Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Reader! mark this down in the memorandums of your life, that whether in a prison or a palace, the faithful have God for their portion.
And what a sweet thought is it, that, as no walls can confine the souls of God's people, so neither can bolts or bars shut the Lord out.
If you are the Lord's prisoner, this is preferable to being the world's freeman.
And when we recollect how precious the enjoyments some have found in those seasons, very evident it is that the Comforter is with them, and that to bless them.
But even here in Joseph's history let me not lose sight of the Lord Jesus, who was taken from prison and from judgment, and who shall declare His generation? (Isaiah 53:8).
Blessed Lord! let me never forget the afflictions of my spiritual and almighty Joseph, nor the cause of them; but in all events of life as well properous as distressing, cease not to remember Thee!
Tuesday, 23 November 2010
Who doth not feel pity in the review of Joseph's unjust and cruel treatment!
Behold the Patriarch a little before the object of his father's love. And now look at him as a bond slave and a prisoner in a strange land!
To what a reverse of circumstances are even good men exposed in this waste and howling wilderness.
But reader! never forget that Jesus is with His people always, and in all their afflictions He is afflicted.
Suitable, seasonable grace shall be given them as they stand in need. And as their day is, so shall their strength be.
But is there nothing in this chapter which prompts the heart to discover some faint sketches of Him of whom Joseph was a type?
Oh yes! certainly a greater than Joseph is here.
• How was the Son of God when upon earth sold and tempted, and led into prison and unto death!
• If we look at Joseph suffering by unjust imputation, can we forget for a moment Him to whom our sins are imputed; though He did no sin and in whose mouth there was found no guile.
Did He not bear our sins in His own body on the tree when He died, the just for the unjust to bring us to God.
Lord, grant that as in so much mercy, Thou didst condescend to be sin for us who knew no sin, we may be made the righteousness of God in Thee.
Monday, 22 November 2010
The Bloodline of Christ – from the Royal Tribe, but including some Rebellious Transgressors; Genesis 38
This chapter is a digression from the subject of Joseph's history, but it becomes a very interesting one because it records the race of Judah, another of Jacob's sons.
Ans as our Lord sprang out of Judah, according to the flesh (Hebrews 7:14), it is indeed highly important to trace the descent of Judah until we find it terminate in Christ.
[ Verses 1-9 ]
Reader! pause over this history.
Who shall take upon him to say to what extent this unnatural sin hath been prevalent in all ages!
Though hidden from human observation, with what malignity must the vast mass of such works of darkness come up before God?
Oh! how precious, increasingly precious, is Jesus, in every renewed consideration to the mind conscious of sin, whose blood alone cleanseth from all sin.
"And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold thy father in law goeth up to Timnath to shear his sheep" (Genesis 38:13).
It is worthy remark, that though there are, I believe, but four women named in the list of the ancestors of Christ, after the flesh, in Matthew's relation of the pedigree, this is one of them; Matthew 1:3.
What hath sin wrought in all ages!
What a dreadful bias to evil is naturally in the mind of every man!
What awful examples doth the Lord sometimes proclaim, in punishments, of His utter displeasure of sin!
But, my soul! while thou art seeking grace from God to avoid every appearance of sin, let that state of humbleness, that astonishing and unequalled state of humbleness, to which Jesus submitted when He came to do away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, endear the Redeemer yet more and more to thy heart, and form Him there the only hope of glory.
Was it not enough, dearest Lord, when Thou condescendest to take flesh and blood for the purposes of salvation, that Thou didst not abhor the virgin's womb, but didst even appoint Thine ancestors, after the flesh, to be such as were more particularly marked with unworthiness?
Gracious Redeemer! may it serve to teach my heart those sweet lessons, that Thou wert pleased to be made in all things like as we are, yet without sin: and although Thou wert made in the likeness of sinful flesh, yet Thou didst partake of none of the corruptions of flesh; and that in Thy tender alliance with our nature, Thou dost not refuse that alliance even with the vilest of our nature; but where sin aboundeth, grace doth much more abound; that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord; Romans 5:20-21.
