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Peace and Pardon
By way of introduction we wish to present to you some succinct statements in Genesis 42:36 .
As the famine gripped the land, there was but one recourse open to Jacob, and that was to send to Egypt for corn. This entailed certain things obnoxious to the great Patriarch.
First, he had already been deprived of Simeon, whom Egypt's ruler had kept as a hostage against the day of his brother's return.
Secondly, the ruler in Egypt had demanded that Benjamin should be in the party if Jacob's sons came again for corn. Thus it was that Jacob said, "Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me."
Now, for the time, let us let Jacob drop out of the picture as we study Jacob's words, "All these things are against me."
1. The spirit of murmuring too frequently dominates saints. When the Children of Israel were coming through the great and howling wilderness, water was scarce, meat was a thing of the past, and many difficulties came upon them by the way. The result was that the people began to murmur and to charge Moses with the blame of "their hunger and thirst. God also was under their displeasure.
In I Corinthians we read, "Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer."
2. The spirit of murmuring is often, due to a lack of true knowledge of things. "Now we see through a glass, darkly." Think you that Jacob knew that Joseph was not dead? He knew not. He even had good proof of his death in the blood-sprinkled robe of many colors, and in the words of his sons. He wept and complained where he would have rejoiced, had he only known.
Thus it is with us. If we could turn our clouds about and see their silver lining it would be different. If we knew the end of the Lord, and how all things are working for our good, it would be different. If we could realize that our present afflictions were working out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, it would be different.
Our murmuring lies In our shortsightedness. The things which we believe to be against us may, in truth, have been our chiefest joy had we but known and understood.
Think of the women at the tomb weeping because the stone was gone and Christ was not there. They had been asking "Who shall roll us away the stone?" but when they found the stone gone they fretted. Mary Magdalene even said to the supposed gardener, "If thou have borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him." When Christ said, "Mary," immediately her forebodings were changed to the most exquisite joy, as she said, "Rabboni." Her ignorance caused her grief, while knowledge gave her joy.
3. The spirit of murmuring is built on our unbelief. It seems to us that all murmuring is due to a lack of trust in God. We fail to believe that He lives to work for us. We believe not in His personal care for His own.
The lack of knowledge and failure to comprehend our difficulties had not caused us to complain if we had possessed perfect trust.
Jacob said, "All these things are against me" when all of it was for him, because He did not have faith in God. God's Name is Jehovah-Jireh, yet we fear He will not provide. His Name is Jehovah-shalom, yet we have no peace. He is our Jehovah-ropheca, yet we have not healing. He is Jehovah-rohi, yet we wander shepherdless and without a guide.
Instead of our extremities leading us into God's opportunities, we allow them to cause us to struggle and despair.
We write to ourselves as well as you. We profess no higher trust than you. We do urge ourselves and you to have faith in God. We do say that all murmuring is black with the frown of God.
I. THE FAMINE IN THE DAYS OF JOSEPH (Genesis 43:1 )
1. The famine was Divinely prophesied. We remember reading in Genesis 41:1-57 of Pharaoh's dream of the fat and lean fleshed kine, and of the one stalk with seven full ears, followed by the stalk with thin ears. Joseph had been called in, and he had told Pharaoh, in interpreting the dream, that there were seven years of plenty to come, followed by seven years of famine.
The seven years of plenty had come and gone, and now the seven years of famine were on the earth.
What did this pretold prophecy mean? Did it mean that God was working out a plan of His own, and that He was using all nature to perfect His will? This seems to be the case. However, what was the purpose of God? Did God seek to send the famine after the years of plenty merely to penurize the people and to enrich the king? Or did God do all this for the purpose of vindicating His servant Joseph, by setting him on high in Egypt?
The latter, even the vindication of Joseph, seems to us to be the underlying purpose of God that, including the welfare of Jacob and his sons and their coming down to Joseph.
2. God did watch over Joseph, and He did hear his prayers. We remember how Joseph had been sold to Potiphar, of how Potiphar's wife plotted against him, and caused him to be placed into prison. Even in prison God was with Joseph, and he was placed over the other prisoners. Yet how he must have prayed, again and again, unto the Lord his God for deliverance.
It was not in a moment that God could, or did, work out Joseph's release. God not only took Joseph out of prison, but also He placed Joseph in the place of power over his brethren.
We must keep in mind how Joseph's brethren had sold him to some Ishmaelites, and had reported his decease to Jacob, their father.
