Change of Heart
God transforms our heart.
Genesis(93) (Part of the Origins(91) series)
by Stuart Johns(204) on May 21, 2023 (Sunday Morning(291))
Confession(9), Repentance(12), Sin(6), Transformation(1)
Change of Heart
“‘Be sure your sin will find you out,’ Numbers 32:23 tells us. But in the case of this story, we could also say ‘Be sure your Cheetos will find you out.’ During the early morning hours of January 6, 2013, county deputies were called to the Cassatt Country Store in Cassatt, South Carolina to investigate a burglary. The deputies determined that someone had broken into the store and stolen beer, cigarettes, snack foods, and energy drinks. The burglar only stole $160 worth of goods, but caused about $2,500 in damages.
The store manager, Howard ‘Buck’ Buckholz, said, ‘He knocked out our front door, he knocked out the beer cooler, and stole beer, cigarettes, Slim Jims, and in his haste, he punctured two or three bags of Cheetos.’ That was the burglar's undoing. Buckholz said, ‘Cheetos were all over the parking lot, at the place where he parked his car, and at the residence.’ The police followed the trail of cheesy dust right to the house where the burglar was staying with a friend. As investigators approached the front door of the home, they observed more fresh Cheetos on the front porch. Buckholz added, ‘He was very easy to catch. It was a very quick deal.’”
Source: Kevin Dolak, "Trail of Cheetos Leads to Store Robber," ABC News (1-19-13).
Change of mind about communicating our financial standing
When my boys were younger and they would ask if we could buy a certain item, my go-to answer was always, “we don’t have the money to buy that.”
I always thought that was a good answer, but it left our boys thinking we were poor
When our oldest son was college age, he read a book about finances and the author said something profound that he shared with Judy and I
The author said that instead of saying, “we don’t have the money for that,” we should said, “we are choosing not to spend our money on that.”
I wish I had read that book before I started telling the boys that we didn’t have the money
We actually had the money, but it was in savings and we were choosing not to spend it on that item
It would have helped them to understand that we were not poor
We are frugal, but not poor
We are not wealthy, but God has provided
Change of heart
Over the years God has changed my heart as it pertains to His plan, purpose, and timing
In the past, I would fight like crazy to try to accomplish something, even when barriers kept preventing me from doing so
By God’s grace, I more readily acknowledge that something may not be God’s timing when I can’t seem to accomplish what I would like
I’ve learned to trust Him for His timing, plan, and purpose
It took many years of heartache and wasted time, on my part, to have a change of heart to trust God always
Every one of us can probably recall a time in our lives when we had a change of heart
Take a moment to reflect on one of those times
Perhaps it was about an individual (teacher, coworker, neighbor, friend, family member, fellow church attender)
Maybe the change of heart took place concerning a restaurant or other business
As a follower of Jesus Christ, we have all experienced a change of heart from rebellion to repentance
Joseph continued to test his brothers to see if they had a change of heart. Twenty-two years before, they were dealing with selfishness, jealousy, envy, and anger at the favoritism shown to Joseph. Have they grown? Have they been transformed? How would they react to Benjamin being the favored son? Would they stand by him and protect their father’s feelings, or would they abandon him and watch their father fall deeper into despair and probably death? What we will see today are hearts transformed by God. We will learn that . . .
BIG IDEA – God transforms our heart.
The titles for the main points and sub points came from Wiersbe’s Commentary. I could not top his alliteration, so I am giving him credit today.
