"And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother [be] with you." (Genesis 43:3).
If the reader be taught of God the Holy Ghost to read this spiritually, he will perceive that the same is said respecting Jesus.
We cannot see the face of God except that Jesus be with us; John 14:6.
"I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever" (Genesis 43:9).
I detain the reader to remark the character here assumed by Judah as a surety, in which he was an eminent type of Jesus.
It was Jesus who from everlasting undertook to answer for His people.
And in this great office He hath fulfilled all righteousness, and expiated all offences; and is now pledged (as Judah said here), to bring all His people and set them before His father.
Sweetly is it said of him that he restored that which he took not away; Psalm 69:4.
"And their father Israel said unto them, If [it must be] so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds" (Genesis 43:11).
Observe, though Canaan wanted corn, yet it abounded with honey.
Reader! there are many parts of the earth which are blessed with the gifts of common providence: but what are these without the special gifts of grace.
Bread is the staff of life.
And what bread is to the body such is Jesus to the soul.
Lord, evermore give me this bread! John 6:33-35.
"And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph's house; and they said, 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" (Genesis 43:18).
Is there not a spiritual illustration here!
Are not awakened souls alarmed when first brought into Jesus' house and presence?
Read that scripture, Revelation 1:17.
"And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon: for they heard that they should eat bread there" (Genesis 43:25).
Is not this expected interview between Joseph and his brethren similar to that which we are looking forward to between God and ourselves?
But as the presence of Benjamin with them ensured their gracious reception, so if Jesus be with us we have no cause to fear ours.
Reader! let you and I turn from the table of Joseph amidst his brethren, while they are thus merry and happy with him, to consider the spiritual interest which we have in these things.
The world which we dwell in, like that of Canaan to the Patriarch's family, is a world of famine in bread for the soul. And if you know what spiritual hunger means, you will know also that this heavenly corn for ourselves and our household can nowhere else be had but of the lord of the country, even from the Lord Jesus, of whom Joseph was the type.
Shall we not arise and go to him?
We will not, like Jacob's sons, take a present in our hand, for he is too rich to be benefitted by our favours: and his blessings are too great to come within the price of purchase.
But like Jacob, let us pray that God Almighty may give us mercy before the man, even the God'man Christ Jesus.
Dearest Lord, behold us now before Thee!
Oh! say to Thy stewards the ministers of Thy table as Joseph did to his; bring these men home and make ready, for these men shall dine with me at noon.
And oh! the wonderful condescension, Jesus indeed receiveth sinners and eateth with them.
We see Thy face. We behold Thy glory. We hear Thy voice. We rejoice and are merry like the brethren of Joseph, while our brother Jesus saith, Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.
And dearest Redeemer! we would pray do Thou make our meeting gracious in drawing nigh to us by Thy Holy Spirit, in opening to our minds the Holy Scriptures, and in making Thyself known to us in breaking of bread and in prayer.
Then shall we fully understand and have our souls refreshed indeed in the experience, that Thy flesh is meat indeed, and Thy blood drink indeed.