the First Week of Advent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Fear thou not: for I am with thee.”
Joseph’s brethren returned to their father with abundant provisions, but these were before long exhausted, and the same distress filled Jacob’s household. Bread that perisheth does not endure like the bread of heaven.
Israel had said positively “My son shall not go down,” and yet it was needful that he should do so. We had better not be too positive in our determinations, or we may have to eat our words.
Poor Jacob, out of fear for his darling son, thinks his sons unkind. We should not do injustice to others because of our partiality to one, but we are very apt to do so.
Judah in becoming surety for Benjamin is a delightful type of our Lord Jesus, who is the surety of the New Covenant. He will assuredly fulfil his obligations and say at the last, “Of all those whom thou hast given me I have lost none.”
This was prudence. Faith in God is not above using the means. It was well to conciliate those upon whom they were so dependent.
The money had been put into their sacks by Joseph’s order, but they were not aware of that fact; therefore they were to restore it. This was scrupulous honesty, but not too scrupulous. We are not permitted to take advantage of the oversights of others. Every honest man will rectify mistakes by which another is the loser, even though he had no share in the error. Note what a good calculator Jacob was, and how he knew that the corn would rise in price, “Take double money” says he. Men of faith are not simpletons.
Jacob’s faith now came to the front. He left the issues of his case with the all-sufficient God, and in holy resignation accepted the trial, if the Lord willed to lay it upon him. When we resign our mercies cheerfully, we are most likely to have them back again. Abraham was allowed to keep Isaac because he was willing to part with him at the divine bidding, and so Israel received Benjamin again because, after some struggling, he at last acquiesced in the Lord’s will. When we are at the end of our selfwill we are not far off the close of our trials.
Our times are in thy hand,
Why should we doubt or fear?
A Father’s hand will never cause
His child a needless tear.
Our times are in thy hand,
Jesus, the Crucified!
The hand our many sins had pierced
Is now our guard and guide.
“His banner over me was love.”
Genesis 43:15 , Genesis 43:16 , Genesis 43:18-23 , Genesis 43:26-34
So deeply interesting is this story of Joseph, that we must needs linger over it. The Holy Spirit indulges us with details, and we may be sure that he intended our profit thereby.
Thus Joseph’s love sought an opportunity for closer personal intercourse with them.
Love intended pleasure, but fear turned it into dread. Beware of doubts and mistrusts of the Lord Jesus, lest even his goodness should make us afraid.
Open confession was natural to honest men when in fear; it is also the ready way to peace with God.
The hostage being delivered all was well. The bringing of our Lord Jesus from the dead was a token for good to all his brethren.
By calling their father “thy servant,” and making obeisance for themselves and him, they fulfilled his second dream. The sun and the moon and the eleven stars did him homage.
Genesis 43:29 , Genesis 43:30
Love longs to express itself, but there is a time for everything. Jesus loves his brethren always, but he prudently conceals himself at times for their good.
How they must have wondered while they feasted to see the order in which he placed them, and the favour shown to Benjamin. How plainly everything said, “I am. Joseph” yet they perceived him not; and just so, despite all the loving deeds of Jesus, none ever discover him till he reveals himself by his Spirit.
Speak to us, Lord, thyself reveal,
While here on earth we rove;
Speak to our hearts and let us feel
The kindlings of thy love.
With thee conversing, we forget
All time, and toil, and care;
Labour is rest, and pain is sweet,
If thou, our God, art there.