Go to Jesus or,
The Famished Egyptians Sent to Joseph for Bread
When all Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Then Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, "Go to Joseph and do what he tells you." Genesis 41:55
The Word of God is as a garden of fruit and flowers- luscious with the sweetness, penciled with the beauty, and fragrant with the perfume of Christ. All its shadows, types, and prophecies, all its doctrines, precepts, and promises testify of Him. Search the Scriptures in whatever part, or view them from whatever stand-point you may, of Christ they speak, and to Christ they lead. The star of the east pendent over the lowly manger of Bethlehem pointed not more truly, conducted not more surely the wise men to the spot where the infant Savior lay, than does this "more sure word of prophecy, which is as a light that shines in a dark place," lead the mind inquiring for truth, the sinner in search of the Savior, the disciple in quest of his Lord, to Christ, the way, the truth, the life. Let us, dear reader, often walk within this Divine enclosure, this sacred garden, where the north wind and the south wind blows- the law humbling and condemning, the gospel comforting and saving- and eat the pleasant fruits, and inhale the perfume of Sharon's Rose. Committing ourselves to the teaching of God's Word, we are about to search for Christ among patriarchal shadows.
JOSEPH, by general consent, and fitted to be, in the most essential incidents of his history, a personal and remarkable type of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is true we have no express declaration of this in Scripture; nevertheless, if the history of Joseph, as recorded by Moses in Genesis, be compared with the history of the Lord Jesus Christ, as recorded by the evangelists in the gospels, the analogy will be found complete. Indeed, it would seem impossible to take the most cursory survey of his eventful and chequered life, and not see the Lord Jesus foreshadowed in each circumstance as it passes in review before the spiritual and reflective mind.
In this patriarchal study of Christ, we are also necessarily led to study important things in relation to the Church of Christ. It is a beautiful and consolatory arrangent that we cannot study the person and work of Christ- His Headship, beauty, and salvation- without at the same time being enchanted into a into a study of the history, the relation, privileges, and glory of the Church of God. All that Jesus did in His mediatorial character, He did as a representative person. He represented God, on the one hand, and He represented His Church, on the other.
Oh, how faintly do the saints of God realize the position of dignity, exaltation, wealth, and power, to which they are raised in virtue of their union with the Lord Jesus! In consequence of this federal, close, and inseparable union, believers are crucified with Christ, are raised with Christ, ascend with Christ, will come with Christ, and with Christ will reign in glory, wherever the seat of His govermnent may be, as "kings and priests unto God" forever!
The hallowed and soothing influence of this truth upon the mind must be of the happiest character. Realize that Christ and you are one- closely, tenderly, indissolubly one- and this reciprocity of affection, this identity of interests, this ever-present source of all supply, will unclasp many a burden, quell many a fear, tinge with golden light many a dark cloud, and constrain you by love to run the way of your Lord's commands with a cheerful, unquestioning, unreserved obedience.
To the spiritual contemplation of Christ, as shadowed forth in this chapter of patriarchal history, let us now humbly and devoutly bend our thoughts. May the Divine Spirit, the Revealer and Interpreter of Christ and His truth, impart to our minds that anointing which gives to the type its meaning, to the shadow its substance, to the prophecy its solution, that our meditations on the present theme may be scriptural and sober, spiritual and sanctifying- abasing self, exalting Christ, to the glory of God the Father!
To reach the present important period of the patriarch's history, we necessarily pass by unnoticed many striking and instructive events, tracing his transition from suffering and humiliation, to that dignity and aggrandizment which we make our starting-point in the present series of subjects. Some of those events, however, not essentially relevant to the gospel truths we are about to illustrate, will incidentally appear in the process of our discussion, and will be interwoven with these shadows of Christ and His Church.
We commence, then, at an epoch of Joseph's history which finds him exalted to the prime-minister of Pharaoh's kingdom, the governor of all Egypt, the greatest man in the land, second only to the Pharaoh himself; to whose custody and administration were confided the goverment and treasures of the kingdom. "And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God has showed you all this, there is none so discreet and wise as you are: you shall be over my house, and according to your word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than you. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt."
