Sunday, 31 October 2010
[ Summary thoughts on Chapter 20; Abraham, for fear of his own life, did not tell king Abimelech that Sarah was not only his 'sister,' but his wife! ]
Reader! let not the greatness of Abraham's character tempt you to overlook Abraham's infirmity.
Alas! what is man in his highest attainments!
Had not the Patriarch lost sight that Jehovah Himself was his shield and his exceeding great reward, he need not have condescended to such a pitiful resource for the safety of his wife.
God forbid that this weakness of the Patriarch should ever be made a pretence for the sins of others, when we see how it displeased the Lord.
Surely the Holy Ghost causeth in infirmities of the faithful to be recorded:
• in order to teach His people that most unquestionable truth that there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not;
• and to constrain the heart into the love of Jesus, whose perfect righteousness is the alone cause of justification before God.
Dearest Lord! how increasingly sweet and interesting, in every renewed instance of human infirmity which I feel in myself or meet with in others, is Thy finished salvation to my view.
Oh! do Thou establish my soul in it more and more. Give me to see and know that I am Thine in an everlasting Covenant which cannot be broken: that from having committed my soul-concerns in Thy hands, all my earthly interests I may safely leave at Thy disposal; and that the fear of man, as in the case of the Patriarch, may not bring a snare.
Saturday, 30 October 2010
"And he pressed up them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house: and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat" (Genesis 19:3).
Doth not the reader call to mind Him, who in the days of His flesh was constrained in like manner, cf. Luke 24:28-29.
And is not the reader's heart prompted by the view of both scriptures to constrain Jesus also, to enter and tarry with him.
Oh! for a spirit of heart-wrestling with God our Saviour, not to be refused!
"And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed" (Genesis 19:17).
1 Kings 19:3.
And what is the cry of God in the soul of every truly awakened believer, but the same:
Escape for thy life from sin: look not back with any hankering after the world!
Neither stay thyself upon any creature-righteousness, or creature-enjoyments: but flee unto the rock Christ Jesus, lest thou be consumed!
"The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar" (Genesis 19:23).
Jesus the Sun of righteousness may be said to be arisen on the soul when the faithful enter within His shelter; cf. Malachi 4:2, Isaiah 32:2.
Reader! what various views ...
• of men and things,
• of mercy and judgment,
• of grace and nature,
• and the very different terminations between the righteous and the wicked, doth this chapter furnish.
Gracious God! let it be my mercy to be called out of Sodom; to disregard the reproaches of the ungodly, and resolutely, like Lot, to bear an open testimony against them.
And when in tenderness to my lingering footsteps, Thou layest Thy gracious hand upon me, oh! for Thy quickening power in my soul also, that I may hasten to the Zoar of safety, even to the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone delivereth from the wrath to come!
Friday, 29 October 2010
"And said, 'My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant" (Genesis 18:3).
I beg the reader to remark with me the change of person in this verse to the former.
• There the appearance was spoken of as three men.
• Here Abraham addresses but one, and calls him Lord.
Compare this with the 12th verse, then read the 15th [the Lord knew that Sarah laughed inwardly], and compare that again with the 22nd verse of the 5th chapter of John's Gospel.
Let the reader duly consider that feature of character peculiarly belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ; and let him determine (for I don't presume) whether this be not the Christ?
"Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?" (Genesis 18:18).
Reader! do not overlook what the Holy Ghost hath caused to be marked so often, the cause why so much grace was shewn to Abraham; even for that promised seed, the Lord Jesus.
The letter "H" added to both names, Abram and Sarai, has been thought not only to imply this wonderful increase but also, being a radical letter in the sacred name JAH, or Jehovah, it has been thought to intimate a nearer relation in the covenant of grace.
"And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD" (Genesis 18:22).
A striking verse to point out the immense distinction of character between two of the men which accompanied the third, and the Lord of whom it is said that Abraham stood yet before him; cf. Genesis 19:1.
The following [Genesis 18:23-33] is the first form of prayer recorded in the Bible, and observe it is all along in the style of intercession.
Was not Abraham here a type of the blessed Jesus? cf. Luke 13:9.
[ Genesis 18:23-33 ]
I would not interrupt the reader with either references or remarks through the whole of this sweet prayer, and now only at the end of it beg the reader to determine how it was the communion broke off [verse 33], since God was so gracious, and Abraham so successful:
• Did the Patriarch conclude that, if less than 10 righteousness persons were in Sodom, the place ought not to have been saved;
• or was it that the decree having gone forth, God restrained prayer in His servant? See Jeremiah 7:16 and 11:14.
