Some time ago, I was speaking upon this subject, about Joseph’s brothers trying each time they returned, to pay for their corn and every time it was put back into their sacks. When the services were closed, a sister came up to me and said, “Brother Adams, don’t you believe that we too, try at times to spend a little of this money?” I paused for a moment, then said, “I believe you are right.” I can see now, that in my nature I am still possessed with self-works, and self-righteousness. I believe that Peter was possessed with self-confidence the night our Master was crucified. He said, “Lord, I am ready to go both into prison and into death.” It is only when we are clothed and in our right mind that we can fully understand the truth of the scriptures which say, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, etc.” By grace through faith, and every blessing that we receive is a free gift, without any merit on our part. Joseph taught this lesson over and over again to his brothers about which I hope to discuss more fully later in this article.
They are now on their way back home to carry corn for their families. While they have been released from the prison, yet Simeon is still there, and they dread the thought of having to introduce the subject to their father of having to bring Benjamin back to get any more corn. This was indeed distressing to them. Their conscience stings them severely for taking vengeance on their brother, the man whom they did not know down in Egypt who “spoke roughly to them,” also, they realized that they would soon have to face him again, not knowing what the consequences would be. All of the above was enough to sink them into gloom and despair. There is no doubt that they wished they had never been born. I speak this from my own experience, but dear reader, this is the only route of travel to get any more corn, for we must “through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22. So it was with Joseph’s brothers, they had a long way to go under God’s just and holy law before they could meet Joseph face to face in peace.
Now, they approached their father with the sad news that Benjamin must go down the next time if they got any more corn. Jacob was in despair. He said, “Joseph is not and Simeon is not and ye will take Benjamin away; all these things are against me.” At first he refused to let him go. But ah! when the corn gives out and the famine gets to be sore in the land (or soul) Jacob’s heart begins to soften, for our God knows how and does make His people willing through suffering in the day of His power. How well do we remember the sufferings that we went through before we were made willing to present the corn (or the youngest brother). If lam not mistaken, the Lord called me one day when I was about thirty-four years old, at about two o’clock p.m., and said, “Show my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sin.” I said, “Lord, I will die before I will go.” Oh, the suffering I went through for several weeks will never be described by mortal tongue. May I ask this question – Are there any volunteer ministers in God’s kingdom who can preach the gospel? Are they not all conscripted? Yet, we fully realize that we are a failure without the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Now, let us view the scene a little further and see how Jacob endeavors to appease the wrath of the man in Egypt. He said, “Take the best fruit in the land in your vessel and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, myrrh, nuts, and almonds. And take double money in your hand; and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again in your hand, peradventure it was an oversight.” You perceive, he is still trying to pay for the corn as well as to appease Joseph’s wrath. Now all of this amounts to nothing, but are we not like Jacob? We have to learn this lesson by experience again and again. Jacob’s heart is getting much softer at this period, for in Gen. 43:13, he says, “Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man” and his prayer is that “God Almighty give you mercy before the man.” Judah said before this that “I will be surety for him.” “If I bring him not again, let me bear the blame forever.”
When they came into Joseph’s presence and he saw Benjamin with them, he said to the rulers of his house, “Bring these men home, and slay and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon.” Notwithstanding the fact that Joseph’s brothers presented Benjamin by his demand and manifested his love for them by giving them food and lodging, also had their sacks filled with corn and restored every man’s money in their sacks; he still speaks to them by an interpreter and has not yet made himself known to them. The climax of their suffering is yet to come as will be seen by the finding of Joseph’s silver cup by his steward. He put the silver cup into Benjamin’s sack according to Joseph’s instructions. Is not this cup a type of the law? It was by the finding of this cup in Benjamin’s sack that Joseph’s brothers found out his righteous indignation against them for their evil deeds which they had committed against himself. They were able to present Benjamin which was required by Joseph as true evidence that they were not spies; yet, now they are at their wit’s end, for Joseph has accused them of taking the cup, which of course, each one knew that he did not, but they were not able to prove that the other did not, for the evidence is beyond questioning, as it was found in Benjamin’s sack. Please remember, that this cup is used by Joseph to drink and DIVINE. Read Gen. 44:5. “Is not this it in which my Lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? Ye have done evil in so doing.” Could his brothers when they returned and were in the presence of Joseph, a man clothed in royal apparel, sitting upon his throne, and one who had power to execute judgment, even think, much less express, that they were not guilty? How dare they say that they did not take the cup? The evidence is too plain.
Dear reader, please observe again that this cup is put into Benjamin’s sack for the purpose of divining, and it will serve the purpose for which he had it put there. It brought out the wickedness which was in their hearts before God. For Judah said, “What shall we say unto my Lord? What shall we speak? Or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants.” They had a sense of their guilt long before Joseph called them spies. But now God has found it out and made them acquainted with the fact that through the finding of the CUP that He knows all about their evil conduct. There is no alibi which they can plead, the secret of their wicked hearts is fully opened up, for God has found it out. They are at their wit’s end; there is nothing to say but GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY! Divine justice must be satisfied. Oh, how they felt their just condemnation. “How shall we clear ourselves?” If you, dear child of God, should chance to read these meditations, you may say, “I have not had quite as bitter an experience as you have described.” May I ask: Have you ever heard a still small voice speak in the court of your conscience? – “Guilty, behold, I am vile.” If you have not heard the voice you evidently felt the power of it.
