From Enmity to Amity (Genesis 43) by Ptr Xley Miguel

The reading from Nehemiah chapter 8 truly inspired me. The 6-hour long reading of the law is truly an inspiration. So I hope everyone’s ready. So turn with me to Genesis chapter 43. We will be reading the entire text. But as you turn to the 43rd chapter, let me refresh your memory. In Genesis chapters 41 and 42, we saw the promotion of Joseph. He became the governor or the ruler of the land. In fact, he was like Pharaoh. He has the same authority as Pharaoh, the only thing that he lacks is the title ‘Pharaoh’ so whatever he says, it should happen, it will be an edict, it will be a law in their time especially in Egypt. So he became the governor and his promotion was so instrumental in the success of Egypt. As you know, if you remember there has been a … there was a seven-years of plenty and then come… and afterward there will be years of famine and he was so instrumental that during seven years of plenty, he stored lots of food so that they will have grain during the years of famine. The famine was so severe that it has affected even the land of Canaan, okay. And we know who lived in the land of Canaan; that was Jacob and his family. Joseph’s brothers; so they learned about Egypt having plenty of grain. His sons then, Israel’s or Jacob’s sons then went to Egypt. At first well Jacob did not want Benjamin to come with them, because as you know Benjamin was Jacob’s favourite son. You know that Joseph was his favourite son but he did not know that Joseph was still alive back then. So…. and Benjamin was the son of his favourite wife, Rachel. So he did not want to lose Benjamin. So the brothers, Israel’s ons went to Egypt to buy grain. And then when they met Joseph, Joseph accused them. Joseph tested his own brothers. He accused them of being spies that his brothers just wanted to see the nakedness of the land and want to want to spy the land of Egypt so he accused them and so this forced the brothers of Joseph to to be truthful.. “no! governor, we’re not spies! In fact, we’re one family; our father was still with us in Canaan. We in fact have have another younger brother there ,and we have another brother who already passed away. So this forced them to be truthful, to tell Joseph what happened in the years past. So Joseph continued with that test and what Joseph said was for them to just send one brother back to Canaan, and then send over if…. Joseph was saying, if your words are true, then send me your younger brother. I want to see your younger brother. That’s what he said. But after 3 days, they kept… Joseph kept his brothers into custody. He basically change his mind. On the third day what happened was, he allowed everyone to go back to Canaan and he just let one brother to be kept in custody and that was Simeon. And so when the brothers were going back to Canaan, they found out that inside their bags were the money that they brought in order to buy grain.

They did not know that their brother Joseph wanted their grain to be free. Joseph did not want them to pay for the food. But the reaction of his brothers were, they were frightened. They were afraid. Maybe the Egyptians will come back and get back the money, they would think that they stole the money. Well of course if they were afraid, their father was more afraid, for Jacob, he has already lost Joseph. Now he lost Simeon. Now I’m losing my family, I am bereft of my children. I will be bereaved Jacob said. Jacob was more afraid to lose! In fact, to lose his favourite son, Benjamin. That’s basically the end of the 42nd chapter of Genesis. We need to be refreshed because the the last time that we we were in Genesis was I think weeks ago. So it’s time now to read the 43rd chapter. So please if you can read along silently. I will read it loudly. Genesis chapter 43. Now the famine was severe in the land. And when they had eaten the grain that they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go again, buy us a little food.” But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food. But if you will not send him, we will not go down, for the man said to us, ‘You shall not see my face, unless your brother is with you.’” Israel said, “Why did you treat me so badly as to tell the man that you had another brother?” They replied, “The man questioned us carefully about ourselves and our kindred, saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ What we told him was in answer to these questions. Could we in any way know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down’?” And Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, both we and you and also our little ones. I will be a pledge of his safety. From my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever. If we had not delayed, we would now have returned twice.” Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry a present down to the man, a little balm and a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds. Take double the money with you.