GOD (Genesis 44:1-34)
Confrontation (vv. 1-13)
Joseph’s brothers had a lot to be joyful about
They were not arrested for stealing the grain money, but were told that God had given them treasure in their sacks
Simeon had been released from prison
Benjamin had been safe during their travels
They were getting ready to leave for home
They were feasting and drinking freely with the ruler of Egypt (Gen. 43:34)
The ruler of Egypt was sending them home with sacks full of grain
What they did not realize was this was all a façade
Everything was about to change
Overtaken (vv. 1-6)
Joseph gave his steward some instructions as the feast was probably winding down
Fill their sacks with as much food as they can carry
Put their silver in the mouth of their sacks
Put my silver cup in the mouth of the youngest one’s sack
Joseph’s steward did everything he was asked to do
The next morning, Joseph’s brothers were sent on their way, but they did not get very far
Joseph gave his steward more instructions
Go after those men at once
When you reach them ask them why they have repaid good with evil by taking my silver cup
It is likely that Joseph had used the silver cup in their presence at the feast
It would have been easy for one of them to conceal the silver cup in their robe and then put it in their sack
Using a silver cup for divination was part of the culture of the day, especially by those in positions of authority
There were multiple forms of divination using a cup or goblet
Oleomancy (pouring oil into water)
Hydromancy (pouring water into oil)
Lecanomancy (observing the actions of liquids in some kind of a container, like ripples or reflections)
“When water and oil are mixed, configurations form which are then studied and interpreted by the diviner.” [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18-50, 559]
Divination was used to understand what the gods wanted concerning the future, the source of trouble, whether someone would live or die, whether or not to go to war, and many other matters
It is unlikely that Joseph actually used divination, since he received revelation from God alone (Gen. 37:5-9; 41:16) [Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, 560]
It was probably all part of the ruse Joseph was creating to make sure his brothers did not recognize him before he was able to determine if they had had a change of heart
Joseph’s steward did everything he was asked to do
The steward’s accusation caused confusion
Overconfident (vv. 7-12)
Character quality – honesty
The brothers are confused by the accusation, because they did not do things like that – they were not characterized as thieves
They even reminded the steward that they brought back the silver they found in their sacks from the first visit
They were honest men, who would never think of stealing silver or gold from his master’s house
Penalty for anyone found with the silver cup
They are so confident that none of them had taken the silver cup that they proposed the death penalty for the offender and slavery for the rest of them
We saw the same confidence in Jacob when Laban caught up with him and accused him of stealing his household gods
But if you find anyone who has your gods, he shall not live. (Gen. 31:32)
“But one can be generous with proposals when one is convinced that little is at stake.” [Hamilton, 563]
The brothers, like Jacob, are willing to put the death penalty on the table, because they are unaware of the deception that has taken place
If the silver cup was found in any of their sacks, that person would be put to death and the rest of them of would become Joseph’s slaves
The steward agrees with the principle that the thief should be treated differently than the rest of the brothers, but he counters their penalty by saying that the thief would be his slave and the rest of them would be free from blame
He had some insider information and knew that the death penalty for Benjamin would not accomplish Joseph’s purpose
The speed with which they lowered their sacks to the ground speaks of the certainty they had of their innocence
The steward begins his search with the oldest and proceeds to the youngest
Laban searched Rachel’s tent last, but did not find his gods there (Gen. 31:33) because she had hidden them
The steward finds Joseph’s silver cup in Benjamin’s sack
The steward is not surprised, because he was the one who placed it there – imagine if he had not found the silver cup
The brothers are surprised!
Their reaction shows a change of heart
God transforms our heart.
Overwhelmed (v. 13)
The brothers tore their clothes
“Spontaneously, the brothers ‘tore their clothes,’ which was the sign of deep emotional distress (e.g., Num 14:6). That all the brothers suffered such distress is a telling sign of the new sense of unity they had developed.” [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1B, Genesis 11:27-50:26, 800]
“They now show affection for their father and brother (contra 37:34).” [Waltke, 560]
Twenty-two years earlier, they were plagued with selfishness, jealousy, envy, and anger
They didn’t even think or care how Joseph’s death would affect their father emotionally
All they cared about was appeasing their jealousy, envy, and anger
That had changed!
God had transformed their hearts over the twenty-two year period
They are distressed and filled with grief over the unexpected turn of events
PRINCIPLE #1 – Grief over our sin honors God.
Read Romans 7:14-25
Read Psalm 51:13-17
Read 2 Corinthians 7:8-11
Joseph’s brothers were experiencing godly sorrow that brought repentance and led to salvation with no regrets
Are you grieving and sorrowing over your sins?
Are you genuinely repentant of your sins, which means you are willing to turn away from them?