Sunday, 21 November 2010
The interesting history of the Patriarch Joseph, the son of Israel, begins at this chapter.
And as he is in many instances a most striking type of the Lord Jesus, it merits our attention the more.
Here therefore I beg the reader to call to mind the motto with which I opened our comment on this book of Genesis: Moses wrote of Christ.
"And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him" (Genesis 37:23).
Reader! look at Him, of whom Joseph was in this instance the type! Matthew 27:28.
"And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?" (Genesis 37:26).
Did not David ask a similar question, as typical of Jesus? Psalm 30:9.
"Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content" (Genesis 37:27).
So was the Lord Jesus sold by one of His disciples. Hebrews 2:14.
"Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt" (Genesis 37:28).
How striking a resemblance to Jesus! Matthew 26:15.
I turn aside from every other consideration, as of less moment, in order to follow up the evident intention of the Holy Ghost in this chapter, to behold Him whom the Patriarch Joseph plainly shadowed out in several striking circumstances of his character.
And did not God the Father send His beloved Son from the realms of bliss into this our world, to see if it were well with us, and how we fared?
But though He came full of love and mercy, yet when He came unto His own, His own received Him not.
Did they not conspire against Him? nay, why do I say did they not, have we not all by sin and by rebellion conspired against Him, sold Him into the hands of the Gentiles, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain Him?
Was He not stripped of His raiment, cast into the pit, and His grave made with the wicked in His death, because He had done no violence, neither was there any deceit found in His mouth!
Oh! Thou Almighty Joseph of Thy brethren! give me grace to see that though Thou hast been despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and I have (like those unnatural brethren) hid as it were my face from Thee; yet by the sovereignty of Thy grace help me to see that Thou wert sent by God the Father, to look after and provide for my everlasting welfare.
Thou art sent indeed before Thy people, and to save their lives by a great deliverance.
Hail, Thou dear Redeemer! henceforth may the language of my heart be, blessed be He that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Saturday, 20 November 2010
"These were dukes of the sons of Esau ... ... he is Esau the father of the Edomites" (Genesis 36:15, 43).
Respecting the title here; see Genesis 27:40.
Reader! observe that while Jacob's children were husbandmen, Esau's race were nobles.
And yet what said God?
See Malachi 1:2.
But how sure that promise, Isaiah 56:5?
1 Chronicles 1:43 ff - From dukes the seed of Esau advance to kings.
But all the while are rejected from the covenant of promise. Psalm 72:17.
There is much spiritual improvement to be drawn from the perusal of this chapter by every gracious soul, when God the Holy Ghost awakens the heart to the observation.
Jacob's seed, no doubt, while they were bond slaves in Egypt felt their misery the more, while calling to mind the splendour of Esau's race in Edom.
But how mistaken are our views of things, and what false calculations do we make in our estimation of happiness.
• Esau's children were great indeed among men.
• But the seed of Jacob were beloved in the sight of God.
Jesus hath made them kings and priests to God and the Father, and they shall reign with Him for ever.
Dear Lord! give me that sweet promise and I ask no more.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me on My throne; Revelation 3:21.
Friday, 19 November 2010
"Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments" (Genesis 35:2).
I think it more than probable also that the Lord, in tender mercy, had visited the Patriarch with afflictions to call his vows to remembrance. Revelation 3:19.
It should seem by this address of Jacob to his household that he considered his visitations in this light: Isaiah 1:16-18.
How sweetly the apostle converts such puttings away into a gospel sense! 1 Peter 3:21-22.
But reader! is it not strange that Jacob, the highly favoured, highly blessed Jacob, should suffer strange gods in his family?
Alas! what is man in his greatest attainments!
Precious Redeemer, how increasingly dear becomes the recollection of Thy salvation at every renewed instance we feel in ourselves, or are called upon to behold in others, of human corruption!
