“Then put my personal silver cup at the top of the youngest brother’s sack, along with the money for his grain.” Genesis 44:2
Joseph was a righteous guy but also a sneaky one. In the story of Genesis 44:2 it would seem only natural that Joseph would want to get back at his brothers for what they did to him. I mean they had sold him for twenty pieces of silver into slavery, but only because Judah, full of mercy, did not want the other brothers to kill him. Little did his brothers know they were about to find out God’s perfect plan for Joseph, them, and what mercy and forgiveness was all about.
There is a sort of parallel in this story, as it relates to Jesus life. Joseph was sold for silver just as Jesus was, he became servant of all, and then ultimately became a ruler. Joseph could have done anything he wanted in response to the sins of his brothers, he was in a position of authority to do so. Instead he had mercy on them. Just as Jesus had mercy on us when he gave us forgiveness for our sins. It doesn’t matter if the sin was yesterday, ten years ago, or the worse sin imaginable. Jesus will still forgive a repentant heart.
The brothers were on a simple journey to Egypt to buy grain, but they were being led for a bigger reason. They still did not know who Joseph was since he was sold at a very young age. Before Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, he put them through a testing period. He placed a silver cup in their sack, as if they had stolen it. The brothers could have kept the cup and lied about it, but they repentantly offered for their bags to be searched, so that the right thing be done.
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. Psalm 139:23
When we ask God to search our hearts, expect that we will be put to the test. Sometimes that is the only way to see what we are made of, and it will reveal our truest heart. He will not trick us, but he will use our situations, or put us into situations to test us. It can be hard, but it’s called growing pains for a reason. this is exactly what the brothers went through, and they passed the test. We should never judge someone by their past. I think somehow Joseph must have sensed what they would do, as he would never have put them in a situation to fail so they could be punished. God would never do that either.
The “Cup” in the bible is a very symbolic thing. Jesus referred to his suffering as a type of cup. (Luke 22:42) Cups represented different things to different people in the bible. In revelation it speaks of cups. There is a cup of joy, salvation, judgement etc.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” Psalm 23:5
I have my favorite coffee cup, but this cup is something different. It sounds like the “cup” is a very personal thing; a thing of value. In Psalm 23:5 the cup in mention is speaking about our needs. God is our provider. This scripture also shows that we are set apart and honored as a guest at His table. In biblical times the most honored guests were anointed with oil.
In Psalm 16:5 it states that the Lord is our portion. Cups could be considered our life as an hour glass. As long as God is the one maintaining and filling our cups with His presence, and His word we can continue on forever with him. The world tries to fill their cups with things that will perish and leave them empty. With the Lord we will never thirst. (John 4:14)
The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. Psalm 16:5
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. John 4:14
When Joseph was entrusting/sacrificing the silver cup which was very valuable and probably of great worth back then, he was testing them, but at the same time making an opportunity for redemption. His brothers were in shock and ashamed of what had happened but there is a silver lining to this story. Through Joseph, God was demonstrating mercy and forgiveness. The restoration of not only Joseph, but of the relationship between him and his brothers, but most importantly his father. Jesus made a way for us to be reunited with our heavenly father, just as God had planned to not only forgive his brothers, but reunite Joseph with his father.
Today if you are in a situation that seems hopeless, and there seems to be never ending gray clouds hanging over your head. Look up and ask God to show you the silver lining in it all.
I’ve heard the saying, “honey that’s not gray hair that is just your silver lining.” Perhaps wisdom will come from the testing period you find yourself in, or perhaps you need forgiveness or need to give it. Ask God to empty your cup of the things you once filled it with, and ask him to fill you anew with His spirit to overflowing.
Jesus is the silver lining in the dark clouds we face. We may have been lost as a slave to sin, but we are found once again, and reunited with our heavenly father.
Words have tremendous power to speak life or death into situations. You may not even feel like it , but if you begin to speak life, life will find you. Say, “Today I will find the silver lining!” Or God, help me see the light again! Come into my life, fill my cup and make me whole again. In Jesus name. God Bless you.