When we recognize how our sins grieve the Lord, we should be willing to truly repent, so that we can experience salvation without regret
Take a moment to examine yourself and be honest with yourself and with God
#1 – My Next Step Today Is To: Honor God by grieving over my sin, so I can experience salvation and forgiveness without regret.
Joseph’s brothers expressed godly sorrow by tearing their clothes
The brothers loaded their donkeys and returned to the city
“This time they would not leave a younger brother, a favorite of their father, to become a slave. This shows they had changed since selling their brother Joseph into slavery about twenty-two years before.” [Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 349]
Benjamin was not only Jacob’s favorite, but also the Egyptian rulers favorite (Joseph gave him five times the amount of food at the feast)
The brothers passed the test by not being envious and showing self-sacrificing love by giving up their own freedom and lives for Benjamin [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary of the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 234]
They were definitely overwhelmed by the chain of events that had just transpired
Judah takes the lead to represent the brothers as they come before Joseph again
Confession (vv. 14-34)
Submission (vv. 14-17)
The brothers reaction
When they arrived back in the city, Joseph was still in the house, because he already knew they would be back
They threw themselves to the ground
The first two times they came into Joseph’s presence they bowed in respect of his position – that would have been the appropriate thing to do
This time they prostrated themselves – they are lying flat on the ground, which showed submission
They were prepared to serve Joseph as slaves
Joseph continues the ruse by asking them why they did it
He also continues to play along with the idea about divination – didn’t they know he could find things out by divination
We know it wasn’t divination that gave Joseph the knowledge about his silver cup being in Benjamin’s sack
Joseph had staged everything to expose his brother’s true feelings about their father and his favorite son, Benjamin
Judah admits that they don’t have a defense
He acknowledges that God has uncovered their guilt
The uncovering of their guilt goes far deeper than the silver cup and payment for the grain being found in Benjamin’s sack
Judah’s conscience had been pricked and he realized that God was holding he and his brothers accountable for how they treated Joseph and their father all those years ago
“It’s when guilty sinners’ mouths are shut and they stop defending themselves that God can show them mercy (Rom. 3:19).” [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 157]
Romans 3:19, Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.
PRINCIPLE #2 – Our sins are not hidden from God.
Judah and his brothers recognized that their sin was not hidden from God, therefore, God was holding them accountable – they would become slaves
When the Israelites were getting ready to go into the Promised Land, the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh wanted to remain on the east side of the Jordan. They came to Moses, Eleazer the priest, and the leaders of the community to ask permission. They were given permission on one condition – their men would arm themselves, go ahead of the other tribes into the Promised Land, and help them defeat the inhabitants. Moses warned them with these words, “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out. (Num. 32:23). The Israelites sin would not be hidden from God
In Joshua 7:1-26 we read about how Achan coveted a beautiful Babylonian robe, 200 shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing 50 shekels from the plunder at Jericho that was devoted to the Lord. When the Israelites tried to attack Ai, they lost, because there was sin in the camp. No one else knew about, but God did!
“This is God’s way, says Judah, of visiting their past misdeeds upon them. They withheld mercy from Joseph (42:21). Now God will withhold mercy from them. They deserve what is happening to them even if they are not guilty of this particular crime. Here is a graphic illustration of the Bible’s emphasis on God’s justice. The wrongs one does will be repaid someway, somehow, somewhere.” [Hamilton, 566]
You and I have to recognize that our sin is not hidden from God
The principle is the same for us – God knows when we sin, it is not hidden from Him, even if it is hidden from everyone else
Are you dealing with a “hidden sin” that only God knows about?
Are you recognizing today that God is holding you accountable for that sin?
1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
#2 – My Next Step Today Is To: Confess my “hidden sin” to the Lord and embrace His forgiveness.