Having said thus much, let us again remind the reader what our specific object is in bringing before him these typical shadows. It is not our intention so much to unfold the history of the patriarch, as to illustrate the Lord Jesus Christ in the relation in which He stands to His Church, to unveil His glory, beauty, and fulness, to define the close bond of union that unites to Him all His brethren, and to bring you into a more personal realization of what Christ is to you, and of what you are to Christ. The points for our meditation in the present chapter are- the FAMINE; the CRY FOR BREAD, and the COMMAND, "Go to Joseph."
The land of Egypt was now smitten with a grievous and wide-spread famine. The seven years of plenty had expired. The people having lived upon the old stock of corn until their resources were wholly exhausted, their granaries were emptied, their supplies consumed, a gnawing and crushing famine had succeeded. All this came to pass exactly and literally as Joseph had predicted; for Joseph was a man of God, and spoke as the Spirit of God moved him. It was by the Spirit of God that he interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh; and, consequently, as he spoke by the inspiration of the Spirit, so all that he said literally came to pass.
Allow us to throw in one remark here. Let your faith in, and your reverence for, the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures of truth become firmer and deeper; for, be assured, "holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit," and all that they have said, both of mercy and judgment, shall literally and surely come to pass!
We turn now from this event of national history, to contemplate the spiritual gospel instruction with which it is so deeply and richly fraught. A greater famine, than that which now prevailed in Egypt is raging throughout this fallen and apostate world! The years of spiritual plenty in which the world in its original state of righteousness, rectitude, and holiness, enjoyed every blessing that God could give, or man experience, have passed away. Man lived upon his own righteousness, stood in his own holiness, walked in fellowship with Jehovah, up to the moment that he broke from his allegiance to God, and became a fugitive from the garden of Eden. They were years of richness, of abundance, of plenty, to our race.
What imagination can depict, what thought conceive, what tongue describe the blessedness, the fulness of all blessing which our nature experienced and enjoyed during those years when righteousness, holiness, and peace reigned supreme and paramount in this now sinful and accursed world of ours! But those years of plenty have passed away forever; and the years of spiritual famine have succeeded. Study what age of the world you may, travel into what climate you may, look into the face of what human being you may, and there confronts you a moral famine, a spiritual destitution of the soul- every man exhibiting in his life, the existence of a raging, gnawing destitution, which no created object can supply.
The whole scheme of our salvation, the redemption of man by the Lord Jesus Christ, the revelation of the "glorious gospel of the blessed God," all the provisions that God has made in the Son of His love, are based on the one momentous fact- that our nature, spiritual and intellectual, is a famished, starving, destitute nature, there being nothing in the vast storehouse, the universal granary of the world's goods, that can meet and satisfy a single need or craving of the human soul.
Why this air of restlessness which pervades our nature? Why this look of dissatisfaction imprinted on every countenance? Why those deep furrows on every brow? Why this universal cry of our humanity, "Who will show us any good?" What! can you find no good in this vast universe that God has formed? Ah, no! Man finds all created good to be but a broken cistern. He hews out cistern after cistern, sets on foot enterprise after enterprise, devises new plans for happiness, each one more promising than the other, and still his soul is filled with one vast, aching void- the heart restless, the spirit anxious, the mind dissatisfied; and so our poor, famished, craving, destitute nature travels round the circle of all created blessing, and terminates the journey by reiterating the plaintive cry, "Who will show us any good?"
We pass from this part of the subject to consider- the cry for bread. "And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread." In the first place, listen to the appeal- "The people cried to Pharaoh." Here was something like sensibility, life, a deep, intense conviction of the prevailing famine. It is not merely the existence of the fact, but the deep-felt, agonizing conviction of the fact. They not only knew that they were starving, that their granaries were empty, that their resources were entirely exhausted, but they were a people who rose as one man, under the crushing weight of their necessity, and made their appeal. They felt the biting famine, were conscious of the gnawing hunger, that the wolf was feeding at their vitals, and they rose as one people and uttered their cry, "Give us bread."
