And Jacob their father said to them, Me have you bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not…
I. GOD'S DEALINGS WITH HIS PEOPLE, EVEN WHEN HE IS WORKING THEIR DELIVERANCE, AND DESIGNING THEIR GOOD, ARE OFTEN DARK AND INTRICATE, SEEMING TO MAKE MORE AGAINST THEM THAN FOR THEM. Thus it was with Jacob now. God designed the preservation of him and his family in Egypt, by Joseph's advancement there; but how unlikely was the method He took in order to it?
II. WHENCE IT IS THAT A CHILD OF GOD MAY BE READY TO CONCLUDE THAT TO BE AGAINST HIM WHICH IS REALLY FOR HIM.
1. This proceeds from their weakness of faith, as to God's wisdom and power, faithfulness and love.
2. A saint is apt to say of what befalls him, all these things are against me, as looking to Providence, and judging by it abstracted from His promise.
3. A child of God may say of what befalls him, all these things are against me, judging by sense.
4. What a saint thus speaks, 'tis as looking down to the present world, and his interest in it.
5. Saints may say of God's dealings, they are against them, as speaking through rashness, and viewing only a part of his work, and not staying to the end.
6. Saints, under the trials they meet with, may be tempted to say, all these things are against us, as not duly attending to the method of God's dealing with His people, and their own and others' experience of the happy purposes He has served by it.
III. How MAY IT BE CONCLUDED, THAT WHAT THE PEOPLE OF GOD APPREHEND TO BE AGAINST THEM, SHALL IN THE ISSUE MAKE REALLY FOR THEE?
1. From God's relation to them. He is their God in covenant, their tender Father, and so in a peculiar manner concerned about them.
2. From His love to them.
3. From His express promises (Isaiah 43:1, 2).
IV. WHY GOD CHOOSES TO CARRY ON HIS PEOPLE'S GOOD BY WAYS, TO APPEARANCE, THE MOST DARK AND THREATENING.
1. For His own glory (John 11:4) In God's delivering us when we are at the end of our thoughts and hopes, and when ready to give up all for lost, then He appears in His glory, a God powerful, wise, merciful, and faithful indeed.
2. This God does, for the trial and discovery of His people.
(1) In their corruption: that they may be more sensible of it, and humbled under it.
(2) For the discovery of their graces: either as to their weakness, that they may be labouring after improvement; or as to their strength, that this may appear to His honour and their own comfort.
(3) To quicken and make them the more earnest in prayer to Him.
(4) To sweeten and endear the mercy He vouchsafes them, after all their doubtings and fears of the contrary.
(5) God heightens the difficulties that seem to stand in the way of mercy before us, that we may be enlarged in our thanksgivings for it afterwards.
1. Take heed of judging God's purposes of grace by the external dispensations which make way to bring them into effect.
2. Beg that faith may not fail when all things of sense seem dark and dismal.
3. Beware of entertaining narrow thoughts of God in the deepest distress. Believe Him always the same, whatever changes you meet with.
4. Listen not to what flesh, and sense, or Satan would suggest, derogatory to the power and faithfulness of God.
5. Be assured that all God's providences are accomplishing His promises, though you see not how this will be brought about.
6. Whilst you are so apt to say on earth, that all these things are against me, with the greater earnestness press on towards heaven. And in the light of that world, you will be fully satisfied how all things in the issue were for you, and that all your tears did but prepare you, with the greater relish to enter into that presence of God, where there is fulness of joy, and where there are pleasures for evermore.
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.