Summary: A sermon all about choices and sacrifice. Are you hungry for the spices of life or the corn of the Kingdom?
TRADING THE SUPERFICIAL FOR THE SUBSTANTIAL
TEXT: Genesis 43:1-2; 43:11-12
Genesis 43:1-2 KJV And the famine was sore in the land.  And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food.
Genesis 43:11-12 KJV 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:  And 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:
I. INTRODUCTION -- FIGURING OUT WHAT IS IMPORTANT
Jules Verne, the famous author of Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, also wrote another book entitled The Mysterious Island. The jest of the story is about five men who manage to escape from a Civil War prison camp by high-jacking a hot-air balloon. Once aloft, the very quickly realize that the wind is carrying them in a direction that is going to lend to their demise if they do not do something about it. The problem is that they are carried out over the ocean.
Time passes exceedingly quickly and they notice land being left further behind. In addition to this the balloon starts losing altitude. Since there is nothing to provide heat to give them altitude, they begin to throw things over the side of the basket. Shoes, coats, weapons are tossed overboard and the balloon begins to rise again.
However, this is not enough. The balloon begins to sink again toward the waters and they begin to toss their food over the side. It is better to be hungry than to be dropped into the drink! But this does not last for long and the balloon again starts to sink toward the ocean. This time one of the men suggests that they tie together the ropes that connect the balloon to the basket and sit on the ropes and cut away the basket. This is not exactly what they do but it is enough of any idea that they decide to cut away the floor of the balloon that is tied in. With a quick untying of the ropes the floor of the balloon drops away and they are given another lift.
Shortly after this, land is spotted and as the balloon starts its final descent, they fall into the water and swim to an island. They would ultimately survive because they learned what they could live without. (Adapted from Get In The Ark, Steve Farrar, pp. 187-188)
-This is the challenge of our times. . . . having an understanding of the things that we can live with and what we cannot live without.
-The text we read in Genesis spells this same scenario out for us. We have to determine if we are going to live or die because of what we do with the superficial things of this world or the substantial things of eternity.
II. GENESIS 43
A. A Famine in the Land
-This text places us right in the midst of difficult days. Jacob and his sons are enduring tough times.
-The country was locked down in a famine. In fact, the Pulpit Commentary states the literal interpretation of this verse would be “the famine was ‘heavy’ in the land.” Jacob came to a point in Canaan where the corn and grains that had been taken from Egypt in the first trip was gone. Now they had to go and seek more corn.
-The harvest of corn and grain had failed in Canaan and nothing was left but the things mentioned in Genesis 43:11, balm, honey, and so on. It was obvious that they could not live on those things that something far greater in nutritional content was necessary for them.
-The Scripture holds forth that man cannot live by bread alone and this is true but he cannot live without it either.
-Inadequate food means inadequate health. An absence of nutrients will most certainly lead to the presence of death.
-Nutrients are just as important for the mind as they are for the body. Starve the body and death by starvation will follow. Starve the mind and the mind will wither in death also. A starved body is terrible to look upon and an emaciated mind is just as terrible to look upon also.
-What about our own souls? Can the soul of a man be starved to death because of too much “balm,” “honey,” and “myrrh”? The soul has to be fed just as the body has to be fed.