Bring Your Father; Or, Christmas Gatherings
Genesis 45:16-20
And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying, Joseph's brothers are come: and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants.…

Family gatherings are old as history! Governments change. There was government Patriarchal — government by Judges — government by Kings in old Judea; and there are governments now, Imperialist — Monarchical — Republican. But the family remains ever and always, founded by God, and rooted in the constitution of human life, as the mountains are rooted in the earth.

I. A GOOD MAN CARRIES THE OLD HOME IS HIS HEART. Joseph's was not a self-chosen pilgrimage; "so then, it was not you that sent me hither, but God." He knew that. It was a history over-ruled by God for highest ends. It is wise and well that enterprize and energy should characterize a nation's sons, but they need not forget the old home. Surely, however, if any one might have cut off the remembrances of home, it was the castaway Joseph! That he owed his brethren nothing everyone must admit — nothing, indeed, but that which all Christians owe to their enemies and to themselves — the sovereignty of love over enmity. This man, successful, honoured, uplifted to be Prime Minister of Egypt, tried to exile the old home from his heart. The narrative in a previous chapter tells us this — "And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: for God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house" (Genesis 41:51). But one sight of the dear old faces broke down all his power to exclude them from his love.

II. IN A TRUE HOME EVERY LOST CHILD CREATES A BLANK. God wants every wandering child home. While we are yet a great way off, He comes forth to meet us. Jacob had many sons, and these sons had wives, and then fresh children came into the world — "his sons and his sons' sons"; "his daughters and his sons' daughters." Children — grandchildren! But these words, "Joseph is not!" constitute a little window into Jacob's heart. If you have ever lost a child, you still say in the words of the beautiful poem, "We are seven!" And if Joseph is away — far away — lost to you in the saddest of all senses, still he lives in your heart.

III. THE TIME COMES WHEN THE FATHER VISITS THE SON. This is beautiful. And it is a parable of that which occurs sometimes now. The old home circle visits the successful son, and he heads the table, and feels not that he does his father honour, but that the father honours him by his presence; this is all-glorious. I am not sure that the old world, of which China is one of the permanent shoots, does not set us an illustrious example in this respect, viz., the honour due to age and parentage; but I am sure that ancient Greece might teach us reverence, for a young man would rise in an assembly there and give his place to an aged man at once. Flippant familiarity in speech is unseemly in relations between the young and the old, for speech is an index of character. Joseph's speech is touched with reverence, and he seems to feel a culmination of kindly providence in the fact that his father should know of his glory in Egypt. I trust that many a son's heart will leap in future days when he sees, amid the faces looking on with rapt interest in a season of honour and reward, the features of his father.

IV. THE JOURNEY IS THAT OF A RELIGIOUS OLD MAN. Israel took his journey, and "came to Beer-sheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac." Then he thought of his father. We smile at old men finding it difficult to think themselves old, but their childhood is only a little way behind.

(W. M. Statham, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying, Joseph's brethren are come: and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants.

WEB: The report of it was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying, "Joseph's brothers have come." It pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants.

The Reconciled Brethren
Top of Page
Top of Page