But what a delightful consideration it is that, though Abraham gave over interceding, Jesus never doth.
And though Abraham could not find ten, nor even one righteous man in Sodom to save that city from destruction; yet Jehovah Himself hath found one in the Sodom of our earth for whose sake He hath spared, and will everlastingly spare, His redeemed.
Yes! the Lord hath laid help upon One that is mighty, whose name is Wonderful.
Jesus hath been found tabernacling in our nature, by whose perfect obedience and death He hath magnified the divine law, and made it honourable, and hath brought in an everlasting righteousness, which is unto all, and upon all, that believe.
Oh! blessed be God for Jesus Christ!
Thursday, 28 October 2010
This chapter is rendered the more memorable in that it contains the substance of the Covenant of Grace which, though here represented as made between God and Abram, yet in reality forms the outline of that everlasting Covenant made with the Lord Jesus Christ for all the spiritual seed of Abram.
"As for Me, behold My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations" (Genesis 17:4).
Reader! do not overlook the expression. God calls it His Covenant.
Yes! a Covenant ordered in all things and sure must be God's.
And it is the happiness of His people that He who hath made it, undertakes for its accomplishment; Jeremiah 22:40; Isaiah 54:10.
Under this verse it may not be remiss to remark that Abram had more children naturally considered than any of the other Patriarchs; and spiritually, who shall number them? cf. Romans 4:16; Revelation 7:9.
"Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee" (Genesis 17:5).
The name Abram signifies a great Father: and Abraham, the Father of a multitude.
It is pleasing to observe that the Gospel Church when married to the Bridegroom hath her name changed: cf. Isaiah 62:2-4.
And is not every individual believer the same? cf. Revelation 2:17.
"And I will establish My covenant between Me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee" (Genesis 17:7).
Reader! pause over that very precious word in this place, everlasting, and then read it afresh; and beg the Holy Ghost to write it on your heart.
An everlasting Covenant founded in divine love, established in divine mercy, and secured in everlasting faithfulness.
Oh! how delightful to the view of a poor perishing sinner; cf. Isaiah 54:10.
My Christian Brother! Are you included in this blessed Covenant?
Have you the marks and characters of it?
Can you say as Paul did, We are the true circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh?
Pause over the question!
And oh! that a gracious God may grant you an answer of peace.
If this be your portion, then you need nothing more to make you happy.
For God saith to you as to the Patriarch: I will give you the land wherein you are a stranger.
And where is that but Heaven?
Dearest Jesus! hast Thou not taken possession of it in the name of Thy people?
And hast Thou not promised that Thou wilt come again and receive them to Thyself, that where Thou art, there they may be also?
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
"And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur" (Genesis 16:7).
I pause here to remark that this is the first account we meet with in the Bible of the ministry of an Angel.
Reader! Observe how kind his ministry. And then call to mind how very precious the services of those celestial guardians have been, upon innumerable occasions, in the Church!
And if so, how very gracious must He be who hath appointed them! cf. Hebrews 1:14; Matthew 18:10.
Reader, do you know anything of wilderness mercies, like Hagar? cf. Hosea 2:14; 1 Samuel 15:7; Exodus 15:22.
"And the angel of the Lord said unto her, 'I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude" (Genesis 16:10).
Reader! I entreat you to remark with me, the peculiarity of the expression.
The angel doth not promise in another's name, as would certainly have been the case had he been a created angel, but in his own.
He saith, 'I will multiply thy seed ...'
And who then could this be but the Angel of the Covenant, even the Lord Jesus Christ. cf. Malachi 3:1.
It is very gratifying to the true believer in Jesus, to discover the Lord in places where we least expected Him.
"And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, 'Thou God seest me': for she said, 'Have I also here looked after Him that seeth me?'" (Genesis 16:13).
It is but just to set up tokens of praise, where God hath set up banners of love.
Reader! pray pause over this verse.
Then remember that the same eye which looked on Hagar looks on you, on me, on all.
An all-present God must be an all-seeing God.
And is the eye of Jesus indeed upon me? Surely then it is upon me for good. For though my secret sins are in the light of His countenance; yet doth He not also see my sorrow for them, my trouble under them, and my desire to be freed from the guilt and dominion of them?
Precious Redeemer! how ought a sense of these things to endear Thy blood and righteousness to my soul.
Let us again remark, how very sweet and refreshing to the soul are wilderness visits from Jesus, when for the exercise of faith and patience, His people are at any time brought there.