Carry back with you the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was an oversight. Take also your brother, and arise, go again to the man. May God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, and may he send back your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.” So the men took this present, and they took double the money with them, and Benjamin. They arose and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph. When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Bring the men into the house, and slaughter an animal and make ready, for the men are to dine with me at noon.” The man did as Joseph told him and brought the men to Joseph’s house. And the men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph’s house, and they said, “It is because of the money, which was replaced in our sacks the first time, that we are brought in, so that he may assault us and fall upon us to make us servants and seize our donkeys.” So they went up to the steward of Joseph’s house and spoke with him at the door of the house, and said, “Oh, my lord, we came down the first time to buy food. And when we came to the lodging place we opened our sacks, and there was each man’s money in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight. So we have brought it again with us, and we have brought other money down with us to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks.” He replied, “Peace to you, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has put treasure in your sacks for you. I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them. And when the man had brought the men into Joseph’s house and given them water, and they had washed their feet, and when he had given their donkeys fodder, they prepared the present for Joseph’s coming at noon, for they heard that they should eat bread there. When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present that they had with them and bowed down to him to the ground. And he inquired about their welfare and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?” They said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” And they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves. And he lifted up his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me? God be gracious to you, my son!” Then Joseph hurried out, for his compassion grew warm for his brother, and he sought a place to weep. And he entered his chamber and wept there. Then he washed his face and came out. And controlling himself he said, “Serve the food.” They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians. And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth. And the men looked at one another in amazement. Portions were taken to them from Joseph’s table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs. And they drank and were merry with him. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

Because of the severe famine, the grain had been depleted. So it’s now time to go back. Now Jacob was telling his sons to go back and buy grain. But of course Judah reminded his father, Jacob oh no we can’t go back.. we can’t go back unless we bring our younger brother with us ‘cause the man, the governor of Egypt was telling us to make sure that we bring our younger brother so that we can buy grain. Of course there was a hesitation from Jacob or from Israel first because Benjamin as I’ve said a while ago was his favourite son. But because of the necessity to be sustained, he allowed his sons to bring Benjamin with them, plus add more presents, including the money they got when they first went back. Jacob said double the money. So when they went back to Egypt, Joseph saw Benjamin and he told his servant to kill an animal, slaughter an animal and prepare a feast. We will dine with these Hebrews. And then of course, they were invited inside the house of Joseph. But the brothers of Joseph were very afraid that they might be assaulted because of the money that they got on the first visit. It’s not normal for visitors to be invited in the house of a high official. So they were afraid. Maybe this man will kill us. And this is why Israel’s sons brought presents because, again, it was a sign of amity. It was a sign of peace, a pledge of goodwill. They don’t want any enmity with Joseph and the entire people of Egypt. But see even before they present their gifts, peace was already evident. Peace was already there. In fact verse 23, the servant of Joseph was the one who told the brothers of Joseph, and he said: ‘peace to you, do not be afraid; your God and the God of your father has put treasure in your sacks for you. I received your money.’ We acknowledge your presence, right. In fact even the acknowledgement of the present is a sign of peace, okay. So they brought back also Simeon and they gave them water, washed their feet, fed their donkeys and then when Joseph returned they, all bowed together, prostrated themselves, it says, which was by the way a fulfillment of the dream of Joseph. Do you remember Joseph’s dreams, right? The the moon and the stars will bow down to Joseph. The grains will bow down to to Joseph’s heath of grain. And when Joseph again saw Benjamin, he looked for a room to weep, right. He was compassionate toward his brother. And then they had a feast. By the way, they were in one big room but they were eating on separate tables, because Egyptians do not eat with Hebrews, with Israelites. And then you see there, the brothers were amazed because of the arrangement of the seating. It was arranged from Reuben to Benjamin. So they were amazed how did this man know the order of the brothers of their birth? Of course, Joseph knew their order. And you know what? The very opposite happened at the end of the chapter. Remember, before they went to Egypt, they were hesitant to bring Benjamin. They did not want Benjamin to be hurt. And see the last verse in the chapter, we see here a Benjamin who’s not hurt at all. In fact who’s receiving five times more portion of the food that was given to everyone.

