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#416 FIT FOR ETERNITY GENESIS 37:25-36
We have pointed out before that the biography of Jacob, and now also of Joseph, teaches us the way of Gods dealings with His people in the way of making them fit in character to inherit eternal life.
When Josephs brethren saw him coming, the first thing they said was, " this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams." (GEN 37:19-20)
A verse in a song says, "Til His prediction came to pass, distress and grief he found." It is marvelous that when the Lord gives a promise and brings it to pass, we find that in His Providence it first becomes impossible and all flesh will mock and scorn and say, " what will become of his dreams."
We experience this in our own lives. As we go through life we see how the way of God is through the valley, the way of impossibility.
They came to show Jacob the coat of Joseph, "And he knew it, and said, It is my sons coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces." (GEN 37:33) Yet for all those years, Jacob could not reconcile that Joseph could be dead, that those dreams and things that the Lord had showed him had not yet been fulfilled. Impossibilities overshadow the fulfilling of Gods promises.
This is an important lesson for us to understand. The Lord brings about His purpose through absolute human impossibilities. The Lord has His reasons for these things, and that is to prepare His people to make them fit in character to inherit eternal life.
We read in GEN 37:1-3: "And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his fathers wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours."
If the Lord had allowed these events to continue, Joseph would not have been prepared for a kingdom. He would not have become properly prepared to be the forerunner of his brethren, if brought up in the wrong atmosphere. So the Lord in His wisdom cuts off the flesh.
See how the Apostle Paul reacted when one of his fellow servants told him of the love in the Spirit that was revealed in the church at Colosse.
COL 1:9-10 says, "For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; [Why was he praying for this?] That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God."
Do you see this preparation? The Lords people were praying for love and the spirit in the church that they "might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; [verses 11-13 continue] Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: [How does He make us meet? How does He make us fit in character to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light?] Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son."
This "power of darkness" that overshadowed Joseph and Jacob, this and overshadowed the promise which the Lord had given Joseph must be removed and he had to be delivered. The Lord did it by allowing his brethren to sell him as a slave.
Until we are delivered from all this overshadowing of the flesh, we are not able to come into that kingdom, into the service of God. Joseph could not have come on the throne and served God in a way that was pleasing to the Lord if he had been left to be reared in the atmosphere of favoritism, partiality and wickedness that was in his fathers house.
The Lord came to bring him into a proper atmosphere. The Lords ways are much higher than our ways, and Jacob, in his foolish partiality, left Joseph under a bad influence. Joseph was exposed to becoming vain, overbearing, and dictatorial in spirit. The Lord taught Joseph what it was to serve so he would understand when God put him in a position of authority and rule.
King Saul never understood this and it was the destruction of his kingdom. Saul was placed into the kingdom of Israel without any preparation.
1SA 13:13 tells us, "And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever."
The Apostle Paul prayed that the Colossians might be filled with all knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding that they might walk worthy of the Lord. That was Sauls downfall.
If you and I are going to enter the everlasting kingdom, the Lord is going to bring us through this process of humiliation and cutting off of the flesh. We must be delivered from the power of darkness and translated into His kingdom and service or else we are not going to enter the everlasting kingdom.
This is what we see in the kingship of Saul: he did not obey the Lord. Verse 14 says, "But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee."
If the Lord puts a person in a position of responsibility of leading His people, that person does not have a license to sin; instead the tolerance of sin is zero. The Lord Jesus Christ had no tolerance for sin when He was sent to be the captain of the people of salvation. If He had even thought one foolish thought, He would have spent eternity in hell. When the Lord sent someone like Joseph, King Saul, or King David, the Lord wanted them to understand what it is to "walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work."
The Lord was preparing Joseph for the very commission that now became impossible. David, as well as our Saviour, was well seasoned in the furnace before He advanced to the kingdom.
HEB 5:8-9 says, "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; [These are awesome lessons. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Son of God, who was without sin, was not advanced to the kingdom without preparation.] And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him."
See the distinguishing mark between those who have salvation and those who do not. Those who have been transformed into the kingdom of His dear Son are those who have learned to obey Him. This learning process takes place in that furnace, where the Lord takes all the things of the flesh and cuts them off. It is by taking up our cross and following Him. So it was with Joseph, and so it is with God's dear children: through the furnace they become fit in character to serve in the kingdom of heaven with their eyes upon the faith of the author of their salvation. Each one of Gods children are going to have this preparation before they will and can serve in the kingdom, because the flesh has to be cut off.
