Trial of Our Faith
Dr. Joe Temple

REVIEW

Open your Bibles, please, to the first epistle of Peter. That may seem like a strange place to begin the study of the book of Genesis, but we have been studying the book of Genesis by relating to spiritual living the truth that is contained in the book. In order for us to lay hold on the truth that I would like to present to you now, I would like for us to begin with the first epistle of Peter.

We have talked about all the things that God permitted in the lives of the brothers of Joseph to bring them to a place of repentance. We refer to it as “divine retribution,” and we pointed out to you that which would seem harsh and rough and almost unforgiving on the part of Joseph was simply used by God to bring his brethren to a place of repentance. We call that activity chastening. We call that discipline. But I would like for us to look at the other side of the picture because disciplining and chastening are not always intended to bring people to repentance. Many times there is nothing of which to repent. Discipline and chastening are sometimes used by God for the strengthening and perfection of the individuals involved.

CHASTENING FOR STRENGTHENING

That truth is brought out in I Peter, chapter 1, beginning with verse 3:

I Peter 1:

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
5Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
7That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
8Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
9Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Now, let us go back over this paragraph and notice one or two things about it so that we will know exactly where we are as we proceed.

OUR LIVING HOPE

In the third verse we are reminded that all true believers are begotton to a living hope. The assurance of that living hope is found in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. The living hope according to verse 4 includes an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled that fades not away and is reserved in Heaven for you. There is double assurance concerning that inheritance, because just as certainly as in verse 4 it is kept for you, you are kept for it. That certainly should preclude any danger of your losing the inheritance that God has for you. You will notice in verse 5:

I Peter 1:

5Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

This verse characterizes the hope to which we are begotten in verse 3. It is called salvation , and here it is referred to as a future thing. But let us not jump to conclusions and assume that salvation is not a present possession of every believer. It is! John says in his first epistle, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:2). Salvation is a present possession.

SALVATION…PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE

Unless you think of salvation in its fullness, you will never be able to grasp the truth that is suggestd in these verses of Scripture, because as we have pointed out to you at other times, and as many of you realize, salvation is past, salvation is present, and salvation is future. When we speak of salvation as being past, we are referring to the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ died on the Cross nearly 2000 years ago as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

All the conditions related to the penalty of sin were met at that time, and the very moment you or I receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, acknowledging that His sacrifice was sufficient for our sins, we are saved. In most cases that is related to the past. Certainly it will be in the past for all of us one minute after we are saved, because some of us are saved weeks, some of are saved months, some of us are saved years, but the decision is related to the past.

BEING SAVED FROM SIN'S POWER

We are reminded as well that we are being saved in this present moment. Therefore, salvation is a present reality. We are being saved from the power and dominion of sin each day that we live. This does not suggest that it is impossible for us to sin, but it does suggest that because we are new creatures in Christ Jesus, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we have that power which enables us to live a victorious Christian life.

TO BE SAVED FROM PRESENCE OF SIN

But salvation is still not finished, for salvation is related to the future as well as to the past and to the present. Salvation is related to the future in that someday, as we have been saved from the power of sin, we will be saved from the presence of sin.

One of these days the Lord Jesus Christ will come back and take all born-again believers to Himself, and when He does, we will be saved from the presence of sin. Therefore, if you will glance again at I Peter, chapter 1, verse 5, you will realize that we are kept until the day that this salvatiion about which I have just spoken will be revealed.

We are told in verses 6 and 7 that while we were waiting not everything is going to be as rosy as it might seem. I emphasize what I have said at other times, that I am not a preacher who tells people that the very moment they receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior their troubles will be solved and their burdens will be gone. I do not believe that. I believe that you will have burdens, you will have troubles, but you will have Someone to be with you in your burdens and in your troubles.

Some of you perchance have already experienced as a reality in your lives that after you take a stand for the Lord Jesus Christ, after you make an effort to live the way He wants you to live, trials and tribulations that you never dreamed possible come into your life. That is a mystery to many but need not be a mystery to all, because the explanation is found right here in I Peter, chapter 1, verses 6 and 7, where we read:

I Peter 1:

6Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

MEANINGS OF TEMPTATION

I would like for you to notice the word temptations and recognize that our English word temptation is used in two ways in our New Testament. One is a reference to temptation to sin, and the other is a reference to testing that has no connection with sin necessarily. It is merely a trial, it is merely a test through which you and I are called upon to go. The context will determine, as far as the English translation is concerned, which word is being used.