We must also keep in mind how God was therefore, impelled by His faithfulness to His own, to punish the wayward brethren on the one hand, and on the other hand to fulfill the dreams which He had given to Joseph in the days of his youth.
God never forsakes His own; nor does He forsake His promises; nor does He fail His saints. He will move Heaven and earth to work out His will.
II. THE MINISTRY OF SUFFERING (Genesis 43:2 )
1. The famine forced the sinning sons of Jacob to go to Joseph. The sons knew it not, yet God's net was daily encircling them, and slowly but surely forcing them to make their way to Egypt, and to the discovery of their sin.
Think you that these men would have easily been driven to the feet of the one whom they had so grievously wronged? Nay. Joseph was the last person on earth to whom they had willingly gone. God knew this; therefore He, in His great love, was hedging them in, and shutting them up to but one course. That course led them to Joseph. Oh, that they had willingly repented of their sin toward Joseph and gladly gone on a tour to Egypt, whither the Ishmaelites had taken him, in order to find him!
Alas, alas, too oft men refuse to go to the Saviour until they are driven into His arms by their very need. Let us then not complain at our "famine" when it comes. Whatever comes from the hand of God, comes with ultimate benefactions. Even the seemingly hurtful and destructive things often work out God's will and way in our lives.
2. The famine forced the sinning sons of Jacob to hasten their going to Joseph. The sons even urged their going to Egypt upon Jacob. To whom else could they go? Egypt (and Joseph) only had corn, and corn they must have.
Dear friends, to whom can we go? Christ only has the Bread of Life. If we would live, He only is the Giver of life. There is none other name tinder heaven and given among men whereby we must be saved.
In the hands of Joseph was all they needed, and in his hands alone; thus, to Joseph they made their way. Would that, anew, the sense of need might fall upon the lost, that they might seek the Lord. Even now we hear Him saying, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Christ pleads, "If. any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink." What say you? Shall we not arise and go to Him, the Bread of Life and to the Water of Life?
"Come to the Saviour, make no delay,
Here, in His Word, He shows us the way";
Come, in your sins no longer delay,
Come, for He calleth for you.
III. HOW SIN ENTAILS OTHERS (Genesis 43:3-4 )
1. No man liveth unto himself. Alas, sin always affects others. Even if Satan had whipped the waves into madness merely to engulf the one ship wherein the Lord Jesus lay asleep, there were "other little ships" caught in the same storm. There are always those other little ships. There are father, mother, brother, wife, son, daughter, neighbor, friend, and all others.
Thus we have the words, "If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down." Yes, dear Benjamin, the joy of Jacob's fond heart, had to be a party to the suffering which the sons of Jacob caused.
For their sins, Joseph had suffered many years in prison; years of servitude and sorrow.
For their sins Jacob had aged, and gone sorrowing toward the grave.
For their sins all Egypt, and many lands, were in famine at that very moment.
2. It was our sins that dragged our Lord from Glory and nailed Him to the Tree. He came not only to seek and to save the lost, but to be made sin for them. He bore our shame, our pains, our stripes.
No sinner can stand by the old rugged Cross, and say "The Jews did it." Nor can he say, "The Romans did it," or, "The Father did it, making His soul an offering for sin." All those things are true; yet let the sinner say, "I did it." It was my sin that drove those nails; it was my sin that pierced that side; it was my sin that crowned that head with thorns; it was my sin that made Him cry, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" It was all done by me by my sins.
Shall we seek to cover the sweep of our sins? Shall we think that we alone have suffered for our wrong? God forbid! We may have sown to the wind, yet our sins reap the whirlwind. When Adam sinned, death passed upon all men. Stop and consider: "What shall the harvest be?"
IV. SIN WILL OUT (Genesis 43:5-6 )
We have several significant questions before us.
1. Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me? Jacob seemed to feel that he was suffering because of his sons' folly. Where is the sinner that has not felt that everything was against him? He feels he has been wronged. He cries, "Someone hath done this."
Even so it is. Someone, or else ourselves, or perhaps someone and ourselves, has done this. Here we are under the throes of sins, for which we are not, personally, responsible. We have just shown that sin always entails its woes on others. Now we hear the cry of those who suffer for the sins of others.
It was under this awful burden of the sins of others, that Christ cried, "Why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Must the children bear the sins of the father, unto the third and fourth generation? Why? There is a dear babe covered with inherited sores, before he personally knew to do either good or evil? Why?
