“And it came to pass, when we came to the inn, that we opened our sacks, and, behold, every man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight: and we have brought it again in our hand.”
JOSEPH, who gave corn to save his own brethren and the Gentiles from starvation, is a type of Him who gives the bread of life to Jew and Greek — to all that hunger and come to Him for supplies. And in this return of the full money in the sack’s mouth, we are reminded that salvation and satisfaction are all of grace.
They are without money and without price. Whatever we yield to Him, He returns in full weight.
We bring Him works of merit as a price of our pardon; but they are not noticed.
We bring Him emotion, tears, anguish of soul; but He will have none of them.
We bring Him our faith as a price, instead of as a hand that accepts; and He refuses it.
How many are our mistakes and misunderstandings! Yet He does not for that reason withhold His blessed gift. We get the corn as an act of His free grace; and afterwards He explains why it was that our careful dues were not accepted.
There is bread enough in God to supply every mouth of desire and hunger in your soul. You may have it for the seeking. The law is — ask, and have. What if you have no money with which to purchase, no earnestness, no merit? Nevertheless the best wheat of heaven may be yours. Our Father’s love is constantly devising means of expressing itself. It puts money into our sacks; it invites us to its home, and spreads banquets before us; it inclines stewards to meet us peacefully; it washes our feet; it takes a tender interest in those we love; it wishes us grace from God; it adjusts itself to our temperaments and puts us at our ease, go to that gleam of light as to the love of Jesus strike into our hearts!
“And the one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn in pieces; and I saw him not since:”
THESE are words caught from his father’s mouth by Judah; and here repeated, in his most pathetic intercession, with the hope of softening the Governor’s heart, and moving him to spare Benjamin at least. They are very sad, and, without doubt, justified by the vision of that blood-stained coat. Yet there was another interpretation to the sad and dark suggestion which it made: Joseph was alive, and they were soon to know that it was he with whom they were dealing, and that he was conducting them through these strange experiences.
We are often tempted to judge hastily, and by appearances; by our own despondent, sorrowful hearts; or by the reports of others.
We may say that certain things are against us, when, if we would only look beyond appearances and circumstances to God, we should find that He had been working, and was working, mightily on our behalf — that all was for our lasting good.
Do not say that you have lost your Joseph; he lives, and will yet be a comfort to you. He was taken from you for a little, to bring blessing to your whole family, but to be given back to you, more yours than ever.
Do not look on the sad, but on the bright side of God’s Providence. All things are working for the best. “In all these things is the life of the spirit.” Do not judge Him, or try to understand; be still and trust. You will some day be ashamed of your little faith.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain,
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.
“Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.”
THERE was great delicacy in Joseph’s command, “Cause every man to go out from me.” He did not want to expose his brethren; yet he wanted to say words which could not be understood by the curious courtiers. Then he made himself known, and said, “Be not grieved, nor angry, for God did send me before you.” This was not only a kind way of alleviating their remorse and sorrow, but was the standpoint from which Joseph was wont to review his life-course. It was his habit to trace the working-out of God’s plan, and the interposition of his Providence amid and through the malevolence and treachery of men (Genesis 50:20).
This was also David’s habit, who, in the cursing of Shimei and the revolt of Absalom, saw the evolution of God’s permissive purposes.
Thus also Jesus spoke, when anticipating the coming of Judas to betray Him. “The Son of Man goeth, as it was written of Him.”
“The cup that my Father giveth Me to drink.”
It is one of the inexplicable mysteries of Providence that bad men subserve God’s purposes and unwittingly execute His plans.
It is not for us to explain it, but to consider the perplexities and disaster which we suffer at the hands of evil men as being permitted by God for the furtherance of some Divine and hidden purpose.
Paul’s prayer that he might preach the Gospel at Rome was fulfilled through the hatred of the Jews; and he went to Rome at the Emperor’s expense. We may comfort ourselves whenever the storm is high, that God, is at the helm, and is making the wrath of man praise Him, whilst the remainder of it shall be restrained. Yes, Joseph, God is sending you through that pit and prison: but there is a way out into sunlight.
“And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation:”
PROBABLY the old man, remembering the experiences of Abraham, was very fearful to adventure himself into Egypt.
Besides, was it not as though, in going thither, he renounced the Land of Promise? Therefore this special bidding and assurance were the more necessary.
When our heart misgives us, let us look out for one of God’s fear-nots. — His eye is ever upon the righteous, and his ear open to their cry. One upward glance or tremulous prayer will make Him ride on a cherub to our side, and whisper, “Be not afraid; fear not, I am with thee.”
God’s promises are fulfilled in most unexpected ways. — He had always foretold that the seed of Abraham should outnumber stars and sands; but who would have supposed that the promise would be realized amid the pressure and persecution of Egypt? Yet so it happened. “I will there make of thee a great nation.” We must not judge after the sight of our eyes, nor act on what is known as our common sense; faith is led by very uncommon paths. Trust and obey!
