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MEDITATIONS ON JOSEPH: From the Book of Genesis

PART ONE

But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so.”

The above quotation will be found in the 42nd chapter and 20th verse of Genesis. They are the words of Joseph to ten of his brothers when they came down to Egypt to buy corn.

For many months I have had some desire to write some of my meditations on the above scripture, but feeling my weakness and barrenness of mind most of the time I have put it off until now. As I fully realize that writing is like preaching, if it is profitable to the house hold of faith, we must be endured with power from on high.

If I should undertake to write the life and travels of Joseph from early childhood to the time he was made Governor of Egypt, as it is recorded in the scriptures, it would require many pages, even if I were blessed to do so. But I would like to say just here, that as an obedient son of his father and being persecuted by his brothers, tempted by Potiphar’s wife, cast into the dungeon, and then mounted to the throne of Egypt, speaking roughly to his brothers, putting them into prison, storing away corn in the years of plenty to be freely meted out to his brothers without charge in the days of the famine, and then revealing himself to his brothers as their precious brother: in many respects beautifully portrays in types and shadows the work of the Father, who taught us through the law, the Son who suffered for our sins under the law, and the Holy Spirit or Comforter who revealed Jesus to us as the way, the truth and the life.

It will be noticed that when Joseph’s brothers came down to Egypt they made obeisance to him, which was in part a fulfillment of the dreams which he had when he was yet a small boy while living with his father. Joseph called them spies as a reminder of their transgressions. He uses these words to stir up their evil conscience and make them mindful of the sin they had committed. Now Joseph knew his brothers and he was fully aware of the fact that their evil deeds were the cause of his sufferings and sorrows, yet he loved them. Like Jesus who “loved his people with an everlasting love, even we when dead in trespasses and in sin.” He said, “Nay, my Lord, but to buy food are thy servants come.” Joseph spake roughly unto them, and put them into ward (or prison) three days. In my meditations I can see them conversing in sorrow over their past wicked life, when they put their brother into a pit, then sold him for twenty pieces of silver, after which they killed one of the kids of the goats and dipped his coat of many colors into it and sent it back to their father in order to try to cover up their wicked acts. We are told, “Be sure your sins will find you out.” Num. 32:23. And they said one to another, “We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul when he besought us, and we would not hear, therefore is this distress come upon us. “Can you not, dear reader, see from your own experience, how their sins rolled up before them like mountains? Trace your own experience as a convicted sinner under God’s just and holy law, when you came to the end and was shut up under the law, without God and without hope in the world. The unworthy writer, while under this heavy guilt and condemnation, often looked at the beasts of the field and said I had rather be in their place than in mine, for I could not see how God could justify such a sinner as I felt myself to be. Yet my breathings were like the poor publican, “who stood afar off (in his feelings) and said, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Often when I lay down at night I would wet the pillow in part with tears from my eyes while under conviction of God’s just and holy law.

Now back to my narrative. Joseph spake to his brothers by an interpreter and he continues to call them spies. This expression causes their guilt and sorrow to mount up before them and to further serve to sink them into despair. Yet, they vainly tried to vindicate themselves, saying, “Thy servants are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not.” Again Joseph said unto them, “That is it that I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies.” Gen. 42:14.

Now, when his brothers said, “Thy servants are twelve brethren, and the youngest is with his father and one is not,” of course, he knew he was the “one is not.” He now puts the burden of proof on them to prove that they are not spies, by saying, “Hereby ye shall be proved; by the life of Pharoah ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither. Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be kept in prison that your words may be proved.” At this point Joseph modifies his previous statement by saying, “If ye be true men let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison; go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses.” But remember, that he makes it mandatory upon the part of his brothers that they can not get any more corn unless they bring their youngest brother.

Several years ago, after reading the above quotation of Joseph, I wondered in my mind, Just why, he made it imperative that the youngest brother (or Benjamin) must come before they could get any more corn. The thought lingered with me occasionally for a period of about two years. I am convinced, “That the secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong unto us, and our children forever.” Deut. 29:29. Is it not true that we must be overshadowed by the Holy Ghost today to understand the revealed things of God?