Dearest Lord! do Thou visit me when there, and then the wilderness will rejoice and blossom as the rose.
Let me in every dispensation, and in every place, carry with me this memorial: Thou God, my Saviour, seest me; and the consciousness of Thy presence will comfort my heart in the most solitary desert.
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
In the two former chapters we find many tokens of God's gracious intention towards Abram.
In this chapter God confirms the same by the solemn treaty of a Covenant.
Abram had the most delightful assurances given to him by a faithful God; and all folded up within a covenant of promise. A bountiful God not only pledged Himself to give the Patriarch an extensive estate, but an extensive issue to enjoy it.
And as these blessings of the promised seed and the promised land, spiritually considered, were types of better things to come, even the Lord Jesus Christ as the seed of the woman and the heavenly possession through Him which Canaan represented; they serve to teach us, under the Gospel estate, the greater privilege of those who are blessed with faithful Abram.
"After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, 'Fear not, Abram: I am thy Shield, and thy exceeding great Reward'." (Genesis 15:1).
Several precious things are contained in this verse.
• Observe the expression how the Lord communed with Abram.
Is not Jesus the uncreated Word? Might not this vision be some manifestation of the Shekinah?
• Observe also, the Lord called Abram by name: so Jesus speaks to His sheep; cf. John 10:3.
• Observe also, the sweetness of divine communications, "Fear not."
God's people are peculiarly exposed to fears. And if they had no fears to encounter, many precious promises in the covenant would have no place for exercise.
• Observe also, what the Lord promiseth - not only to defend, but to bless; not simply to reward, but Himself to be the reward, and that exceeding great; Psalm 16:5; 84:11.
"And he said, 'LORD God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?' And He said unto him, 'Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtle dove, and a young pigeon.' And he took unto Him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece once against another: but the birds divided he not. And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away" (Genesis 15:8-11).
It is not altogether fanciful to trace even the minute circumstances of sacrifice, somewhat referring to Him unto whom all the sacrifices referred?
• Is not the three years of age a type of the Redeemer's three years ministry?
• And what do those birds of prey which came down upon Abram's sacrifice intimate, but the vain thoughts which hover over our minds in our holy seasons?
"And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces" (Genesis 15:17).
• Smoking furnace; cf. Deuteronomy 4:20; Isaiah 48:10.
• Burning lamp; cf. Isaiah 62:1; Exodus 3:2.
The former intimating affliction; the latter comfort.
But do not both mean, in passing between the pieces of sacrifices, that Jesus is the one all-sufficient offering by which acceptance is found? cf. Psalm 50:5; Judges 13:23.
Passing between the parts of the sacrifice was an ancient form of confirming the most solemn covenants; Jeremiah 34:18-19.
The burning lamp (or lamp of fire) was a symbol of the Divine Presence, and by this probably the sacrifice was consumed; Leviticus 9:24, Judges 6:21; 13:20, 1 Kings 18:38.
Oh! Thou Almighty giver of faith, increase our faith, and enable us to walk by faith, and not by sight, until we realise the Divine Presence in all the glories of eternity, and receive the end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls.
Monday, 25 October 2010
"And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the Priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, 'Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand.' And he gave him tithes of all" (Genesis 14:18-20).
I bed the reader, very particularly, in entering upon the perusal of these verses to call to mind our motto: Moses wrote of Christ.
And with this impression to turn to the 7th chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews and diligently compare both Scriptures: and may the same Almighty Teacher, who guided the apostle's pen in that chapter to explain this Old Testament Scripture, lead the reader into a clear apprehension of the whole.
• Of this Melchisedek it is said that he was 'without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life.'
Of whom could this be said, but of Him of whom the prophet speaks; Isaiah 53:8. Proverbs 8:23, compared with Acts 8:33-35?
• Again. Of Melchisedek it is said that he is a priest for ever.
But who is a priest for ever, excepting Him described in Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 7:17-21?
• So once more. Of Melchisedek it is said that he abideth continually like the Son of God, and that it is witnessed of him that he liveth; Hebrews 7:3-8.
But that no question of doubt might arise to whom these things referred, the apostle points out by many infallible marks to Him of whom these things were spoken. See Hebrews 7 throughout.
Reader? Who think you was this Melchisedek?
Can you bear testimony as Nathaniel did upon a similar occasion; John 1:49: 'Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel'?
Leave, I charge thee, every other consideration as trifling and unimportant to attend to what is related in this chapter concerning this Melchisedek, priest of the Most High God.
Surely I behold in Him Jesus the Son of God, who was indeed set up as the Covenant-head from everlasting, in the Eternal Councils? and whose delights were with the sons of men before He made the earth or the highest part of the dust of the world.
