Sermon 2470. Jacob and Doubting Souls a Parallel
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, JUNE 21, 1896,
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, JUNE 20, 1886.
"And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive: I will go and see him before I die." Genesis 45:28.
I THINK that the Patriarch Jacob may well serve as the type and emblem of a doubting soul, one who has been told the goodnews of salvation, the Gospel of God's Grace, but who cannot bring his mind to believe it.
Let us think for a few minutes of old Jacob. First of all, he was a man who was very ready to believe evil tidings. When hissons held up before him a coat dipped in the blood of a kid and asked him if it was not the coat he had given to Joseph, thePatriarch answered, "It is my son's coat; an evil beast has devoured him. Joseph is, without doubt, torn in pieces." He hadno doubt about it, yet it was not true. And we have many hearers who will believe anything that is terrible, even though itmay not be true. If there is something in the sermon which seems to condemn them, even though it may not be meant to condemnthem, they are sure to take home that part of the discourse. If they see any passage of Scripture that appears to frown uponthem, they retain that in their memory and they keep on stinging themselves with it, often making themselves unhappy withthat which was never intended to apply to them! I wish that readiness to believe the dark sayings could be turned to an equalreadiness to receive the consolations of the Word of God. Surely, we ought not to be so prejudiced against ourselves as toaccept every evil thing and to reject every good thing. No, let us weigh fairly the evidence for either form of teaching andbelieve, or reject either according as the evidence, for it may be strong or weak.
Jacob would, all the while, have willingly believed that which was good, if he could have believed it. If you could have askedhim if he had any objection to believe that Joseph was alive, the old man would have answered, "Oh, no! It would be the joyof my heart if I could but think it to be true." There are some whom I am now addressing who are in a similar case. Ask themwhether they have any objection to believe that Jesus Christ is their Savior, that He loved them and gave Himself for them,and they would, each one, reply, "Object to believe this? Why, I would give my eyes-I would give my life-if I could but thinkit to be true!" Such an unbeliever as that is a very hopeful one because it is evident that he is not a willful unbeliever-hedoes not desire to be so. His heart longs to grasp the Truth of God which, for the moment, his mind dares not accept! Jacob,in this respect, is the type of very many who hear the Gospel, but dare not receive it and yet oh, how they wish they could!Their very soul hungers and thirsts after it, but they are afraid to take it lest they should be taking that which is nottruly theirs.
So far, the parallel between Jacob and the doubting soul runs very properly. Next notice that to the Patriarch, the truthabout his son Joseph seemed altogether incredible. Joseph was alive and governor over all the land of Egypt-but the old manhad so long believed the contrary that he could not readily get out of the rut! He had sorrowfully said, "Joseph is, withoutdoubt, torn in pieces," and this idea, though it was most painful to him, had, nevertheless, eaten its way into his beliefand he could not get it out of him. So do I know some who have written bitter things against themselves- "I shall be lost,I know I shall. It is not possible that Christ will save me. He will certainly reject me." And, although that is quite untrue-asuntrue as Jacob's belief that Joseph was dead-yet they have hugged their despair so long that they cannot give it up! Theyare like the man who refused to be comforted, or those afflicted ones of whom we read, "Their soul abhors all manner of meatand they draw near to the gates of death." Oh, that the Holy Spirit would come upon these poor unwilling doubters and helpthem to know that a lie, however long it is believed, is not the truth! Though we may be in despondency of spirit for years,yet, if there is no real cause for that despondency, it is a pity that we should continue in it. Oh, that the Holy Spiritwould enable us to break those bands asunder and joyfully to believe what is true-that there is a Savior, an all-sufficientSavior, that all power is committed into His hands-and that He will rejoice this very hour to save and bless our souls!
The news appeared incredible to Jacob because it seemed "too good to be true." His eyes flashed for the moment with a joyfullight. "Joseph alive? Joseph-my Joseph-ruler over all the land of Egypt?" And then the very brightness of the thought seemedto blind the eyes of his faith. "It cannot be true," he said-"it is too good to be true." Suppose that one of you had losta son many years ago and that a person met you outside the Tabernacle and said to you, "That boy of yours who was reporteddead 20 years ago, is not dead! He is in Australia, alive and well"? You would be staggered, would you not? And I have nodoubt you would say to yourself, "It must be somebody like him, or somebody else of the same name-it cannot be my son-it isimpossible! I know that he is dead." You would hardly believe it! Therefore, do not blame poor old Jacob for his doubts!
