And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk…
I wonder if you know who the "Angel" is? Who do you think is "the Angel that redeemed him from all evil"? Do you know what the word "angel" means? It means a messenger — a good messenger. And the angels in heaven are so called because they carry messages. It is a nice thing to carry messages, if we carry them well. If we carry kind messages, and do it in an accurate way, like Christ, it is being like the angels in heaven — it is being like Jesus Christ. I hope you will be all good messengers. Perhaps you will have a very important message to carry, and you ought to do it well. I have a very important one to carry to-day. Therefore I am an angel, for ministers are angels. But it is not an angel from heaven, it is not a minister, it is not a common man, that is meant here. Jesus Christ is meant — Jesus Christ is the "Angel." I want to help you now to understand another word. What is it to be "redeemed"? "Which redeemed me from all evil." Can you think? Does "redeemed" mean "saved me," "delivered me"? Is it the same as if it said, "The Angel that delivered me from all evil"? Not quite. That would only be half the meaning. If I were to save you from being drowned, and it was no trouble to me to save you, and if I did not expose my own life, I should not "redeem" you; but if I did it at great danger, at great pain, or at great loss to myself, then it might be called "redeeming." To "redeem" is to save at great cost to one's self; because the word means "buy" — to buy back. Therefore, if I spend a great deal of money, and become much poorer by it, in order to do you good, then I "redeem" you. That is the meaning of the word "redeemed." Did you ever think what was the value of your soul — how much? When I see something very valuable, I sometimes say, "How much did it cost?" "How much did that watch cost?" "How much did that diamond cost?" How much did your soul cost? Thousands of thousands of pounds? The earth? The world? All the stars? Everything that was ever made? Much more! It cost Jesus Christ, who made everything — the life of Jesus Christ! And how had He "redeemed" us from sin? A poor heathen, who had become a Christian, wanted to explain how he became a Christian to another heathen who did not know anything about it; and he took a little worm — a poor, little, miserable worm; and he put the worm on a stone; and he put all round the stone where the worm was some straw. He then lighted the straw, and when it was all blazing he ran through the lighted straw, and took up the little worm in his hand when it was wriggling in the fire. The hot fire had scorched and drawn it up. "This," he said, "is just what I was — a poor, miserable worm, with afire all round me; and I should have died, and gone to hell; but Christ ran in, took me up in His arms, and saved me; and here I am, a saved one." I will tell you a remarkable thing which happened in a town in the West of England. One Sunday a clergyman was to preach a sermon. The people in the town did not know him — he was a stranger there; but he was known to be a very excellent clergyman, and a very clever man. A great many people went to hear him preach; and when the prayers were over, the clergyman went into the pulpit. The congregation noticed that he seemed to feel something very much; for he was silent some time, and could not begin his sermon. He hid his face in his hands, and the congregation thought he was unwell; but he was not. However, before he gave out his text, he told them something like this: "I want to say something. Fifteen years ago I was in this town, and I was in this church. I was then very young, and I came to hear the sermon. That evening three young men came to this church. They were very wicked young men. You may suppose how wicked, for they came not only to laugh, but they came actually to throw stones at the clergyman. They filled their pockets with stones, and determined they would throw at him. When the sermon began they were sitting together: and when the clergyman had gone on a little way, one said to the other, 'Now throw! now throw!' This is what they said, 'Now throw at the stupid old blockhead I now throw! 'The second said, 'No; wait a little; I want to hear the end of what he is saying now, to see what he makes of it.' They waited. But presently he said, 'Now you can throw: I heard the end of it; there was nothing in it.' The third said, 'No, no; don't throw: what he says is very good; don't hurt the good old man.' Then the two others left the church, saying something very wicked; they swore at him, and went away very angry, because he had spoiled their fun in not letting them throw." The clergyman went on to say: "The first of those three young men was hanged some years ago for forgery; the second was a poor, miserable man, brought to poverty and rags, miserable in mind, and miserable in body; and the third is now going to preach to you! Listen!" So "the Angel" "redeemed" that poor boy (for he was only a boy when he went to throw stones) "from all evil." It is not only sin; there are other "evils." There are a great many troubles in life, are not there? Have not you a great many troubles? I am sure you have some. It is a great mistake to say to children, "Oh! you have no troubles." I think children have quite as many as grown-up people — perhaps more. But people often say to children, "You have no troubles now; you have them all to come by-and-by." That is not the case. I believe you have quite as many troubles as we have; but Christ "redeems" you from all trouble. Now there are two ways Christ can do it. Perhaps Christ will say, "Trouble shall not come to that boy or girl." That is one way; but He could do it another way. He could say, "Yes, trouble shall come; but when it comes, it shall be turned into joy. I will make him so happy in his troubles, that he shall be glad. His sorrow shall be turned into joy." Which, think you, will be the best: for trouble not to come at all, or, when it comes, to be turned into joy? I will tell you now about God "redeeming" a little girl in another way. Her name was Alvi, but she was always called Allie. She was three years old; and one day little Allie jumped upon her father's knee, and said, "Pa, when's spring?" Her papa stroked her little curly head, and patted her on her cheeks, and she looked up and smiled, and said, "I fat as butter." She said again, "I loves my pa, I does; I loves my pa." And her papa loved her very much. She said, "When's spring, pa?" The father said, "Why do you want to know when spring is? Do you want to see the pretty flowers, and hear the birds sing, and play in the sunshine?" She said. "No, pa; me go to church in spring." "Do you wish to go to church, Allie?" "Very much, pa." "Why, Allie?" "God there, God there!" "And do you love God, Allie?" "Oh! so much, papa, so much!" "Well, my dear," papa said to little Allie, "to-morrow is spring; spring will be to-morrow." And little Allie jumped down from her father's knee, saying, "To-morrow! to-morrow! Allie is so happy! To-morrow! to-morrow! to-morrow!" And she went about the house singing, "Allie is so happy! To-morrow, to-morrow, to-morrow! Allie so happy!" That night Allie was very tired; she wanted to go to bed an hour before her proper time. During the night she fell into a burning fever, and they sent for a doctor. When he came, he shook his head and said, "Too late! too late! nothing can be done." They sent for four doctors, and all said, "Too late! too late!" And when the morning came, little Allie was dead; she was gone to heaven. Her mamma stood and looked at her, and thought of what she had said the day before — "To-morrow, to-morrow! Allie so happy to-morrow! "And she wiped away her tears at the thought. So God "redeemed" little Allie.
(J. Vaughan, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day,