• He was indeed, in the truest sense of the word, without father as Man, and without mother as God; having neither beginning of days nor end of life: for He is Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and for ever.
• And is He not also King of Righteousness?
Yes! Even the Lord our Righteousness.
And, blessings to His holy name! He hath wrought out and brought in an everlasting righteousness, which is unto all and upon all that believe.
• And He is no less King of peace; for He hath made our peace in the blood of His cross.
Hail Thou Great Almighty Melchisedek! Be Thou a priest upon Thy throne for me; since Thou hast an unchangeable priesthood, and ever livest to make intercession for sinners, and art able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by Thee.
Son of God! Help me by Thy Holy Spirit to go forth in the spiritual warfare, against all the enemies of my salvation, as Abram did to the slaughter of the kings.
And do Thou bring forth Thy bread and Thy wine, even Thy precious body and blood, which is meat indeed, and drink indeed, and refresh my soul by the way.
And since I have nothing, Lord, to offer Thee but what is Thine, accept of Thine own which Thou hast given me.
By Thee, blessed Lord, would I desire grace, to offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, the fruit both of my lips and of my heart, giving thanks to Thy name.
Sunday, 24 October 2010
The history of the Patriarch Abram is continued through the whole of this chapter. He is still in his pilgrimage state, wandering and removing under the guidance of Heaven, from one place to another. A strife between his servants and the servants of his kinsman Lot soon causeth them to separate from each other.
"Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left" (Genesis 13:9).
Sweet and endearing argument! Oh! that it were more generally made use of, and its power more generally felt.
Canaanites and Peruzzites may quarrel; for nature untaught, unrestrained by grace, hath corruptions to beget it.
But let not you and I who profess to be disciples of the lovely and all-loving Jesus; John 13:35.
"Arise, walk through the land, in the length of it, and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee" (Genesis 13:17).
Was not this a type of Emmanuel's land, the glory of all lands?
And is not every true believer like the patriarch, called upon to enter upon the possession of it by faith here, before he comes to the realising of it hereafter? Psalm 48:12; Hebrews 11:14.
"Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the Lord" (Genesis 13:18).
Still in a pilgrimage state.
Observe Abram builds an altar.
And what doth his conduct in this instance teach, but this, that it is very meet, right, and our bounden duty, in all places wheresoever a gracious God meets His people in the visits of His love, that there they should raise a memorial of tribute to His praise?
Amidst all the competitions, strifes and jealousies which this world's goods excites among men in life, let Abram's portion be my portion.
Let me but be able, in a well-grounded assurance, to call Jesus mine, and I value not what sinners value of the perishing things of time and sense.
Precious Redeemer! it is Thy favour which gives a sweetness to every joy, and softens every sorrow.
Let the cisterns of all creature-comforts be dried up, if Thy wisdom see fit: the streams of Thine everlasting love will still flow.
And while, like the prophet, I can truly rejoice in the Lord and joy in the God of my salvation, it matters not, even if the fig tree doth not blossom, neither fruit be in the vine.
Methinks this gracious call of God to Abram, which is always sweet in mercy, is uncommonly so in this instance: lift up thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art.
And is not the same in effect said to every believer?
Lift up thine eyes, and behold in every direction, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward, how all mercies and promises are confirmed to the faithful in the Covenant of grace which is in Christ Jesus.
'All are yours (saith the Apostle) if ye are Christ's'; whether the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come.
Blessed God! May it be my mercy to enjoy all things in Jesus, and Jesus in all things!
Saturday, 23 October 2010
Methinks I would not read this call of God to Abram, and observe the Patriarch’s ready faith to obey it, without begging grace from God to attend to the many precious invitations with which I am called upon to follow Jesus in the regeneration; and, like Abram, to arise, leave house and home, and kindred, and relations; and by faith become the follower of them who now through faith and patience inherit the promises.
And oh! that He, who endued the patriarch with such holy fortitude, would arm my mind with the like confidence, that amidst every discouragement, against hope I might believe in hope; and trust God where I cannot trace Him.
Dearest Jesus! grant me as Thou didst the patriach the frequent visits of Thy love, and then whatever famine shall arise, or straits surround me, in the midst of all, a wilderness with Thee will to my soul be far preferable to a land flowing with milk and honey without Thee!
Friday, 22 October 2010
The sacred historian relates in this Chapter an awful proof of man's fallen nature, and thereby confirms the divine declarations concerning it, that 'every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.'