There are many who are, spiritually, in just that state. They say, "What? You say that Jesus died for me, that I have beenredeemed with His most precious blood, that I can have my sins forgiven? It cannot be! What? That I can be taken up to dwellwith Christ in Heaven? Oh, that it were true! It cannot be true. I did sing, just now-
'Even me, even me, Let Your mercy light on me.'
but oh, surely, it cannot come to me! I must be left out. When the showers of blessing are falling, I cannot hope that therewill be even a drop for me." Well, then, you and old Jacob are very much alike! I think you must be first cousins! Yet Jacobwas wrong and so are you-the news is not "too good to be true."
Through not believing his sons, Jacob began to faint in spirit. When they told him that Joseph was yet alive, we read that"Jacob's heart fainted, for he believed them not." There is nothing that so stops the action of the heart and brings on faintnessof the spirit as unbelief! As soon as the old man began to believe the good tidings that his sons brought, "the spirit ofJacob, their father, revived." Faith makes our spirits revive, but unbelief seems to strike us dead. I do not wonder thatsome of you are sad, dull and unhappy-as long as you cherish your unbelief, you must be so. O Holy Spirit, deliver them fromthis unbelief! Revive them by enabling them to believe what is true-there is a Savior, a Savior yet alive, a Savior who isLord of All-able and willing to save them!
There, then, is the parallel between Jacob and a doubting soul.
But, at last, Jacob rose out of his despondency and doubt. According to our text, "Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my sonis still alive: I will go and see him before I die." I think the time has come for some others to say, "It is enough." Afterhaving been attendants on the means of Grace, perhaps for 30 years or more, they ought to be able to say, "It is enough."There came in here, last Lord's Day, from a distant part of the country, an aged man, a farmer. He came up on Saturday forno other reason but to find the Savior. He heard me say that I would see enquirers on Tuesday, so he was here then. He said,"I left my farm, though it is a large one," and then he told me something about himself, and he added, "I want to find theSavior. I thought, Sir, I would come and see if I could find Christ on the Sabbath day and I waited on that I might go tothe Prayer Meeting on Monday night, and then come and speak to you about my soul."
I thought, "Yes, and it is worthwhile to leave your farm to find a Savior. It is worthwhile to come from a distant countyof England-it would be worthwhile to come from the ends of the earth if one might but find the Savior." Before I left him,I think he could say, "It is enough. Jesus is still alive and I will trust Him even now"-and he went on his way rejoicing!Oh, that some others might be able to say with him, "It is enough!"
There are two points upon which I think Jacob could say, "It is enough." First, the evidence was enough to convince him-"Itis enough; Joseph my son is still alive." Secondly, the conviction was enough to move him-"I will go and see him before Idie." The second point is quite as important as the first. Indeed, it is that to which the first ought to practically leadus.
I. The first point is that Jacob had ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO CONVINCE HIM-"It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive."
The question for us to consider concerns not Joseph, but Jesus. He is still alive. He died upon the Cross, but He has risenfrom the dead and gone into Glory-"therefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by Him, seeingHe ever lives to make intercession for them."
The evidence that good old Jacob had received was personal testimony. His sons said concerning Joseph, "We have been to Egyptand we have seen him." There have been many witnesses to testify that Christ is still alive. Not only did the 11 Apostlessee Him many times, but over 500 brethren at once saw the Son of God after He had risen from the dead. There is no fact inhistory that is better attested than the fact that He was crucified and that He rose again. The Resurrection is as true afternearly 1,900 years as it was the day it happened! The distance of time does not alter the fact! Jesus Christ, the Son of God,died on Calvary and was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea. The third day He rose from the dead, no more to die, andascended into Heaven, where He sits at the right hand of God. To this fact, His disciples bore unfaltering witness-they werehonest, simple-minded men, without enough imagination to make up the story. They were so sure of this Truth that they diedrather than deny it-most of them died by the most painful forms of death-yet nothing could ever make one of them speak a wordto the contrary! They declared that they had seen Him, that they had eaten with Him-some of them could say that they had touchedHim and one had put His finger into the print of the nails. Yes, Brothers and Sisters, Jesus Christ is still alive and I praythat each one here may say, "The testimony of these many witnesses is true, I believe it. It is enough; Jesus is still alive."