The Apostle Paul said in PHI 3:8: "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ."
Everything of the flesh and his own righteousness was cut off. In the preceding verses he boasts of what he was in the flesh: a Hebrew of Hebrews; a Pharisee of Pharisees; as touching the law he was blameless; he was circumcised the eighth day. He had all these credentials that could be offered in the flesh, but he counts them all as dung that he may win Christ.
Verses 9-10 continue, "And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, [It does not say "through faith in Christ," but through the faith of Christ] the righteousness which is of God by faith: [It is by the faith of Jesus Christ that He has merited righteousness for you and I.] That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death."
We are not to look unto our own righteousness as the Apostle Paul says: "And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness." We cannot look unto our own obedience which is not acceptable outside of Christ.
Justification is obtained in two ways and we need both. Justification is obtained in the first instance by being found innocent, being found not guilty by acquittal. Justification is obtained in the second way by satisfaction of the law through the payment of the penalty. We need the law to be satisfied by the payment of the penalty through the blood of Christ, but we also need to be righteous by the obedience of Christ. It was by His obedience, it was by the faith of Christ, the obedience of faith, wherein He stepped under the Fathers wrath and took upon Himself to become a servant. He came under the Fathers wrath and took upon Himself the curse of the law as an act of obedience. It was because of this obedience that the Father was so well pleased. The blood of Christ appeased the Fathers wrath, but His pleasure and His glory were in Christs obedience.
Righteousness comes from the root word dikoias (dik-ah-yos) in the Greek, and means "innocent, equitable in character and act." This word righteousness, (as in "not having mine own righteousness") means "I am not innocent on the basis of my own good works," which he has just laid out in the previous verses; he counts them as dung, but "that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith."
The righteous, innocent, and equitable character of Christ becomes imparted to us. We need the imputed righteousness of Christ from a standpoint of satisfying the law by the payment of its penalty, but we also need the imparted righteousness of Christ, which is Christ formed in you. We now walk in the way that is pleasing unto God. He is looking at our heart and what our attitude is. It is this character of Christ that becomes imparted to us as we become conformed to His blessed image through the furnace.
It is through this furnace of affliction that Paul was able to understand this. In PHI 3:12 we read, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, [I strive for perfection; I strive to do the will of God; it is my hearts desire. This is the work of the furnace. The Lord was working in Joseph and preparing him for the throne.] if that I may apprehend [that is, bring into subjection or captivity: that I might be brought into subjection; that I might become the captive of Jesus Christ] that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus."
He was apprehended on the way to Damascus. He was brought as a captive under arrest, and he desires now to be brought into subjection from the heart.
Verses 13-14 continue, "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended [ to have been brought into total submission]: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
What is that mark? "I press toward the mark" of perfection. He says he is not obtaining it but he presses toward it. We do not stand back and say, "After all, we know we are sinners," to justify ourselves. We press toward the mark.
It is through our fellowship in the sufferings of Christ that we are "...being made conformable unto his death." (PHI 3:10) He is speaking of fellowshipping in the sufferings of Christ. Do we fellowship in the sufferings of Christ? Are we becoming dead to sin?
We see in ROM 6:10-11: "For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
This crucifying process is what we learn from the history of Joseph. Joseph learned obedience by those things that he suffered, he was not left to be destroyed in his fathers house, to be raised up in pride and arrogance. The Lord brought him in the path of humility. He brought him into the place of a slave, into captivity and to become a servant. He learned obedience by those things that he suffered.
Think of the suffering of Joseph and the anguish of his soul when he heard his brothers conspire to slay and\or sell him! He was seventeen years old and in the hands of his unforgiving and unloving brothers. He heard them speaking of slaying or selling him. He saw that they were giving him over into the hands of these merchantmen to sell him as a slave. Can you imagine the anguish of his soul?
When the brethren of Joseph were standing before him, not knowing who he was, they recalled this. "And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us." (GEN 42:21)
This distress had come upon them. The Lord has brought Josephs brethren into distress and anguish of soul, but the Lord was preparing Joseph by crucifying and cutting off everything of the flesh.
