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MEDITATIONS ON JOSEPH: From the Book of Genesis


Joseph no longer speaks to his brethren by an interpreter; but he comes to them face to face. Now this wonderful secret which has been kept from them so long is now revealed, “I am your brother.” “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past (law days) unto the fathers by the prophets hath in these last days (Gospel day) spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things.” Heb. 1:1-2.

Joseph has the keys to the corn houses in Egypt, and he freely hands it out to all of his brothers, as will be seen by the wagons loaded with provisions going back to Canaan, to spread the good news that “Joseph is yet alive, and he is Governor over all the land of Egypt.” He sends for their father, their families and all of their kindred, in the land of Canaan and settles them down in the goodly land of Goshen. Now they eat bread from this great store of CORN, for which they have bestowed no labor.

Lest I forget, I will now mention the charge which Joseph made to his brothers before they left to bring their families – “Also regard not your stuff; for all the good of all the land of Egypt is yours.” Gen. 45:20. Why did he render this charge? He well knew that they had a lot of possessions that they would not want to leave behind, all of which have now become worthless, for the store houses in Egypt are open to meet all their requirements in time of NEED. Furthermore, there is no room in the great store houses of Egypt to shelter such for these houses are filled with CORN.

Now, would Joseph’s brothers question his right and ability to deliver to them this serious and solemn charge – “Regard not your stuff?” The man who sits upon his throne in his royal majesty, and is governor of all Egypt, he also has the gift to divine. Is he not fully qualified to tell them what to bring and what to leave behind. First he tells them to bring Benjamin (the corn, or Holy Spirit); second, bring your families and father and kindred. That is all. Then he tells them, “regard not your stuff.” For this store house in Egypt is a place to get as a “free gift”, and not a place to exchange our “stuff’ for corn. Regardless of how we may present our “stuff”, we will never be able to exchange it for CORN, because all our “righteousnesses are as filthy rags.”

That which I have written above is only a faint type, or as Paul said “a shadow of good things to come.” Now, this Great God who sits upon His throne clothed with ALL POWER and authority, who says that “Heaven is my throne and earth is my footstool and the cattle of a thousand hills are mine, if I were hungry I would not ask you”, and further says that “the lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof, is of the Lord.” Who would question His right and ability to teach and give instruction to us poor mortals, for “all of thy people shall be taught of the Lord” and “great shall be the peace of thy children.” So this Great Giver, who is the giver of every good and perfect gift (Jesus), for “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” “And he spake as never man spake.” How fitting are the words of the poet:

“Keep silent all created things,
And wait your Maker’s nod
My soul stands trembling while she sings
The honors of her God.”

As Joseph administered to his brothers out of the store houses of Egypt so Jesus administers to us out of His great store house of mercy. For John said, “and of His fullness have we all received and grace for grace”, or spiritual blessings of Benjamin. The bringing of Benjamin was all that Joseph required of his brothers for them to get corn, and the only time that we can get corn or Jesus, is when we are made willing through sufferings to present Christ, who is formed in us, the hope of glory. Oh, how often we try to present our “stuff”, such things as good works, self-righteousness, which is compared to filthy rags. We make vows and promises, self-confidence creeps in and many other things too numerous to mention, that we are continually trying to exchange for a blessing (corn). Ah! dear servants of God, was this not a serious and solemn charge that Paul rendered to Timothy, “PREACH THE WORD”! What a contrast between our filthy works and the precious works of Jesus, “who works in us both to will and to do of His own good pleasure.”

Ah! my dear friends, this market or great store house of our God is not a place to exchange our silver and gold, for the precious blood of Jesus. Joseph used the barter system in trading with the Egyptians, but to his brothers, it was a free gift.

When we come to this great treasure house and present our works (stuff) we only find the door closed against us. This is another lesson that I too, have to learn again and again. Often do I feel at a loss when our Master hides His loving face, I get to my wit’s end. This is the time that Satan makes his worst attack. He will say to me as Eliphaz, “Thereby good shall come unto thee.” Do you believe it? Job’s miserable comforter, said to him, “Acquaint now thyself with him.” This is what I have tried to do for many years, “And be at peace.” This is what I greatly desire. Sometimes I do, “Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth and lay up his words in thine heart.” I have made an honest effort to do this. “If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy Tabernacles.” How hard I have labored to get away from this iniquity. No wonder Job said, “Miserable comforters, ye are.” Acquaint thyself with him, and be at peace. Lay up his words in thine heart. If thou return to the Almighty thou shalt be built up.” Job 22:21-23.

WHAT LIES! This may be an exaggerated expression, but I wonder if I could not easily build a world like this just as easily as I could do what this “Tenamite” told Job to do. Those Tenamites and Midianites are a great pest in our lives. They tell us that a “hope is not sufficient, you ought to know you are a Christian;” “you are the cause of so few people joining the church;” “you ought to cry a little louder from the pulpit and spare not.” I make the feeble attempt by trying to obey his bidding, but all in vain, only to hear my feeble voice echo back again. Ah! dear child, do not become discouraged, this is just another experience that we have to pass through to learn from “whence our help comes.” Now our precious Redeemer speaks, “Get thee hence, Satan, for it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” Now deliverance has come. The joy of God’s salvation is restored for a short season, but alas, we again sink down, but we never get out of His reach or hearing. He sweetly whispers these words to us, “Be of good cheer, I have over come the world, for l am he that was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore;” “and as I live ye shall live also.” Live where? Right here in the flesh. But how? By the faith of the Son of God, for Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Now, let us go back just a little and pick up a few threads and see if they are types of our experience. We talk a lot about sin, but first, let us get a well defined answer. Just what is sin? Paul gives the correct definition, “Sin is the transgression of the law, and by the law is the knowledge of sin.” There is a vast difference in our experience between a pardon for our transgression of the law and a knowledge of the sin that remains with us after the offence has been committed.