Would it be too much for me to say that the Lord was gracious in revealing to me in a dream who Benjamin represents in the type and shadows? One night while I was asleep, a wheat field appeared in front of me and a voices poke and said, “Benjamin is the corn.” I awoke and meditated over the dream, but I could not understand it. I fell asleep again and a second time, this wheat field appeared in front of me and the same voice said again, “Benjamin is the corn.” I awoke and I said to myself that I cannot understand how that Benjamin could be the corn when his brothers were going down to Egypt to get the corn. A third time I fell asleep and the same field appeared before me. It seemed to be about twelve or eighteen inches high, and the same voice said, “Benjamin is the corn.” It made such an impression on me that I called my wife, and I said, “Mother, I have dreamed three times of seeing a wheat field in front of me, and each time a voice would say, “Benjamin is the corn.” And I cannot make any sense out of it as I thought they were going down to Egypt to get corn, but the voice said that Benjamin is the corn.” Immediately my wife said, “That is plain.” She said, “Benjamin is the evidence that his brothers are not spies.” I still seemed to be at a loss to understand. She said, “Benjamin is the fruit.” All of this was foreign to me, then she said, “Benjamin is the youngest brother.” In a flash, the whole dream was clear before me. Surely Benjamin is “Christ formed in you the hope of glory.” HE MUST COME. Then I could understand what John taught when he said, “And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” That is, when you bring grace you get grace, when you bring the evidence you get the evidence, when you bring fruit you get fruit, when you bring corn you get corn. Is not this the same doctrine that John preached in the wilderness of Judea when the Pharisees and Sadducees came to his baptism, and brought such flimsy evidence that they were the children of God because Abraham was their father! John said, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.” Matt. 3:7-8. Is not love, joy, peace, happiness, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, patience and kindness which Paul says are fruits of the Spirit, always found in the youngest brother? Christ formed in you the hope of glory?

Many people wonder today why it is that we do not seek for large numbers in our churches and because we do not, many have said that we are selfish, but this is not the truth. I will only answer for myself. I like large numbers provided they bring the FRUITS or “Benjamin the youngest brother.” The inspired apostle Paul taught by divine revelation that they were not all Israel that are of Israel, neither are they children, because they are the seed of Abraham, but in Isaac shall thy seed be called. He was born out of due season. His mother, Sarah, was ninety years old and Abraham, one hundred years old when he was born, which to my mind is a true type of every heaven-born soul, for the spiritual birth contrary to all human understanding and human reason and all of His people were saved in the mind and purpose of God before the world began, for Jesus said, “Thine they were, and thou gayest them me.” Jn. 17:6. Paul said, “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” 2 Tim. 1:9.

While I am writing about this youngest brother I would like to relate a beautiful scene which took place one night during a commencement exercise at our school. My wife and I went into the auditorium and took a seat near the back of the room and there were two girls sitting about three seats in front of us. They looked back at us and bowed their heads. One of them was so full that she began shedding tears. I turned to my wife and said, “There is a child of God.” At that time I did not know either of them. About eighteen months after this I had the gracious privilege of baptizing this same little girl. Now, when she came before the church, was it necessary for her to relate any of the dealings of the Lord with her, in order for us to have confidence in her? My answer is no, for I saw the fruit or evidence the night we were in the school auditorium.

While Joseph’s brothers were yet in prison, it will be observed in Gen. 42:22 that they continue to talk about the sin that they committed against their brother, and moreover, they are branded as spies. All the evidence that they could produce, even the money that they brought to pay for the corn could not appease the justice of their just condemnation. But charity never fails. The love which Joseph has for his brothers is now made manifest in part. Although, while he bound Simeon in their presence and kept him in prison until Benjamin came, he released the others and commanded that their sacks be filled with corn, that they might carry it to Canaan for the famine of their houses and to restore every man’s money into his sack. Let it be fully understood that Joseph did not release them from prison and put them under bond because of any evidence that they gave or even the money which they brought, but it was because of the great love he had for them, their father and families. Is this not agreeable with the language of Peter who said, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold, from your vain conversation, received by tradition from your fathers: but with the precious blood of Christ.” 1 Pet. 1:18-19.

(Elder) T. FLOYD ADAMS
Willow Springs, N.C.
March 27, 1945.