There is an anguish of soul that naturally ensues when we suffer the contradiction of men. Have we ever suffered the contradiction of men? Have we ever lain in our bed at night with anguish in our souls to think that our brother or our friend would do such a thing to us? The Lord uses the anguish of soul to take our eyes off from everything of the flesh and to put our eyes on Christ who suffered such contradiction of men.
You and I can talk of the anguish of soul that Christ went through, and of the anguish of soul that He suffered from the contradiction of men, but nothing teaches so well as the school of experience. When you and I learn by experience what that anguish is, it is only but a glimpse of what Christ suffered. This is what takes our eyes off from ourselves and sets our eyes on the faith of Christ. Then we understand what it says in HEB 12:3, where he "endured such contradiction of sinners against himself."
We look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who suffered such contradiction of men, "lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." The Lord is using this process to wean us of the confidence we have in ourselves and in the flesh, bringing us to understand the sufferings and the fellowship in the sufferings of Christ. When we experience this, and have our eyes lifted unto that precious Saviour and how He suffered the contradiction of men, then it is the faith of Christ that becomes the author and the finisher of our faith. We start, by faith, to follow in His footsteps and to fellowship in His suffering. We understand what it is to say, "Father, not my will, but thine be done." We are able to accept that. The anguish of our soul is removed by having our eye of faith lifted unto that Blessed Redeemer and how He suffered such contradiction of men.
We begin to gain a glimpse of the love of the Father who restrained His love for His Son for the love He had for you and me, even while His Son was pleading with Him as we read in HEB 5:7: "Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared."
We start to understand a little of what our Saviour went through. Our eyes are taken off of self and our eyes are fixed upon that blessed faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. We see the contradiction of men that He was suffering, and how He was beseeching His Father "with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared."
How was He heard? He "was heard in that he feared." He had a holy awe and reverence for the will of His Father.
LUK 22:41-43 says, "And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him."
That is how He was heard. The Lord sent an angel to strengthen Him. What was the result of the angel strengthening Him? Verse 44 says, "And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."
See what our Saviour suffered, and the anguish of soul that He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane. Joseph was fellowshipping in the sufferings of Christ. That is what we learn from the biography of Joseph: how we fellowship in that suffering of our Saviour.
"And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." When we understand a little of what our Saviour went through, and a glimpse of the love of the Father, that He was able to restrain His love for His own Son while He was praying more earnestly and in agony, and He restrained that love for the love He had for us, this is what makes sin become so sinful.
The Apostle Paul was praying that we would receive that knowledge. COL 1:9 says, "For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God."
When we see the love of the Son in giving Himself, we will have a little glimpse of that anguish of soul. That is what we learn from Joseph. In the way of preparation for the kingdom, Joseph was led through such anguish of soul.
As our Saviour approached the hour that He should be glorified He said in JOH 12:27: "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour."
We just do not understand the anguish of soul of our Saviour as He approached that hour. Imagine the eternal Son of God coming into such a strait that He came to that point; He said that the hour has come, "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour."
He turns His eye to the glory of His Father. Verse 28 says, "Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."
The Father was truly glorified by the perfect obedience of His only begotten Son. How was the Father glorified the second time?
We see in PHI 2:8-11: "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. [The Father was so glorified by such obedience.] Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
That is where He glorified Himself the second time. He has become so glorified in the glory that He has given His Son for such obedience, "that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
"I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." That second glorification that is spoken of is how He glorified His name by giving His Son such authority.
We get a glimpse of what it is to believe on the name of the only begotten Son of God. That word name means, "a name of authority," that brings us into holy awe and reverence for such authority. The Father is glorified when you and I have a holy reverence for such an authority. The climax of the Fathers glory is in glorifying His Son and giving Him a name, which is above every name.
Such unconditional submission to His will is wherein the Father is glorified. We see this in MAT 5:16: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." It is by that unconditional surrender; our submission to the Father and the authority the Father has given; that we believe on the name of His Son. We come in holy awe and reverence for that authority.
This is where Joseph had to come before he could be placed in authority. He had to be sold as a slave.
Notice in GEN 37:36: "And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaohs, and captain of the guard." If your Bible is like mine, it says in the margin that Potiphar was "the chief of the slaughtermen, or executioners."
Potiphar was the man who had to kill the chief baker. When the baker was in prison with Joseph, and Joseph said that his head would be lifted up from him, it was Potiphar who was the chief executioner of Pharaoh.
