Genesis 42* Jacob sends ten sons to buy corn. (1-6) Joseph's treatment ofhis brethren. (7-20) Their remorse, Simeon detained. (21-24) Therest return with corn. (25-28) Jacob refuses to send Benjamin toEgypt. (29-38)1-6 Jacob saw the corn his neighbours had bought in Egypt, andbrought home. It is a spur to exertion to see others supplied.Shall others get food for their souls, and shall we starve whileit is to be had? Having discovered where help is to be had, weshould apply for it without delay, without shrinking fromlabour, or grudging expense, especially as regards ournever-dying souls. There is provision in Christ; but we mustcome to him, and seek it from him. 7-20 Joseph was hard upon his brethren, not from a spirit ofrevenge, but to bring them to repentance. Not seeing his brotherBenjamin, he suspected that they had made away with him, and hegave them occasion to speak of their father and brother. God, inhis providence, sometimes seems harsh with those he loves, andspeaks roughly to those for whom yet he has great mercy instore. Joseph settled at last, that one of them should be left,and the rest go home and fetch Benjamin. It was a veryencouraging word he said to them, "I fear God;" as if he hadsaid, You may be assured I will do you no wrong; I dare not, forI know there is one higher than I. With those that fear God, wemay expect fair dealing. 21-24 The office of conscience is to bring to mind things longsince said and done. When the guilt of this sin of Joseph'sbrethren was fresh, they made light of it, and sat down to eatbread; but now, long afterward, their consciences accused themof it. See the good of afflictions; they often prove the happymeans of awakening conscience, and bringing sin to ourremembrance. Also, the evil of guilt as to our brethren.Conscience now reproached them for it. Whenever we think we havewrong done us, we ought to remember the wrong we have done toothers. Reuben alone remembered with comfort, that he had donewhat he could to prevent the mischief. When we share with othersin their sufferings, it will be a comfort if we have thetestimony of our consciences for us, that we did not share intheir evil deeds, but in our places witnessed against them.Joseph retired to weep. Though his reason directed that heshould still carry himself as a stranger, because they were notas yet humbled enough, yet natural affection could not but work. 25-28 The brethren came for corn, and corn they had: not onlyso, but every man had his money given back. Thus Christ, likeJoseph, gives out supplies without money and without price. Thepoorest are invited to buy. But guilty consciences are apt totake good providences in a bad sense; to put wrong meanings evenupon things that make for them. 29-38 Here is the report Jacob's sons made to their father. Ittroubled the good man. Even the bundles of money Josephreturned, in kindness, to his father, frightened him. He laidthe fault upon his sons; knowing them, he feared they hadprovoked the Egyptians, and wrongfully brought home their money.Jacob plainly distrusted his sons, remembering that he never sawJoseph since he had been with them. It is bad with a family,when children behave so ill that their parents know not how totrust them. Jacob gives up Joseph for gone, and Simeon andBenjamin as in danger; and concludes, All these things areagainst me. It proved otherwise, that all these things were forhim, were working together for his good, and the good of hisfamily. We often think that to be against us, which is reallyfor us. We are afflicted in body, estate, name, and in ourrelations; and think all these things are against us, whereasthey are really working for us a weight of glory. Thus does theLord Jesus conceal himself and his favour, thus he rebukes andchastens those for whom he has purposes of love. By sharpcorrections and humbling convictions he will break the stoutnessand mar the pride of the heart, and bring to true repentance.Yet before sinners fully know him, or taste that he is gracious,he consults their good, and sustains their souls, to wait forhim. May we do thus, never yielding to discouragement,determining to seek no other refuge, and humbling ourselves moreand more under his mighty hand. In due time he will answer ourpetitions, and do for us more than we can expect.
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