Here it is not a temptation to sin. It is reference to trials and tests. Trials and tests can be heavy. They can be wearing. They can weigh you down. But thank God for the four little words right in the midst of verse 5, “now for a season.” Thank God for those words, because the trials do not last forever. They are only for a season, and they are not without purpose. Once we realize the purpose, the trials become more bearable and more sensible to our thinking.

You will notice verse 7 for the purpose of the trial:

I Peter 1:

7That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Will you notice the last statement of that verse, “at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” That is right in line with what we have been talking to you about…our future salvation.

BEING REALISTIC ABOUT TRIALS

While we are waiting for our future salvation, which will occur at the appearing of Jesus Christ, we must endure the trials of our faith. We are told in this verse of Scripture that our faith is much more precious than gold. It is not the trial that is precious. There is not any point to your going around acting as if you are not hurting when you are. If you are hurting, you might as well admit it. It is foolish to go around talking as if you are not hurting when you are.

I am not suggesting that you ought to go around complaining. Perhaps there is too much of that. But I am suggesting that you face up to reality. There is no virtue in acting as if there is no such thing as pain. If pain is there, it is there. If heartache is there, it is there. If burdens are there, the burdens are heavy. We must face reality. But we are told that those burdens will result in a refinement of our faith which will stand us in good stead and will help us to see the purpose of God's working as He does.

We asked you to turn to I Peter in order that you might have a foundation for what we want to say to you as we go back now to the book of Genesis, chapter 42. We looked at trial and discipline used of God to bring people to repentance. Trial and discipline, heartache and sorrow can be used of God also for the discipline of the soul, for the maturing of the saints, for the trial of faith.

RETURN FROM EGYPT

Will you notice in Genesis, chapter 42, the paragraph which begins with verse 35. The sons of Jacob had returned from Egypt where they had gone to buy corn from Joseph. You will remember that because Joseph wanted to bring them into a place of repentance, he pursued a number of courses. One of the things he did was to have all of their purchase money returned to their sacks. One of the things that he did was to keep Simeon, one of the twelve boys, as hostage to guarantee the return of the other sons of Jacob. The other thing he did was to declare that if they came back again for food, they need not expect to see any or receive any unless they brought Benjamin, the youngest son of Jacob, with them. In verse 35 the boys are at home, and they are making a report to their aged father:

Genesis 42:

35And 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.
36And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.
37And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again.
38And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.

If we are to be able to understand Jacob's attitude of heart as it is expressed in the last statement of verse 36, “all these things are against me,” we will have to understand what he meant when he said in verse 38, “My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone; if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.” This one pathetic statement that Jacob made, that “his brother is dead,” tells of the first calamity in Jacob's life after a great victory, and Jacob's reaction to it.

JACOB'S FIRST MAJOR TRIAL AS ISRAEL

Will you turn back, please, to chapter 37 of the book of Genesis, and remember that by the time we have reached chapter 37 Jacob has won a great victory, and his name has been changed from supplanter and deceiver to Israel , which means Prince of God , or One who listens to God's commands . Get the picture fixed firmly in your minds. Here is an individual who says, “God, You command, and I will obey. I want to do Your will. I want always to do the things which please You.” Hardly has this been said, hardly has the determination been made, than the test comes. The first real test of his heart is described in Genesis, chapter 37, verse 29:

Genesis 37:

29And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.
30And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?
31And they took Joseph's coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;
32And 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.
33And he knew it, and said, It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.
34And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.
35And 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.

Here we have a picture of a Christian, using a New Testament term to describe an Old Testament character…a picture of a Christian who was inconsolable in his grief. A Christian who said, “I can't help but be sorrowful, and I will die this way. I will never know another moment of joy as long as I live.”

ENLIGHTENMENT FOR SORROW

That should not be unusual for a child of God…sorrow, that is…because the Bible recognizes that we all sorrow. But the Bible recognizes that Christians should be among that group of people who sorrow not as those who have no hope. It is foolishness to say that there is no such thing as sorrow in the life of the Christian. It is more accurate to say that sorrow is there, but the sorrow is enlightened by hope.