Moreover, the Holy Spirit bore witness to this fact, for after the ascension of the Savior, the Holy Spirit descended uponthe Apostles and their companions and they began to speak with other tongues. They went into all the countries of the worldand wherever they went, they were able to speak the language without having to learn it. At the same time, the Holy Spiritenabled them to work miracles by which the sick were healed-and these two things, together, were the witness of the Holy Spiritthat Jesus Christ, the Son of God, still lived and that in His name salvation was to be preached to the sons of men! To me,this is evidence enough-the witness of faithful men and the works of the Holy Spirit.
Beside that, there are many of us who are witnesses that, in answer to prayer, we have received pardon through the livingChrist. We have also received, through that living Christ, a new life into our soul. We have passed from death to life andthose who knew us before our conversion must notice a very remarkable change in us. They may not all admire it, but they mustall admit it and bear witness that we are now other than we used to be! The Lord Jesus, in whom we have trusted, has givenus new motives, new desires-in fact, a new nature and a new life-and we are witnesses to this Truth of God that He is a livingSavior, still mighty to save! I wish you could all say, with regard to these witnesses, "It is enough." I do not know whatmore witnesses we can give you and I may say of the Apostles, and of all those who bear witness by the Holy Spirit, "If youreceive not their witness, neither will you believe though men should rise from the dead and bear testimony to the fact thatJesus lives to save the sons of men."
But then Jacob had, in addition to this personal testimony of witnesses, the testimony of accurate reports, for we find thatJacob's sons told their father, "all the words of Joseph, which he had said to them." Those words of Joseph were remarkablewords, for he traced God's Providence in all that had happened. He said to his brothers, "God sent me before you to preserveyou a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me here, butGod, and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt." Jacobknew that those words were after the manner of Joseph, for Joseph always lived in the fear and love of God. As for our LordJesus Christ, He has come to teach us of the Father. He reveals God to us-that which He speaks to us, He speaks not of Himself,but in the power and in the name of God-and we know that His word is true because it is a word which glorifies God and notman!
Joseph also spoke somewhat about his own position and power. "Tell my father," he said, "thus says your son, Joseph, God hasmade me lord of all Egypt." So, the Lord Jesus Christ has told us that all power is given to Him in Heaven and on earth and,therefore, we are to go and teach all nations and bring them as disciples to His feet. The words He speaks concerning Himselfare not boastful or false-they are the utterance of a humble, meek and lowly Savior who never said a word more or less thanthe truth!
Joseph had also spoken to them very tenderly and kindly about their father. He would do everything for his father and hisbrothers, giving them the best of the land. And our Lord Jesus has spoken very tenderly to us. "Come to Me," He says, "allyou that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." The words of the Lord Jesus Christ, if you hear them or readthem, are their own witness! There is a certain distinct unique majesty about the language of Jesus Christ which somehow penetratesto the hearts of men and carries its own convincing witness into the mind. I pray you, then- you who have for years heardHis words-say, "It is enough. We have heard quite sufficient from Him to compel us to believe that He lives and that He isable to save." How long must He continue to speak to you who are now getting old hearers of the Gospel and yet have not believedit? How much longer must we persuade, entreat, exhort in the name of the Lord Jesus? How much longer must His Words be readand quoted in your hearing? May God the Holy Spirit speedily end your indecision and bring you, each one, to say, "It is enough;Jesus is alive, there is a living Savior, I will take Him to be my Savior!"