So what do we see here? We see here a picture of peace. Remember their relationship before. Let us go back to the to the chapters in Genesis when we started with the story of Joseph. Israel’s sons were at enmity with Joseph. They were jealous of him. And they planned to kill him. They wanted to kill him. But instead sold him. Now here, fast forward to Genesis chapter 43, instead of taking revenge, Joseph has invited them to his house. Not only that they have been invited to his table. This story gives us hope that such broken relationships can be reconciled. There is hope for all broken relationships to be reconciled. And when we speak of broken relationships, I always say this: the most broken relationship there is is man’s relationship to his God, to his Creator. And yet that can be reconciled. All of us have access to such reconciliation. all of us have access to such peace. It is a peace in fact that surpasses all understanding. It is a peace that exceeds human comprehension. I mean you can’t understand it; you want to sin, you rebel against God and yet Christ loved you first despite the sin. It is a peace that surpasses all understanding. It is a peace that comes from God alone. It comes from one source and that one source is God. In fact, this peace has come, this peace became flesh and dwelt among His people and this peace preached peace to you, Ephesians chapter 2 tells us and His name is Jesus Christ. Are you at peace with God? If you are, here is my message for for you and for everyone: Abiding Peace With God Is Secured Through The Person And Work Of Jesus Christ. Abiding peace with God is secured through the person and work of Jesus Christ. That’s what we’re going to talk about this afternoon.

Now what privilege do we have having such peace with God? That’s what we’re going to consider in our first point: Privilege Of Peace. And what is the reality? What is the nature of such peace? We’re going to consider that in my last point Reality Of Peace.

So let’s consider the first point Privilege Of Peace. If you remember again Joseph was promoted to be a high official for a purpose, okay. God has a purpose for promoting Joseph from being inside the pit into being a prisoner in prison, now to becoming a high official of Egypt. He has a purpose. This is clear in Genesis chapter 45. When, it is a time when Joseph finally revealed who he was to his brothers. Genesis 45: 5-7 it says Joseph said…. for God sent me before you to preserve life, okay. God brought Joseph into the this high position for life preservation. And then it says: for the famine has been in the land these two years and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on Earth and to keep alive for you many survivors. We’ve read Genesis 50: 20, right. We’re very familiar with that great text where it says As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive as they are today. God has risen Joseph up from the pits, from the prison, and He has made him the ruler of the land in order that Jacob and his family who lived in Canaan will be preserved. So that that they will have grain, so that they will have a place to run to when hit with a very severe famine. And that’s basically what happened. They knew who to go to; they knew who can sustain their family, they knew that it was the governor of the land of Egypt, it was the ruler of the land of Egypt and knows to them, it was Joseph. They know that it’s none other than the saviour of Egypt, also technically became the saviour of Canaan and that was Joseph, their brother. But of course, we can say that the primary purpose of preserving Jacob and his sons was to preserve the line of Jacob. If not for God raising up Joseph; yes, we can say oh, then the people of Jacob, the line, Jacob and his sons, Joseph’s brothers, will not be alive. That’s true! But ultimately, if you look at the entire biblical history, God has a purpose for preserving Jacob and his family and that is to ultimately bring forth the sustainer of all. And that is none other than the Saviour of the world, who is Jesus Christ. The Father sent His Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is a Son of God, abides in Him and he in God. 1 John 4: 14. Because God preserved Jacob’s line in the time of Joseph, now true salvation is possible by faith in Christ. True salvation comes from Christ, not preservation of Earthly life, rather redemption of one’s soul, redemption of our souls and forgiveness of our sins. That is what’s promised to those who repent of their sins and come to faith in Jesus Christ. For Christ alone did not commit any sin, for Christ Alone is acceptable and He alone was able to accomplish redemption and no one else could. You and I couldn’t… not even Joseph! The great Joseph, the saviour of Canaan and Egypt. Not even him can atone for his own sins. Only Christ is our High Priest. So if you’re not in Christ, if you do not believe in God’s provision of salvation in the person and work of Jesus Christ and there is no peace that abides, repent of your sins and have faith in Him! You are being called by God to repent, turn away from your sins and believe in God’s provision of salvation. But if you are already in Christ, remember that as Joseph was the one who sustained Jacob and his family, Christ too remains to be your Sustainer. If Jacob knew and his family knew where to go to, you should know where to go to to be sustained for your souls, to be sustained for your souls to be fed… go to Christ! Christ too remains to be your Sustainer. Not only is Christ the Life-giver Who sustains creation, all creatures, He is also the Author and Perfector of your faith. He preserves your faith up to the end of age. Of course being in Christ does not mean that you will be immune to difficulties in life that would affect your soul. This is why… this is why when spiritual famine hits us, when spiritual famine hits us, when we think that the graces of God in life are unreachable and sometimes we think that God is not with us, all the more that we need to come to Christ. For the difficulties of life must stir us to approach our ever Sustainer who is Jesus Christ. Remember that Christ is the bread that gives life and from Christ alone comes the waters that gives life. So you come to Him on your knees in prayer and with you humility in receiving His word.