When our Federal Head, Adam, transgressed God’s law, it swept the whole human race into death and destruction and our only cure is through Jesus Christ. For Paul said, “Who was delivered for our offenses and raised again for our justification.” Rom. 4:25. We too, were tried, convicted and crucified by this same law. But when Jesus died (or laid His life down) and lay in the heart of the earth three days, then arose a conqueror over death, hell and the grave, he brought us back through Him freely justified and put a new law in our heart and mind, a law that gives life and peace, and not a law like the first law that brought conviction, and condemnation, then put us into prison and finally we were sentenced and put to death. Now when we were brought back through Jesus Christ and were put under this new law which Paul says “is the law of the spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus,” it took all the guilt and condemnation away from us, for Paul said that “there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit, for the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Rom. 8:1-2. He further says, “He that is dead is freed from sin.” Remember dear reader, that we are not freed from the KNOWLEDGE of the fact that we were justly condemned for our sins. Joseph granted a free pardon to his brothers for all their sins and transgressions which they had committed against him, but they always were mindful of their sinful and wicked acts, and because of this KNOWLEDGE of their just condemnation under the law, they were continually reminded that they were still sinners for Paul said, “By the law is the KNOWLEDGE OF SIN”. Now when this knowledge of sin continued to revive in them, they began to have doubts and fears. So do we. When they saw that their father was dead, “They said Joseph will per adventure hate us, and will certainly requite us for all the evils which we did unto him”. Gen. 50:15. But Joseph, like Jesus, is always a very present help in time of need (not needs). Now his pledge and promise is renewed again, as will be seen in Gen. 50:21. “Now therefore, fear ye not: I will nurse you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spake kindly unto them. “Ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good.” Such manifested love as this can never be described by mortal tongue.

Now through the suffering and death of Jesus, who satisfied the demands of the law, were we not freed from the sins which we had committed? The unworthy writer felt as though he would never have another evil thought which lasted only a little while, for he had been in bondage for twenty one years. Is it not true that we are out under bond most of the time? But like Joseph’s brothers when he saw fit he put them behind the bars in the prison walls. I have often compared my experience with that of a bird that had been caged for a long time, and when the door was open it flits around from limb to limb, and often soars high in the air, but when it gets thirsty, tired and hungry, it is forced back to earth to get a fresh supply.

Now, I will say just a few more words about this “knowledge of sin.” Paul, the great apostle, through divine revelation left nothing for us to guess, for he brings the subject clearly to the light and said, “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound.” Among the many things which this law taught us when it entered into our hearts are three important things. First, that we have always been sinners even before we had any knowledge of the law. Second, we are sinners after we transgressed the law. Third, we are still sinners after we are resurrected from the dead, that is, after we have been delivered from our sins, and the reason for this knowledge that we are still sinners is because the offense still abounds. The knowledge of our sins, and the fact that we have to carry a dead body around the remainder of our lives, often causes us to cry out as Paul did and say, “Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death.” The very scent of our bodies together with the “knowledge of sin” is extremely nauseating to us at times. It is through those sore trials in the night that we get a little glimpse of the great and marvelous works of God. David said, “Day unto day uttereth speech and night unto night sheweth knowledge.” Psa. 19:2.

Through this sore affliction we learn a great many lessons, one of which is this, that the great mountains of sin that we could see in our brother has now become a molehill, and the little mole hill that we could only see in ourselves now becomes a mountain of sin. We may fight many battles with our brother and the world, because of SIN, but when the fight is finished we then learn that the greatest SIN always rages most within. Now when we are brought to the knowledge of the fact that the greatest sin rages most within, we can then see that the victory is only won through Jesus Christ. Paul said, “But thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 15:27.

And when the fight is finished,
And the battle is won,
Then we can see that Jesus
Was the conquering One.

Through this experience, this scripture sweetly comes to our view: “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Rom. 5:20. Now, it is through the abounding grace of God that we can look over one another for good. It is through the abounding grace of God that we can see the imperfections in ourselves. It is through the abounding grace of God, that we have love for one another. It is by the abounding grace of God that we can preach, pray, hear and sing. It is by the grace of God we can render equal and undivided praise to the everlasting Father, Son and everlasting Spirit. It is through the abounding grace of God that we can get a peep through the lattice work and glimpse the heavenly scene beyond and forget momentarily that we ever committed a sin.

Now what I have written above is some of the sweet meditations that I have had for several years, but mostly for the last three weeks, and I realize that it is like the writer, very imperfect and only to be accepted as far as it is supported by the word of God. But I will say as Paul said, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out.” Rom. 11:33. “Lo, these are parts of His ways: but how little a portion is heard of Him? and the thunder of His power who can understand.” Job 26:14.

May I close with the words of the poet:

“Deep in unfathomable mines,
Of never failing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.”

Willow Springs, N.C.
March 27, 1945.

Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord;
that walketh in his ways.
For thou shalt eat the labor of thine hands:
Happy shalt thou be and it shall be well with thee.
Psalm 128:1-2.