For notwithstanding that the Flood had swept away the whole human race, excepting that part preserved with Noah in the ark; and God's displeasure against sin had manifested itself in this dreadful judgment, yet the sin of man soon broke out afresh; and in the daring attempt of building the tower of Babel, evidently discovered that man ventured to defy the Omnipotency of God.
The relation of this foolish, as well as impious undertaking, is contained in this chapter, together with the divine judgment which followed.
Towards the close of the chapter, the reader is first introduced to the history of Abram, of whom such honourable testimony is afterwards given throughout the whole volume of Scripture.
"These are the generations of Shem ......." (Genesis 11:10-26).
These verses are all highly interesting in that they lead to Him, after the flesh, 'in whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed'; Matthew 1:1-16.
I would desire the reader to remark with me how careful the Holy Ghost hath been, through all His sacred Word, to preserve the names of the faithful. Certainly they occupy more place in the Bible than those of all the world beside.
I cannot close this chapter without stopping to remark, how striking an instance of the sovereignty of Almighty grace is here given when we consider that from the confusion of languages, sent as a judgment in this instance, arose, in after ages, an occasion for the display of mercy in the gift of tongues to the Apostles; so that the wonders of the Day of Pentecost sprung out of the ruins of Babel.
What a precious testimony to the truth of that scripture: 'surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee; the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain' (Psalm 76:10).
Thursday, 21 October 2010
This Chapter contains the history of the first branching out of the race of men, into families and households, of which, in after ages, the whole earth is overspread.
Here are no less than seventy distinct roots of nations noticed, but only one nation upon earth and that is God's ancient people, the Jews, who can say from which of the seventy it sprung.
The sacred historian gives a short account of the posterity of Japheth, and of Ham, but enlargeth chiefly upon that of Shem, because from that stock, after the flesh, the Messiah was to arise.
"By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations" (Genesis 10:5).
This verse is, in my apprehension, the most interesting to us of the Gentile church of any in the chapter. cf. Jeremiah 25:22.
Reader! pause over it and remark, that as the posterity of Japheth is here said to have the isles divided unto them for an inheritance; and as the prophet Isaiah in his 42nd chapter, and 4th verse, saith, 'The isles shall wait for the Redeemer's law'; is it not highly probable that the faithful in this our British Isle to which we belong are of the descendants of Japheth?
Moreover it is said in Genesis 9:27 that Japheth shall dwell in the tents of Shem; meaning no doubt that the Gentiles and the Jewish church shall, in the latter day glory, be one fold under one Shepherd.
But do not forget what is there said concerning the glorious event: 'God shall enlarge Japheth'; or, as the margin of the Bible hath it, and so it might have been translated, 'God shall persuade Japheth.'
Yes! it is the divine teaching and influence alone which can accomplish this gracious work.
"Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born" (Genesis 10:21).
Eber, meaning Hebrew, from whence sprung the Jews; Numbers 24:24.
How graciously hath God watched over the promised seed in the family of Shem, and so particularly marked down the descendants of the chosen race from whom, after the flesh, that Holy Thing (as He is emphatically called in His own word) was to spring, Christ in the flesh, who is over all, God blessed for ever.
And how graciously hath God been pleased to note the features of His people in every age by that uniform mark by which they are known, of a poor and afflicted people.
While the posterity of Ham are said to be the Nimrods of the earth; the offspring of Shem, with whom the blessing was deposited, is among the bond-slaves in Egypt.
Let this teach us, how much better it is to be poor and humble, while belonging to the household of faith, than, void of faith, to be found related even to nobles [cf. Philippians 2:5-10].
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
"But the flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat" (Genesis 9:4).
There is somewhat very striking in this precept; and which is more than once again repeated, under the law, with the reason of its appointment (cf. Leviticus 17:10-11).
No doubt the grand object aimed at all along is in reference to the Blood of Atonement by the Lord Jesus.
And it is a matter of infinite moment, worthy the reader's closest regard, how particular the Holy Ghost hath been in every age of the church, from the fall of man to the death of Christ, to keep alive this leading doctrine in the minds of the people.
"And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth" (Genesis 9:16).
Reader! do not forget, while perusing these verses, to turn to two passages in the book of the Revelations; chapter 4:3 and chapter 10:1.
Can anything be more decisive, in proof that all that is here said, refers to the person and covenant-righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
If your feelings correspond with mine, from the perusal of this sweet chapter, you will like to dwell with peculiar rapture on what God saith in it concerning the rainbow: and if, under the Holy Ghost's teaching, you are led to discover some of these precious things which seem to be connected with it, you will love to consider it again and again ... .
