the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. And although there was famine in every country, there was food throughout the land of Egypt.
I. GENERAL DISTRESS. "The dearth was in all lands," i.e. all the lands then known to be peopled by the descendants of Noah. Their harvests had failed. Rain excessive, or drought prolonged, had ruined their crops. For several years there seems to have been disappointment. Not only did the husbandmen suffer, but those who could not toil. Dearth engenders disease, despair, death. See 2 Kings 6:24-40, to what straits famine will reduce people. Even mothers consent together to eat their own offspring. In the lamentations of Jeremiah there is a description of the fearful consequences of famine, leading men to say, "Then was our skin black like an ov
II. EXCEPTIONAL ABUNDANCE. But for this plentifulness in Egypt the whole race might have perished. There were several reasons for the abundance in Egypt.
1. God arranged it by that wondrous overflowing of the Nile. A difference in the rising a few feet makes all the difference as to the crops. Even at this date, so do the crops of Egypt affect the markets of the world, that the rising of the Nile is watched, and the height attained telegraphed to all parts. God, at the period referred to, had given seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of dearth; but such had been the previous abundance, owing to the overflow of the river, that in the terrible time of dearth there was abundance of bread in Egypt.
2. The foresight and energy of one man had led to the husbanding of resources and storing of excessive crops.
3. Divine revelation caused Joseph to act. He could not have known of the impending danger unless it had been revealed. He had faith in God when in prison, and main-rained it when he became the governor of Egypt. Indeed that faith shone as brightly when he was the approved of Pharaoh as when he was the slave of Potiphar and the object of passion's hate. His faith was rewarded when he was able to save multitudes from starving. What a contrast is presented in the text! Dearth of many lands, abundance in one. Such contrasts are often seen. On one side of the ocean there may have been an abundant harvest, on the other side but scanty crops. The world is full of contrasts. Here is a wedding; there is a funeral. In one family is love, thoughtfulness, harmony, and in that - perhaps separated only by the thin partition of hasty builders - bickering, jealousy, and hastiness of temper. Here sobriety, providence, and religion reign; there nothing but indigence, drunkenness, and utter neglect of the claims of God. In one country is peace, activity in all its branches of industry, commercial confidence, progress-in education and art, thoughtfulness for the untaught and criminal classes, and higher appreciation of the sacredness of life; in another depression, mistrust, plotting of adventurers, rule of the conscienceless, national faithlessness, and the spreading pall of desolation. Forceful is the contrast presented by nations under the influence of a simple Christianity and those enslaved by superstition, as Spain or Austria; or paralyzed by fatalism, as Turkey and Asia Minor; or darkened by idolatry, as India, China, Africa, and some of the islands of the seas. And such contrasts are seen in individuals. There walks one whose soul has no light, no hope, no peace; here one who knows he is pardoned, and is sure of acceptance by Christ. At death what a contrast! See one dying shrinking, doubting, fearing, grasping at any straw of comfort; another rejoicing that he is soon to enter and tread the streets of the New Jerusalem. Let all be prepared for such a change. Seek Christ, who is the "Bread of life," the Savior of our souls. Lack of appetite and numbness may come from excessive exhaustion. Hunger and thirst after righteousness, and be not like a lady who once said, "Sir, I have been so long without religion that I have, I fear, now no desire for it." If we come to Christ he will receive us readily. Joseph was glad to receive and help his brethren. So will Christ supply all our need out of the treasures of his rich grace. Remember, that if the need of other nations tested the charity of Egypt, so the need of souls is to test our earnestness. If we have found the riches in Christ, we are to seek to bless others. If little time remains to some of us in which to do much for Christ, let us act as those who, having much to write and little space, crowd the letters and words the closer. Let us be earnest as the husbandman, who, seeing winter coming apace, hastens in the few fine days remaining to garner his crops. Alas, many of our doings will have to stand useless, like earless, rotten sheaves, blackening dreary fields. - H.
1. Providence puts an end to plenty at His will, however sensual men think not of it.
I. JOSEPH OPENED THE STOREHOUSES BY ROYAL AUTHORITY.
Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians.I. JOSEPH'S ADMINISTRATION.
1. It showed great prudence and skill.
2. It showed a spirit of dependence upon God.
3. It was the exhibition of a character worthy of the highest confidence.
1. How quickly adversity awaits upon prosperity.
2. What an advantage to have a true and powerful friend in the day of calamity.
3. God often brings about His purposes of love and mercy by affliction.
(T. H. Leale.)
1. The king was only to be approached through Joseph (ver. 55). So with Jesus (John 14:6).
2. The king commanded that Joseph should be obeyed (ver. 55; see John 5:23).
3. In all the land no other could open a storehouse save Joseph (see John 3:35).
II. JOSEPH WAS A FIT PERSON TO BE THUS AUTHORIZED TO OPEN THE STOREHOUSES,
1. He planned the storehouses, and was justly appointed to control them (vers. 33-36, 38).
2. He carried out the storage, and so proved himself practical as well as inventive (ver. 49).
3. He did it on a noble scale (ver. 49).
III. JOSEPH ACTUALLY OPENED THE STOREHOUSES.
1. For this purpose he filled them. Grace is meant to be used.
2. To have kept them closed would have been no gain to him.
3. He opened them at a fit time (vers. 55, 56).
4. He kept them open while the famine lasted.
IV. JOSEPH OPENED THE STOREHOUSE TO ALL COMERS. Yet Joseph did but sell, while Jesus gives without money.
V. JOSEPH ACQUIRED POSSESSION OF ALL EGYPT FOR THE KING. Full submission and consecration are the grand result of infinite love.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
2. The fruitfulest land becometh barren if God speak the word; even Egypt.
3. Periods of full conditions are observable by men; God's Spirit notes them (ver. 54).
4. In the design of Providence, wants succeed plenty at the heels.
5. Entrance of dearth, though grievous, yet may make but small impression on souls.
6. Not a word of God falleth to the ground, but as He saith, so it is.
7. Providence orders lands for scarcity as well as plenty.
8. God can give bread to Egypt when He denieth it to other nations for His own ends (ver. 54).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
2. Wants make nations stoop and seek about for the support of life.
3. Grace can make poor captives become preservers of nations.
4. Sore plagues may be made to make men inquire after and prize abused mercies.
5. General judgments are sent to manifest God's special ends of grace to His (ver. 57).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
(M. Doris, D. D.)Ephesians 3:8: "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ." "Riches of Christ!" said he to himself;" 'Unsearchable riches of Christ!' What have I preached of these? What do I know of these?" Under the blessing of the Spirit of God he was thus awakened to a new life and a new ministry. Are there not some yet living who might put to their own consciences similar questions?
( C. H. Spurgeon.)Ephesians 1:3). Our election is by Him (ver. 4). Our adoption is by Him (ver. 5). Our redemption and remission of sins are both through Him. All the gracious transactions between God and His people are through Christ. God loves us through Christ; He hears our prayers through Christ; He forgives us all our sins through Christ. Through Christ He justifies us; through Christ He sanctifies us; through Christ Pie upholds us; through Christ He perfects us. All His relations to us are through Christ; all we have is from Christ; all we expect to have hangs upon Him. He is the golden hinge upon which all our salvation turns.
(George Lawson, D. D.).
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