"do not quarrel on the way"
The theme for today’s exhortation comes from Genesis 45:24 and is imported from the “Reflections”.
This is after Joseph had made known his true identity to his brethren and had provided them with provisions to cater for their journey to and fro. It was evident before Joseph that his brothers had changed, for the same people that were ready to kill and destroy him – with the exception of Rueben – had now become one man in the purpose of saving Benjamin’s life and central to that they had also become sensitive to their father’s interests. They were now become one in purpose and serving their father’s interests as head of the house was amounting to serving God. For we see in Jacob’s blessings from his death bed how he was inspiring his family to an ‘expected’ end.
The spiritual growth of the family brought about results that were indicators of a people of the Lord. Not only were they committed to each other but they were willing to lose all for what they had now become. We read that they all turned back, each man with his sack, carrying the substance of evidence as charged. With broken spirits and interceding for Benjamin, who in the record was silent throughout the process. Any and all of them were ready to lay down their lives for him so that the ‘joy’ of Israel (Jacob) would be upheld. They were symbolical of the Elder brother John 15:13: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”.
This was the spirit that Israel had to maintain to be successful and we hear that in days to come God shall give them a new heart and in unity of mind and purpose Israel shall serve God.
Through the things he had suffered Joseph had learnt a great deal to accept God ways and would have thought long and deep on his family’s lack of unity and how it can potentially destroy everything.
The keys to success was in working together.
Joseph knowing what manner of people his brethren were saw it fit to give them that last ‘touch’ of brotherly advice. The history of his family was founded on ‘struggling, battling, contending’. For we hear in Genesis 32:28 that he wrestled with an angel of God and was given the name Israel as a show of depiction – his character and manner of life to come.
With this in mind Joseph admonished his brothers ‘do not quarrel on the way’. After all they had on previous accounts, they had quarrelled over him and caused untold sufferings on his aged father. This was a now a time of benefits and anything that would stir the course of things would be totally unacceptable. Success was only a few steps away if all the steps were carried out accordingly. He had provided for everything but there was a part they and only they had to do, that is to make and complete the journey and that without any hurdles. The source of their hurdles being-contention on the way.
We, however, want to look at these words and so draw comfort and lessons from them.
1) Comfort in that we see these events of Biblical times as testimonies of the things we already have belief in and so rest assured, secured in the faith and hope we profess.
2) Lessons as we take notes so to speak, from the faithful of old who by patient endurance have become a cloud of witnesses for our benefits. As we reflect on how they walked with God, we see them setting examples—or rather walking before us—to follow in their steps.
As Paul writes in 2 Tim1:13 “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus”. Or in the NIV: “what you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching with faith and love in Jesus Christ”
So after the manner of the apostles we strive and endeavour to follow the patterns which we prayerfully learn in the Holy Scriptures.
DO NOT QUARREL ON THE WAY
Our benefits are culminate from what we see set before us: in other words, all scripture is useful for whatever is necessary for that particular time “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works,” So that we can take care of each other on the way:
“And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.”
This has now brought us to the picture. For we are on the way, a journey. And we are in the company of our brethren with whom we should not quarrel. We know the way don’t we! For so says Hebrews 1:1, Luke 1:1-4, Mark 16:15-16, John 21:24-25 and Acts 7:38.
Paul was a member of a group of people who were of the Way. This word is worth looking up in the concordance to see all the suggested applications of the original, but for the purpose of this exhortation we will consider one of the possible applications. This means do not discourage or be a stumbling block to one another until the next time I see you.
Signifying a completion of the journey, more like a complete circuit but with partnership, responsibilities for each other (your brother’s keeper). Team work founded on common beliefs with its origins rooted on the promises made to the patriarchs. The hope of Israel being the propellant that will see them complete the journey.
BACK TO THE WAY
In the New testament this word simply put means a road, act, progress, journey. And in scripture terms it goes like this.
“how can we know the way?” (John 14:5)
The answer follows in the next verse:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life”
One may ask how so?
“join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God who has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time………and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel”
In other words there is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it leads to death and I know O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own, it is not for man to direct his steps Proverbs 16:25 ,Jeremiah 10:23.
To take it from another angle we have to wait on the Lord and keep his way he shall exalt us to inherit the land.
I have no other words except those I can only tell myself, that there is the narrow way and the broadway and I know the end of both ways. And may we each read to ourselves, in our hearts the words of Psalm 139:23 – 24.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart, Try me, and know my thoughts, And see if a grievous way be in me, And lead me in a way age-during! (Psa. 139:23-24)”