Will you stop for a moment and look into your own lives and see if there has been some real disappointment in your life and experience, some real sorrow. What has been your reaction to it? Just the dull ache of pain and sorrow? There is victory. You do not need to continue that way. But alas, many people do not get the victory. Another trial comes, and the dull ache of sorrow turns into the bitterness of frustration.

JACOB'S REACTION TO SORROW

If you will look at chapter 42 of the book of Genesis again, you will see that this second great sorrow that came into the life of Jacob resulted in that to which I have just referred…a bitter frustration. When the things we have been talking about were reported to Jacob, he said, “All these things are against me. Nothing ever goes my way. Everything that happens is against me. I do not ever get a fair deal. Everything is wrong. All things are against me.”

Have you ever felt that way, particularly when you had made an effort to do what you thought was right, particularly when you had made an effort to improve your way of living, and things happened and they were disappointing and the heartache and the sorrow came? You found yourself saying, “All these things are against me.” Why do you say that? “Well,” you say, “it is simple, for they are against me. Nothing ever happens right in my life.”

Wait just a moment. You are a child of God, and I would like to suggest to you that the reason you give the testimony that Jacob gave is that you are misinterpreting the things Jacob did. “Oh,” you say, “he did?” He misinterpreted God's intent in relation to the apparent death of Joseph, the imprisonment of Simeon, and the possible loss of Benjamin. Yes, he misinterpreted every one of those things. He thought that every one of those things were against him when actually they were for him.

RECOGNIZING GOD'S PLAN IN TROUBLE

Will you turn, please, to Genesis, chapter 45, and notice the testimony that is given about this very thing. The brethren of Joseph had returned another time to Egypt seeking food for their families, and now it was revealed to them that Joseph was alive. They were reminded of the horrible thing they did in selling him into slavery and acting as though he had died. In verse 3 they were troubled, very troubled. But in verse 4:

Genesis 45:

4And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
5Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.

More accurately, “God did send me before you to preserve your life.” You see how Jacob was misinterpreting what happened. He interpreted the loss of Joseph as the greatest calamity that could have occurred in his life, but it was not. It was the best thing that had occurred in his life for because of the temporary loss of Joseph, Jacob and all of his children were preserved alive. You see how wrong he was when he said, “All these things are against me.” Had he had the view that God had, he could have given an entirely different testimony.

NEEDLESS WORRY BY JACOB'S SONS

For amplification of this thought, will you turn to chapter 50 of the book of Genesis, where we come now to an event that happened some years later than the one to which we have referred. Jacob has died and has been buried, and the brothers of Joseph are still concerned about what they did to him. The forgiveness of Joseph was so tremendous that they could not believe it was true, and they got into their heads that the only reason Joseph did not have all of them killed was out of respect to his father, Jacob. But now Jacob was dead. They had all gone back to Canaan and buried him, and they were back in Egypt, and the boys got together again and said, “Now it will come. He will get even with us now because no one could be that good to forgive what we did to him.” Notice chapter 50, verse 15:

Genesis 50:

15And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.
16And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,
17So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.
18And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.
19And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?

Will you let that sink in? If you ever reach the place in your life where you refuse to forgive anyone anything, You are usurping God's place. God is the only One who has the right to refuse forgiveness. And in His mercy and in His grace, He does not.

Joseph said, “Am I in the place of God?” But notice now verse 20 where he said:

Genesis 50:

20But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

You see, it all depends on how you look at things. Jacob, in the bitterness of his soul, could say, “All these things are against me.” But God could say, “No, they are not against you. They are for you.”

GOD'S PURPOSE IN OUR LIVES

Will you turn with me, please, to chapter 8 of the book of Romans, and notice a very familiar passage of Scripture which many folk have claimed. I am afraid some folk have claimed it without following all the rules related to the claiming of it. Notice verse 28:

Romans 8:

28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

That is all we will read. But let me caution you once again never to read verse 28 without also reading verse 29. If you do, you might let yourself in for some disappointments. Did you notice what Jacob said: “I know that all these things are against me,” and in the bitterness of his soul he was disappointed in God. But the Apostle Paul could say, “I know something different from that. I know that for the child of God all things work together for good.”