Look at the spiritual teaching of this. There is a universal existence in our race of a need- that need is happiness; a need for something that will meet the intense yearning, and craving of our spiritual, moral, and intellectual being. Some seek it in the gay world, some in the sensual world, others in the intellectual world, others more in the political world, and there are not a few who are seeking it in what is termed conventionally the religious world.
These have little or no taste for the world's gaieties, less for intellectual pursuits, and still less ambition to climb the steep of human distinction and carve their name on some lofty column; but they seek to meet the yearning, the panting, and the craving of their nature in a religion of their own; and religious duties, religious engagements, religious excitement, and religious rites and ceremonies, are eagerly sought and sedulously cultivated, with a view of meeting this moral craving for that which will give repose and satisfaction to the soul.
But we pass from these to another class, more circumscribed, but decidedly more spiritual and blessed. We refer to those from whom the cry for bread issues under the teaching, quickening influence of God the Eternal Spirit. The hungering and thirsting after righteousness, after holiness, after Christ, after God, which marks a gracious soul, is not the breathing of the unregenerate, unawakened, and carnal mind. Ah, no! The blessed and Eternal Spirit is the author of all spiritual feelings, convictions, desires, and breathings in the quickened and renewed man. Are you breathing after Christ? Are you hungering for Christ, the bread of life? Are you thirsting for Christ, the well-spring of life? Is your soul panting for God in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water? Then, beloved, you are the subject of spiritual thirst and spiritual hunger, wrought in your soul by the Holy Spirit.
It is the Spirit convincing you of your lost, self-ruined and undone condition. It is the Spirit opening your eyes to see your sinfulness, vileness, and nothingness. It is the Spirit showing you the entire loss of all your original righteousness, and bringing you to see that you are a poor, starving, famishing sinner, lying at the feet of Jesus, realizing that none but Jesus can meet your case. Oh, we beseech you, keep your eye on the fine line of distinction between a soul only thirsting for natural good and for worldly happiness, and a soul spiritually hungering and thirsting for Christ.
If, my dear reader, you were at one time seeking to satisfy this craving of your spiritual nature in religious rites, ceremonies, and duties, going to your sacraments, to your church, to your district, and returning to your chamber still with the crushing weight of sin, still with the gnawing hunger, no peace with God, no sense of pardon, no clear view of your interest in Christ, no star of hope twinkling in the dark clouds overshadowing you, no consciousness of adoption; but now if the blessed Spirit has opened your eyes to see that your own works and doings will avail you nothing, and has brought you, empty and sinful, to the Savior's feet, craving the bread that comes from God, thankful even for the crumbs that fall from His table, then we wish you joy of your new-born feelings!
It may be but a sigh, but a tear, but a desire bursting from your full, penitent heart; nevertheless, the Spirit is its author and will be its finisher. It came from God, to God it will rise, and in God it will terminate and eternally rest. Thus much for the cry.
Now, for a moment, let us advert to the object that cry. What was the cry for? There was but one thing that could meet the needs of the nation. Offer them the most precious jewels, domains the most extensive, tell them of rank the highest, of wealth countless as the sands, they would turn from you and say, "Cruel mockers are you of our misery! We are starving, we are famishing, we are hungry; give us bread, or we die!"
Now, what is the one grand requirement of the soul? What will meet this deep, intense craving? Is it wealth? It has been tried to its utmost, and found lacking. Ask the millionaire, and he will tell you the toil of obtaining it, the risk of investing it, the fear of losing it, and the thought of leaving it, robs him of all comfort in the possession of it, and that thus riches are utterly incompetent to make their possessor happy. Is it the world? Ah, no! It has been searched and ransacked through and through, and can scarcely afford a single new source of pleasure or enjoyment. One could sometimes smile, were the spectacle not too awful, at the puerile, childish expedients to which the worldling resorts to meet this intense craving of the mind. See the bubbles be blows, the baubles he chases, the straws he gathers, while the Son of God holds out a jeweled crown to the aspirant for true glory, honor, and immortality.
