And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.
1. The first truth which I would point out to you as being strikingly illustrated and confirmed by this history is this: that THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD REGULATES THE MINUTEST MATTERS, and that He doeth all things according to His will, in the armies of heaven, and amongst the inhabitants of the earth. None are so besotted as not to acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being; but the extent of His agency, and the interest He takes in the affairs of men, are far from being duly appreciated.
2. Another truth which this history equally confirms is that WICKED MEN, THOUGH FOLLOWING THEIR OWN DEVICES AND ACTUATED SOLELY BY THEIR OWN EVIL INCLINATIONS, DO BUT BRING TO PASS THE SECRET PURPOSES OF THE MOST HIGH. NO one, indeed, can read this history and not see the truth of the psalmist's exclamation, "Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee (Psalm 76:10). And truly many events recorded in the Scriptures teach us the very same thing. What caused the gospel of Christ to be preached throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria by the early converts? The persecution raised at Jerusalem against the infant Church, and intended for its utter destruction (Acts 8:1). Again, when the Apostle Paul had gone through part of Asia and Greece, it was God's intention that he should preach the gospel at Rome also; but who were the agents employed to bring about this His purpose? The Asiatic Jews, who raised a tumult which threatened the apostle's life; scribes and Pharisees and wicked men, who bound themselves by an oath to kill him; and two Roman governors, one of whom, though he doubted not his innocence, to please the Jews, left him in prison, and the other, who, from no better motive, obliged him to appeal to Caesar, that he might not be taken back to Jerusalem.
3. Another truth which in this history we see clearly brought before us is that GOD'S PEOPLE ARE OFTEN TRIED BY GREAT AND LONG-CONTINUED AFFLICTION. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous" (Psalm 34:19).
4. Another truth which this history strongly confirms is that, HOWEVER LONG OR SOUNDLY CONSCIENCE MAY SLEEP, WHEN GOD IS PLEASED TO AROUSE IT, THE MOST STOUT-HEARTED SINNER WILL BE STRUCK WITH TERROR AND ALARM.
II. But I will now direct your attention to some of THE LESSONS OF INSTRUCTION WHICH THIS HISTORY MAY FURNISH US WITH.
1. And, first, we may learn from it to put full and entire trust in the promises of God, and not to be moved from our confidence by any apparently untoward events.
2. Learn from this history to maintain uprightness and integrity in all your dealings, and to combine an active use of means with an earnest prayer for a blessing upon them. When Jacob determined to send his sons a second time into Egypt, he bids them take back the money found in the mouths of their sacks, saying, "Peradventure it was an oversight."
3. Learn, again, from this history, that, as Joseph behaved towards his brethren, so God often deals with His people, and with the same object, namely, to make them sensible of their sins and to effect their humiliation.
4. Learn, lastly, from the example of Joseph, not to be overcome of evil, but to overcome evil with good.
I will go and see him before I die. —
Parallel VersesKJV: And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.