Though I know that beautiful arch it forms in the heavens is produced from natural causes, and is constructed solely from the reflection of the sunbeams on the drops of rain; yet do I not know also that the God of nature is the God of grace too, and that such is the sovereignty of His goodness and His power, that all things are made to act subordinate to His high designs, who worketh according to the counsel of His own will.
And shall I not indulge the pleasing thought when my God causeth this glorious object to be hung out for man's notice in the heavens, though the means of producing it be natural, yet the sign intended from it is gracious?
Great Father of mercies! hast Thou said that Thou wilt set Thy bow in the cloud, that it shall be a token of Thy merciful engagements to mankind, that Thou wilt look upon it and that Thou wilt remember Thine everlasting covenant?
O! then, give me grace to look upon it also, and to behold in it by an eye of faith that mighty Angel, even the Lord Jesus Christ, Whom John the beloved apostle in after ages saw clothed with a rainbow round the throne.
May I so look by grace until mine eye awakens all the affections of my heart, and my soul is confirmed and established in the full assurance of faith and dependence upon all the covenant promises of God the Father, in Christ Jesus the Lord.
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
"But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him unto the ark" (Genesis 8:9).
It is worthy remark, that in Psalm 116:7, where the sacred writer saith, 'Return unto thy Rest, O my soul,' the original is, 'Return unto thy Noah'; evidently meaning that Jesus is the alone Rest of a seeking soul.
"And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar" (Genesis 8:20).
Is not the Lord Jesus both our New Testament Altar, Priest, and Sacrifice? (cf. Hebrews 13:15).
Did Noah and his family remain perfectly secure in the ark, in the time of such awful destruction of the whole world?
Think then, O my soul, what infinite and inexhaustible resources are in Christ Jesus for all the wants of all His people.
There are no straits, neither is there any narrowness, but what we ourselves make, in the everlasting covenant of grace, founded on the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ; but abounding love and abounding mercy, answering to every necessity of His people.
Gracious God! cause the reader and writer of this reflection to be abundantly supplied out of this fulness, and grace for grace, until the heart's experience of both can join issue in the apostle's song and, under the same assurance, say as he did: 'For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things; to Whom be glory for ever, Amen' (Romans 11:36).
Monday, 18 October 2010
"And the Lord said unto Noah, 'Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation'" (Genesis 7:1).
This invitation to Noah, if we consider the ark (as the scripture authorises us to do, cf. 1 Peter 3:20-21) as a type of Jesus, will be best explained by those parallel passages, Isaiah 26:20; then Matthew 11:28, and then Revelation 22:17.
• The first of them is the call of God the Father: "Come My people, enter into thy chambers ... ."
And what are those chambers, but the covenant of redemption in Christ Jesus?
• The second is the invitation of Christ Himself: "Come unto Me, and I will give you rest ... ."
See also Isaiah 28:12; Jeremiah 6:16.
• And the third is the call of God the Holy Ghost: "And the Spirit and the Bride say come ...," proving the gracious part which that Eternal Spirit bears in the work of redemption.
Reader! is it not refreshing to the soul to discover testimonies in every part of scripture, carrying with them such decided evidences to the truth as it is in Jesus?
"And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters" (Genesis 7:18).
Doth not this verse suggest that as the Ark rose higher and higher, in proportion as the waters prevailed; so, when the waters of tribulation abound, consolation also by Christ aboundeth? cf. 2 Corinthians 1:5.
What a precious consideration is it to the faithful, that amidst all the judgments of God upon the wicked, the Lord is never inattentive to the interests and safety of His people.
• Before the flood sweeps away the sinner, an ark shall be provided for the saint.
• Before that the wicked shall be driven, with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, Jesus will make us His jewels and be glorified in them that believe.
In that decisive hour, Lord, may it be my portion to be found in Thee.
Reader! pause over this wonderful deliverance, in the instance of Noah and his family, and consider whether in the ark you do not behold a type of the Lord Jesus, preserving His Church and people.
• Doth not His Godhead appear in the fulness and all-sufficiency of His salvation?
• Is not the almightiness of His merits and death demonstrated in bearing up the whole weight of redemption when the wrath of God, like the torrents and tempests descending upon the ark, destroyed every thing but this place of safety?
• And who doth not see that in the blood and righteousness, the doing and suffering, of Christ Jesus, the eternal safety of the believer alone is found.
O! for an ardent faith to believe the record which God hath given of His Son.
Let us not dismiss the contemplation of this interesting subject until that we have taken another and another view of the ark of safety.