There were also abundant tokens which greatly helped to convince old Jacob-"When he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent tocarry him," he said, "It is enough." To what shall I liken these wagons? It seems to me that some of you who are doubtingwhether Christ will save you ought to think to yourselves, "Well, there is the Sabbath, which is a special token of God'slove." As I came here this evening, I thought to myself, "Why has God appointed a Sabbath day if He does not mean to giverest to men?" What a mockery it is to have one day in seven set apart for you to think of God if God does not mean to thinkof you! The very institution of the Sabbath seems to me to be a "wagon" in which to bring you to Christ. And why does Godsend ministers to preach His Gospel? I said to myself, as I came here this evening, "I am going on the silliest errand thatever moved the foot of man unless God means to save men by the message He has given me to deliver." What is the use of mytalking, and talking, and talking, unless there is a living Christ and unless that living Christ is really able to save? Hehas sent you a minister who, with all his faults, loves your souls and who would do anything within the compass of a humanmind to bring you to Christ if he only knew how to do it! Surely God did not send us to speak in His name and move us to anagony about your souls if He did not mean to bless you! So, the Christian ministry, itself, is like a "wagon" in which tobring men to Christ.
I have often thought to myself, when I have been going home after preaching, "I have put the Truth of God before my hearersso plainly that if they want to be saved, I have clearly shown them the way to Christ." I used to attend the means of Gracevery, very often when I was under concern of soul, and to the best of my knowledge and belief I never heard the Gospel simplyand plainly put to me while I was listening for it. This is the pity, that so often our Brothers preach very fine sermons,but they are no good to seeking souls and they do not lead them to Christ. But as soon as I heard that poor Primitive Methodistpreach Christ-and he preached Christ, alone, because he did not know anything else and I, myself, am very much in that condition-why,as soon as ever I heard that, I laid hold of it! When fish are hungry, they bite at the bait, and if you really want Christ,you will at once lay hold of Him! If you do not accept Him, at any rate He has been plainly set before you. And if you refuseHim, you shall deliberately and willfully reject and refuse Him. I pray that you may not do that.
O Sinner, play not the fool with your own soul! If you must play, go home to your children, pick up their toys, throw theirballs and twist their skipping-ropes, but trifle not with your souls, and with God, and Heaven and Hell! If I have lied toyou about these matters, condemn me, for I deserve it. But if I have spoken the truth to you, hear me, or if you do not hearme, hear the still small voice of your own conscience, or rather, hear the voice of God which has been speaking through me!Believe in Jesus, now that you are under the influence of a ministry which may be to you what Joseph's wagons were to oldJacob!
Think also, why is it that you are instructed in the Truths revealed in the Word of God? Why is it that there are so manyexpostulations and warnings in it? Why is it that this precious Book is put into all your homes? Why is it so full of invitationsand promises but that all this is intended to be a "wagon" to bring you to your Joseph, even to Jesus? When you see God, asit were, moving Heaven and earth to help you to salvation, bending Providence in the direction of aiding you to hear and tobelieve the Gospel, surely you ought to say, "It is enough; Jesus is still alive; God means mercy for me; Christ Jesus cansave me and He will save me."-
"Jesussits on Zion'shill,
And receives poor sinners still."
The evidence brought before Jacob was sufficient to convince him. He said, "It is enough." Oh, that you, also, may say thesame concerning the evidence brought before you!
II. But now comes the tug of war-THE CONVICTION WAS ENOUGH TO MOVE HIM. "Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is stillalive; I will go and see him before I die."
Oh, how many people there are in the world who say, "Yes, there is a Savior," and yet they are not saved! Some of you haveoften sung-
"There is a fountain filled with blood, Drawn from Immanuel's veins And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, Lose all theirguilty stains."
Is it so? Do you believe that? Then, why have not you lost all your guilty stains? "He that believes on the Son has everlastinglife." You never doubted the truth of that text and yet you have not believed on the only-begotten Son of God and you havenot received everlasting life! I can understand those who reject the Scriptures, altogether, and who deny that there is anySavior for sinners. I see where they are and feel that there is some kind of consistency in their conduct, deeply as I grieveover it, but I cannot understand what you mean when you admit the truth of what we preach, yet do not practically obey it!If the Gospel is true, why do you not believe it? If you believe it, why do you not act upon it? It is not sufficient to merelysay that you trust Christ for salvation and then to fancy there is nothing further to be done.
