Genesis 42:38
But Jacob replied, "My son will not go down there with you, for his brother is dead, and he alone is left. If any harm comes to him on your journey, you will bring my gray hairs down to Sheol in sorrow."
A Faithless ExclamationG. Lawson, D. D.Genesis 42:38
Graceless ChildrenG. Lawson, D. D.Genesis 42:38
God's Trials of His PeopleR.A. Redford Genesis 42
The famine was part of God's plan to carry out his promise to Abraham (Genesis 15:13, 14). But it is not merely a fact in the historical preparation for what he was bringing to pass; a link in the chain of events leading on to Christ. We must look upon it as part of a series of types foreshadowing gospel truths. The famine was a step towards the promised possession, and has its counterpart in the work of the Holy Spirit. It represents the spiritual want of man; conviction of sin (John 16:8; cf. Romans 7:9), leading to know the power of Christ's work (Matthew 18:11).

I. The first step is CONSCIOUSNESS OF FAMINE; that a man's life is more than meat; more than a supply of bodily wants. It is realizing that he has wants beyond the present life; that in living for time he has been following a shadow. This knowledge is not natural to us. Bodily hunger soon makes itself felt, but the soul's need does not; and until it is known, the man may be "poor and blind and naked," and yet suppose that he is "rich and increased with goods."

II. WE CANNOT OF OURSELVES SUPPLY THAT WANT. Gradually we learn how great it is. We want to still the accusing voice of conscience; to find a plea that shall avail in judgment; to see clearly the way of life that we may not err therein. In vain we look one on another, seeking comfort in the good opinion of men, in their testimony to our upright life. In vain we try to satisfy ourselves, by promises to do better, or by offerings of our substance or of our work. In vain is it to seek rest in unbelief, or in the persuasion that in some way all will be right. The soul cannot thus find peace. There is a voice which at times will make itself heard - "all have sinned" - thou hast sinned.

III. GOD HAS PROVIDED BREAD. "I have heard that there is corn in Egypt" (cf. Romans 10:18), answers to the gospel telling of the bread of life. As to this we mark -

1. It was provided before the want arose (1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8). The gospel tells us of what has already been done, not of a gift to come into existence on certain conditions. The ransom of our souls has been paid. We have to believe and take (Revelation 22:17).

2. How faith works. They must go for that food which was ready for them. To take the bread of life must be a real earnest act, not a listless assent. The manna which was to be gathered, the brazen serpent to which the sick were to look, the command to the impotent "Rise, take up thy bed and walk," all show that it is not enough merely to wish, there must be the effort of faith (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:3). This is a law of the spiritual kingdom. As natural laws regulate results within their, domain, so spiritual results must be sought in accordance with spiritual laws.

3. It is our Brother who has made provision for us. This is our confidence. He waits to reveal himself when in humility and emptiness we come to him, and to give us plenty (1 Corinthians 3:21, 22). - M.

Bring down my gray hairs with sorrow.
Some graceless children despise their fathers and their mothers when they are old, and when their grey hairs claim reverence or compassion. If we must bow before the man of hoary hairs, although he is a stranger, what reverence do we owe to our own parents, when the respect due to age is added to the claims of parental relation! Those children that load the grey heads of their parents with crushing sorrows, are worse than common murderers. Yet, let not parents, by their own frowardness, kill themselves with grief, and load their children with the blame due to themselves. The aged ought to remember that their infirmities may dispose them to make their burdens heavier than God or men have made them. And when we torment ourselves we are too ready to transfer our own folly to the account of others.

(G. Lawson, D. D.)

Why should Jacob die with grief, if Benjamin should be lost? Is Benjamin his God, his life, his exceeding joy? "The Lord liveth, and blessed be the Rock of Israel." He is the Rock of ages. God had made desolate all Job's company, and his hope had He removed like a tree; but Job knew that his Redeemer lived. "All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field; but the Word of the Lord shall stand for ever." And whilst the Word stands, those whose trust is placed on it are safe. They may, through the prevalence of unbelief, and of earthly affections, speak unadvisedly with their lips; hut the Lord will make them sensible of their folly, and enable them to commit their affairs into His hand, and to east all their cares upon Him who cares for all His people. We shall soon hear Jacob saying, "If I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved"; and on his death-bed he says, "I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord!"

(G. Lawson, D. D.).

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