2. Why did ye tell ye had a brother? The sons said, "The man asked us straitly, * * Is your father yet alive? have ye another brother?" Yes, sin will out. Hearken to Christ as He said to the Samaritan woman, "Go, call thy husband." He knew she had no husband, and that she was living with a man who was not her husband. Yes, He forced her sin to the front. And so did Joseph, and so does God. Shall we think to cover our sins? It cannot be done. God knows it all. No man can hide himself where God cannot find him, and where God cannot command His serpents to bite him.
The years that had passed had by no means annihilated their sin. Those years had been lived by them with their sins ever before them. This we shall discover shortly. Their sins had also been always before the Lord.
Sin in its sowing may seem light; sin in its reaping will prove heavy. Hell itself, to the unregenerate, will be greatly augmented by the memory of one's sins. "Oh, memory, why dost thou not forsake us?" "Son, remember!"
V. THE DOCTRINE OF SUBSTITUTIONARY SECURITY (Genesis 43:8-9 )
How considerate it was for Judah to say of Benjamin: "I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever."
1. Jesus Christ has said as much of us who trust in Him. Judah was surety for Benjamin; Christ is surety for us. Hear our Lord saying, "Because I live, ye shall live also." Judah gave Benjamin only the protection of a frail humanity. Christ gives unto us the protection of an all-powerful Deity. No power can take us from His protecting arms. He Himself says: "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand."
Let us weigh well our security in Him: "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." It seems to us that words could not be made more powerful or more assuring.
2. A vow of security is not conducive of rashness. We mean this: When Judah swore that he would be surety for Benjamin, it by no means made Benjamin want to run away, nor did it gender in his spirit a desire to ingratitude against Judah. To the contrary, the pledge of Judah made Benjamin cling the closer to Judah; and it made him love Judah the more.
Think you that Christ's pledge to us, and our security in Him, can by any means incite us to grieve Him, to break connections with Him, or to seek in any way to separate ourselves from His love and care? This is impossible. Those who use the blessed promise of security in Christ Jesus the Lord, as an excuse for deviltry and sin, have never known saving grace. Christ not only said, "Neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand," but He also said, "My sheep hear My voice, and * * they follow Me."
Inborn in the believer's new nature is an undying loyalty to his Lord.
VI. TAKING BOUNTIFUL GIFTS TO JOSEPH (Genesis 43:11-12 )
1. Gifts cannot suffice for an atonement for sin. Jacob said to his sons, "Take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds."
This was all well meant. However, two things are paramount. First, A little of this, and a bit of that, could hardly bear much weight with a man who sat enthroned in Egypt, next to Pharaoh. Secondly, a few paltry gifts could by no means settle the account of their sins against Joseph.
What folly for a sinner to try to secure forgiveness and pardon from God by his own puny gifts. Salvation cannot be bought. In truth, any effort at "gifts" is no more than an effort to belittle grace. The gift of God is eternal life, and all that eternal life includes. All the values of the earth could not pay for one little corner on the streets of gold. How silly, then, must man's paltry "doings" appear to God as a pretense of payment for eternal life.
2. Penance cannot repay for the heartlessness or crime and shame against God. Jacob added, "And take double money in your hand." Beloved, when we stop to weigh the anguish which Christ bore on Calvary because of our sins, let us cease to imagine we can erase the sorrows and the shame of that Cross by a double payment of some lesser debt. No, man stands helpless before God. His mouth is stopped, and he, as guilty, is shut up to grace, and mercy, and love.
Let us then go to God, saying,
"Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to Thy Cross I cling."
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast."
VII. A CRY FOR MERCY (Genesis 43:14 )
How plaintive is the cry of the aged Patriarch: "And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin."
1. Suppose, for one moment, that Joseph had meted unto his brethren the due reward for their deeds. What then? Remember, Joseph had them in his power. He was no longer the young stripling, against whom they could, with ease, lift up their hand. He was now clothed with autocratic power, and backed by all the legions of Egypt. He knew the wickedness of his brethren. What would he do?
Spiritual meanings break forth at every turn. Christ, in flesh, may have seemed an easy victim to the tyranny of men; but Christ, exalted at the Father's right hand, clothed with all authority and power, is another matter. No hand lifted against Him can prosper. With the breath of His lips He can easily slay the wicked. Suppose that God should deal in justice; not in mercy, and not in grace. Then what?