When the brothers entered the house of Joseph they were so afraid. But Joseph showed them compassion and peace. Christ is also compassionate towards us. He hears His people, He can sympathise with our weaknesses therefore, we don’t come to God with trembling knees, but with hunger and thirst, with humility knowing that we come as needy saints. And so with confidence knowing that we too were made conquerors in Jesus Christ.

Difficulties in life such as spiritual famine will hit you. Know that you can always come to Christ because in Christ, you can approach the throne of grace. You can approach the throne of grace now, later, yesterday, tomorrow, it is open for you. That’s the privilege of peace that you have. You have that eternal peace with God. Anytime, you can come to Him. And you should not be afraid. Peace to you brethren and don’t be afraid. That is the first challenge for everyone: To Approach God’s Throne Of Grace For He Is The Source Of Sustenance. Just like the author of Hebrews was saying, Hebrews chapter 4:16 because we have Christ as our great great High Priest, Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

I like what John Owen said in his commentary in Hebrews. He interprets the throne as both a throne of judgment and a throne of compassion. It is not a throne of judgment for a believer because when we speak of a throne, it is where the King exercises judgment. However, for one who believes in Christ, you are approaching not a throne of judgment according to Owen, but a throne of grace. A throne of compassion where mercy and grace are administered and freely bestowed upon you. It’s like like it’s available for you; all you need to do is to come and approach. This is the privilege of peace that you have with God. Because you have a High Priest with Christ, you can always approach it; not with trembling knees because you’re not approaching a throne of judgment, but a throne of compassion, of grace and mercy where such things are administered to you freely. That’s what you have. Ask and you shall receive when you’re having struggles with your sin; approach the throne of grace when you are tempted by Satan; approach the throne of grace in prayer. And also in devotion, in the word. Approach God for He will grant His everyday mercies and He will shower us with every spiritual blessing. Approach God knowing that in Christ we are at peace.

There’s no need to be afraid knowing that you are not in enmity with your God. That you are not at war anymore with your God. You were before, if you pre- conversion at the time of your death and in trespasses and sins, but you were made alive together with Christ. Now you have such immediate access. You can come to Christ. We’re not anymore in the old covenant where a high priest alone can enter the holy of holies. Christ already entered once and for all so we can come to the mercy seat. That is your privilege. Sometimes, we don’t realise such privilege. Such privilege of amity that we all have in Christ. Because we rely not on the Sustainer, we know He can sustain us, but we rely sometimes on ourselves. We rely on our own ability to get out of the circumstances we don’t want to be in… not knowing that we, by the enabling grace of the Holy Spirit, can approach the most high God and seek help, seek strength, seek comfort, seek hope.