SPECIAL CONDITIONS FOR ROMANS 8:28

There are some conditions related to that promise. If you are going to alleviate the bitterness of your soul by claiming it, one of them is that not all things work together for good for the entire human race. Things work together for good only to them who love God and are called according to His purpose. That last statement is a very general term. It refers to the purpose for all believers. What is the purpose for all the children of God? Someone says, “I think the purpose that God has for all His children is for them to be tremendously wealthy.” That is not true. God in His providential arrangement of our lives may arrange for some people to be wealthy, because prosperity is good for some people. In His providence He may arrange for other people to live a very normal life. So the purpose of God is not related to things for you or for me primarily.

GOD'S PRIMARY PURPOSE FOR US

The primary purpose of God for you and for me is to be conformed to the image of the Son of God. You must remember that, or else you will be disappointed. Some unfortunate thing happens in your life and you shrug your shoulders and say, “Oh, I am not worried about it. Everything will work together for good.” And you think that that particular bad thing is suddenly going to become a good thing, or you think that somehow or other you will not have to face the reality of something unpleasant. It does not necessarily follow. It takes the cold north wind as well as the warm south wind to accomplish God's purpose in the natural realm, and it is so in relation to the spiritual, too. So you might remember that those of us who are called according to His purpose…that is, to be conformed to the image of the Son of God…can recognize that on that basis all things work together for good in accomplishing that particular purpose.

THINGS WORK TOGETHER…NOT IN ISOLATION

The other rule you must keep in mind is that God does not deal in isolated circumstances. God does not deal in isolated things. If you are in the habit of marking your Bible, you should certainly draw a circle around the word together . If you are not in the habit of marking in your Bible, you ought to draw a circle around it in your mind because that is what the verse says. “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” You may die of frustration if you look at isolated things and wonder about the good in them. But recognize that each thing is but one thread in God's embroidering of your life. For you know that is what God does with your life. You know that is what the Word says about your life.

GOD WORKS IN US

Will you turn with me, please, to the book of Philippians and notice how God speaks of your life after you have committed your life to Him. In chapter 2, verse 12:

Philippians 2:

12Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Notice the last statement of verse 13: “It is God which worketh in you.” The word worketh suggests the idea of embroidering a very fine pattern.

Go to the book of Ephesians, chapter 2, verse 8:

Ephesians 2:

8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Notice particularly verse 10: “For we are His workmanship.” We are His embroidery. Sometimes we look at only the underside of the embroidery, and when we do it is nothing but a mass of tangled thread. When we look at the right side, we see the pattern and the purpose. That is the reason it is so necessary for us to remember that all things work together for good to them that love God and are the called according to His purpose.

Will you go back to Genesis, chapter 42. The second real trial in Jacob's life resulted in bitterness of soul and he said, “All these things are against me.” But thank God trials are supposed to mature and trials are supposed to train, and so Jacob did not remain in the bitterness of his soul.

JACOB'S SURRENDER

In chapter 43, verse 11:

Genesis 43:

11And their father Israel [keep in mind Israel is another name for Jacob]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 [Joseph]a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds:
12And take double money in your hand; and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight:

Notice very carefully what he is saying:

Genesis 43:

13Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man:
14And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, [Simeon] and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.

I do not know whether you sense this or not, but that is a wonderful testimony that Jacob…Israel…was able to give. It was a testimony of surrender. Notice that in chapter 42, he was bitter…“all these things are against me,” but God had been dealing with him, and now he could say, in verse 14:

Genesis 43:

14And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SURRENDER AND RESIGNATION

He had reached the place where he laid his all on the altar, figuratively speaking. Someone says, “Isn't resignation a wonderful thing?” Beloved, this is not resignation. Resignation is all that an unsaved man can do. He has to resign himself to the circumstances. He cannot make any changes. Resignation is all that is left for him. There is a vast difference between resignation and surrender. Resignation is that attitude of heart that results because of the frustration of the soul as one faces impossibilities. Surrender is that attitude of heart that takes things out of your hands and places them in God's hands.

