A Bitter Cry of Unbelief

With heavy hearts, because they had to leave Simeon behind in one of Egypt's prisons, the nine brothers of Joseph mounted their beasts of burden. And yet with a sigh of relief they headed northward for the land of Canaan. How wonderful to be out of prison and away from rough speech! 

The relief, however, was soon replaced with increasing anxiety, so that their hearts became heavier each step that they took homeward. For now a new trying situation began to impress itself upon their consciousness. They must face their father and explain to him Simeon's absence, the fact that they found a sack's worth of money in the sack of grain that they had opened, and that they must take Benjamin along, if they are to return and get food again out of Egypt. What troubled them especially was the fact that they had to persuade their father, who now looked upon Benjamin as his most beloved son, to let them take this youngest son along on their next trip. 

Now, ordinarily, to find a sum of money brings elation. To get a large discount on the things you buy does not move to tears of sadness. To come home from the grocery store with a large bag of the necessities of life for which the owner refused to let you pay, and said that it was on the house, will not bring frowns and grumblings. More likely your step will be quicker and lighter; and you will want to hurry home and tell others of your "good fortune." But the nine brothers did not look forward to telling this to their father after they opened one of their sacks and found to the last penny the cost of that sack of corn lying on top of the food. They were filled with consternation to find this money, and with stark fear looked at each other in dismay. We read that their hearts failed them. The treatment that they had received in Egypt gave them no assurance that this was a gift of kindness—even though it was—or the deed of a good friend. Going home to get proof that they were true men, they knew of not one man in Egypt that was a friend to them. And what about Simeon being kept in prison? Is it any wonder that, when they did return with Benjamin, one of the first things that they did was to explain that they had found this money and were bringing it back? And is it any wonder that, upon being brought into Joseph's house, they first said among themselves, "Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses"? Note, by the way, how averse these brothers, who sold Joseph as a slave, are to becoming slaves themselves. But they can find only one explanation for the money in their sacks, and that is that it is an attempt to prove that they are spies, and thieves as well. 

Imagine then their consternation, and their father's, when arriving home they open all the other eight sacks, and find in each one the money they gave for the contents! What is more, we may believe that each brother recognized the fact that he got exactly the same money—not merely the equivalent of what he bought the corn for—and in the same purse or package in which they brought it! If you will turn to Genesis 42:35, you fill find this, "And it came to pass as they emptied their sacks, that, behold, every man's bundle of money was in his sack; and when both they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid." Now this word bundle is elsewhere translated three times as bag, and it is not the same word as sack. There was a bundle or bag of money in each sack. The word bundle or bag means that which is compressed; and it gives the idea of a sum of money that is not loose but in some way wrapped up together. And "every man's bundle" means that the same bundle, bag, or wrapping is there with the exact coins that they had brought to buy the corn. No wonder they were afraid and that their hearts failed them, and said, "What is this that God hath done to us?" There was everything to give circumstantial evidence that they stole the money they brought down to Egypt. 

Continue reading...

Comments

A White Christmas

Our flesh so quickly associates a snow cover with the celebration of Christmas, and then it gives the pre-eminence to the incidental and loses the essential. The white snow on the ground becomes in our thinking essential as a part of Christmas. Its absence detracts from the significance of the holiday for us, even though it has absolutely nothing to do with the true meaning of Christmas. 

Even then in these areas where snow is so common in December, the holiday is by no means a white Christmas in many respects. In fact it is a most colorful, if not indeed the most colorful of all the holidays. Christmas trees are strung with colored lights here and also in the South. Buildings have their outlines set off with colored lights that shine brilliantly in the cold air, and blink on and off in patterns of color and design. The use of red and green is everywhere to be seen for decorative purposes. It is called the season to be gay. Colorful greetings cards are mailed in staggering numbers and volume. Tinsel and the holly and the ivy are used in abundance to give a little more color to the holiday.

One almost feels ashamed to speak of that drab picture there on the Judean hillside with colorless sheep and even less colorful shepherds, to say nothing of that drab, dull, foul, ill-smelling, wholly undecorated grotto where among donkeys and camels the Christ-child made his appearance in our world. There were no beautiful, colorful wrappings and ribbons containing a gift for him. All was commonplace and dull. All lacked the luster that we now try to bring into the picture, not in his fear but in the satisfaction of the flesh.

God's color was there. There was the bright light of the angel of the Lord, and a few moments later that of a host of these pure, white creatures from heaven. There was the colorful message, that at the same time shown with white brilliancy, "Fear not: for, behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." In the darkness of our night of sin the light shone so brightly in those words. For us, who are so black with sin, this was a truth of brilliant whiteness which gives such wonderful significance to Christmas unto us. And the shepherds, who were white with fright, were suddenly engulfed with another heavenly message of glory to God in the highest, and they saw a white flag of peace on earth to the men of God's good pleasure waved before their eyes.

The message was one of peace. The white flag which the angels waved before these shepherds, and through them before our eyes, was not a flag of surrender. It was the white flag of victory. Do we not read in Revelation 6 of the white horse, and that he that sat on it went forth conquering and to conquer? White stands there for victory. And do we not again read in Revelation 19 that he who sat on this white horse is called "Faithful and true, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war?" A verse later we read that his name is "The Word of God." In that light also we must read Revelation 2:17, where we are told that "to him that overcometh" this babe of Bethlehem, who now is the Lord of Lords and King of kings, will give "to eat of the hidden manna" and "a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it." This does not mean that we receive a name of those who surrender. It means that we receive the name of victor, through him who rides this white horse that symbolizes victory, and that we shall sit and reign with him because he goes forth conquering and to conquer. 

May God grant you a white Christmas of victory in Christ. And may he take from you the scarlet color of your sins.

_________________

This excerpt was taken from a meditation written by Rev. John Heys printed in the December 15, 1970 issue of the Standard BearerRead the full article.

Comments

Thankful for a Blessed Victory

But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

—1 Cor. 15:57

By God's grace we will, not merely on Thanksgiving Day, thank him for that blessed salvation, which Christ earned for us. By all means we must do that on Thanksgiving Day. But our calling is to do so every day. Every day we must fight the sinfulness of our flesh, and the boasting of what we are and did. That victory for which we thank God is not a victory which we realized. We must thank God because he giveth us that victory. As we read in 1 Cor. 15:50, "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." No, thanking God for giving us this victory is thankfully praising God for what he did in his grace. Take a strong hold of that truth: We thank God because he giveth us the victory through his Son, who is our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Salvation is, from beginning to end, and as far as every detail of it is concerned, God's gift to us. Therefore we are here called to thank God, and not boast of what we did. We enjoy that victory; but if we do this correctly, we attribute every bit of that victory to our God, as the song quoted a moment ago presents that truth: "All that I am I owe to Thee."

Hold on tightly then to the truth which our God presents to us through Paul. Call every bit of your salvation the gift of God's grace; and thank him for the victory which he realized for his elect. 

If we do that sincerely, we reveal that we have been given victory by our God, through his Son. Praise God then from whom all blessings flow.

________________

This excerpt was taken from a meditation written by Rev. John Heys printed in the 1995 issue of the Standard Bearer. Read the full article herehttp://ow.ly/OFwe30gL7SZ.

Comments

Post Tags

On Twitter

Follow @reformedfreepub