Is not this CUP a clear type of the law? Paul said by the LAW is the knowledge of sin. (Rom. 3:20.) Again he said, “Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law.” Rom. 7:7. I have often said that the law is a straight edge. When it is applied to a sinner it shows him how crooked he is. When I was a small boy, I watched those old hewers of timber. When they cut the tree down, they would stretch a string from one end of the log to the other on the side which they desired to slab or hew off, then saturate the string with lamp black, then pull it up in the middle and let it spring back on the log. This would make a black line from one end to the other. Now, this line did not straighten the log, but it showed the hewers just how crooked the log was. So it is when we are brought under the law, as the log is lying under the line. It reveals the secrets of our heart and causes us to exclaim as Job did, “Behold, l am vile. What shall I answer thee?” Job 40:4.
Inasmuch as the finding of this cup by Joseph’s steward in Benjamin’s sack, brought the most excruciating pain and sorrow to his brothers, just so, when God’s just and holy law was written upon this hard and stony heart of ours, and his continual wrath and judgment poured out upon us, and that without mercy. It brought us down as poor penitent sinners before Him. Through this experience we learned one lesson that we will never forget, that is, to never plead that we are not guilty before Him again. Now, the only thing that we can plead, that is acceptable to God, is the imputed righteousness of Jesus. Our sins were imputed to Him and His righteousness was imputed to us, “He was made to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” So Jesus said except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
The finding of the CUP in Benjamin’s sack (bear in mind that he is their youngest brother) is the cause of their returning to Joseph, so “The law is our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ” and let it be observed that as they stood before Joseph (the man whom they did not know) sitting upon the throne of His Royal Majesty, that they never again uttered one word to try to prove their innocence, they never muttered again that they were not spies, they did not say again that they were true men; they never said again that we are all the sons of one man and “one is not” They did not say that none of them stole the CUP, all of which expressions they previously used before in order to prove and plead their innocence. Now the finding of the CUP in Benjamin’s sack, has stopped their mouths, so when this LAW revealed the secret of our hearts, it stopped our mouths. For Paul says, “Now we know that what things soever the LAW saith, it saith to them who are under the LAW. That every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become guilty before God.” Rom. 3:19.
Now if we try to justify ourselves by continually pleading our righteousness, are we not found to be liars? For Paul said, “By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified.” It only remains to be seen that through the goodness of this great and mighty ruler of Egypt, in restoring Benjamin to them is the only hope of ever having any peace now or ever, for he is “their youngest brother.” – “Christ formed in you the hope of glory.”
Now, inasmuch as God has let them know that He knows all about their iniquity, they said, “We are my lord’s servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found.” Now, Joseph brings them into the full extremity of their sufferings, for he said, “God forbid that I should do so: but them and in whose hand the CUP is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father.” Now hear the pitiful pleas of Judah, who is spokesman for all. Dear reader, I ask your patience just here, while we see THE SHADOW TURN ON THE DIAL. They are yet experiencing sore trials under this Governor (or law) who sits upon his throne, for Paul said, “The law having a shadow of good things to come.” So the good thing is yet to come. Does not Judah now become a type of the Son of God? For his past sufferings made him willing to be surety for Benjamin’s safety and return to his father and he manifested it fully by more sufferings when he said, “Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondsman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren. Then I shall bear the blame to my father forever. By the opening of the 45th chapter of Genesis we can see from what follows that divine justice has been satisfied, and THE GOOD THING HAS COME.
Do we not see the Son of God manifested in this shadow? Though he were a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered: and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.” Heb. 5:8-9. It may be said that Judah was not perfect. To this inquirer I will repeat the language of Paul, the shadow is “not the very image.” For proof of this read Gen. 49:8-12.
Now, Paul said, “By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.” Please take notice that Jesus is not our SECURITY but our SURETY, for if I become security for someone, this means that I will pay if he fails. Let it be remembered, that the righteous indignation of God against His children was charged to the Son in the mind and purpose of God before the world began. “For lo, in the volume of the book it is written of me, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.” So He, Jesus, took all the blame and bore our sins in His own sinless body, (no sin except the imputed sins of His people). He suffered shame and was nailed to the cross, bled and died that we poor, evil, vile and wretched sinners “might have life”, and not only have life but that we “might have it more abundantly.” And through His sufferings you were set free, and I have humble hope that I was remembered in His sufferings too.
Now their suffering has reached a climax and begins to subside while Joseph makes himself known unto them. He is so overcome with tenderness and love for them that he can not refrain weeping aloud, He said, “Cause every man to go out from me.” Dear child, may I ask, was there anyone present but you and Jesus when He made Himself known to you? He said, “Come near to me.” What sweet and gracious words from our elder brother to such sinful and guilty rebels. “I am Joseph, your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.” Gen. 45:4. Their great burden of sin and condemnation is gradually being removed by these words. “Be not grieved, for God did send me before you to preserve life.” Could there be any life for Joseph’s brothers except through his sufferings and then mounting to the throne of Egypt, to store away corn in the years of plenty to meet their need in the years of famine? As the type, so is the reality. Was it not through this crucified and risen Savior that we poor mortals are blessed to eat His flesh and drink His blood? Jesus said, “My flesh is meat indeed and my blood is drink indeed.” May I ask this solemn question: Have we really been a partaker of the sufferings of Jesus? Have we been made a partaker of His joy after the sufferings? If so, we have eaten His flesh and drunk His blood. We know from experience that all the things on the “menu” are not good to the taste, but ah, bear this in mind that all the things in the listing such as sorrow, grief and trouble are not palatable to our taste like love, joy, peace and happiness, but remember that all of this is good for the body. “For if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.” 2 Tim. 2:12.
(Elder) T. FLOYD ADAMS
Willow Springs, N.C.
March 27, 1945.