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A gracious GOD in his over-ruling providence, having caused a famine of bread to prevail in Canaan, compels thereby the sons of Jacob to go down into Egypt to seek sustenance for themselves and their household. And this brings about the leading design which the LORD had in view, (as the HOLY GHOST informs the Church, Psalms 105:16-17 .) in sending Joseph before his family into Egypt. The contents of this Chapter, are: the departure of the sons of Jacob from Canaan: their arrival at Egypt: their appearance before Joseph: their unconsciousness of him: his knowledge of them: their humbling themselves before him: his treatment of them: he supplies them with corn, but detains Simeon; their return to Canaan: and the distress of their father in finding that they had left Simeon behind. Genesis 42:1
Reader! recollect that at our last view of Jacob, we left him in a state of the greatest affliction, on the supposed loss of Joseph Genesis 37:35 . Here we find him in the midst of his family, likely to perish for want of bread! Remember what JESUS saith, John 16:33 . Then read that sweet scripture, Isaiah 33:16 .
It is worthy remark, that Canaan, the land of promise, became a land of famine to Abraham-Genesis 12:10 . to Isaac, Genesis 26:1 , - and here to Jacob. My brother, none but the heavenly Canaan is exempt from such trials to the faithful. Read that scripture: Amos 8:11-12 . and bless GOD if such be not among your exercises.
Now the dream is explained. Genesis 37:9-10 . Consult that scripture: Isaiah 60:14 .-then Revelation 3:9 .
Still a pilgrimage state, Hebrews 11:9-15 .
Reader! I charge you not to overlook the precious things contained in this verse. How little doth the sinner think, in his first approaches to JESUS, while the HOLY GHOST is leading him, and his necessities, like Jacob's sons, compel him to the mercy seat, that He is a brother, as well as a governor, to whom he is come. How unconscious is he, when JESUS seems to make himself strange and speak roughly to him, that grace is at the bottom. My Christian Reader! never forget this one precious truth, however outward things vary, the heart; of our JESUS is the same. While we fear his power let us not lose sight of his love. Hebrews 4:14-16 .
No doubt this remembrance was a gracious remembrance. Joshua 23:14 .
Observe, in this verse, the effects of conscience: see that scripture: Romans 2:15 . Observe the conscious sense of merited punishment also: therefore (say they) is this distress come upon us. Sinners can and do frequently connect the punishments they feel, with the sense of what they acknowledge they deserve. Do not these pointings of unenlightened nature, loudly confirm that invaluable scheme of mercy and grace which the gospel proclaims? And is not the precious, precious JESUS here again endeared to our view in the riches of his atoning blood, which alone cleanseth from all sin?
How sweet and refreshing the thought, that during all these soul transactions of mixed hope and fear, JESUS is looking on: he sees and knows all, however unconscious we are of it.
That is a blessed scripture, Isaiah 63:9 . And who shall take upon him to say to what extent those yearnings of JESUS over his people in their sorrows are carried, before the time comes for his openly manifesting himself to them as their Savior.
Is not this a striking resemblance to our spiritual Joseph, in commanding his servants the ministers, to supply the wants of his people in gospel mercies, without money and without price? Isaiah 55:1 .
The hearts of the faithful know what kind of failing is here meant, when a gracious Redeemer makes his love towards them overflow. Song of Solomon 6:12; Song of Solomon 6:12 .
Observe how low the actings of faith were m the Patriarch's experience at this time. He had lost sight of that promise, Genesis 28:15 . Under bereaving providences how sweet and sure is that scripture, 1 Corinthians 1:9 .
Learn, my soul, that gracious lesson to live above ordinances while favoured in the use of them; that when the means fail, the LORD of the means, who never faileth, may be thy portion forever. And if at any time thy JESUS should seem to make himself strange to thee, and by his dispensations to speak roughly unto thee, never doubt but that faithful are the wounds of thy friend: he is still a brother born for adversity.
Hail thou spiritual Joseph! thou almighty governor, and no less our brother, in whose hands are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. To thee we come for food. Before thy sacred presence would we bow the knee. We are indeed verily guilty before thee; for, like the unnatural brethren, we have sold thee by our sins, and hid our faces from the anguish of thy soul by our iniquities. But GOD hath sent thee before us to preserve us a posterity in the earth, and to save our lives by a great deliverance. Nourish us, dearest LORD, how unworthy soever thy favor; and feed us with that living bread which came down from heaven; so will we praise thy mercy, and adore thy name.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Genesis 42". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17