Let our first impulse be when trials hit us is to seek God, to approach God first and foremost, to think of Christ and the great reconciliation He has accomplished for us. That through it, we have this great immediate access with God, that through Christ, the distance that we have from God which was so great according to our confession, has been removed. And as you approach God, may our desire for Christ all the more grow and may we learn that as we desire for Christ, Christ desires to give Himself to us. When we ask God for Christ for help, He’s ready to give Christ to us. He gives Christ to us whenever we hear a faithful preached word. He gives Christ to us whenever we partake of the bread and wine. Christ gives Himself in the preached word. Was He’s not just the the one who’s preaching to you. He’s preaching Himself to you. Ephesians chapter 2 preach came to us. He preached peace to us. The Peace Himself preaches peace to you. He reminds you of the peace that you already have. And if you’re not content with that, He makes that peace visible in your eyes for you to see, for you to touch, for you to smell, for you to taste. You have peace brethren.

Let us live a life sustained and full in Christ and at the same time let us live a life in constant need of Christ. Let us be the ones who always… this was mentioned a while ago…let’s always be hungry and thirsty for the righteousness of Christ for the promise is for us to be satisfied. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied and the more you get satisfied, the more you get hungry; the more you feed of Christ, you partake of Christ, you’re satisfied; but you get more hungry and you get thirsty. That’s the kind of satisfaction that you have. You’re not going to be… so, you’re not going to be hungry anymore to, you know, there’s no hunger of sin that can be mortified. I’m not saying totally you will never hunger for sin. You remain a sinner but as you cultivate hunger and thirst for Christ, you’re looking at sin as disgusting. And I want more of Christ. Christ Alone satisfies. It is a satisfaction that makes us more hungry and thirsty for Him.

Do you understand your need of Christ? If yes, come to Christ. Approach your God, approach the throne of grace; you have that access. If you understand your need, you know where to go. Just as Jacob and his family knew where to go, where the place of sustenance is; who the sustainer in their time was. You know where to go and you know who to go to. You have that great privilege because if you are in Christ, you are at peace with Him. That’s what you have brethren.

And for my last point, The Reality Of Peace. So we see here the nature or the kind of peace that Joseph gives to his brothers from being in enmity with them, now to being a family. But of course if we, if we turn to the next chapter, Genesis chapter 44, we will learn that there’s another test: a test so important before Joseph reveals who he is. And we will learn that in our next sermon.

