And the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time,
I. The PREPARATION for this great grace God and Abraham recognizing each other; the servant called by name, responding with the profession of readiness for obedience.
II. The COMMANDMENT is itself a secret communication, a covenant. Do this, and I will bless thee; follow me in this journey "as I tell thee," and thou shalt see my salvation.
III. The simple, childlike OBEDIENCE of the patriarch is reflected in the quiet demeanor of Isaac bearing the wood of the burnt offering, type of Jesus bearing his cross, inquiring for the lamb with lamb-like innocence and patience. "They went both of them together" (Vers. 6 and 8) - "together" in the beginning of the journey, "together" in the end, in the trial and in the blessing.
IV. FAITH which accepts the will of God and takes up the Divine mission WILL COMMIT THE FUTURE TO THE GRACIOUS PROVISION ON WHICH IT DEPENDS. "My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering" (Ver. 8). Already Abraham was saying, "The Lord will provide." We say it sometimes with a fearful burden upon our heart; but when we go steadfastly and hopefully forward we say it at last with the remembrance of a great deliverance sending its glory along the way of our future.
V. THE TRIAL OF THE TRUE HEART IS OFTEN STRETCHED OUT TO ITS LAST EXTREMITY, that the revelation which rewards faithfulness may be the more abundant and wonderful (Vers. 9, 10). We must take God at his word, otherwise we shall not experience the promised deliverance. "Take thy son, and offer him there" (Ver. 2). "And Abraham stretched forth his hand and took the knife to slay his son." What else could he do? The commandment must be obeyed. The obedience must be "good and perfect and acceptable" as the will of God.
VI. AT THE POINT OF ENTIRE SURRENDER APPEARS THE ANGEL, is heard the voice of relief, the assurance of acceptance, the change in the method of obedience, the opened eyes, the provided sacrifice, THE RETURNING JOY OF SALVATION (Vers. 11-13). There is a blindness of self-sacrifice which leads to a sight of immeasurable joy. Abraham saw nothing before him but the plain path of obedience; he went on, and at last "lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold' the self-sacrifice changed into peaceful offering of an appointed substitute (Ver. 13) "in the stead of his son."
VII. THE CLIMAX OF OUR EXPERIENCE AND OF DIVINE MERCY BECOMES TO US A NEW NAME OF JEHOVAH. We know him henceforth by that knowledge of fact. "Jehovah-jireh (the Lord will provide): as it is said to this day, in the mount of the Lord it shall be provided" (or seen) (Ver. 14).
1. Not before the mount, but in the mount; therefore go to the summit and wait.
2. What the Lord will provide will be better every way than what we could provide.
3. The offering on the mount is the great provision, the whole burnt offering for the sins of the world, by which the true humanity is redeemed and the true "joy" ("Isaac," laughter) is retained.
4. The last name of Jehovah which Abraham gave him was Jehovah the Everlasting; now he adds to that name that which brings the Everlasting into the sphere of daily life - "Jehovah-jireh, the Lord will provide." We name that name when we reach the mount where the great sacrifice was provided - Mount Moriah, Mount Calvary.
5. The end of the great trial and obedience was a renewal, a solemn republication, of the covenant. "God could swear by no greater; he swore by himself" (Hebrews 6:13). On the foundation of practical faith is built up the kingdom of heaven, which the Lord swears shall include all nations, and be supreme in all the earth. The notes of that kingdom are here in the history of the patriarch -
(1) acceptance of the word of God,
(3) faith instead of sight,
(4) withholding nothing,
(5) perseverance to the end. Beersheba became now a new place to Abraham, for he carried to the well and grove which he had named after the oaths of himself and Abimelech the remembrance of the Divine oath, on which henceforth he rested all his expectations. After this the man in whom all nations shall be blessed looks round and finds the promise being already fulfilled, and his kindred spreading widely in the earth. - R.
I. THE LORD WILL PROVIDE FOR THE BODY. Temporal blessings, no less than spiritual, come to us through the medium of the covenant of grace.
1. The Lord will provide food for the body. He will bring round the seasons without fail, and make corn to grow for the service of man.
2. The Lord will provide raiment for His people. For forty years in the wilderness, amid the wear and tear of journey and of battle, the raiment of the Israelites waxed not old because Jehovah provided for them; and doth He not still remember His own?
3. The Lord will provide for His people protection. Many times are they delivered in a most wonderful way, and to the astonishment of the world.