See the type of submission that Joseph had to come under: he had to serve the executioner for the king. Imagine a man that was so hardened by executing and slaughtering that the least transgression of Joseph could have meant his life.
GEN 39:1-3 says, "And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand."
Do you know where that prosperity came from? It came from submission. That is the lesson that we learn from the life of Joseph. Before he could ever be in a position of authority, he had to understand what it was to come in unconditional submission.
That is the lesson we learn from the Lord Jesus Christ. Before He was given that authority, and before the Father gave Him such a name, He came in unconditional surrender. He humbled Himself and became obedient. That is the Gospel message.
That is the message we learn from Joseph: that we must humble ourselves and become obedient. We must surrender unconditionally to the will of the Father and the authority that He has given His Son and to the commandment of His Son to love one another.
Our light shines the brightest when we are suffering wrongfully. When you and I are put into a position of suffering wrongfully, when we have been dealt unjustly, our light shines the brightest. Is it because we grumble and murmur about what this guy did and how terrible he is? No, that is not letting our light shine.
1PE 2:20 tells us, "For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God."
That word patiently in the Greek means, "cheerfully." There is no grumbling or murmuring. We take it cheerfully. We look to Christ and see the contradiction of men that He suffered, "lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."
See why we must take it patiently when we suffer wrongfully. Verse 21 says, "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps."
Pilate condemned Jesus to death wrongfully. While He hung upon the cross, He said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (LUK 23:34) He did not come with any railing. If you read on in 1PE 2, it goes into that very issue. It teaches us that we are not to become critical or start railing.
1PE 2:21-24 says, "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."
You and I must become dead to sin. When we are treated unjustly, do we, like the Apostle, thank the Lord that we were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name? That goes against the flesh, doesnt it? It comes against our natural tendencies, but this is the Lords process.
Even though all these things happened to Joseph in God's providence to bring about the saving "of much people alive" and to fulfill His counsel, yet the law of retribution never fails. Even though the Lord allowed all of this and used it to the furtherance of His purpose, it did not mean that there was not guilt.
In GEN 27:14-16 we find that Jacob was now receiving the reward of his sin. "And [Jacob] went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made savoury meat, such as his father loved. And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son: And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck."
She used the coat of Esau and a kid to deceive Jacobs father. Even as Jacob used his brother's coat and a kid of the goats to deceive his father, so the Lord brought his very sin upon him. God is infinite in wisdom and He accomplished many purposes in one act. In the very act of letting Josephs brethren do these things, He brought upon Jacob his own sin. He brought Joseph where He wanted him and He used it also to bring Josephs brethren to where He wanted them. The Lord uses these things to bring about His eternal counsel. His wisdom is so much higher than ours.
Even as Jacob used this, we read in GEN 37:31-32, "And they took Joseph's coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood; And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son's coat or no."
See the craft of their deceit: they did not say that Joseph was dead. They said they had found his coat. They knew that he would recognize it. They saw the blood on it that they had put on there to deceive him, to cause the very effect they wanted.
The guilt of Jacob and that of his sons in their deceit centers more in their attitude, or mental disposition, than in the act. The sin lay in a heart problem.
I told a man, "I am not going to tell you that you should not watch television. If you can watch murder, cruelty, and all this and enjoy it, why should I tell you that you shouldnt watch television?" What you have to recognize is that you have a heart problem: you do not understand the law of love, because if you understood the law of love, you could not enjoy the violence that is on television.
This is what we have to recognize with Josephs brothers and with Jacob. We do not go after the crimes they committed, we see is a heart problem. That is what you and I must look at in our own lives. If we see that we have these tendencies, we do not try to cut the leaves off the tree to kill the tree; we have to go to the root. The root of the problem is a heart problem. The heart problem was the mental attitude, the mental disposition rather than the act.
God sees the heart much clearer than we see the face. In HEB 4:13 we read, "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." The problem lay in jealousy.
Stop to ponder how this applies in MAT 7:1-2 to the golden rule! "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."
Is this not what Jacob found out? God saw through the motive and intent of his heart when he deceived his father and the Lord judged him worthy of having the same deceit come upon him. "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again," either in this life, or in the life to come. This is the law of retribution.
What will it be like to come into judgment before the court of conscience? The sons of Jacob came to him and said that Joseph was yet alive, and they had to tell him how they had lied to him, deceived him, and left him for twenty years in the anguish of his soul with a lie. Jacob comes into the court of conscience: "Do unto others as ye would they do unto you." He can now forgive his sons in his heart of conscience.