"And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother" (Genesis 35:7).
El-bethel, that is the God of Bethel.
Reader! precious are the Bethels; the house of God, and the ordinances of God's house.
But how infinitely more precious the God of His house.
See that when you attend the house of God, your heart is waiting for the gracious visits of God in His house.
Let you and I imitate the Greeks we read of (John 12:21), and earnestly cry out; we would see Jesus.
"And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel" (Genesis 35:15).
Every renewed token of Jesus' love ought to beget in our hearts renewed thankfulness.
If a gracious God at any time fulfils a promise, every gracious child would desire to act faith upon His faithfulness.
One more look at Isaac before we close the chapter, and drop the Patriarch's history.
I delight in every person and in every thing which receives in scripture the particular notice of God the Holy Ghost, to trace somewhat which may lead my heart to Jesus.
And is there nothing striking to this amount in Isaac's life?
• Was not the Redeemer long promised, long looked for, with a devout earnestness by all the church, and at length born into the world in a method contrary to the established course of natural causes; similar, but infinitely beyond the example of Isaac's birth?
• And were there not Ishmaels to mock the Lord Jesus in the long and trying persecutions He sustained, like the son of Hagar the Egyptian, despising Isaac?
• In the cheerful acquiescence which Isaac made to his father's will for sacrifice; carrying the wood; being bound upon the altar; and not offering a repining word when Abraham took the knife to slay his son; can I not, as a type, trace somewhat of Thine unequalled love;
oh! Thou Lamb of God, who voluntarily didst undertake, by the sacrifice of Thyself, the redemption of Thy people; when fainting beneath Thy cross, Thou wast led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so openedst not Thou Thy mouth!
Oh! may my soul live in the constant, daily, hourly meditation of Thy love!
May every thing tend to lead my heart unto Thee!
And may Thy love at length awaken mine, and induce all those precious effects of loving Thee who hast so loved me, as to have given Thyself for me.
Thursday, 18 November 2010
In this chapter the history of the Patriarch records the beginning of the afflictions with which he was exercised, as they arose out of the circumstances of his children.
Dinah his daughter, and as it should seem his only daughter, prompted by vain curiosity, going forth to see the daughters of the land, is ravished by Shechem prince of the Hivites.
Jacob's soul is grieved at the hearing of it.
How dreadful the effect of unbridled passions!
What sad events have been induced by their indulgence in all ages.
And what is the whole history of mankind since the fall, but the same distressing page of suffering and sorrow, by reason of iniquity and sin.
Blessed Jesus! how endearing here again is the recollection of Thy merciful character, in that Thou camest to take away sin by the sacrifice of Thyself.
• I think that this chapter affords a very interesting lesson to young women.
Female modesty is truly graceful and becoming, that too much care can never be taken of it.
Like the fine bloom of the purple plumb it cannot be touched without injury.
Had the daughter of Jacob been less exposed, her chastity would not have been violated.
Hence among the precepts of the apostle to young women, which he gives in charge to his beloved Titus, to teach the church, he particularly dwells on this, that they be chaste and keepers at home: as if wandering abroad tended, most likely, to the loss of their chastity.
• And while this lesson is read to daughters, and especially to the daughters of gracious parents, from this chapter; let not an exercised soul among parents that are gracious forget to derive this instruction also from it, that a godly father may have ungodly children.
Grace is not by descent. It runs not in the blood.
Jacob was dear to his God; but Jacob's children were very often a source of sorrow to him. Many afflicting providences were in his family.
David also, though the man after God's own heart. Yet concerning his children he might well cry out, as he did in one of his Psalms, Lord, remember David and all his afflictions!
Reader! if God in His providence should have called you to the interesting character of a parent, and in His wisdom should see fit to exercise you with such distresses, where will you find resources to bear you up under the heavy pressure?
There is but One that can give relief, and that One the holy men of old possessed.