II. THE LORD WILL PROVIDE FOR THE SOUL.
1. Jehovah has provided a Lamb; in the gift of His Son we have the guarantee for the supply of every needed blessing.
2. The Lord will provide for you His Holy Spirit. The gift of the Spirit comes to us through the atonement of Christ, and the sufficiency of the Sacrifice entailed and implied the promise of the Spirit, so that He who hath provided the Lamb is confidently to be trusted for this also.
3. The Lord will provide for the soul an eternal home, as is clear from that word, "I go to prepare a place for you." When the toils of life's pilgrimage are over there remaineth a rest for the people of God.
(J. Thain Davidson, D. D.)
Homilist.This incident teaches —
1. God's right to our greatest blessings.
2. Man's duty in the highest trial.
3. God's providence in the greatest emergency.
I. THE PROVISIONS OF THE DIVINE INTERPOSITION CORRESPOND EXACTLY WITH HUMAN WANTS,
II. ITS PROVISIONS ARE OBTAINED IN CONNECTION WITH INDIVIDUAL AGENCY,
III. ITS PROVISIONS ARE OFTEN STRIKINGLY MEMORABLE.
1. Severe trials are intended to prove the strength and purity of our faith. The Christian must walk by faith, not sight.
2. And may not another reason be, to stir us up to fervency in prayer?
3. We may also add, that the hand of God appears more obviously when He delivers just at the crisis of danger. Lesson: We need never despair of Divine help when we are pursuing the path of Christian obedience.
(D. C. Lansing, D. D.)
1. God does all His business thoroughly. Nothing that He ought to do, does He ever leave undone; and all that the Lord does, He does as God; not as man would do the thing, but as God alone can do it. If God provide, it must be in harmony with an eye that never sleeps, with hands that are ever working, with arms that are never weary, with a heart of paternal solicitude that never, never can change.
2. Then, observe, while providing is God's business, He does it in a Godly style. There is no doubt about God's plans being carried out. God has not pleased you always in the provision tie has made; and yet the provision has been sure and good. In plain language God has never neglected anything which He ought to have done for you.
II. Now look at THE TIME. When will He do it? Why, "in the mount of the Lord it shall be seen." God allows you to come to the mount before tie provides for you; that is, before He shows the provision. The provision is made long beforehand, but He does not show it. What does this fact say? Why this simple fact says, "wait." If you cannot do a right thing to meet your own difficulties, do nothing. If you can do a right thing, and God give you the ability and the opportunity, that act may be God's instrument for meeting your wants; but if you can do nothing without doing wrong, then it is quite clear you are to do nothing, and you are to say, "In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen." Now, why does God thus sometimes try you? Why! because you think too much of your own providing. Why! because you think too much of your fellow-creatures' providing. Why! because you make gods of His creatures.
(S. Martin.)I. Let us consider WHAT GOD HAD PROVIDED FOR ABRAHAM IN TIME PAST.
1. The Lord provided for him an unusual measure of faith.
2. God had provided for Abraham a ram for a burnt-offering in the stead of his son.
II. Let us consider THE INFERENCE WHICH ABRAHAM DREW FROM WHAT GOD HAD PROVIDED FOR HIM IN TIME PAST. "Jehovah-jireh,"said he, "the Lord will provide." So much as to say, "What lie has done is a pledge and an earnest of what lie will do. Since He has shown so much of His grace and goodness to me in time past, He will show more in time to some." Do you ask, What will He provide?
1. He will provide for us in the life that now is.
2. God will provide for us in that life which is to come.Conclusion:
1. How precious is the grace of faith.
2. How devoted should we be to the service of God.
3. And lastly, how firm and assured should be the Christian's confidence in his God.
(D. Rees.)I. WHAT WILL GOD PROVIDE? Two answers may be given to this question. One is furnished by the direct teaching of the passage, and the other by its inferential teaching.
1. It is clear from the direct teaching of this passage that God will provide for the greatest necessities of His people. This was what He did for Abraham. And now the cross of Jesus stands before us as the grand illustration of the truth and meaning of this great covenant name, Jehovah-jireh. The Lord promised to provide a ransom; and the ransom is provided.
2. And then there is an inferential teaching from this name- that He will provide for our lesser necessities. Jehovah has bridged the great gulf that once lay between us and heaven, and He will certainly bridge all the smaller gulfs that may meet us on our way.