2. Jacob spoke better than he knew. He said, "And God Almighty give you mercy before the man." If Jacob had known that "the man" was Joseph his son, whom his brethren had cast into the pit and afterward sold to the Ishmaelites; if Jacob had known of the great sufferings that his sons had caused Joseph to undergo, he would have known better the need of the mercy of which he spoke.
Justice was the last thing for those brethren to plead, and it is the last thing for which any sinner should ever plead. We do not want justice, we want mercy. Justice would land us in hell, and its torments. Justice would demand our utter undoing. Linger not, O sinner, near by the mount of the Law, with its lightnings and thunderings, and its great earthquake. The rather fall down at the Cross, with its dying Son of God. Stay not at Sinai with its, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die"; but stay at Calvary, with its, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
Thank God for the Mercy Seat where sins may be done away.
Thank God for His peace and plenty, "At a missionary meeting on the island of Raratonga, in the Pacific Ocean, an old man rose, and said, 'I have lived during the reign of four kings. In the first we were continually at war, and a fearful season it was. During the reign of the second we were over-taker, with a severe famine, and then we ate rats and grass and wood. During the third we were conquered, and became the peck and prey of the two other settlements of the island. But during the reign of this third king we were visited by another King a great King, a good King, a peaceful King, a King of love, Jesus, the Lord from Heaven. He has gained the victory. He has conquered our hearts; therefore we now have peace and plenty in this world, and hope soon to dwell with Him in Heaven.' 'These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also' (Acts 17:6 )."
Joseph a Type of Grace
1. Grace defined. There is a verse in Romans which reads: "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." There is a verse in Revelation which reads, "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins." Both of these Scriptures display God's love toward us while we were yet in sin, and utterly unworthy of His love. That is grace, Grace is Mercy to the unmerciful, Love to the unlovely.
In Deuteronomy it is written, "The Lord did not set His love upon you, * * because ye were more in number than any people; * * but because the Lord loved you."
2. Grace inexplicable. Not one of us can explain the grace of God. This is particularly true when we remember the pit out of which we were digged. When we sit in reverie, thinking of how salvation came to us, we are amazed and filled with wonder. We were sinners worthy only of death, yet He came forth from the Father and died, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. There was no compelling force which nailed Christ to the Tree save that of His love. He died because He chose to die. He had the power to lay His life down, and He had power to take it again. All this He did willingly. As a sheep before the shearers He was dumb, as a lamb being led to the slaughter, He opened not His mouth.
Who can explain the "Father forgive them," which Christ prayed as He hung upon the Cross, or, who can explain the "To day shalt thou be with Me in paradise," which He spoke to the malefactor? No more can we explain God's grace to us, which took our feet out of the miry clay, and set them on the Rock.
3. Grace all abounding. If grace cannot be explained, neither can it be measured. It is so full and so free in its benefactions that it goes beyond even the bounds of human comprehension.
4. Grace loves on. Grace is too big and too lasting to be confined to the few days of our earthly sojourn. Grace first touched us while we were yet sinners, Grace still enfoldeth us as we move along our Christian pathway. Grace will follow us into that great eternal Home beyond these earthly scenes.
There is a wonderful verse in Ephesians 2:7 . Here it is: "That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." Thus grace will ever be unveiling its matchless charms through the ever budding aeons of eternity. It will never cease to bring us some new marvels and benefactions of God's undying love.
When rivers cease their course to run,
And seas are dry;
When never more shall shine the sun,
To light thy sky;
When mountains all have turned to dust,
And rocks are gone;
When gold and silver turn to rust,
He still loves on,
I. GRACE AS EXEMPLIFIED IN A DINNER (Genesis 43:16 )
1. A gracious invitation. When Joseph saw his brethren and Benjamin with them, he said: "Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon." Even so we hear the Lord speaking the parable of a great supper, and of a great invitation. "Come; for all things are now ready." Many began to say, "I pray thee have me excused." The lord of the feast, however, sent his servants out into the byways and hedges saying, "Compel them to come in, that my house may be filled."
With what strange thrills did the sons of Jacob hear this call to eat with the great man of Egypt. Yes, and with what misgivings and marvelings! They could not grasp why the ruler in Egypt should ask them to eat at his table.
No more can we understand why the Lord of Glory asks us to sup with Him. Yet it is even so. Unworthy though we be, yet we are invited. Sinful though we be, yet we may eat at His feast.