And that is a comfortable and well-grounded assurance of an interest in the covenant righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. This acts like an anchor to the soul in a dark and stormy night.
David fled to this in his troubles, and found that he rid by it safely through the tempest: "Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow" (2 Samuel 23:5).
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
"And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother" (Genesis 33:3).
The passing over of Jacob before his family should remind us of Christ's unequalled love, in the moment of danger, amidst His disciples in the garden; John 18:8.
CONTRAST BETWEEN ESAU AND JACOB'S "ENOUGH"
"And Esau said, 'I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself" (Genesis 33:9).
It is one thing to have enough of this world's goods, and it is another to have the Lord Himself for our portion; Genesis 27:39.
"Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it" (Genesis 33:11).
There is a difference in the expression of enough in this verse from the same expression in the 9th verse.
Jacob's enough means, I have all.
And so he had, according to Paul's explanation of covenant blessings [in Christ]; 1 Corinthians 3:22-23; Philippians 4:18-19.
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
"And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day" (Genesis 32:24).
Reader! do you know what it is to be left alone to enjoy communion with God in Christ?
Have you sent away all earthly concerns, and all natural connections, how near and dear soever they may be, in order to feel the full influence of gracious impressions?
Who this angel was may easily be known from the Patriarch's own account of him.
Sweet to observe, in the numberless instances of it, how that Almighty angel of the covenant, the Lord Jesus, seemed to long for the period when He would fully reveal Himself unto His people; Genesis 48:16, Hosea 12:4.
May the same gracious Covenant God and Saviour (for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever), grant both to you and to me, that in our going home to our Father's house, like the Patriarch, Jesus' host may meet us, and give us comfort:
nay, may Jesus Himself be there, in every step of the way; that Jordan's waves, and the valley of the shadow of death that lie between, may not affright: for when He is near, His rod and staff shall comfort.
So will goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our life, till we come to dwell in the house of our God for ever.
Monday, 15 November 2010
"And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, 'Jacob': and I said, 'Here am I'" (Genesis 31:11).
Was not this the Lord Jesus?
See Genesis 48:15-16.
"And Laban went into Jacob's tent, and into Leah's tent, and into the two maidservants tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah's tent, and entered into Rachel's tent" (Genesis 31:33).
Observe the diligence with which Laban sought after his false gods.
Reader! may it provoke you and me to a greater earnestness in seeking for the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent.
• How charming Job's desire, Job 33:3.
• How delightful David's earnestness, Psalm 42:1-2.
• How encouraging that promise, Hebrews 11:6.
Thursday, 11 November 2010
"And the man increased exceedingly, and had much ..." (Genesis 30:43).
What a double sweetness rests upon the possessions of the just when every blessing is found to lead the soul to God, instead of drawing the heart from God.
Lord, I would pray that all Thy mercies may be thus sanctified, and not one of them received but with thanksgiving and prayer; that coming from Thy bounty, they may lead to Thy praise, and all be doubly enjoyed in Jesus.
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
A well of water was considered a great treasure in those hot eastern countries.
Hence Jesus is often spoken of under that similitude; Isaiah 32:2, John 4:14, 7:37.
[ Verses 3–7 ]
How sweetly is the Lord Jesus represented under the similitude of a shepherd!
And how delightfully is the church represented as His flock; Song of Solomon 1:7.
Rachael's name signifies a sheep.
"And Laban said to him, 'Surely thou art my bone and my flesh.' And he abode with him the space of a month" (Genesis 29:14).
It is profitable to remark, of whom these things were spoken in after ages; our great Kinsman after the flesh; Ephesians 5:30.
"And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her" (Genesis 29:20).
Labours of love are always apparently short and sweet.
But what were the services of the Redeemer for His spouse, the Church, and for whom He travailed in soul; Isaiah 53:11.
Monday, 8 November 2010
"And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stanger, which God gave unto Abraham" (Genesis 28:4).