II. How WILL GOD PROVIDE?
1. Wisely. He seeth the end from the beginning, and is infallible in all His plans and purposes. "The work of the Lord is perfect." An important part of His work is to provide for His people. And when we apply the word "perfect" to this work, what an assurance we have of the wisdom that marks it! It is only when we lose confidence in this feature of God's work that our hearts are troubled. Not long ago a Christian merchant met, unexpectedly, with some very great losses. He began to doubt the wisdom of that Providence which could allow such trials to overtake him. He returned to his home one evening in a gloomy and despairing state of mind. He sat down before the open fireplace in his library, "tossed with the tempest" of doubt and destitute of comfort. Presently his little boy, a thoughtful child of six or seven years, came and sat on his knee. Over the mantel-piece was a large illuminated card containing the words — "His work is perfect." The child spelled out the words, and pointing to them, said, "Papa, what does perfect mean here?" And then, before his father, who was somewhat staggered by the inquiry, could make a reply, there came another question from the little prattler: "Doesn't it mean that God never makes a mistake?" This was just the thought that troubled father needed to have brought before his mind. If the angel Gabriel had come down from heaven to help him, he could have suggested nothing more timely. And then the father, clasping the little one to his bosom, exclaimed, "Yes, my precious darling, that is just what it means." His confidence in God revived. The dark cloud that had settled down upon him was scattered.
2. Tenderly. He is the God of the dew-drop as well as of the thunder and the tempest. He is the God of the tender grass as well as of the gnarled and knotted mountain oak.
3. Faithfully. He will provide for His people, not the things that they would most like to have here — not those that are the most pleasant and agreeable — but those that are the best. The foundation promise of the covenant is — "No good thing will He withhold."
II. WHY DOES HE THUS PROVIDE FOR HIS PEOPLE? Two motives operate with Him to do this. One of these has reference to His people; the other has reference to Himself.
1. The motive in His people which leads God thus to reveal Himself as their Provider is their need — their weakness, or their want.
2. The motive in Himself is because He has the fulness required to meet our necessities. In us is weakness, in Him is strength; in us is ignorance, in Him is wisdom; in us is poverty, in Him is riches; in us is emptiness, in Him is fulness. And it is from the blending of these two elements — this weakness in us and this strength in Him — that the resultant force is found which will lead us on to victory. Let us take a familiar illustration of this statement. Yonder is a little fly. It is walking over the ceiling of the room with its head downwards, and yet it walks as safely as you or I do on the floor of the same room with our heads up. And now let us take our stand near yonder massive rock, over which the waves of the ocean are dashing continually. See, there is a little mollusc clinging to the smooth side of that rock. The sea sends up its mighty billows to dash in foam and thunder on that rock. But they can no more move that mollusc that clings there, than they can move the rock itself from its firm base. And what gives to these feeble creatures the security that attends them in their positions of danger? Under the foot of the fly, as it walks over the ceiling, is a little vacant space, a point of emptiness. And there is the same under the shell of the mollusc, as it clings to the rock. The power of the atmosphere is brought to bear on that point of emptiness in the foot of the fly and the shell of the mollusc. This gives to the fly and to the mollusc all the security and support they realize. And the same principle applies to spiritual things. "When I am weak," said St. Paul, "then I am strong." When I feel my weakness, i.e., and take hold of the strength that is offered me, then I am strong. The fly and the mollusc make use of the weakness that is in them to draw strength from the atmosphere by which they are surrounded. This gives to the fly the strength of the ceiling over which it walks: and to the mollusc the firmness of the rock to which it clings. And in the same way the Christian who feels his own weakness and takes hold of God's strength is made as strong — yes! tell it out with boldness, for it is the truth — is made as strong as the omnipotent arm on which he leans, and the Almighty Jehovah to whom he clings.