2. A gracious combination. Study this picture. Joseph welcoming his brethren and sitting at meat with his would-be slayers. He was preparing to eat with the men who cast him into the pit; with the men who sold him to the Ishmaelites; with the men who had brought upon him those months of anguish in the prison in Egypt.
Such, however, is the grace of God in Christ Jesus. The scribes and the Pharisees said of Him, "This Man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them." That is just what He did; and it is just what He still does. He eats with you and with me.
What is the result of this wonderful grace toward me? It is this, I love Him.
II. AFRAID OF UNMERITED GRACE (Genesis 43:18 )
1. Joseph was overkind, and his brethren were over-afraid. They had many misgivings. As yet they knew not Joseph. Yet they, who were never accustomed to act with such a magnanimous spirit, felt that the stranger, who was ruler of Egypt, was, through his goodness, in fact but seeking their ruin.
Thus they told the steward of Joseph's house how they had each one found his money in the mouths of their several sacks, and that they had come back with that money, and also with additional money, with which to buy more corn.
The brethren, among themselves, said, Egypt's ruler is trying to "seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen."
Have we ever known God's grace to be feared? Have we ever known wicked men to imagine that God was against them, and seeking to destroy them? Even so. Strange as it may seem, the ungodly, as a rule, have a very warped idea of God's goodness and mercy.
They even go so far as to condemn God for all the sickness, all the sorrow, all the wants that befall them. The God of all grace is held responsible for all that Satan does against the sinner. He is blamed for all the trouble that they themselves, through their sins, bring upon themselves.
2. The brethren were trying by right living to justify their past evil acts and deeds. Yes, they did bring back the money they found in their sacks. They did make good explanations. We wonder if they thought that this would restore them to favor with the one whom they had years ago treated so wrongfully? We do know that many unsaved of today, in approaching the Lord Jesus, try to come with gifts, or with so-called good works, or with something in their hands to supposedly assist them in getting saved. That is wrong.
III. GRACE THE REALM OF PERFECT PEACE (Genesis 43:26 )
1. The sons of Jacob had been standing on the foundation of justice. They were saying, "We have done this, and we have done that." They little realized that if they had received for all they had done, justice would have been their undoing. The mountain of Sinai, the mount of justice, reels under the throes of God's judgments. Let no one ever come to God on such a basis, lest he come to dismay.
2. Joseph's steward quickly placed them on the foundation of grace. He said, "Fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks." The gift of God is Scripturally called, "the free gift." That is because salvation lies in the regions of grace. It is "the grace of God, and the gift by grace" which hath abounded unto us in Christ Jesus.
The gift is again, Scripturally, joined with grace, for it is written: "Much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness." So it is today, as it was with Joseph's brethren, "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."
3. Grace is the harbinger of peace. Joseph's steward said to them that the money in their sacks was the gift of God. He also said, "Peace be to you, fear not." Thus also is written, "Being justified by faith, we have peace."
Why should his brethren fear, when Joseph (the ruler) was dealing with them not on the basis of their worth, or worthiness, but by grace? Why should they stand in jeopardy? Why should they fear? They had peace, why not enjoy it?
Others may be like the sea when it cannot rest; but to us Christ says, "My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
Even though these men were about to be ushered into the presence of Joseph, they could come before him in confidence, even as it is written: "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
IV. THE BESTOWALS OF GRACE (Genesis 43:24-25 )
1. The man gave them water. It reads so like the New Testament where the Lord Jesus took a basin, and girding Himself with a towel, He began to wash His disciples' feet. The difference is that in Genesis the men washed their own feet.
In Genesis they were about to enter into Joseph's presence; in the upper room they were about to enter into service for the Lord in a new way.
Thank God that grace provides for the washing of the feet. And, "He that is washed needed not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit." The "feet" stand for service. The "feet" stand for the walk of the believer. To walk in Christ's way, the feet must be clean. Grace not only ushers us into the presence of the Lord, but it washes us from every defilement, that we may go forth to work His will.
In another chapter we read of the vessels in a great house. "If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use."
"Who shall ascend into the Hill of the Lord? * * He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart." "Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord." Thus, whether for fellowship in the Master's presence, or in service for His name, we must be washed.
V. GRACE QUESTIONING (Genesis 43:26-28 )
1. The deep concern in the heart of Joseph. And Joseph said, "Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?"
Does it appear strange to you that Joseph, after the many years of absence from his father and his home, should be so concerned as to his welfare? Well, Joseph did care, and he cared greatly.