God’s presence in Egypt acted as an antidote to its evil, and delivered from its tyrant’s grasp. — Ah, my soul, thou mightest descend without fear into hell itself if God said, “I will go down with thee, and will surely bring thee up again.” The Divine Presence is strength to the fearful — security and consolation in life, peace in death. It was probably thus that the Father spake to the Son by the lips of the Angel in Gethsemane: “Fear not to go down into the grave: I will surely bring thee up again.” Thus He speaks to us. He is with us, and will deliver.
“And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.”
NOTHING less would have extorted such an acknowledgment from those proud Egyptians. They were willing to serve their savior. No doubt, had there been no provision made by Joseph, the streets would have been filled by emaciated skeletons picking their way feebly amid the heaps of the dying and the dead. Gratitude brought them into the dust before him who held the keys of the granaries.
The kingdom of Christ is a matter of supreme importance to individuals and the world. — He is not ambitious of power for its own sake; but that He may be able to exercise it more fully for our benefit, and that He may finally render up the kingdom to God, even his Father, that God may be all in all. He will never, therefore, be perfectly satisfied till He has triumphantly entered all closed gates, as King.
His kingdom is given Him by the glad choice of those whom He had blessed and saved. — The song of heaven reflects this thought: “Thou art worthy. . for thou wast slain.” His empire depends on the sacrifice by which He has saved a multitude whom no man can number. Meditate much on the love of Calvary, and you too will feel that His empire should begin within your heart, and hasten to subdue the kingdoms of the world.
When He becomes king, He still further blesses us. — The first hour of Joseph’s supreme power was the beginning of Egypt’s brightest days. The Egyptians could not do so well for themselves as he for them. We shall never know the real blessedness of living, its peace and joy and strength, till we have utterly surrendered to Christ’s supremacy. To serve such a Master utterly is to drink of the river of perfect blessedness.
“And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.”
HOW needful Joseph was to Jacob! The aged patriarch could not die without seeing him. His presence lit the dark valley.
His hands closed the tired eyes of the aged pilgrim. And Joseph was as quick to come at the first intimation of his father’s desire to see him. There was a perfect sympathy and reciprocity between them, just as there may be between Christ and those who owe all to Him.
Jesus is ever leading us on to new and deeper experiences. — In no true life is stagnation admissible. So the nest is constantly being stirred up, and the trumpets sounded for the striking of our tents.
But there is a Divine motive in it all. Jesus cannot rest satisfied with less than the best for those He loves, as Joseph could not permit Jacob to remain in Canaan whilst Goshen with its plenty awaited him.
In all the new experiences Jesus meets us. — When his father entered Egypt, Joseph was waiting for him. When he was summoned to stand before Pharaoh, Joseph brought him. When he lay a-dying, Joseph was at his side to receive his last commissions.
So, trembling soul, if Jesus presses you into the unknown, He does not leave you there, but keeps coming again, meeting you at every point of anxiety and distress. Yea, He does what Joseph could not do. He stands, not on this side only, but on the other side, of death.
Here to calm with his benediction; there to receive into his glory.
Jesus is careful for body as well as soul. — The dying man was anxious about the disposal of his body, and Joseph readily undertook to see it buried in Machpelah’s cave. So Jesus cares for us. He is the Savior of the body in this life and in the
“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”
OLD experience is said to attain to something of prophetic strain; but there is more than old experience here. From these aged lips the Holy Ghost is speaking.
The mission and work of Jesus are designated. — He is Shiloh — the Maker, Giver, and Bringer of Peace. The troubled conscience, smitten with conviction, finds peace when He reveals His all-sufficient sacrifice and atonement. The discordant elements within us settle into a great calm when He enters to reign, bringing every thought into captivity to His rule. Nor is His work for individuals only; it is for man, for the world, the universe. Peace was made at His cross; it is proclaimed by His Spirit; and it will be consummated when God is All in all.
The time of His advent predicted. — Not till the Romans came and annexed Palestine as one of the provinces of the empire, did the semblance of the Hebrew monarchy expire. And it was then that the Shiloh came. Surely these words must often have been quoted by the pious Jews, with whom Simeon and Anna consorted, as pointing to the near advent of the Messiah. Let us be wise to discern the symptoms of His second advent.
The inevitableness of his dominion. — Ah, Savior, it is predicted that all peoples shall obey Thee; and we know well that it is only through obedience that men can enter into Thy peace. Teach us to obey, to do all thy commands, to bear all thy burdens, to wait before Thee. That thus we may know the peace that passeth all understanding.
Ponder this well, O my soul; the Peace-giver must be obeyed.
Only so can He give thee peace that floweth as a river.