Observe the same blessing still carried on.
It is here called Abraham's blessing.
And what is that but the gospel blessing of the Lord Jesus; on whom, and in whom alone, all blessings centre.
Precious expression! A multitude of people. Hebrews 12:22-23; Revelation 7:9; Numbers 23:10.
"And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. 13 And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I [am] the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed" (Genesis 28:12-13).
Is not this a beautiful type of the Lord Jesus?
Are not all revelation of God to man made through the medium of Jesus Christ? John 1:18.
Did not this ladder represent the constancy of the communication kept open between the Lord and His people?
The top reaching to heaven, representing the divine nature of Christ; and the bottom resting on the earth, His human nature.
And the angels of God ascending and descending, do they not confirm that scripture, Hebrews 1:14? And throw a light upon that precious declaration of Jesus, John 1:51.
"And, behold, I [am] with thee, and will keep thee in all [places] whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done [that] which I have spoken to thee of" (Genesis 28:15). All promises are in Christ, and with Christ; all promises are connected. And reader! do not forget how the Holy Ghost taught the church to apply his to all Christ's seed; Hebrews 13:5-6. _____________________________________________________
I must not close this Chapter of Jacob's mercies, when the visions of God began with him, without first requesting the reader not to overlook the precious outlines which are here drawn by the Holy Ghost of Jesus's manifestations to all His people.
• Is it not by Him that a channel of communication is opened to our souls for access to God, when like Jacob we have left our father's house and are as wanderers on the earth?
• Is He not the Way, and the Truth, and the Life, by which all mercies come down, and all praises and prayers go up, through His divine mediation?
• And is it not by Him alone that we humbly hope, when all the pilgrimage of this life is over, to come again to our Father's house which is in heaven: to which hope we are begotten by His glorious undertaken, and His accomplishment of our redemption?
Precious, precious Jesus! be Thou with me, and keep me in the way that I go; and give me food and raiment convenient for me: fill my soul with the bread of life, and cloathe me with the garment of Thy salvation; then wilt Thou be indeed the Lord my God: and I shall be Thine, in an everlasting covenant, not to be broken.
Sunday, 7 November 2010
"And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son" (Genesis 27:15).
Is not this a very apt similitude of Him who assumed our likeness, the likeness as the apostle terms it, of sinful flesh; and was made sin for us, though He knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Romans 8:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21.
Reader! if you seek a blessing from God your Father, so must you be cloathed in the garment of Jesus, who is indeed our elder brother, and the first born among many brethren.
"And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice and wept" (Genesis 27:38).
No: there are not two Saviours.
Jesus is one, and there is no other; Acts 4:12.
Melancholy consideration in those who can be satisfied in secondary blessings. See Hebrews 12:17.
Saturday, 6 November 2010
Let no true believer in Jesus ever be discouraged by the trials he meets with, since the faithful in all ages have been so exercised.
The Apostle makes this an evidence of the Christian character, that no man should be moved by these afflictions, since (saith he) ye yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto [1 Thessalonians 3:3].
Oh! it is sweet to see divine wisdom and divine faithfulness in all appointments concerning us; and to be able to say of every one of them, as Paul did, I know that this shall turn to my salvation through the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ [Philippians 1:19].
But how very gracious is God amidst all the chequered circumstances of life, in famine and in fullness, to renew to His people the unutterable assurances of His Covenant love in Christ Jesus!
Reader! may it be your happiness and mine, to live upon this when all the supplies of creature cisterns be dried up; and like David, rejoice in that God hath made with us an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure; and let this be all our salvation and all our desire, although He make it not to grow [2 Samuel 23:5].
Friday, 5 November 2010
"But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country" (Genesis 25:6).
Sweet distinction, in comparing this verse with the former.
Providential mercies are one thing: Gracious gifts are another.
Reader! if Jesus be your portion, in possessing Him, you possess all; 1 Corinthians 3:22-23.