Forgive if you want to be forgiven. Sometimes it becomes very difficult to forgive, does it not? The Lord is teaching us with all these lessons of Joseph how He brought Jacob also to the place of judgment.
In MAT 7:12 we read, "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."
The court of conscience is laid open before God, and Jacob had his sons tell him that Joseph is yet alive and that they lied to him just like he lied to his father. Jacob realizes the sinfulness of sin. He endured such bitterness and anguish of soul for twenty years because of the law of retribution.
Think of the sin of envy! Love is of heaven. God is love, but envy is of hell!
1TI 1:5 says, "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned." Charity is to think of others in the best possible light, to show them love, and to think of them above yourself. The "end," the intent, or the purpose of the commandment of the law of love is love.
The sin of envy is a heart sin, which grows into acts of sin. Where there is envy, there is murder.
1JO 3:15-16 says, "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." We see the love of God in that He laid down His life for us.
Sin is as leaven, it has that tendency to grow and spread. Just like yeast in bread will spread through the whole lump. 1CO 5:7-8 says, "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven [not with our old grudges, our old sins, nor with old envies], neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
The next sin becomes the necessary accessory to the first sin. No sooner had Joseph's brethren completed their heartless sin of selling their brother than the sin of concealment became an absolutely essential accessory to the first sin.
GEN 37:32-33 says, "And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son's coat or no. And he knew it, and said, It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces."
They told him a partial truth. They left the question in Jacobs mind, "whether it by thy sons coat or no." The obvious would be, "And he knew it, and said, It is my sons coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces." That was their intent. That was how they concealed the truth. That was how they lied.
The lesson from this fragment of Jacob's biography is to trust our God in the darkest hour. See how perplexed and overwhelmed Jacob was. If Jacob had trusted his God in the darkest hour, he would have turned to the Lord, but we read in GEN 37:33-35, "And he knew it, and said, It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces. And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him."
See the anguish that the Lord brought upon Jacob as a reward for deceiving his father so many years earlier! Jacob harvested the fruit of his sin all of his life.
What began in a heart of envy led to a heart of murder and that again gives birth to falsehood and hypocrisy. Sin multiplies: sin upon sin.
GEN 37:35 says, "And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him ." What heinous, devilish hypocrisy for his sons to comfort him in the death of his son when they knew he was not dead! All they needed to do was tell him the truth. They only had to say that he was in Egypt and Jacob could have known that someday he would be back. What a devilish state of mind and attitude resulted from envy. One sin leads to another.
In GEN 37:24-26 it says, "And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?"
How horribly envy will destroy a soul, and how hardened their souls became. How can men come before the Lord and thank the Lord for the meal while they are eating the flesh and the blood of their own brothers bones?
"And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?" He is going to see how he can profit! He can get twenty pieces of silver by selling him as a slave. Unmerciful! If we show no mercy, we will receive judgment without mercy, yet they can come before the Lord and say grace. Or could they?
But for the grace of God those wicked men would never have returned unto the God of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
It is so much easier to see the sin in our brother than in ourselves. If we see a brother who has departed from the Lord, and a brother that through envy has become like the brothers of Joseph, then we must ask: How is it possible for such a person to possess grace? That is the way it is with you and me and every one of Gods dear children when they are walking away in sin.
When David killed Uriah, he would have never returned unto the Lord if the Lord had not come first. In the wonder of Gods grace we see in ROM 5:8, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Such love of our heavenly Father is immeasurable. By nature we all walk under the reign of the prince of the power of the air. Oh, the depths of the fall of man! In EPH 2:4-6 we read, "But God [That is the consolation we have in the Lord Jesus Christ!], who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."
My beloved, I want you to know, that when we understand the plague of our own hearts, we have not one stone left to throw. We learn to see that it was "God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." It is all of grace, because you and I, just as the brothers of Joseph, as David, as every example that we find in Scripture, when we have started to slip, are restored only by grace. It was the same with Abraham, Jacob, Jacobs sons, David, and with you and I: it is by grace that we are saved. That gives us not one stone to throw if we see a brother that has fallen in sin. Amen.
These on-lines sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a daily devotion. For a list of sermons on cassette please visit our on-line tape catalog. See also, our sermon notes.