I have often tried to expose that delusion by representing a pilot as being brought on board a vessel and the captain andsailors saying that they all had confidence in him-that he would take the ship safely into the haven. They said they trustedhim but, having declared their faith in him, they all went below and lay down to sleep. Now, of course, the pilot needed tohave the sails attended to and the ship put in good trim! And he needed the helmsman to manage the rudder, so he called out,"What are you all doing down there? Why have you all run away from me?" And one of them answered, "Because we trust in you!You are the pilot and you said you would bring us safely into port. We trust in you, so the captain has gone to his cabinand all the sailors have gone to their berths. You see, it is a wet night, a strong northwester is blowing, it is very coldand we would rather be comfortable and snug in our berths than up there on deck. You said that you would bring us to the havenand we trust in you to do it." The pilot would, of course, reply, "You do not really trust in me, for if you did, you woulddo as I bid you! You are mocking me, you are insulting me. You have brought me on board your ship to make a fool of me! Ifyou really trusted me, every man would take his proper place and do his duty, and then, as I gave the word of command, itwould be obeyed, and so you would be brought safely into port."
It is just so with Christ and ourselves. We trust Him entirely to save us, but we have no right to say that we are saved ifwe do not practically obey Him. It is beyond all excuse that men should know that they need a Savior and that there is a Savior-andyet that they should not trust that Savior! It is as if Jacob had said, "Joseph is still alive, but I shall not trouble myhead about him." Oh, no, no, no! The Patriarch does not talk like that, but he says, "Joseph is still alive; I will go andsee him before I die." And, straightway, the poor old man and his household started to go down into Egypt-for the very nextverse reads, "And Israel took his journey with all that he had."
One reason why Jacob wanted to go to Egypt was because he wished to see his son. Some of us know the delight of seeing, again,a dear son who has been absent from us for years, and of seeing him return. It is not so much a matter for us to talk about-itis rather a thing for our own hearts to rejoice over and to remember! And we often breathe the prayer, "God grant that wemay see our beloved son again!" Yet, after all, to see a son is but the gratification of a natural affection-there is a greatdeal more reason why we should, by faith, see our Savior, for he who truly sees the Son of God shall live forever! O dearHearts-
"There is life for a look at the Crucified One!" A faith-look to God in human flesh, a believing sight of Him who bore oursins in His own body on the tree will bring you life forevermore! I think that every sinner who knows that there is a livingChrist ought to say, "I will go and see Him, whatever else I do not go to see." There are some sights in the world of whichwe say, "I should like to go and see that." Well, you may forego all the things of beauty that ever charmed the eyes of men,but, I charge you, do not forego this sight of the Lord Jesus Christ! He is the Heaven of angels! He is the delight of God,Himself! There is no true life for you other than that which will come through your looking to Him who says, "Look to Me,and be you saved, all you ends of the earth." Since you believe that there is a Savior, I pray that you may be moved at onceto say, "I will go and see Him." May you be preserved from putting it off even till the daylight breaks again! This very hour,through your tears, look straight away to the Cross and may the Lord Jesus Christ reveal Himself to you, that in His lightyou may see the Light of God!
Further, this old man, who said, "I will go and see my son," yet felt that it was but for a little while. He says, "I willgo and see him before I die." He had 17 more years to live, but he did not know that. He felt so old a man at 130 that hethought he should only just manage to see his son and, perhaps, die on his neck. He said, "But I will go and see him, eventhough it is only with my dying eyes. I will die with the sight of Joseph before me and that will be enough to make me happy."And, dear Souls, if you did but get to Jesus, you might be happy if you could only say, "Lord, now let Your servant departin peace, for my eyes have seen Your salvation." But it need not be death to you any more than it was to Jacob! Indeed, whenyou have seen Him, you shall live and never die! But your eyes shall be opened to see yet more and more of Him and the lightof Christ shall so shine into your soul that you shall behold Him after a still more glorious fashion till He shall be thejoy of your heart and the Heaven of your soul forever! Therefore, since there is such a living Savior, go to Him, I pray you,and you shall not merely see Him for a little while and then die, but you shall see Him and live forever! Therefore hastenby faith to see Him this very moment!