"And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright" (Genesis 25:31).
See Deuteronomy 21:16-17.
Spiritually considered this is truly interesting.
See Hebrews 12:15-16.
And doth not every carnal man the same, who barters Jesus and the blessings in Him, for the husks of the world?
It is hardly possible to close our view of the life of Abraham without blessing God for such an illustrious testimony as his history affords of the triumph of faith.
Lord, I would say, give to me a double portion of the same spirit!
But do we not behold in the Patriarch some faint outlines of resemblance of Him, who according to the flesh, was in after ages to be his seed?
Was not Abraham, as the chosen of God, and the covenant head and father of millions of redeemed souls, a lively type of that Almighty Saviour who was set up as the Covenant Head of His people; and the One chosen of the Father before all worlds, in whom all nations are blessed?
It is said that by faith the Patriarch, when he was called of God to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed and went out, not knowing whither he went.
And do we not from hence call to mind the obedience of the Son of God, who left the realms of bliss and came down a stranger in this strange land, that all His people might afterwards, through Him, receive the gift of an eternal inheritance?
Blessed Jesus! May every thing of a gracious nature in Thy holy Word lead me to discover somewhat of Thyself, that while I admire and learn to praise God for the exercise of the faith and grace which I behold among men, I may be looking up, with gratitude and thankfulness unto Thee, who art both the Author and Giver of Faith, and of all our Mercies.
Thursday, 4 November 2010
"But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac" (Genesis 24:4).
Some have thought that as Isaac was in many respects a type of the blessed Jesus, what is said here in reference to the servant's embassy to bring home a wife for Isaac may shadow out the service of ministers of the gospel in their bringing home souls to Christ.
• Certain it is that the church is called the bride, the Lamb's wife; Revelation 21:9.
• And Christ Himself is called the bridegroom; John 3:29, Ephesians 5:23-27, 2 Corinthians 11:2.
"And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the LORD; wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels" (Genesis 24:31).
So should ministers constrain their people; Luke 14:23.
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
The subject of this chapter is that common place subject which belongs to our nature universally, and forms a part in the history of all persons and families.
Death (here we are told) makes an inroad into the house of Abraham, and takes away Sarah, the desire of his eyes, with a stroke.
"And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same [is] Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her. 3 And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, 4 I [am] a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight" (Genesis 24:3-4).
How sweetly David made use of the same expression, and converted it into a motive for prayer.
Reader! while we behold Abraham parting with his beloved Sarah, and desiring to bury her remains out of his sight; think what a blessed relief it is to consider that the covenant relationship with Jesus rots not in the grave.
When the comeliness of His people is turned to corruption, their ashes are equally precious to Him as when their bodies were animated.
Yes, Thou dearest Redeemer, the covenant of redemption holds good as ever in the grave; by Thy death Thou hast slain the enmity of the grave: and by Thy resurrection secured the resurrection of Thy people.
Death as well as life is ours, if Jesus be ours; 1 Corinthians 3:22-23.
I detain the reader but with two reflections on this chapter. May the Holy Ghost increase them largely, and profitably, to his mind!
• The one is, that in the confirmation of God's promises to Abraham, to give him Canaan for an everlasting possession, the first spot of it which he could truly call his own was his burying-place.
This was indeed possessing it, until the glorious morning of a resurrection.
• The other is, from hence the first sound of that sweet declaration was made, which John in after ages heard more distinctly: Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.
These all died in faith, said the Apostle.
They fell asleep in Jesus.
Lord, grant me the same faith. May it be my portion that, wherever the Machpelah for my earthly house may be, Jesus may receive my soul: and may it be found in that hour that I have a building with God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
"And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you" (Genesis 22:5).
Reader! recollect how Jesus, in His unequalled agony in the garden, was withdrawn from the more immediate followers which He had taken with Him there; Matthew 22:41.
"And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid [it] upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together" (Genesis 22:6).