Will the creature supply it? Ask him who has found the noblest, the dearest that earth ever afforded, if that angel of intellect and beauty, before whom the soul burns the incense of adoration, has filled this deep and aching void. What a hallucination, what a fantasy, what a mockery is all this!- the mirage of the desert not more deceptive. In the striking and solemn language of the prophet- "It shall even be as when an hungry man dreams, and, behold, he eats; but he awakens, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreams, and behold, he drinks; but he awakens, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul has remains parched."
We ask again, what will meet the craving of the soul? Bread, and bread only! We might learn much instruction from this fact in our efforts to evangelize the world. Why all this discussion about Education? Will Education meet the craving of the soul of man? Why all this excitement about Social Science? Will Social Science meet the moral famine of our nature? How do our legislators, our philosophers, our political economists, and many of the moral reformers, lose sight of this great truth!
The soul of man needs the Gospel, and nothing but the gospel of Christ will meet its spiritual and deep necessities- nothing but the Gospel will uplift, ennoble, sanctify, and save our fallen, famishing, and crushed race. The world is asking for bread, and in giving it education, and science, and moral reform, while withholding the Gospel of Christ, we are offering it a stone! Oh, keep the eye firmly fixed on this truth, and you will be wiser than the wisest of the worldly wise, a more profound philosopher than the most learned, that nothing short of the glorious Gospel of the blessed God will regenerate, sanctify, and save the soul of man.
How impressively and emphatically did our Lord embody this truth in the great commission with which He clothed His apostles, before He left the scene of His toil and suffering,- "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature!" As though He had said, "The world is famishing-man is perishing; I give to you the bread of life- go forth and distribute it fully and freely to every creature under heaven. The extent of man's neediness and misery shall be the only limit to your mission."
But let us circumscribe this train of thought. What is the one specific cry of a truly spiritually regenerated and awakened soul? Is it not for JESUS, the bread of life? Most assuredly! Go to the sinner bowed beneath the weight of the law, to the man awakened to a conviction of his sinful and lost condition, who has been brought to know the nothingness of his own righteousness, and ask him, 'What will make you happy?' Bid him go to his religious duties, to his sacraments, to his church, to his minister. Oh, how bitter will be his reproof- "I asked you, as a starving man, for bread, and you give me husks. I need Christ- I need to know that my sins are pardoned- that my transgressions are blotted out- that I am an accepted, forgiven child of God. And nothing short of this will meet my case. I have tried every other expedient, have come to the end of all my own doings, and I perish with hunger. I have been feeding upon ashes. I have sought to meet the cravings of my spirit with the chaff. I have been drinking in the wind. Give me Christ, or I die! None but Christ! None but Christ! Place me upon a pinnacle, and give me the world. I survey from thence, still, without Christ I am undone- I starve- I perish! Lord, I fall at Your feet. You only have the bread of eternal life. Here will I lie, here will I cling; and if I perish in my hunger, it shall be asking You, imploring You, crying to You for bread!"
Oh, thank God if the blessed Spirit has brought you to see the difference between the bread of life and the husks with which man would seek to meet your spiritual craving! Fall on your knees, and thank God if you have been taught that none but Christ - a crucified, atoning, and full Savior- a Savior whose blood blots out the deepest stain of guilt, and whose flowing robe of righteousness justifies the believing soul from all sin- can meet your soul's necessity!
That Jesus is the bread of the spiritual soul, how clear and impressive is His own teaching "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst." "I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you." "He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood, dwells in me and I in him." "He that eats of this bread shall live forever." Shall we not exclaim, in view of this marvelous statement, "Lord, evermore give us this bread!"
But let us view this general truth in some of its particulars. Bread is composed of a variety of constituent parts. There are various views of Christ, each one precious to those who know and love Him. And in the sovereignty of the Spirit one view of the Lord Jesus may be unfolded and applied with more fullness and power than another. Perhaps it is a sense of pardoned sin that you need. Jesus Christ is that pardon; His blood, His precious blood speaks pardon; one drop applied to your conscience will seal a sense of full forgiveness. "In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins." Perhaps it is a sense of peace with God you desire; the righteousness of Christ imputed to you will impart that peace. "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Perhaps it is to know that you are vitally united to Christ; faith in Christ will give you this union. Thus it all resolves itself into one grand truth, Jesus Christ, "whose flesh is food indeed, and whose blood is drink indeed."
