoh, you shall not go from this place unless your youngest brother comes here. send one of you, and let him bring your brother, while you remain confined, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you. or else, by the life of pharaoh, surely you are spies.” and he put them all together in custody for three days. [genesis 42:12-17]


why was joseph being this harsh with his brothers? a little bit of revenge? maybe he just felt overwhelmed by the situation and needed time to decide what to do? desperate to see his little brother, thinking of how to make sure they would bring him?


even though God had foretold that joseph would be in this position of power and authority over his brothers, joseph still faced a great temptation to lord it over them and abuse his power and authority. this, of course, doesn’t change God’s steadfast covenant love for joseph. joseph is still God’s chosen vessel and child, fallen as he is, that God has planned to use to save his chosen people israel. but he is not exempt from temptation.


what temptation are you facing in this area? what has God blessed you with to use for his glory, and are you using it for your own? maybe God has placed a lot of money in your care. are you using it for him? or a large house. are you using it for him? if you are in a position at work where you are in authority over others, do you exploit that authority? if you have been given great talent, are you using it to point others to God’s glory or to your own? maybe it’s great intelligence or wisdom, maybe great beauty, maybe a large family, or a strong spiritual gift. it is all to be stewarded well, and all for the glory of God.


Father, reveal our hearts today. you have given such good gifts, and we confess that we often desire to use these for our own glory. forgive us, and fill us with your own glory, that we might not point to any other. help us in humility to steward these gifts well, to the praise of your glorious grace. amen.


~arwen eastman