(R. Newton, D. D.)I. Look at the words AS THEY BEAR ON THAT GRAND CENTRAL EVENT IN THE WORLD'S HISTORY TO WHICH THEY HAD A PROSPECTIVE REFERENCE, AND IN WHICH THEY WERE DESTINED TO FIND THEIR FULL ACCOMPLISHMENT. For in this same place nearly two thousand years after — on or near the spot to which Abraham gave the name of "Jehovah will provide" — Jehovah did provide a Lamb for a burnt-offering, whose death will be the theme of all heaven throughout eternity! God never knew another from the beginning. I doubt not that Isaac was a Divinely ordained type of Him. Was Isaac the child of the promise? The true Child of the promise was Christ. Was Isaac long promised and long waited for before his birth? Four thousand years elapsed, of promise and long expectation, ere Simeon took up the Child Jesus in his arms, saying, "Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation." Was Isaac's birth supernatural? "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." Did Isaac meekly submit to be bound to the altar on the wood? "He is led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth." But here the resemblances seem to stop. Or, if there be anything, as I doubt not there is much, in the semblance of Isaac's death and resurrection, yet assuredly it is here but a shadow. For no sinner might ever die to expiate sin; and our God never would have a human sacrifice even to prefigure the true. But now behold, at last, "the Man that is God's fellow!" Behold the Lamb for a burnt-offering — O yes, consumed by the fire of that Divine holiness and justice, of which the fire of all the burnt-offerings was but the shadow.
II. "HATH APPEARED." Abraham used the future tense — will provide. Are you in deep perplexity as to your path, and fearful of taking a false step? Write Jehovah-jireh, the Lord will provide counsel. The name of this Lamb is Wonderful, Counsellor — "I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way in which thou shelf go; I will guide thee with Mine eye." Are you called to some arduous duty? Write Jehovah-jireh, the Lord will provide strength — "My strength is made perfect in weakness." Are you straitened as to temporal provision? Write still this word, Jehovah-jireh, for "your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these things." Do you anticipate painfully the conflict with the last enemy? Write Jehovah-jireh — "O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction." And as for the eternity beyond, still write Jehovah-jireh, for "the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."
(C. J. Brown, D. D.)I. WHAT DOES GOD PROVIDE FOR HIS PEOPLE? For their wants:
II. WHEN IS IT THAT GOD PROVIDES FOR HIS PEOPLE? Just when He sees fit; just as it accords with His infinite wisdom, and not as it accords with our carnal conceptions. He has "a set time" to favour Zion.
1. In life.
2. In sickness.
3. In death.
III. HOW DOES GOD PROVIDE FOR HIS PEOPLE? Little do we know of the numberless expedients to which God has recourse in His providence.
(J. G. Wilson.)
1. He will provide a path for our life. You have seen a book without a title-page, and may have thought, "My life is like this book; I came into the world by chance, as a mite is found on the cheese." The Lord made provision for your life. He gave a body in which your spirit could live, eyes with which to see, the power of speech, the command of thought; and, having provided you with a beginning, He also prepared a path in the world for your life.
2. The Lord will provide us with love. When you came into the world, He looked upon you with love, and His heart never changes. God is said to be like a sun. You can open your door and let in the blessed sunlight; and in the same way, you may open the chambers of your soul and be filled with the love of God.
3. The Lord will provide us with pardon.
4. The Lord also provides salvation for us.
5. He has provided for us peace of soul. Yesterday, when coming down Oxford Street, I noticed a painter on the top of a very high ladder. People were passing to and fro continually, yet the painter did not look down, and he did not appear to have the slightest anxiety. I stood and heard him humming a song. He was in a dangerous position; on the top of a high ladder resting upon the flags with people passing who might jog against the ladder and knock it over; yet he sang forth in gladness, and when he saw me nodded with delight. What was the secret? I will tell you. At the foot of the ladder stood a man holding it firmly, and this man was his safeguard. The painter had perfect peace up there on the ladder; he knew that his friend at the bottom was holding it, and that if any one came near the ladder unawares, the man at the bottom of it would warn them off. Likewise, the Lord provides peace for all His people. He holds our souls in His hands, and nothing shall happen to us unknown to Him. He orders our steps, directs our paths, and numbers the very hairs of our heads. The man who knows this fact enjoys a solid peace which nothing can shake.