And if the spirit of God has given you a hungering and thirsting after Christ, then it is your privilege to receive, as the free gift of God's grace, the Lord Jesus Christ as the "living bread which came down from heaven." A most important truth is shadowed forth here, which we must prominently and distinctly place before you. You will observe that there was no direct response from Pharaoh to the cry of the Egyptians for bread. They appealed to him for bread, but he sent them to Joseph. "And Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go to Joseph."
And why this? Because all the corn of Egypt was placed in the hands of Joseph, and Joseph was the man he delighted to exalt and to honor. He would teach them, too, that such was the order and administration of his government- all appeals to him must be through his prime minister, the governor and treasurer of the kingdom; and that what Joseph said and did had the royal authority and sanction. Words fail to set forth the importance and the preciousness of the gospel truth here shadowed forth.
The Lord Jesus is the "One Mediator between God and man." All the treasures of grace are placed in His hands; and He is the administrator of the everlasting covenant. "No man comes unto the Father but by me." "I am the door." "By Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father." What can be more clear than this truth, that we can have no dealings in the way of salvation, and grace, and communion with the Father, but through the Son? It is in the righteousness of Christ we have acceptance with God. It is by the blood of Christ we draw near to God. It is in the name of Christ we offer our requests to the Father; and the bestowment of all the precious blessings, the daily bread, the continuous supply of every need, shall be in and through the Lord Jesus Christ, "that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father."
This is a truth which may meet the tried, perplexed experience of some of our readers. How many there are who go to the Father for pardon, acceptance, and peace, and for all the blessings of daily life, without a recognition of the mediatorial character, relation, and fulness of the Lord Jesus Christ! Look once more at the shadow. These famished Egyptians passed by Joseph; they did not recognize the prime minister; they did not see that Joseph had all the granaries, all the corn of Egypt under his seal and in his hands. They went directly to Pharaoh, and met with no response.
This may just touch the spiritual state and position of your soul. You are wondering why for years you have been seeking, reading, and praying and doing, and yet have not advanced a single step in your spiritual course, not a single beam of God's love has penetrated your soul- no sweet peace flows like a river in your heart, no joy thrills your spirit; and you have no sense of reconciliation, adoption, and acceptance with the Beloved. And yet for weeks, and months, and years, you have been traveling to God, not recognizing that the Lord Jesus Christ is the true, the spiritual Joseph of the Church; and that it is in His hands all fulness of blessing is deposited.
"Go to Joseph." "Go to my Son," says the Father. "You petition for bread- you sue for pardon- you ask for reconciliation- you hunger and thirst for grace- go to my Son! I have laid help upon one that is mighty. I have exalted Him among His brethren, and will honor and magnify Him. He was humbled and slain, and now He is exalted and crowned. He died, and rose again, and lives to be the administrator of all the blessings of My covenant. Go to Him; and whatever you ask in His name, I will grant it."
Thus speaks the Father to you in this type. And thus our Lord confirms the truth- "Whatever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son: if you shall ask anything in my name, I will do it." "Verily, verily, whatever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name: ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be full."
See why you have asked, and have not received, you have not gone in the name of Jesus- you have not pleaded His merits- you have not honored His name- you have not gone to the Father with that one argument, that single plea that never fails- the atoning blood of Immanuel. "You have asked, and have not received, because you have asked amiss."
We are thus instructed, not by the type only, but by the words of our Lord himself, that prayer is to be equally addressed to the Son as to the Father. No believer should have a moment's hesitation, or a single doubt on this subject. Admit His Deity, and you admit His claim to Divine worship. Acknowledge His Headship of the Church, and you admit His administration in the government of the Church. Allow Him to be the one Depositary of His people's grace, and you are forced to allow that petition for supplies of that grace must be preferred directly and personally to Him. Hesitate not, then, to address your confessions of sin, your pleadings for pardon, your petitions for grace, your breathings for sympathy, your praises and adoration to the Lord Jesus Christ, even as you address them to the Father.
