They had not gone far from the city when Joseph told his steward, "Pursue the men at once, and when you overtake them, ask, 'Why have you repaid good with evil?
I. The chief lesson of this chapter is the MINGLING TOGETHER OF THE PROVIDENTIAL GOVERNMENT OF GOD WITH HIS PURPOSE OF GRACE. It was part of the Divine plan that Jacob and his family should be settled for a long period in Egypt. It could only be brought about by the transference in some way of the point of attraction to Jacob's heart from Canaan to the strange land. Hence c, Jacob" is now "Israel," reminding us how the future is involved in all the events of this time. "Judah" is the chief agent in this matter. The very names are significant of Divine promises - "Judah," "Israel," "Joseph," "Benjamin." The conduct of Joseph cannot be explained except on the ground of his inspiration. He is not acting. He is not trifling with human feelings. He is not merely following the dictate of his own personal affections. He is, under Divine direction, planning for the removal of his father's house to Egypt that the people of God may pass through their season of trial in the house of bondage. Another point -
II. God's blessing on a TRUE HUMANITY THE THOROUGHLY HUMAN CHARACTER OF THE NARRATIVE. The tenderness, the pathos, the simplicity, the truthfulness, especially in the case of Joseph himself. How little he had been spoiled by prosperity! That is the criterion of real greatness. The Bible histories help us to keep in mind that real religion does not suppress the human, but preserves and develops all that is best and noblest in the man.
III. THE GRACIOUS WISDOM OF THE GOOD MAN IN HIS CONDUCT TOWARDS OTHERS. Joseph's dealing with his brethren gradually preparing their minds for the great announcement which was soon to be made. Both his kindness to them and his particular inquiries after Jacob, and affectionate salute of Benjamin, must have roused their curiosity and disarmed their terrors. As they "drank and were merry" with the great Egyptian ruler, and their youngest brother rejoiced in the special mark of favor, which was favor to all, they must have felt the bondage of their previous apprehensions slipping away from them, and have anticipated some good thing in preparation for them. Moreover, there may have been the intention working in Joseph's mind of accustoming the Egyptians to the sight of those Hebrew people, and so opening the way to their subsequent elevation when as his brethren he should settle them in Goshen. There was great wisdom in all this lingering in divulging the great secret.
IV. THE MARK OF FAITH IS A SINGLE EYE TO GOD'S GLORY. We should endeavor to blend the personal with the larger interests of God's kingdom, Family life should be based upon religious foundations. - R.
His life is bound up in the lad's life.
I. I propose to show SOME OF THE CAUSES OF PARENTAL ANXIETY.
1. I find the first cause of parental anxiety in the inefficiency and imperfection of parents themselves. We have a slight hope, all of us, that our children may escape our faults. We hide our imperfections and think they will steer clear of them. Alas, there is a poor prospect of that. There is more probability that they will choose our vices than choose our virtues.
2. Again, parental anxiety often arises from an early exhibition of sinfulness in the child. It is especially sad if the parent sees his own faults copied by the child. It is very hard work to pull up a nettle that we ourselves planted. We remember that the greatest frauds that ever shook the banking-houses of the country started from a boy's deception a good many years ago; and the gleaming blade of the murderer is only another blade of the knife with which the boy struck at his comrade. The cedar of Lebanon that wrestles with the blast, started from seed lodged in the side of the mountain, and the most tremendous dishonesties of the world once toddled out from a cradle. All these things make parents anxious.
3. Anxiety on the part of parents, also, arises from a consciousness that there are so many temptations thrown all around our young people. It may be almost impossible to take a castle by siege — straightforward siege — but suppose in the night there is a traitor within, and he goes down and draws the bolt, and swings open the great door, and then the castle falls immediately. That is the trouble with the hearts of the young; they have foes without and foes within.
II. I shall devote the rest of my remarks to ALLEVIATION OF PARENTAL ANXIETY. Let me say to you as parents, that a great deal of that anxiety will be lifted if you will begin early with your children. Tom Paine said: "The first five years of my life I became an infidel." A vessel goes out to sea; it has been five days out; a storm comes on it; it springs a leak; the helm will not work; everything is out of order. What is the matter? The ship is not seaworthy, and never was. It is a poor time to find it out now. Under the fury of the storm, the vessel goes down, with two hundred and fifty passengers, to a watery grave. The time to make the ship seaworthy was in the dry-dock, before it started. Alas for us, if we wait until our children get out into the world before we try to bring upon them the influence of Christ's religion. I tell you, the dry-dock of the Christian home is the place where we are to fit them for usefulness and for heaven. In this world, under the storm of vice and temptation, it will be too late. In the domestic circle you decide whether your child shall be truthful or false — whether it shall be generous or penurious. You cannot begin too early. You stand on the bank of a river floating by. You cannot stop that river, but you travel days and days towards the source of it, and you find, after awhile, where it comes down, dropping from the rock, and with your knife you make a course in this or that direction for the dropping to take, and you decide the course of the river. You stand and see your children's character rolling on with great impetuosity and passion, and you cannot affect them. Go up towards the source where the character first starts, and decide that it shall take the right direction, and it will follow the path you give it. But I want you to remember, O father, O mother, that it is what you do that is going to affect your children, and not what you say. You tell your children to become Christians while you are not, and they will not. Above all, pray. I do not mean mere formal prayer, that amounts to nothing. Often go before God and say: "Here are my dear children. Oh save them. Put their feet on the road to heaven. Thou knowest how imperfectly I am training them; make up what I lack. Lord Jesus Christ, better than anything Thou canst give, give them Jesus." God will hear such a prayer. He said He would: "I will be a God to thee and thy seed after thee."
PeopleBenjamin, Joseph, Pharaoh
TopicsArise, Catch, Cup, Distance, Evil, Follow, Hast, Joseph, Overtake, Overtaken, Overtakest, Pursue, Recompensed, Repaid, Returned, Reward, Rewarded, Rise, Servant, Short, Silver, Steward, Stolen, Town, Wherefore, Yet
Outline1. Joseph's policy to stay his brothers.
6. The silver cup is found in Benjamin's sack.
14. They are brought before Joseph.
18. Judah's humble supplication to Joseph.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesGenesis 44:4
LibrarySelect Masterpieces of Biblical Literature
The Modern Reader's Bible A Series of Works from the Sacred Scriptures Presented in Modern Literary Form SELECT MASTERPIECES OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE Edited, with an Introduction and Notes by RICHARD G. MOULTON, M.A. (CAMB.), Ph.D. (PENN.) Professor of Literature in English in the University of Chicago New York The MacMillan Company London: MacMillan & Co., Ltd. 1902 Copyright, 1897, By THe MacMillan Company. Set up and electrotyped September, 1897. Reprinted December, 1897; August, 1898; February, …
Various—Select Masterpieces of Biblical Literature
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