Old Jacob also felt that age should not hinder, but rather speed him. He believed that he was soon going to die, but he said,"I will go and see him before I die." I think that Jacob's age really made him go more quickly. "Ah," he said to himself,"I shall soon be dead, therefore let me hasten down to Joseph, that I may see him before I die." So, dear Friends, do notlet anyone say, "I am too old to be saved." Who is too old to trust Christ? Who is too old to seek and find the Savior? Ihave often heard stories told about people not being converted until after they are 55 or thereabouts-but that is all untrueand I do not believe a word of it! I have seen just as many people in proportion converted at one age as at another. Thereare more young people in the world than there are aged persons and, therefore, there are more people converted, by God's Grace,while they are young. There are fewer old people than young ones, but I thank God that even in this building, I could pointout a great many who I know who were baptized after their hair had grown gray! Some of them put their trust in Jesus whenthey were 70 years old and others even later than that!
There was a dear old Brother who came in here when he was past 80 years of age-and he found the Savior! He was such a Little-Faith,or Feeble-Mind, that he hardly dared to speak to any of us as he came in and out among us. But at last he said to himself,"I must join the Church." I fancy that he was 88 when he was baptized and he was so happy with us for about six months, butthen he gently slipped away and went Home. I am sure I never saw a more childlike person, or a more genuine conversion thanthat of this dear old man! However old you are, Friend, come along! If Methuselah were here, I would preach to him the sameGospel that I would teach to one of these dear girls, for, however old a sinner is, there is nothing in the Gospel about limitingit to persons of a certain age. "Go you into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature" does not mean, go andbegin picking out the creatures, and saying, "I only preach the Gospel to people who are under a specified age." Go home,and go to bed, Sir, if that is how you talk! Christ never sent you on such an errand as that! He sent us to preach the Gospelto every creature and to you who are almost worn out, if there is but life in you, I cry, "Come along, trust in Jesus, andHe will save even you!"-
"While the lamp holds out to burn, The vilest sinner may return"
and, returning, he shall find Christ! Be quick about it, however, you who are getting on in life, you who are far advancedin years, and may God bless you!
Yesterday I had many kind letters congratulating me on completing my 52nd year, but there was one that did a little surpriseand amuse me. One Brother writes that he has read my sermons for many years and that, at my advanced age, he cannot pray thatI may have many returns of the day-but he does trust that God may spare me at least two or three years longer for the goodof the Church! Well, as I read the letter, I could not help smiling, as you do, for I do not feel that I am quite as advancedin age as that. But still, I thought that, perhaps, this Brother's letter might be prophetic. We may be older than we thinkwe are-and two or three years may be all the time we are to have here. [Brother Spurgeon went Home less than six years later.-EO]At any rate, I will try to work for Christ as earnestly as if I had only two or three years to live, and then it may be thatHe will add to us yet more, but, if not, what does it matter? We shall go Home to Him who sent us and be gathered to our Fatherin peace.
Once more, old Jacob was not kept back from going to see his son because it was a long journey into Egypt. Journeys appearlonger to old men than they do to young folk and it was a very great undertaking to go so far with those 70 and more peoplearound him. There would be a deal of packing up to be done and there were no moving vans in those days to carry everythingfor the whole company. It was the transplanting of a grand old tree and it was a difficult task, to move so venerable an oak,with such wide-spreading roots and branches! Yet Jacob said, "I will go and see Joseph before I die." Now, dear Friend, ifit does seem a long way to Jesus, yet undertake the journey! And if you can persuade your wife and all your children to go,so much the better. Christ will receive them all in Goshen and they shall dwell with Him forever! I wish that there mightbe a blessed migration of many who have been rooted to the soil of the old Canaan, the sinful place, who will now go, notdown to Egypt, but up to Jesus in the land of plenty and of purity, to dwell with Him forever! That which ruins so many isthat hesitancy, that delaying, that halting between two opinions which I find, in the original, is hopping upon two twigsand never resting upon either! Let not that be the case with you. Procrastination is the devil's net in which myriads areentangled to their utter destruction-may the Lord deliver any of you who have been caught in it!
Decide for Christ now, I beseech you! May the Holy Spirit constrain you to decide at once, for Christ's sake! Amen.
HYMNS FROM "OUR OWN HYMN BOOK"-241, 508, 607.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: GENESIS45:9-28; JOHN5:24-44.
Genesis 45:9. Hurry up and go up to my father, and say to him, Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come downto me, tarry not. Joseph, having made himself known to his brothers, bids them return to their father and bring him down toEgypt to see his long-lost son.