And if it be your last, your latest, your expiring breath, let it be in the words of the dying Stephen, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!" Thus honoring Him, He will honor you. Then GO TO JESUS, and approach the Father through Jesus, and you shall have all your needs supplied, for there is corn in Egypt, bread enough and to spare, and you need not die. But oh, if you die, let it be in the very act of going to Jesus! Rouse to this work of shutting yourself up entirely to Christ. Let not sins, nor backslidings, nor poverty, nor unbelief, keep you away from Jesus. Say with the poet,
"I'll go to Jesus, though my sin
Has like a mountain rose;
I know His courts, I'll enter in,
Whatever may oppose."
"I'll to the gracious King approach,
whose scepter pardon gives,
Perhaps He will command my touch,
And then the suppliant lives."
"Perhaps He will admit my plea,
Perhaps will hear my prayer;
But if I perish, I will pray,
And perish only there."
There is another gospel truth shadowed forth in this part of our type. In anticipation of the seven years' gnawing, grinding, crushing famine, Pharaoh had laid up in the granaries of Egypt an ample supply of bread for the people. Was there ever a more precious truth illustrated than this? God, from eternity, has provided in the Son of His love, in the covenant of redemption, and in His eternal purposes, a full redemption, a free salvation for our poor famished, starving souls. Do not think not that Redemption was an afterthought of God; that Salvation was a subsequent idea of the Divine mind. Ah, no! Never was there a greater fallacy in theology than this.
God, from all eternity, knew that man would fall; foresaw the apostasy of our race, and provided for the event. In the counsels of eternity, God prepared and devised the great scheme of our salvation; laid up in the heavenly granary the bread that would meet the necessities of our famished nature, in original, unfailing, inexhaustible stores of pardoning, sanctifying, justifying, comforting grace- all treasured, provided in anticipation of the fall, the ruin, the famine of our poor sinful world. "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and with wicked hands have crucified and slain."
Beloved, the rivulet is sweet, the stream is sweeter, but the fountain from where both flow is sweeter than all. Let us follow the rivulet to the stream, the stream to the fountain. "I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you." What an additional element of sweetness will it give to that bread of life, how much more sparkling and refreshing will be the stream of the water of life, if you will blend it in your thoughts with God's everlasting love and purposes of mercy towards you! "Oh, how great is Your goodness which You have laid up for those who fear You!" Thus, all the covenant blessings of redemption and grace are anticipative- anticipative of the circumstances, the needs, and the appeals of the Lord's people.
We may, therefore, believe that no new exigence shall arise, no new affliction overtake us, no new event occur, which is not anticipated and provided for in the fulness of Christ, and in the supplies of the covenant of grace. Leave, then, your future confidingly, calmly, hopefully. For all that future your heavenly Father has provided in and through Jesus. When the seven years' plenty have expired, and the seven years' famine commence, you shall find the Lord Jesus to be God's Treasurer and Almoner, "in whom it pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell," and your every need shall be amply and freely supplied. Let us, then, exultingly, gratefully exclaim, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, according as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world." Yes! before an atom of matter was formed, or a foundation-stone of this mighty fabric was laid, before a star shone in the heavens, or a ray of light trembled on the chaotic darkness, grace and glory were laid up for us in Christ Jesus.
Observe another gospel truth strikingly illustrated. Old as their supplies of corn were, they would, to the famished recipients, be as the blessings of a new harvest. Such are our gospel supplies. Ancient as the years of God, are the blessings of grace, yet to our daily life of faith they are as new blessings. Jesus is the "mediator of the new covenant." "This is my blood of the new testament." "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." "Who has made us able ministers of the new testament." God would thus teach us that we must come to Jesus for new, for daily supplies- daily grace for daily corruption- daily strength for daily service- daily sympathy for daily sorrow- daily support for daily trial- daily food for daily hunger.
"To whom coming." "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever." Go to Jesus, then, with each new circumstance and event and demand as it arises. Jesus, our "Tree of Life," bears fruit every month, and every day of the month, and every hour of the day. He has taught you to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread," and He promises, "Open your mouth wide and I will fill it." Let, then, the life you live in the flesh, begirt by daily, hourly infirmities, trials, and sorrows, be a daily drawing of new blessings from your Divine granary. Whatever your craving, you will find in Jesus a corresponding supply. You have no sin His blood cannot cleanse- no grief His sympathy will not soothe- no infirmity His grace will not help- no perplexity His wisdom will not guide- no lack His sufficiency will not supply.