Judah acknowledged their sin and knew there was consequences
Judah states that all eleven brothers are now Joseph’s slaves
Joseph knew that he could not hold all eleven brothers accountable
Only Benjamin would become his slave
The rest of the brothers could go back to their father in peace
Judah knew the outcome of Benjamin not returning to his father, so he asks to speak with Joseph privately
Surety (vv. 18-34)
Judah refers to Joseph as his lord, which is a sign of respect
Judah recognizes Joseph’s position, equal to Pharaoh
Judah then recounted everything that happened to them
During their first visit, they answered Joseph’s questions about their father and youngest brother and another brother that had died
They also explained that their father loved the youngest brother because he is the only one of his mother’s sons left
Joseph told them to bring Benjamin down as proof that they were not spies, but they told him that their father would die if he and the boy were separated
Joseph warned them not to return to Egypt without their youngest brother
When Jacob told them to go buy a little more food, they refused unless he sent Benjamin with them
Jacob agreed, but cautioned his sons that he would die in misery if anything happened to Benjamin
If Benjamin is not with them when they return, their father will die in sorrow
Judah had guaranteed Benjamin’s safety to his father or he would bear the blame the rest of his life
God transforms our heart.
PRINCIPLE #3 – “True repentance involves a change of attitude and action, not just tears and regret.” [Gangel & Bramer, 352]
What a change and transformation that had taken place in Judah’s heart and mind
He was no longer thinking about himself, but was concerned about his father’s well-being
He was no longer consumed by jealousy, envy, and anger, but rather love and concern for his father’s favorite son, Benjamin
It had taken twenty-two years, but an incredible transformation had taken place
Jesus transforms our heart, so that the motivation behind our actions are pure and not selfish
Our love is transformed
We no longer love someone because they love us in return
We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19)
Our forgiveness is transformed
We forgive others whether or not they seek forgiveness or apologize
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:32)
Our actions are transformed
We no longer do things out of selfishness only thinking about ourselves
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4)
Our whole lives are transformed
We no longer desire to follow the patterns of this world
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:1-2)
#3 – My Next Step Today Is To: Truly repent of my sins and allow God to transform my attitudes and actions.
That is what happened to Judah – he had been transformed by God
Please let me take Benjamin’s place as your servant, so he can return home with my brothers!
Judah was substituting himself for Benjamin – he was his surety/guarantee
Jesus substituted Himself for us – He was our surety/guarantee
Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant (Hebrews 7:22)
Jesus took responsibility to make sure we would come to God the Father (Read John 14:1-6)
Are you ready to come to the Father through Jesus Christ?
Admit you are a sinner (Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23)
Believe in Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
Choose everlasting life (John 3:16)
Send Me Info About: Becoming a follower of Jesus
Don’t let me return home without Benjamin and see the misery on my father’s face
PRINCIPLE #4 – “Leadership means speaking up and taking a stand.” [Gangel & Bramer, 352]
God had transformed Judah’s heart
God transforms our heart.
Are you ready to honor God by grieving over your sin, so you can experience salvation and forgiveness without regret?
Is there a “hidden sin” you need to confess to the Lord?
Is it time to truly repent of your sins and allow God to transform your attitudes and actions?
Are you ready to follow Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life?
We need to honor God by grieving over our corporate sins
We need to confess any “hidden sins” to the Lord
We need to truly repent of our sins and allow God to transform our attitudes and actions
“Anne Rice, whom the media has called the Queen of the Occult, has sold millions of novels about vampires and witches. Several of her books have also been made into movies, even starring Hollywood big-shots like Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. But since a near-death experience in 1998, Anne has had a change of heart—she's turned to Christ.
In 2005, she stunned her fans by declaring, ‘I promised from now on that I will only write for the Lord.’ Her November 2005 release, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, portrays Jesus as a 7-year-old, and the veteran author worked painstakingly to avoid contradicting Scripture in her interpretation of Jesus’ life.
The book was released in November 2005, and as of December 7, 2005, it remained on the New York Times bestsellers list at #8. In the afterword of Christ the Lord, Rice summarizes what she has found in Jesus, calling him ‘the ultimate supernatural hero’ and ‘the ultimate immortal of them all.’
In an interview with Christianity Today in December of 2005, Rice said, ‘Christianity achieved what it did because Jesus rose from the dead.’”
Source: Jennie Yabroff, "Anne Rice Has Gone from Goth to God," Newsday.com (11-21-05); Cindy Crosby, "Interview with a Penitent," Christianity Today.