10-11. And you shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near to me, you, and your children, and your children'schildren, and your flocks and your herds, and all that you have: and there will I nourish you; for yet there are five yearsof famine; lest you, and your household, and all that you have, come to poverty. It is just like Joseph to speak thus, kindly,and to put the invitation so attractively to his father-"You shall be near to me." That would be the greatest joy of all toold Jacob and this is the greatest joy to a sinner when he comes to Christ, our great Joseph-"You shall be near to Me." Itis not merely that He gives us the land of Goshen to dwell in, but He promises that we shall be near Him and that is bestof all!
12-22. And, behold, your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my mouth that speaks to you. And you shalltell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that you have seen; and you shall hurry up and bring down my father here.And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept, and Benjamin wept upon his neck. Moreover he kissed all his brothersand wept upon them: and after that his brothers talked with him. And the report thereof was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying,Joseph's brothers are come: and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, Say to your brothers,This do you, load your beasts, and depart, get you to the land of Canaan, and take your father and your households, and cometo me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and you shall eat the fat of the land. Now you are commanded todo this, take your wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father and come.Also regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours. And the children of Israel did so: and Josephgave them wagons, according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way. To all of them he gave eachman changes of raiment; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of raiment. Benjamin washis full brother, so he loved him best, and gave him most.
23, 24. And to his father he sent after this manner; ten donkeys laden with the good things of Egypt, and ten she donkeysladen with corn and bread and meat for his father by the way. So he sent his brothers away, and they departed: and he saidto them, See that you do not become troubled by the way. This was a sure sign that Joseph knew his brothers and they mightwell recognize him even by that precept, for their consciences must have told them that it had been their common habit tobecome troubled either with or without reason, so he bids them not to do so.
20-28. And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan to Jacob their father, and told him, saying, Josephis still alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob's heart fainted, for he believed them not. And theytold him all the words of Joseph, which he had said to them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him,the spirit of Jacob their father revived: and Israel said. See how quickly the Patriarch changes from Jacob into Israel? Whenhis spirit if revived, he becomes Israel!
28. It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive: I will go and see him before I die.
Now we are going to read in the Gospel according to John, the fifth chapter, beginning at the 24th verse.
John 5:24. Verily, verily, I say to you, He that hears My word, and believes in Him that sent me, has everlasting life- If we trulybelieve the Word of Christ and trust in Him who sent His Son into the world, we have at this moment everlasting life!
24. And shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death to life. What a grand verse this is! It is worthy to bewritten in letters of gold at every street corner! Would that we all knew the fullness of its meaning by heartfelt experience!
25-30. Verily, verily, I say to you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God:and they that hear shall live. For as the Father has life in Himself; so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself;and has given Him authority to execute judgement, also, because He is the Son of Man. Marvel not at this: for the hour iscoming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, to theresurrection of life; and they that have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation. I can of Myself do nothing: as I hear,I judge: and My judgment is just; because I seek not My own will, but the will of the Father which has sent Me. Christ asMediator did the will of the Father and yet, also did His own will, for His will was always the same as His Father's!
31. If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. He did bear witness to Himself by His miracles, but that was notthe witness upon which He relied, nor was it the only witness to the truth of His mission.
32-40. There is another that bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. You sent toJohn, and he bore witness to the truth. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that you might be saved.He was a burning and a shining light: and you were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But I have greater witnessthan that of John: for the works which the Father has given Me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of Me, thatthe Father has sent Me. And the Father Himself, which has sent Me, has borne witness of Me. You have neither heard His voiceat any time, nor seen His shape. And you have not His Word abiding in you: for whom He has sent, Him you believe not. Searchthe Scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. And you will not cometo Me, that you might have life. They were great Bible-readers, great students of the letter, but they would not come to Christand, therefore, the Scriptures, themselves, became a sepulcher in which they were entombed.
41-44. I receive not honor from men. But I know you, that you have not the love of God in you. I am come in My Father's name,and you receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, which receive honor,one of another, and seek not the honor that comes from God only? Some men find it difficult to believe in Christ because theyare always seeking honor for themselves. Desire for the praise of men often blinds the mind and prejudices the spirit. Howboldly our great Master speaks! There is no flattery on His lips. He is the faithful and true Witness, the very Word of God!Oh, that all men would give heed to His message!