"Grace taught my wandering feet
To tread the heavenly road;
And new supplies each hour I meet,
While pressing on to God."
In all this we trace the will and purpose of God in the exaltation and honor to which He has advanced His Son Jesus Christ. The shadowing forth of this truth in the case of Joseph is most instructive. "And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; and he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee." Behold the shadowing of 'our gospel Joseph'! What do we read? "Therefore God also has 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."
Reader, have you bowed the knee to Jesus? have you bowed the heart in adoration, faith, and love? Bow to Him you must, either in this world, or in the world to come- in time, or in eternity. To Christ all judgment is committed by the Father, "that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father." "They will reverence my Son." Do you reverence Him? Are you exalting Him- crowning Him- serving Him? God will not hold him guiltless who dishonors His Son Jesus Christ- denying His Godhead, rejecting His atonement, refusing to love, serve, and glorify Him. Oh, bow your heart and lend your knee to Jesus! Place the diadem of Divine royalty upon His kingly brow, and worship Him in His priestly office, and He will make you a king and a priest unto God when He appears in glory!
"Go to Joseph." In their gospel significance, what words of fulness, solemnity, and hope are these! Interpreted in their spiritual import, they chime upon the ear more sweetly than an angel's harp, and more solemnly than the blast of the archangel's trumpet, "GO TO JESUS!" My reader, deem not these brief words of no interest to you. Words more momentous, more significant, more precious, were never uttered. It is a question of life or death. Go to Jesus you must, or you are lost! Your solemn future of happiness or of woe, of heaven or hell, is suspended upon your compliance or non-compliance with this invitation.
In some of its essential features your spiritual condition is portrayed by the case of the prodigal who took his journey into a far country, and when he had spent all, found himself in beggary and need amid a mighty famine; but encouraged by the recollection that there was bread enough in his father's house to spare, he arose and went to his father. It is for your life that we now urge you with all the earnestness and solemnity we can command, Go to Jesus. Nothing whatever must be allowed to intercept your coming; no reasoning must dissuade, no difficulty must daunt, no condition must discourage you. To Christ you must come, or perish! It is Christ- or Satan. Christ- or condemnation. Christ- or hell. The whole matter, more important to you than the interests of ten million empires, is narrowed to the finest point, the smallest compass- go to Jesus, or perish in the famine, with all the bitter pangs of the second and eternal death. Go, then, to Jesus- go at once, go as you are, go through a crowd of difficulties, opposition, and discouragements; go with your sins countless as the sands which belt the ocean, or the stars which bestud the firmament- sins of scarlet and of crimson hue; go with all the sad memories of the past crowding upon you; your caviling at Divine truth, your rebellion against God, your aggravated violations of His law, your ungodly deeds which you have ungodly committed, the hard speeches which you have spoken, even though you have plucked the crown from the Savior's head, trailing it in the dust, even- oh, crime of crimes! -even though you have scornfully trampled His atoning blood beneath your feet- even though you have made a covenant with hell, and with death are at an agreement; yet, in the face of all, in spite of all, notwithstanding all, with trumpet-tongue, the astounding, the marvellous, the gracious words peal forth upon your ear- GO To JESUS!
Yes! to Jesus you may go! God is prepared to be reconciled to you in Christ, and He sends you to His Son for the merits, the worthiness, and the plea with which you may propitiate His justice, be restored to His favor, be adopted, accepted, and saved. And to make this momentous fact of your restoration doubly sure, you have both the efficacy of Christ's work- and the assurance of Christ's promise- annihilating, if you stand at His bar condemned, every excuse- "the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanses us from all sin." "Him that comes unto me, I will never cast out." Arise, then, and go. Be this your plea "Blessed Savior! I come, I come to You as I am; I come vile, I come, empty, I come as a bankrupt and a beggar, to receive as the gift of Your free grace the blessings of Your salvation."