There’s another test. But that does not hide the fact that peace was already evident in this chapter. And Joseph as you can see showed peace firstly by letting them inside the house. That’s the first sign that there’s peace in our relationship. Now, you can enter the house. as I’ve said in ancient times no servant was allowed to enter a house of a very high official, of a king. In fact, in most cases, even family members of kings are not allowed to enter for the purpose of protection because maybe some family members would want to usurp the authority and the position of a king so they’re not allowed. In fact kings back then have long staffs, so when someone enters, he just going to do this to maintain the distance. So his brothers were able to get inside of the house was a sign of peace. In fact in this chapter also, as we’ve seen them enter the house, we would also see that there were Egyptians. And while they were allowed to partake in the table, they’re still in one room, they’re still able to to share food with them. But as you know, because of their view of abomination, the Egyptians did not want the Hebrews or the Israelites to be with them. See, again, the fact that they were even inside the dining room and partaking with them, that is again, a sign that they have peace. And the fact that servant specifically told them to not be afraid for we are at peace, I mean that’s so explicit. To hear peace to you or peace be with you from a supposed opposing party, I mean that is an assurance that you are not at enmity with one another. A servant told them that they were not in opposition. But not only that; to show that Joseph and his house did not mean harm, they freed their brother Simeon. They give them water and look at this: they wash their feet. I mean why would you wash the feet of such Israelites? Again, a sign or a picture of peace. But you can see here at the end of the chapter the ultimate picture of peace is that when they dined together. And you don’t just invite enemies at your table, at the table of the king or any high official. Those who are invited are fed and pampered. This was what happened to Joseph’s brothers. This kind of peace again was possible in their time but like I said, it is also possible in our time today. And while the world indeed needs peace, the true peace that needs is the peace that Christ gives. Because the world is separated from God and the only one who can bring us near to God is Christ for He Himself is our Peace. In fact, Christ is our enmity and He is our amity. He is our enmity and He is our amity. Such beautiful picture of peace that we saw with Joseph and his brothers is a kind of picture of peace but a greater one. It is possible in Christ for He is our enmity and He is our amity. He is our enmity, He is our enmity with Satan. He is our enmity with sin. As we look to Jesus Christ, we remember that we are at war with sin, that we are at war with Satan. It is Christ who plundered the house of Satan and who causes that decisive break between us and Satan. He places that enmity between us and sin because He places us in Himself. And Christ also is our amity, that is with God. As we look to Christ, we remember that we have peace with God. It is he who gives us reconciliation with God. In Christ, we are loved by the father. In Christ, we become co-heir of the gifts of God. In Christ, we become beloved children of God. We have such peace because of Christ. He is the better Joseph. He’s better than any character that you see, that any person or figure that you’ve read in Genesis 43. He’s in fact better than Joseph. But we can say wow, what a good guy Joseph was. I mean he’s so forgiving; instead of taking revenge, he just accepted his family, fed them, washed their feet, wow! But Christ is better.

Joseph could not be the enmity and amity that we need.

Christ is only the enmity and amity that we all need. He is better than Joseph. If Joseph was compassionate toward his brothers, Christ is the better Joseph who is gentle and lowly and who want all of us to come to Him. And if the brothers could not come to Joseph, and see Joseph’s face again, if they’re not with Benjamin, Christ is the better Benjamin. For if not for Christ with us, we cannot come to God. If Judah was the pledge of safety, that he required his own life. If Benjamin won’t be back, Christ is the better Judah. For He is truly our pledge of safety that it required His death and He actually died and rose from the dead. Christ is our peace and because of Him, we have been brought near to God. Because of Him, you are near to God; you’re not far off. Yes we can say that there are two realms: the Heavenly realm and the Earthly realm, and the Heavenly realm is too far from the Earthly realm, we can say that. But God is near to His people. That huge separation has been brought down, has been broken and we see in fact a beginning of such combination of the heavenlies and the material and the Earthly in the incarnation of Christ. And if we believe in Christ such Heavenly and Earthly ,we’ll be combined and we will live in it at the end of the age. But because of Christ the, distance between such two realms have been made near. Our distance as creatures with the Creator has been removed. We are near… God is near to us. And we have that great privilege… that is the reality of the peace that we have. We have that kind f nearness, that kind of relationship with God. And so the challenge presented to us this afternoon is to appreciate increase such… Increase Your Appreciation Of The Nearness We Have With God Through Christ. And the problem is we lose sight of such peace, we lose sight of such nearness. Because of sin, at times we believe such lies that we don’t have peace; that we are at enmity with God and that amity with Satan. But that is a lie! Brethren, may our Christ be like that of the blind woman, Fanny Crosby’s Lying In Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross. That we would always want to be kept near The Cross of Christ so that we would be reminded of how near our relationship is with our God. And remember, this woman was blind. But she has sight; she sees such nearness but we have two eyes, but at times we lose sight of such peace.

And she said for in the cross there a precious fountain free to all a healing stream flows from calvary’s mountain. This is an imagery of her relationship with her God and then she says in the cross, be my glory ever till my ransomed soul shall find rests beyond the river. That’s what she feels when she’s reminded of how near near she is with her God.