6. Let me close by showing that He will provide us with the power of true manhood.
(W. Birch.)I. The first thing that God provides for His people is — PROTECTION IS DANGER. It is wonderful how many illustrations we find, both in the Bible and out of it, of the way in which God provides protection in danger for His people. When we open the Bible for these illustrations, they meet us everywhere — Noah, Joseph, Moses, Jonah, Daniel. The animal and the vegetable kingdom afford us plenty of illustrations of this same truth. Look at the scales of the crocodile, and the thick, tough hide of the rhinoceros, and the powerful trunk of the elephant, and the strength and courage of the lion. Look at the turtle, with the castle that it carries about with it, and the snail crawling along with its house on its back. When you see how God provides for the protection of all these different creatures, you see how each of them illustrates the truth which Abraham was taught on Mount Moriah, when he called the name of it Jehovah-jireh. A friend of mine has a very powerful microscope. One day he showed me some curious specimens through it. Among these were some tiny little sea animals. They were so small that they could not be seen with the naked eye. They are made to live on the rocks under the water; and, to protect themselves from being swept away by the force of the waves, they are furnished with the tiniest little limbs you ever saw. Each of these is made exactly in the shape of an anchor. This they fasten in the rock; and as I looked at them with wonder through the microscope, I thought. Why, even among these very little creatures we see Jehovah-jireh, too! The Lord provides for their protection. And every apple and pear and peach and plum that grows shows the same thing, in the skin which is drawn over them for their protection. And so does every nut, in the hard shell which grows round its kernel. And so does every grain of wheat, and every ear of Indian corn, in the coverings so nicely wrapped around them to keep them from harm. And God is doing wonderful things all the time for the protection of His people. A Christian sailor, when asked why he remained so calm in a fearful storm, said, "If I fall into the sea, I shall only drop into the hollow of my Father's hand, for He holds all these waters there."
II. The second thing that God provides for His people is — RELIEF IN TROUBLE. Here is a striking illustration of the way in which God can provide this relief, when it is needed. Some years ago there was a Christian man in England, who was in trouble. He was poor, and suffered much from want of money. A valuable property had been left to him. It would be sufficient to make him comfortable all the rest of his life, if he could only get possession of it. But in order to do this, it was necessary to find out some deeds connected with this property. But neither he, nor any of his friends, could tell where those deeds were to be found. They had tried to find them for a long time; but all their efforts had been in vain. At last, God provided relief for this man in his trouble in a very singular way. On one occasion, Bishop Chase, who was then the Bishop of Ohio, in America, was on a visit to the city of Philadelphia. He was stopping at the house of Mr. Paul Beck. One day, while staying there, he received a letter from one of the bishops of the Church of England. This letter was written to Bishop Chase, to ask him to make some inquiries about the deeds relating to the property of which we have spoken. The letter had been sent out first to Ohio, and then to Washington, where the bishop had been. From there it had been sent on after him to Philadelphia. If Bishop Chase had received this letter in Ohio, or in Washington, he would probably have read it, and then have said to himself, "I can't find out anything about these deeds," and would have written to his friend, the English bishop, telling him so. But the letter came to him while he was at Mr. Beck's house. Mr. Beck was present when the letter was received. The bishop read it to him. When Mr. Beck heard the letter read, he was very much astonished. "Bishop Chase," said he, "it is very singular that this letter should have come to you while you are at my house. Sir, I am the only man in the world that can give you the information asked for in this letter. I have the deeds in my possession. I have had them for more than forty years, and never could tell what to do with them, or where to find the persons to whom they belong." How wonderful it was that this letter, after coming across the ocean, and going from one place to another in this country, should reach the bishop while he was in the house, and in the presence of the only man in the world who could tell about those lost deeds! And if the poor man to whom the property belonged, when he came into possession of it, knew about the singular way in which those deeds were found, he certainly would have been ready to write upon them, in big round letters, the words, "Jehovah-jireh — the Lord will provide." God provided relief for him in his trouble.
III. But there is a third thing that the Lord will provide, and that is — SALVATION FOR THE SOUL. Here is an illustration of a man who was very much burdened with care on account of his soul, and who had this care cured by the salvation which Jesus provides. Many years ago there was a very celebrated preacher, whose name was the Rev. George Whitefield. He went travelling all over England and this country preaching the gospel, and did a great deal of good in this way. One day a brother of Mr. Whitefield's heard him preach. The sermon led him to see what a sinner he was, and he became very sorry on account of his sins. He was burdened with care because he thought his soul could not be saved; and for a long time it seemed as if he could get no relief from this burden. And the reason of it was that he was not willing to believe the word of Jesus. It is only in this way that we can be saved. When we read the promises of Jesus in the Bible, we must believe that He means just what he says. We must trust His word, and then we shall be saved. Well, one evening this brother of Mr. Whitefield was taking tea with the Countess of Huntingdon. This was an earnest Christian lady, who took a great interest in all good ministers, and the work they did for Jesus. She saw that the poor man was in great trouble of mind, and she tried to comfort him as they took their tea by talking to him about the great mercy of God to poor sinners through Jesus Christ. "Yes, my lady," said the sorrowful man, "I know what you say is true. The mercy of God is infinite. I am satisfied of this. But, ah! my friend, there is no mercy for me. I am a wretched sinner, a lost man." "I am glad to bear it, Mr. Whitefield," said Lady Huntingdon. "I am glad in my heart that you have found out you are a lost man." He looked at her with great surprise. "What, my lady!" he exclaimed, "glad, did you say? glad at heart that I am a lost man?" "Why, certainly I am, Mr. Whitefield," said she; "for you know, Jesus Christ came into the world ' to seek and to save them that are lost.' And if you feel that you are a lost man, why, you are just one of those that Jesus came to save." This remark had a great effect on Mr. Whitefield. He put down the cup of tea that he was drinking, and clapped his hands together, saying, "Thank God for that! Thank God for that!" He believed God's promise then. That cured his care. It took away his trouble. It saved his soul. He was taken suddenly ill and died that same night, but he died happy.
