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CHRIST'S WAY OF RECEIVING SINNERS
AS TYPIFIED BY JOSEPH IN GEN. xlv.
In reading the Book of Genesis, what joy is ours when we reach the point in the history of Joseph at which he makes himself known in grace to his brethren! Then we discern "the end of the Lord,” and, as in the case of Job, we learn that He is “
very pitiful and of tender mercy.” (Jas. v. 11.)
The truth that “these things happened unto them for ensamples, and they are written for our admonition” (1 Cor. x. 11), has a striking illustration in this chapter. What Christian can fail to be reminded of Joseph's Antitype as in the type he traces almost verse by verse that which our head-line suggests
Christ's way of receiving sinners ? Let us consider first
THE REALITY OF LOVE, as evinced in Joseph's weeping. Seven times is it recorded in his history that he wept, but only on this occasion of making himself known to his brethren is it said that “he wept aloud." Is it not thus that his brethren, and the Egyptians too, would have proof of the depth of his emotions, of the intensity of his love? The guilt of his brethren had been so great that Joseph's words, kind though they were, could not banish their trouble, but when he had embraced each one with tears (ver. 15), then they “talked with him.”
Are we not here put in remembrance of Christ's weeping? In Luke xix. 41, we read of His tears when beholding Jerusalem He thought of her rejection of Him,
of her not knowing the time of her visitation, and of the eighteen hundred years' treading down of the Gentiles from which she would suffer; but no thought of vengeance moved Him. Nay, the weeping over the guilty city in chapter xix. leads, in chapter xxiv. 47, to the memorable words,“ beginning at Jerusalem.”
Again did Jesus weep at the tomb of Lazarus, in sympathy with the bereaved and sorrowing. Knowing well that He would soon restore to life His“ friend Lazarus,” He yet wept, for it was a time to weep.” (Ecc. iii. 4.) Thus even the Jews were constrained to exclaim, “Behold, how He loved him!” Nor can we forget the “strong crying and tears' of Hebrews v. 7, a passage which perhaps speaks to us as strongly as any other of the reality of Christ's sufferings, and hence of the reality-seeing He was a willing sufferer -of His love to us. That
SALVATION HAS ITS SOURCE IN GOD
is a truth prominently before us in Genesis 'xlv. To assuage his brethren's grief, Joseph declares to them that not they, but God had sent him into Egypt, to preserve life. So does Peter, while not in the least extenuating the wickedness of Israel, yet shew (Acts ii. 23) that Jesus was “delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.” The frequent testimony, too, of John comes to our mind. He speaks often of the “Son ” as “ '
given,” “sent," "sealed.” In Hebrews x. we meet with a quotation from Psalm xl., the object of the Spirit being to prove that those who are “sanctified
"" and “ perfected” receive such blessing not alone "through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ,” but also because such offering was according to God's "will" (ver. 9). The result is seen in our “ boldness to enter into the holiest," as in ver. 19. What comfort is afforded to the heart when it recognizes the truth that “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself”! (2 Cor. v. 19.)
As salvation finds its source in God, so is
ITS ACCOMPLISHMENT THROUGH THE REJECTED ONE.
“I will nourish thee,” was Joseph's message to his father, and “it is my mouth that speaketh unto you," was his word to his brethren (ver. 11, 12). Is not this the way of God ? Turning again to Peter's testimony in Acts iv. 10 we read, “ By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand here before
you whole.” It is this fact which gives effect to the word in ver. 12, “ Neither is there salvation in any other." How humbling to man, how exalting to the grace of God !
" Thus while His death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue,
It seals my pardon too.”
Not only of the present, but also of the future does Joseph speak, reminding us that in Christ we have
ETERNAL SALVATION. Joseph looks forward to the remaining five years of famine, and he doubts not that it will be in his power to nourish his father and all his family during that period. “ Near” to him (ver. 10) it would be well with them. “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out,” are the gracious words of Jesus. Can any one who hears them fail to have assurance of salvation ?
Let the reader ponder well the whole bearing of the epistle to the Hebrews. Let him contemplate the Divine nature of Him by whom God has in these last days spoken, and then notice the oft-repeated word “eternal." The Son of God gives His own character to all that He does. Hence His salvation, His redemption, His priesthood, His Shepherd-care are all eternal. What a summary of the epistle is contained in chap. xiii. 8—“ Jesus Christ yesterday and to-day the same, and for ever”!
Let us now notice
THE EFFECT UPON OTHERS.
The reconciliation of Joseph with his brethren was not unobserved by the Egyptians. In verse 2 we find that they heard the weeping, and in verse 16 we have further evidence of this and of its result, accompanied by the statement that “it pleased Pharaoh well, and his
' servants.” Herein we have a figure of the blessing which, according to Psalm lxvii., will be the portion of the Gentiles when God's face shall again shine upon Israel. Even now, seeing that the Church possesses the “firstfruits” (Rom. viii. 23) of all that is to come, there is a sense in which the world both rejoices and prospers through her. Such Scriptures as Matthew v. 13, “ Ye are the salt of the earth,” and Acts v. 13, “The people magnified them," may be considered in connection with this remark. No one at all conversant with the history and condition of Europe can question the statement that those nations are the most prosperous which have in them the greatest number of Christians. Too often it is not good for the Church that it should be so, however beneficial to the world. Upon that aspect of the case, we need only add, that as "there arose up a new king over
, Egypt, which knew not Joseph” (Ex. i. 8), so God, if He see it to be for His children's good, can permit the world's countenance of His people to give place to its frown. (Ps. cv. 25.)
Whatever anxieties Jacob and his sons had experienced
during the first two years of famine, all their fears must have been dispelled by the
made for them by Joseph. The fat of the land” (ver. 18) was to be theirs; yea, “the good of all the land of Egypt (ver. 20). How many pictures are there in the Gospels which even more fully present this truth to us. Let the two instances of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand and of the four thousand suffice. Do we not read in Mark viii. 2, “They have nothing to eat,” and in verse 8, “They did eat and were filled "? Is not the amplitude seen in this, that "they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets ” ? The account of the earlier miracle in chapter vi. records similar facts. Or, let
any one read the epistle to the Ephesians, and say whether there be not for him all fulness in Christ. Let him but trace through the epistle the words "rich," "riches," and he can but echo with adoring wonder the language of chapter i. 3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ!”, Colossians, too,
, one might quote, and its own emphatic summing-up of its teaching in chapter ii. 10, “complete [filled-up] in HIM.” This being so, ought not the prayer of Epaphras to be answered for each one of us, that we “stand perfect and filled [margin) in all the will of God”? Lastly,
THE EARNEST OF THE INHERITANCE is seen at the close of the chapter in the “provision for the way” of verse 22, and the “good things of Egypt” of verse 23. So did Jacob regard them, for while “he believed not ” the “saying” (ver. 26) of his sons, his "spirit revived” when he “saw the wagons which Joseph