Our Lord Jesus has gone beyond this pale of earthly suffering. He is now exalted at the Father's right hand; even as Joseph was exalted to Pharaoh's right hand. After the years, and the exaltation, does Jesus care?
2. The sons of Jacob answering. It is striking to see them draw near to Joseph, and to behold them bowing themselves down, and making obeisance. This they did in fulfillment of Joseph's dreams of yore. It was grace the graciousness of Joseph that caused them to prostrate themselves before him. Shall we not, in a like manner, draw nigh to God, and to the throne of His grace, and bend the head and knee? It is thus that we will obtain mercy, and find grace to help in the time of need.
Bend the knee, and prostrate fall,
Christ now reigneth over all;
Let the people on Him call,
He died for thee.
VI. GRACE YEARNING (Genesis 43:30-31 )
1. The deep throbbings of Joseph's affections. It was not the stalwart ten sons of Jacob who alone drew upon Joseph's spirit; it was the youngest brother, Benjamin. Somehow this lad had a strong appeal to Joseph. He took him near to himself, and said, "God be gracious unto thee, my son." Even so the Lord gathered the children in His arms and blessed them, saying, "Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven."
"And Joseph made haste; * * and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there."
The compassionate Joseph bespeaks of the compassionate Christ. "Jesus wept." The Lord was no cold-hearted, formal preacher of righteousness, who withdrew Himself from the deep need of the populace. Nay, He was moved with compassion when He saw their sickness and their grief.
The Lord could weep with those who wept. He wept at the grave of Lazarus; He wept over the city of Jerusalem. The fact that they knew Him not did not change His tears to censure. He wept, saying, "How often would I have gathered thy children together." His heart still cares for us, and also for the millions who are dying as rejecters of His grace.
2. A heart that can weep, can love. How deep was Joseph's love for his own? Just as deep as were his tears. There is Another's love that we may well measure by His tears and tender compassions. When Jesus wept at the grave of Lazarus, the Jews said, "Behold how He loved him!"
Yes, Christ did love Lazarus, and He loves you and me.
Mark you this: The heart that loves, wants to be loved. Jesus said to Peter, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?" Even now He asks as much of thee.
"O my Friend, teach me to be Thine."
VII. GRACE FEASTING (Genesis 43:32-34 )
1. They set on bread. Eating around the same table represents a "favored fellowship." What a scene! The men who had stood against Joseph, now are seated with him in his home, eating with him of his bounty.
It will do well to study, just here, the word of Ephesians 2:1-22 : Ye were "the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, * * hath * * made us sit together in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Then come the significant words: "For by grace are ye saved."
Truly Joseph had abolished the enmity. He had broken down the middle wall of partition that was between them, so making peace.
Is any statement of Scripture from God more precious than this: "We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him"? Yes, our Lord does say, "I will sup with you, and ye with Me." How wonderful it will be in the Father's Kingdom, when Christ will fulfill His words relative to the eating again of the bread, and the drinking of the cup. "I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's Kingdom."
2. They drank and were merry with him. Perhaps we give too little attention to fellowshiping with our Lord. We imagine in some vague way, perhaps, that our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ; and yet we know but little of a real and vital present-hour walking and talking with Him. If God has called us into fellowship with His Son, shall we dwell afar from Him? How plaintive is the voice of the Lord to Ephesus: "Thou hast left thy first love." Let our heart's experience be clothed in one word "together."
"Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved." Let us so lean, and leaning, cling to Him.
Joseph's grace gave his father and brethren sufficient for the journey, as well as his love.
"A Christian merchant in Liverpool was talking with another business gentleman who appeared to be anxious about his soul. The Christian was speaking of the finished work of Christ (John 19:30 ) what it was, and what it did for the sinner. Telling him that God in virtue of the work of the Lord pardoned a sinner so completely that there was not a single charge of sin left against him, he queried, 'Isn't that enough?' 'No,' said the other man, 'it is not enough.' 'If I were to fail in business, and could not pay, my creditors might take pity on me, put their heads together, and give me a free and full discharge, would that not be sufficient?' said the Christian. 'No,' said the other; 'I would want cash to go on with.' The Christian pointed out that that was precisely what Christ did. He not only frees the. sinner from the guilt of his sin, but He lives to save him from the power of sin day by day (Hebrews 7:25 ), puts the Holy Spirit into his heart, the Word of God into his hand, and guarantees that he will go on safely to the end (John 6:39 )."
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Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Genesis 43". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25