1. It teaches us this truth, that the confident speech of a believer is akin to the language of a prophet. The man who accepts the promise of God unstaggeringly, and is sure that it is true, will speak like the seers of old; he will see that God sees, and will declare the fact, and the holy inference which comes of it. The believer's child-like assurance will anticipate the future, and his plain statement — "God will provide " — will turn out to be literal truth.
2. True faith not only speaks the language of prophecy, but, when she sees her prophecy fulfilled, faith is always delighted to raise memorials to the God of truth.
3. Note yet further, that when faith has uttered a prophecy, and has set up her memorial, the record of mercy received becomes itself a new prophecy. Abraham says, "Jehovah-jireh — God will see to it"; what was he doing but prophesying a second time for future ages?
I. When Abraham said " Jehovah will provide," he meant us, first of all, to learn that THE PROVISION WILL COME IN THE TIME OF OUR EXTREMITY. The Lord gave our Lord Jesus Christ to be the Substitute for men in view of the utmost need of our race.
II. Secondly, upon the mount THE PROVISION WAS SPONTANEOUSLY MADE for Abraham, and so was the provision which the Lord displayed in the fulness of time when He gave up His Son to die.
III. But, thirdly, we ought to dwell very long and earnestly upon the fact that for man's need THE PROVISION WAS MADE BY GOD HIMSELF. The text says, "Jehovah jireh," the Lord will see to it, the Lord will provide. None else could have provided a ransom. Neither on earth nor in heaven was there found any helper for lost humanity. I will only interject this thought here — let none of us ever interfere with the provision of God. If in our dire distress He alone was our Jehovah-jireh, and provided for us a Substitute, let us not think that there is anything left for us to provide. O sinner, do you cry, "Lord, I must have a broken heart"? He will provide it for thee. Do you cry, "Lord, I cannot master sin, I have not the power to conquer my passions"? He will provide strength for thee. Do you mourn, "Lord, I shall never hold on and hold out to the end. I am so fickle"? Then He will provide perseverance for thee.
IV. That which God prepares for poor sinners is A PROVISION MOST GLORIOUSLY MADE. God provided a ram instead of Isaac. This was sufficient for the occasion as a type; but that which was typified by the ram is infinitely more glorious. In order to save us God provided God. I cannot put it more simply. He did not provide an angel, nor a mere man, but God Himself. Come, sinner, with all thy load of sin: God can bear it; the shoulders that bear up the universe can well sustain thy load of guilt. God gave thee His Godhead to be thy Saviour when He gave thee His Son. But He also gave in the person of Christ perfect manhood — such a man as never lived before, eclipsing even the perfection of the first Adam in the garden by the majestic innocence of His nature. When Jesus has been viewed as man, even unconverted men have so admired His excellence that they have almost adored Him. Jesus is God and man, and the Father has given that man, that God, to be thy Redeemer.
V. Fifthly, THE PROVISION WAS MADE EFFECTIVELY. Isaac did not die: the laughter in Abraham's house was not stifled; there was no grief for the patriarch; he went home with his son in happy companionship, because Jehovah had provided Himself a lamb for a burnt-offering. The ram which was provided did not bleed in vain; Isaac did not die as well as the ram; Abraham did not have to slay the God-provided victim and his own son also. No, the one sacrifice sufficed. Beloved, this is my comfort in the death of Christ I hope it is yours — that He did not die in vain.
