And Jacob their father said to them, Me have you bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not…
I. WE HAVE UNQUALIFIED ASSURANCE THAT GOD IS THE FRIEND OF HIS PEOPLE; AND THAT HE IS DIRECTING AND CONTROLLING ALL THINGS FOR THEIR HIGHEST GOOD. Why, then, should we ever fall into despair?
II. WE HAVE THE EVIDENCE OF GOD'S LOVE TO US IN THE DEATH OF HIS SON ON OUR BEHALF. We may, therefore, rest satisfied that He will not harm us by any of the events of His providence. There are not TWO GODS, one of providence, and one of grace.
III. WE HAVE THE TESTIMONY OF MANY OF GOD'S PEOPLE TO THE FACT THAT THOSE THINGS WHICH WERE APPARENTLY HARDEST IN THEIR LOTS, WERE AFTER ALL MOST BLESSED TO THEM. It is easy to see how that was the case in the history of Jacob which has been before us. But it is equally conspicuous in the history of Abraham. But it has been the same with all God's saints. The head-waters which have fed the main tributaries to their character, have been away up in some lonely tam of trial among the mountains, where their souls were sore pressed by the affliction that came upon them.
IV. YOU MAY FIND FROM YOUR OWN PAST EXPERIENCE THAT YOUR TRIALS WILL END IN YOUR SPIRITUAL PROFIT. You are different from any disciples of Jesus whom I have ever known, if you be not ready to say that the greatest starts your spiritual growth has taken have been occasioned by trial. In the early spring-time, after the seed has been put into the ground, and has begun to sprout out of the earth, there come those cloudy, close, damp, steamy days, which we all know so well and dislike so much. The sun is rarely visible; the heat is more oppressive and relaxing than in the dog-days; and everybody is uncomfortable. We would rather have a pelting rain for a few hours and be done with it, or we would infinitely prefer the cloudless sky and blazing sun of midsummer. Yes, but then these are the "fine growing days" which the farmer loves, when things seem to be shooting up from the earth with such rapidity that you almost think you can see them moving. So, the "fine growing days" of the soul are not its most agreeable ones. They are the close, damp, depressing ones, in which, as with Paul and his fellow-passengers in the storm, no sun appears by day, and no star visible by night. Or, to illustrate it yet in another way: There is a shuddering dread comes over one as he sees the lightning leap from the cloud, and light up the midnight gloom with its glare; but if the flash reveal to us that we are standing on the edge of a precipice over which we are in danger of falling, we will welcome it in spite of our alarm, and thank God for the providence that sent it just then. Now, it is so sometimes that trial has come to us, and we have forgotten the forked fury of the flaming thunderbolt in our gratitude for the warning which it gave so timely. Who has not known of such times in his history? and with such experiences behind us, how can we permit ourselves to say of any circumstances, however untoward they may seem, "All these things are against us"? Take to yourselves the support which these considerations are fitted to supply. If I have spoken truly, then —
1. No matter what your trials may be, you may be at peace. You are in God's hands. Where could you be better? Where would you be rather?
2. You may see new reason for patience. "Judge nothing before the time." Let God finish His work, and when you can look back upon the beginning from the end, you will not need anyone to vindicate His ways to you.
3. You may surely stay yourselves by earnest prayer.
(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.