While God, as a kind Father, foreseeing the storm approaching, doth not think it enough to call His children from the field, but takes them by the hand to bring them home into the house; so, the same mercy which provides the shelter of the Saviour, provides help to the sinner to embrace it.
The call of grace is not to Noah, 'Go thou into the ark,' but 'Come'; evidently teaching that while God the Father hath so loved the world as to give His only begotten Son for salvation, He gives also His Holy Spirit to render that salvation effectual.
Holy and Eternal Spirit, while Thou kindly enablest me to hear the voice of entreaty, calling me to enter into the ark Christ Jesus; and while Thou, as graciously, art pointing to Him as the Way, the Truth, and the Life; oh! add another blessing to the undeserved favour, and make me willing in the day of Thy power; work in me, both to will and to do, of Thy good pleasure.
Sunday, 17 October 2010
"And God saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5).
Reader! pause over this verse, and read it twice before you dismiss it once.
When you have duly attended to it, look within, and see whether your own case corresponds to it.
If you are tempted to doubt the truth of it in your own instance, consult Jeremiah 17:9-10. If this affords no conviction, read that sweet promise, or rather, that string of promises, Ezekiel 36:25-29.
And then recollect that these precious promises can be nothing to you, if you are ignorant of the want of them.
Great Father of Mercies! graciously bestow them on me, for I need them every hour!
"Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. 18 But with thee will I establish My covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee" (Genesis 6:14&18).
Sweet promise! Is not Noah a type of the blessed Jesus?
Doubtless it was with Jesus the covenant was made, and therefore with Noah as His type.
In this sense, in sparing Noah, the Lord spares Noah's offspring. What a mercy is it to have godly parents, godly relations, and godly friends!
But what a greater mercy to belong to Him, in whom all the families of the earth are blessed (cf. Isaiah 59:21).
Reader! while attending to this verse, search diligently for your own personal interest in it. Jesus is both the Ark and the Covenant to His people.
Am I in Him? is the grand enquiry.
May it be my mercy to remember, while reading the account of Noah's finding favour with God, that it is by Him alone, of whom Noah was a type, even the Lord Jesus Christ, that I can find favour and acceptance with God in this life, or salvation in another.
In Him, as the True Ark, may I be found, when God shall arise to judge the world.
Saturday, 16 October 2010
What a vast succession of years and ages, related in so few words!
Here is no less than the whole history of 1656 years, folded up in a chapter of 32 verses!
Oh! my soul, seriously consider the frailty and shortness of all human excellence. What doth the whole history of man contain more than this short history of the patriarchs, than that one man lived so many years, and he died! and another lived so many years, and he died!
Blessed Jesus! what a relief it is to my soul, amidst all the death of the world, that Thou livest and abidest for ever!
Are we not (in the view of Enoch, the dedicated one, walking with God amidst a crooked and perverse generation) led to contemplate Him who was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners and made higher than the heavens?
He was, indeed, the only One who truly walked with God, being one with the Father from the beginning, over all, God blessed for ever.
How sweet are all the types of Jesus! But sweeter far He to whom all types, prophecies and sacrifices ministered?
Walk Thou with me, O Lord, and by Thy blessed Spirit, may I be enabled to walk with Thee until, like Enoch, I come to be translated from this region of shadows and ordinances, to serve Thee in Thy temple for evermore.
Let us not dismiss the view which the sacred historian here gives us of that highly favoured servant of the Most High God, until we have taken another look at his character.
"By faith (saith the Apostle) Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him; for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God" (Hebrews 11:5).
Gracious God, may it be my portion. Enable me, O Thou Holy and Eternal Spirit, so to walk with God, by a living faith on the person and righteousness of Jesus, as to please God, that having my conversation holy in this world, I may be truly happy in another.
Friday, 15 October 2010
Do I not see in Abel a type of the blessed Jesus?
Was not Jesus hated, and, at length, murdered by His brethren when, as the great Shepherd of His Father's sheep, He came to seek and save that which was lost?
But oh! how infinitely short Abel falls, in comparison of Jesus.
The blood of Abel cries for vengeance. The blood of Jesus pleads for mercy.
Dearest Lord! in all things it behoves Thee to have the pre-eminence.
May it be my happiness, like Abel, to offer all my poor offerings, in faith, with an eye to Thy blood and righteousness; then will God my Father have respect unto them, and I myself shall be accepted in the Beloved.
Thursday, 14 October 2010
I know not whether we ought to consider this chapter, as the most melancholy, or the most pleasing in the whole Bible. It certainly contains the substance of what forms both.
