And they told 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…
We see here how probabilities are the handmaids and the helpers of faith. Slight tokens become the aliment, the very food, on which action feeds, strengthens, nurtures itself, and goes forth to fulfil the work marked out by Providence for the life.
I. Jacob's heart fainted; but old men, dying persons, often feel that some unrealized object detains them here. Jacob was like watchers who have gone to the point and taken lodgings, to be the first to hail the ship; and as pennon after pennon flutters in sight they hail it, but it is not the expected vessel, and the heart faints, until at last the well-known signal waves in the wind. Sense sees it, and faith revives.
II. The lesson of the patriarch's history is that faith may not realize all it desires, but it may realize what confirms, revives, assures. "He saw the waggons": "Faith cometh by hearing"; it is a moral principle created in the mind, not so much by facts as probabilities. Faith is moved and swayed by antecedental considerations. So these waggons were, in all probability, an aid to faith, and his heart revived. Treasure up marks and tokens of another country; you will find they will not be wanting.
III. If you deal faithfully with the tremendous hints and probabilities sacred to your own nature, sacred to the Holy Word, sacred to the infinite manifestation of God in the flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, they will hold you fast in the power of awful convictions, and in the embrace of infinite consolations. The waggons assured Jacob that Joseph was yet alive, and there are innumerable conveyances of grace which assure us that Jesus is yet alive.
(E. Paxton Hood.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived: