By Henry Mahan
God, in his wisdom, uses the natural world, creatures, and events to illustrate the spiritual world, his saving grace, and his redemptive work in Christ Jesus. The wonders which God performs in the heart can be seen in the wonders God performs upon earth and records in his word (1 Cor. 10:4; John - 3:14; Matt. 12:40). It is the duty of the preacher and the teacher to look for these parables and pictures and preach Christ from them. Joseph's dealings with his brethren is a picture of our Lord's dealings with his erring brethren, given him by the Father and purchased with his blood.
41:57 - 'The famine was in all lands' The terrible famine was not only over the land of Egypt but over all lands and reached to all people. There was no food even in Israel, the chosen people.
This is what the word of God declares concerning sin and spiritual death. It is a famine of sin and spiritual death which is over all of Adam's race, even the elect of God.
'Death passed upon all men, for all have sinned' (Rom. 5:12).
'For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God' (Rom. 3:23).
'We were by nature children of wrath, even as others' (Eph. 2:3).
'You were without Christ, having no hope and without God' (Eph. 2:12).
42:1 - Jacob heard some good news 'There is corn in Egypt.' Jacob called his sons together to tell them the good news. 'We do not have to die, for I have heard that there is plenty of corn in Egypt.' This is the good news of the gospel preached to hungry, weary, and dying sinners--we do not have to continue in spiritual poverty, hunger, and death; for there is life, mercy, and grace in Christ Jesus.
'If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink' (John 7:37).
'He hath filled the hungry with good things' (Luke 1:53).
'I am the bread of life' (John 6:48-50).
Jacob could not be sure that the rumor he had heard about corn in Egypt was true, but we can be sure the bread of life and the water of life in Christ is true because we have the sure word of God (1 John 5:9-11).
Jacob did not know that his own son was in charge of the corn in Egypt; therefore, he might have entertained doubts that he could buy food there. But we can be sure that all who come for mercy and grace will be received and blessed; for our heavenly Father has given all things to Christ our Saviour, brother, and friend, who loves us and gave himself for us! Jacob wasn't sure that he could get enough food for such a large family. There were 70 of them. But we know that our Lord's grace is sufficient to save to the uttermost ALL who come to God by him (Isa. 1:18; 1 John 1:7-9; Matt. 11:28).
Jacob sent money to Egypt to buy corn. God's grace is free. 'All the fitness Christ requireth is to feel your need of him.' (Isa. 55:1-3.)
42:1-2 - 'Why do you hesitate' Why do you stand looking at one another? Get down to Egypt and buy food that we may live and not die!' This is the urgent, immediate command of the gospel. You are a sinner, you have no life nor hope in yourself nor in another; if you remain where you are, you will perish forever.
There is life in Christ Jesus, Who, of God, is made unto us all we need (1 Cor. 1:30; Col. 2:9-10). Come to Christ, flee to Christ, believe on Christ (Isa. 45:20-25; John 5:39-40).
Read Chapters 42-44 and study the dealing Joseph had with his brethren who had hated him without a cause, who had sold him into slavery, who had dealt so harshly and cruelly with him.
Their sin must be revealed to them, and they must own their guilt (Gen. 42:21-23). These proud brethren must be humbled before him, bow down, and plead for mercy (Gen. 44:14). There must be evidence of genuine repentance (Gen. 44:33-34) .
Is this not a picture of God's dealing with all whom he saves?
1. Our sin, sins, and even the corruption of our best deeds are brought before us (1 John 1:8-10; Isa. 64:6).
We own our guilt of unbelief and our part in Adam's fall and the crucifixion of God's dear Son (Isa. 53:1-3).
2. We come hungry, empty, and needy before God's throne of grace, confessing our sins and owning God's justice in condemning us (Psalm 51:3-4). We fall at the feet of Christ Jesus, whom we denied, rejected, and crucified, and own that he is Lord and can do with us what he will (Matt. 8:1-2; Rom. 10:9-10; Phil. 2:9-11).
3. This is not outward form nor ritual nor feigned repentance. Like Judah of old, we are genuinely pleading for his mercy to the undeserving and waiting upon the Lord. Salvation is in him, of him, and his to give. He can justly condemn us or mercifully save us. We have no claim on him; nor is he obligated to help us, only as he is faithful to his covenant in Christ.
45:1-5 - In due time Joseph revealed himself to these brethren and spoke peace to them.
Christ will in due time reveal himself to sincere seekers and speak peace to their hearts (John 6:37-45).