• Here we read the sad origin of sin, and its unavoidable consequences, misery and death.
• And here, no less, behold the first discoveries of grace, in the promised redemption by our Lord Jesus Christ (verse 15).
(cf. Revelation 12:7, Hebrews 2:14, Isaiah 53:10, Colossians 2:15, Romans 16:20). How sweet and precious are all these Scriptures, in confirmation of this glorious promise!
"In the sweat of thy face shalt thou also eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Genesis 3:19).
(cf. Job 27:13-14; Psalm 22:15).
How sweet a relief ought it to be to the poor man who earns his bread by the sweat of his brow, while thus bearing a part in the sin and punishment of Adam's transgression, to consider ... all that concerns Jesus, in whose sufferings we had no portion.
Yes! Thou dear Redeemer,
• Thou didst tread the wine press of Thy Father's wrath alone.
• Thou didst bear the curse.
• Thou didst endure the bloody sweat.
• Thou didst die the death.
• And oh! what a thought! Thou wast made sin for us when Thou knewest no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Thee (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21).
"And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves aprons" (Genesis 3:7).
One thought more, let me add, before we leave this precious chapter, which is suggested to the mind in the foolish attempt of our first parents, after their transgression, to seek shelter from the Divine presence.
Reader! may it be your mercy and mine also, upon all occasions of guilt, to seek a throne of grace though both sin and conscience accuse, and not run away from mercy.
May we never forget that there is One there, whom the Father heareth alway.
Oh! may the blessed Spirit lead us to our God in Christ –
• not in the flimsy covering of any thing we call our own by way of finding favour, like the fig-leaf righteousness of our poor parents, to conceal our shame;
• but clothed in the perfect robe of Jesus' righteousness typified by the coat of skins, that we may appear comely, in His complete covering, and be accepted in the Beloved, 'without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.'
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, though shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:17).
• The tree of life, perhaps an emblem or token of obedience in the original covenant of works.
• And the tree of knowledge of good and evil, perhaps a token that man, by disobedience, had learnt the knowledge of the good he had lost, and the evil he had taken to him.
But how sweet to view, in the Person of Jesus, both the Tree of Life, and all the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge (Revelation 22:1-2).
Reader! do not overlook the very gracious doctine of the 20th verse.
"There was not found an help meet for Adam."
No! There is not, there cannot be, in any or in all the creatures of God's providence, an help meet.
And though the LORD God brought the woman to our first father as a suitable help meet for the body; yet it is the Seed of the Woman [Christ] alone which can become an Help-meet for the soul.
Dearest Jesus! be Thou my Help, my Hope, and my Portion, for ever.
Tuesday, 12 October 2010
"And God saw the light, that it was good:
and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night.
And the evening and the morning were the first day."
Several sweet thoughts arise here.
• God's approbation of His work: "the light was good" (cf. James 1:17).
And how good and precious is Jesus, whom cometh to us from the Father, and who is the light and the life of men.
• God divided the light from darkness. Yes: there is an everlasting separation, as in the natural world so in the spiritual, between light and darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14).
• The first day of the world was a day of light: so the first day in the spiritual world, in the new life in Jesus, is light indeed from the dead. Thus there is a beautiful correspondence in both.
Hail, Thou holy Lord! As the sons of God shouted for joy when the light at creation sprung out of darkness: so angels celebrated Thy victory when, by the glories of Thy resurrection, life arose from the dead.
And how ought Thy people to adore Thee, who are interested in this great salvation?
Monday, 11 October 2010
The first, and most important observation, to be made on this Book of God, is what our Lord Himself declared concerning the writings of the author of it in general; that "Moses wrote of Him" (John 5:46).
And as the Redeemer did not say in what part of this man's inspired writings more particularly it is that mention is made of Him (perhaps with an intention to enforce a more diligent search through all), it should seem to be our wisdom to keep this direction in view, through every part, in going over the whole of the five Books of Moses; that we may not overlook a single passage in our search for Him, "of whom Moses and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth."
Reader! I charge you to place these four words of the Lord Jesus, as a motto for remembrance, at the head of every Book, and every Chapter;
Moses wrote of Christ.
And as from this unquestionable authority, whenever we open any of the writings of Moses, we may with safety say, whether it be discovered by us or not, Jesus is here – conscious also that from our own blindness, untaught of the Holy Ghost, we shall never find Him; how we ought to look up for light and direction from above, and say with David, "Lord open Thou mine eyes, that I may see the wondrous things of Thy law!"