So Jesus carried His cross; John 19:17.
"And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together" (Genesis 22:8).
Reader! it is no interesting question, though perhaps not easily answered; did Abraham really know that God had already provided a Lamb for a burnt-offering: even the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world?
• There are two passages in the scriptures which seem to imply as much.
Jesus hath given the one (John 8:56); and the Holy Ghost by His servant the apostle hath given the other (Hebrews 11:17).
• But reader! whether Abraham in those distant ages had such clear views of Jesus or not; what blessings, what privileges are ours, before whom the Lamb of God is not only provided, but hath fully taken away sin by His blood (John 1:29; Revelation 13:8).
"And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son" (Genesis 22:9-10).
I pass over many interesting things which belong to this history, considered naturally, in order to regard such as are spiritual.
• How delightful a representation doth the whole transaction afford of God the Father's love? Romans 8:32.
• How sweet a type is given, in the obedience and voluntary surrender of Isaac, of the free and voluntary offering of the Lord Jesus on the cross? John 10:18; Philippians 2:8; Ephesians 5:2.
"And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here [am] I. 12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only [son] from me" (Genesis 22:11-12).
This knowledge is not meant as referring to God, but as proving the faith of His people to the world; Deuteronomy 8:2.
But were not those three days [cf. verse 4] during which Isaac lay under sentence of death, until released by an order from heaven, typical of Christ's lying under death, until raised the third day from the grave? 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.
"And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind [him] a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son" (Genesis 22:13).
Another type of Jesus as a substitute.
1 Peter 1:19; 1 Corinthians 5:7. Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.
"And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, 16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only [son]" (Genesis 22:15-16).
Zacharias refers to the oath and promise, and applies both to Christ; Luke 1:73.
When we behold the happy termination of the trial of Abraham's faith, who doth not see the certainty of that precious promise, 'Blessed is the man that endureth temptation'!
Oh! the vast privilege of those whom the Lord enables to be faithful, and whom He supports in the trying hour.
Gracious God! be it my portion to be kept by grace in every conflict, then shall I be more than conqueror through Him that hath loved me.
But while I derive this instruction, under grace, from the Patriarch's bright example of faith, teach me Lord to behold a more glorious object of contemplation, in what this scene do strikingly represents of divine mercy.
• Do I not see in Abraham, as a father so readily offering up his son, the type of that unequalled love of God the Father in giving His only begotten Son as a sacrifice for the salvation of His people?
• And in the free-will offering of Isaac, to his father's direction, is not Jesus's voluntary submission to the death of the cross strongly represented?
Oh! matchless love of both!
May it be my happiness always to connect, in the view of redemption, the love of both, as the united cause and source of all my hopes; and under the precious application of the Father's grace, and the Son's merits to my heart, by the merciful influences of God the Holy Ghost, may I live in the full enjoyment of this assurance, until I come to enter upon the possession of the realised felicity unto all eternity.
Monday, 1 November 2010
"And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born [him] a son in his old age" (Genesis 21:7).
Reader! pause here to remark that while the gift of a Son became such a subject of astonishment to Sarah; what greater cause have you and I to be astonished, that God should have given His only begotten Son, to the end that all which believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life?
Nay, to advance one step farther in the wonderful mercy, who could have believed that such a gift should have been given to you, or to me?
Well may we exclaim with the prophet: 'Wonder, O heavens, and be astonished, O earth'!
"And she went, and sat her down over against [him] a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against [him], and lift up her voice, and wept" (Genesis 21:16).
Sweet subject, spiritually considered.
Is not the whole world a wilderness state?
But yet, the greatest distresses will not open our eyes to discover our relief until the Holy Ghost performs this mercy and directs to the Lord Jesus.
And although, like the well of Hagar, He is always near us in the everlasting covenant of grace, yet we shall see Him not, unless He, whose office it is, takes of the things of Jesus to shew them unto us; John 16:15.