May our Christ be like hers.So our nearness, our peace with God is reality brethren, because of Christ. In fact, this is why every worship time for a believer it is a the worship time is a reality of your peace with God. You come inside the house of God. You are invited to the House of God. You also are washed, you are washed by the washing of water with the word preached. And in the household of God, there is no Hebrew, there is no Egyptian, no such distinctions rather we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. You have that reality every worship service. And in the benediction, it is God Himself who tells you: ‘peace to you.’ Don’t be afraid as you descend from Zion, peace to you! Don’t forget. Don’t be afraid.

While I send you back to the world, don’t be afraid, peace to you. That’s what you have: the abiding peace of God. During the benediction, He makes you realise the peace that you have, that He blesses you, that He keeps you, that He makes His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. And that He lifts up His countenance upon you and give you peace. And every partaking of the supper for a believer, it is a reality of your peace with God. And our portion in the supper is like Benjamin’s for we are getting more.We’re not just getting a portion of Christ; we’re getting the whole Christ. In the supper, we’re getting the whole Christ, all of Christ, all that He is, all that He has done. We partake of His death, we partake of His resurrection, even in His sufferings, we also partake of His obedience. All of it! And just as the brothers were brought up to the highest throne, you know in the Lord’s Supper, Christ does not go down to us. We are brought up to Him. That is the kind of nearness that we all have with God because of Christ. And of course there’s also that sense that God dwells with His gathered church. Add to this, we are so near to God, that the Bible talks about us being in union with Christ. That Christ is in us and we are in Christ. Do you appreciate the nearness that you have with God? Do you sometimes feel that God is not there? Don’t believe in such lies. Do you appreciate that when you pray, you’re talking to the most high God who is not far off, that your cares your concerns are not unknown to the near God. Our peace and amity with God has been so secured on the cross of Christ. Therefore, we can constantly come to Christ. And when He when we come to Him and approach Him, He delights to give Himself to us for sustenance. May the word of God enrich our knowledge of Him and may it stir us to live in light of these truths.

Let us pray. Our great God and gracious Father, thank You Lord that we were brought near to you or because of Christ, who is our peace, who is our reconciliation, who is our justification and sanctification. Lord, we are brought near. And Lord at times we forget this great truth. And so Lord we ask that You would continue to strengthen us, that You would always point us to the gospel that whenever we look to Christ, to His death and resurrection, we will be reminded oh Lord that we are indeed at enmity with sin and Satan and even death who is Your last enemy. And that we would be reminded also that we are we are at peace with you. So Lord, thank you. Lord I pray that as we live our lives, this coming week, this coming days oh Lord, I pray that You would enable that You would enable us oh Lord to mortify such lies, that we mortify oh Lord our sins and that we cultivate looking to Christ, looking to our peace. And that as we look to Him, that we become more… that we become hungrier, thirstier oh Lord for righteousness. And that we would expect satisfaction and that we would realise oh Lord, always our need of Christ and that we would be hungrier and thirstier all the more. So Lord thank You. May this help us in our battle with sin.

May this help us Lord to just focus on Christ, who is our source of sustenance. And Lord I pray that you would as we are equipped today, the whole day, allow us oh Lord to to equip one another for the building up of the body. May You equip us, allow us oh Lord to preach the gospel and proclaim the gospel of peace to everyone. To those who are in need, to whose souls are weary, may we present the only Refuge who is Christ to them. So Lord, thank You as well as You have gathered us this afternoon to partake of Christ, of the bread and wine, I pray Lord that this would truly assure us of our standing before You. And that this will not just be a memorial, a time for us to look back and look forward. Rather Lord, to appreciate that You are near, that You are here with us; that Your presence, that Christ’s presence is truly real as we partake of the bread and wine. So Lord, we praise You, we thank You in the name of Jesus, Amen.

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