"Encouraged by Your word of promise to the poor,
Behold a beggar, Lord, waits at Your mercies' door;
No hand, no heart, O Lord, but Thine,
Can help and pity needs like mine."
Believer in Jesus, regard not this act of going to Jesus as only primary and initiatory- once done, done forever. Oh, no! it is a continuous act all through the Christian's life. The life of faith is a constant coming to Jesus for daily, hourly, and fresh supplies. "To whom COMING," -mark the tense- coming now! coming at this moment, and continuously coming. Let every circumstance and event, every trial, sorrow, and need, be an echo of the gracious life-inspiring words- "Go to Joseph!" Go to Jesus, confessing sin; go, unveiling grief; go, telling need; go, breathing love, desire, and hope. You are still in the land of famine and of need. But your heavenly Father would remind you that He has anticipated and provided for all your requirements, for all your history, for your daily demands, in Him whom He has made Head over all things to the Church, the fullness of Him that fills all in all.
Take the hard or the broken heart, take the cold or the glowing heart, take your barrenness or your fruitfulness, take the sunbeam of prosperity or the cloud-veil of adversity, take the joy, the sorrow, take all- to Jesus; let Him participate in all, keep you in all, sympathize with all, for Jesus is your Brother, raised up to befriend, support, and preserve you in your time of need.
"What He says to you, do." Implicit obedience to Christ's commands is as much enjoined by our heavenly Father, as it is the dictate of gratitude and the prompting of affection. "This is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and that we should love one another, as he gave us commandment," Obedience to Christ is the evidence of discipleship and the test of love. "If you love me, keep my commandments." And when our adorable Lord and Master, our King and Head in Zion, pledged to the apostles, and through them to all who should afterwards believe in Him, His presence to the end of time, He linked the precious promise with the obligation of obedience, "Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you aways, even unto the end of the world."
Let this, then, be your daily prayer- "Lord, what will You have me to do? I would bear Your yoke, and carry Your burden, and bind Your cross to my heart, and follow You, blessed Lamb of God, wherever You go." Whatever, then, Christ says to you, do. He bids you believe in Him; He commands you to obey Him; He invites you to come to Him; He asks you to confess His name before the world; to take up your cross and follow Him.
All this, and whatever more He bids you, you must do, as a loving, obedient disciple. There must be no debate, no demur. It's not for a soldier to question his commander's orders, nor for a child to debate his father's commands. "You are my friends, if you do whatever I command you." Let obedience to Christ in everything be the distinctive badge of your discipleship. His grace will sustain you, His counsel guide you, His presence will cheer you, His smile will reward you, and you shall know from heart-experience, that "in keeping His commands there is great reward."
"What He says to you, do." Saved by Jehovah's love from this wide-spread, this fearful famine- nourished by Jesus, the bread of life, God's unspeakable gift- and made to know both your hunger and its supply, by the Eternal Spirit- oh, to the Triune God be henceforth- your intellect, your wealth, your rank, your time, your life- wholly and forever consecrated.
"Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
One in Three, and Three in One.
As by the celestial host,
Let Your will on earth be done;
Praise by all to You be given,
Glorious Lord of earth and heaven!"
"Vilest of the sinful race,
Lo, I answer to Your call;
Meanest vessel of Your grace,
Grace divinely free for all;
Lo! I come to do Your will,
All Your counsel to fulfill."
"If so poor a worm as I
May to Your great glory live,
All my actions sanctify,
All my words and thoughts receive;
Claim me for Your service, claim
All I have, and all I am."
"Take my soul and body's powers;
Take my memory, mind, and will;
All my goods, and all my hours,
All I know, and all I feel;
All I think, or speak, or do;
Take my heart, but make it new!"
"Now, my God, Your own I am,
Now I give You back Your own;
Freedom, friends, and health, and fame,
Consecrate to You alone
Yours I live, thrice happy I!
Happier still, if Yours I die!"
"Father, Son, and holy Spirit,
One in Three, and Three in One,
As by the celestial host,
Let Your will on earth be done;
Praise be all to You be given,
Glorious Lord of earth and heaven!"