How do we know this was surrender instead of resignation? Look at verse 14:

Genesis 43:

14And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin…

Look at the name of God presented in verse 14…God Almighty. You will remember that this is not the first time we have found this name. Do you remember the first time that God called Himself by this name? Do you remember what the name is? The name is El ShaddaiEl for God and Shaddai for Almightiness , or more accurately, Sufficiency . Back in chapter 18 of the book of Genesis, Abraham had tried a plan and that plan had failed, and Abraham said, “Don't blame me. I thought it would work.” God said, “Abraham, I don't want you to try any more of your plans any more. I am El Shaddai. I am the self-sufficient One. I don't need your help. I am the all-sufficient One. I can do what you can't do.”

RECOGNIZING THAT GOD IS SUFFICIENT

The story of that experience had been told to Isaac and had been told to Jacob, as grandfather Abraham reminded Jacob that there would come a time in his life when he would not be sufficient for something, but God would be. And in the dark hours of his heartache when he thought that surely all things were against him, his heart and his mind turned to the words of his grandfather, Abraham. So he called his sons together and said, “I am foolish. Instead of saying all these things are against me, I am willing to surrender it all to the Lord. You go back down there and you take Benjamin and we will trust that God Who is the all-sufficient One will bring you all back safely again. That is the difference between surrender and resignation.

GOING TO EGYPT AT GOD'S COMMAND

Will you turn, please, to chapter 46 of the book of Genesis, where we see how real this surrender was in the life of Jacob. Keep in mind now, he had begun in sorrow. The sorrow had turned to bitterness, but in place of bitterness, there was the sweet peace of surrender so real to Jacob. No matter what he thought and no matter what his heart felt, he would not question the will of God. We read in chapter 46:

Genesis 46:

1And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac.

That is the headline of the story. Jacob (Israel) had started down to Egypt, and he stopped at Beer-sheba and made his scacrifices to his God. But what prompted him to go on this journey? This is what we are interested in. Look at verse 2. It begins with the word and . It could just as well have begun with the word for .

Genesis 46:

2And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I.
3And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation:
4I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.

That is why Jacob could readily go down into Egypt. That he was concerned about going down into Egypt is indicated in verse 3 where God said unto him, “Fear not to go down into Egypt.” He knew that when his father Abraham had gone down into Egypt terrible things had happened. He knew that when Isaac had gone down into Egypt terrible things had happened, and he knew that God had said that He wanted His people to stay out of Egypt, in the land of Canaan. But now it seemed that God would have him go, and he wanted to be sure. So he stopped and prayed about it. God said to him, “Don't be afraid. It is all right for you to go down into Egypt.”

PEACE THROUGH SURRENDER

Do you know why God could say that to him? Because he was surrendered. God said in verse 2, “Jacob, Jacob.” He did not have to yell. He did not have to send out a special messenger to find him. Jacob was in such fellowship with Him that at that very moment he could say, “Here am I, Lord.” God said, “Now do not be afraid. You go down to Egypt.” Notice what else He said: “I will there make of thee a great nation. I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again.” Egypt is a type of the world. It is the Devil's territory. If you go there on your own, you are acting dangerously, but if you go there with the permission and at the direction of God, you do not have anything to fear. God will bring you out again in due season.

He gave to Jacob an additional promise. It was a promise of a good, long life in Egypt. That is indicated by the phrase, “and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.” What that means in the original text is: “Jacob, you will die down there. And Joseph, the boy that you thought was dead…Joseph, the boy whom you thought you had lost…the losing of whom caused you to be so bitter against Me…will close your eyes in death.” I suppose most of us have had the experience of sitting at the bedside of a loved one when he left this life. Some of us had to have the experience of gently reaching up and closing the eyes of that one who was dear to us. That is what this is talking about.

REJOICING AFTER TRIAL

To me it is a very precious thing that God did…to answer Jacob's faithfulness with the precious experience of knowing that his son, who had meant so much to him and whom he thought surely he had lost, would be able to be at his bedside when he died and to reach up with gentle hands to close his eyes in death. Don't you think that Jacob was just a little bit ashamed to have said at one time, “All these things are against me.”

If you will go with me once again to the first epistle of Peter, chapter 1, you will realize that though these words were not written when Jacob lived, they well could have been. Jacob could have said, “Amen,” to the words in verse 6:

I Peter 1:

6Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
7That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Jacob had reached the place in his life where he could say, “Thank you, Lord, for the trial. I see the reason for it now though I did not see it then. Though for a season I was heavy through manifold testings, now I see the purpose in it.”


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