VI. Turn we then, sixthly, to this note, that we may well glorify Jehovah-jireh because THIS PROVISION WAS MADE FOR EVERY BELIEVER. VII. But now I close with a remark which will reveal the far-reaching character of my text. "Jehovah-jireh" is true concerning all necessary things. The instance given of Abraham being provided for shows us that the Lord will ever be a Provider for His people. As to the gift of the Lord Jesus, this is A PROVISION WHICH GUARANTEES ALL OTHER PROVISION. "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?"
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
'"Though troubles assail and dangers affright,
Though friends should all fail, and foes all unite,
Yet one thing secures us, whatever betide,
The Scripture assures us — The Lord will provide."'Once, when we had no food left, he again told us not to forget Jehovah-jireh. He went out, but came back in a few minutes holding up a shilling he had found on the pavement, and saying: 'Here's Jehovah-jireh, mother; I was sure He would provide!' Who will say this betokened childish ignorance and not Christian wisdom? Might not our philosophy be more sound, if we were more as "little children"? We know who said, "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise." Hast not help often come to the people of God as unexpectedly, giving rise to the proverb, "Man's extremity is God's opportunity"? Should we not gratefully acknowledge such "interposition of Providence"; such special help from Jehovah the Provider.
(Newman Hall, LL. B.)1. The Lord will be seen. In His special providence to His servants in their afflictions.
2. The time when He will be seen. "In the mount," i.e., when things are brought to an extremity; when we think there is no more help nor hope, that is the time when the Lord will be seen.
I. IT IS GOD'S USUAL MANNER TO BRING HIS CHILDREN TO EXTREMITIES.
1. And the first cause why the Lord doth so usually do it is, when He brings afflictions on His children; He lets it run along till they may think there is no more help nor hope, that so it may be an affliction to them. If a man were in a smoky house, and had a door opened, it were no difficulty for him to shift himself out of it; but when we are shut up, that is it which makes it difficult; and that it might be so, the Lord suffers it to come to an extremity.
2. Secondly, the Lord brings us to an extremity because the Lord might be sought to; for so long as the creatures can do us any good, we will go no further; but when they fail us, we are ready to look up to the Lord; as it is with men which are on the seas, when they are in an extremity, those that will not pray at any other time, will pray now, and be ready to say with these in the prophet Hosea, "Come and let us return unto the Lord; for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He wilt bind us up" (Hosea 6:1); and the reason is, because where the creature ends, the Lord must begin, otherwise there can be no help at all.
3. Thirdly, the Lord doth it, because that hereby it comes to pass that the Lord may be known to be the helper; that when we are delivered He may have all the praise.
4. Fourthly, the Lord doth it, because all that we have, we may have as a new gift; therefore the Lord suffers us, as it were, to forfeit our leases, as it were, that He may renew them; otherwise we should think ourselves to be freeholders.
5. Fifthly, the Lord doth it because He may teach us by experience to know Him. But here some man will be ready to say, Why cannot that be without these extremities? To this I answer, you must know when a man goes on in a course, without any troubles or changes, his experience is to no purpose; for he hath no great experience of the Lord. But when a man is in tribulation, that brings experience; and experience, hope; for it is another kind of experience that is so learned, than that which comes without it; and indeed nothing is well learned till it be learned by experience.
6. Lastly, the Lord does it for proof and trial, as in the case of Abraham.
II. IN THE TIME OF EXTREMITIES WILL THE LORD BE SEEN, AND NOT BEFORE. Why?
1. Because the Lord knows this is the best way to draw forth the practice of many graces and good duties, which otherwise would be without use.
2. Because He would give a time to men to repent and meet Him in, which is good for His children; otherwise we would not seek unto the Lord.
3. To let us know the vanity of the creature. The use of it is to teach us not to make too much haste for deliverance in the time of distress, but to wait upon the Lord, yea, depend upon His providence when we seem to be without help. If we look upon the creature, yet then are we to depend upon the Lord, so as never to say there is no help, but on the contrary to say, "I will trust in Him though He kill me."
III. GODLY MEN'S EXTREMITIES ARE BUT TRIALS, SENT FOR THEIR GOOD; NOT PUNISHMENT SENT FOR THEIR HURT AND RUIN. Ay, but what is that good? Why, this; first, it shall increase grace in your hearts; for as the gold which is tried loseth nothing but dross, and so is made the better thereby, so it is with our afflictions, for "the trial of our faith," saith the apostle, "bringeth forth patience"; for the greater thy trial is, the more it strengthens thy faith, and so increaseth comfort; for when the afflictions of the apostle abounded, his consolation abounded also. Again, you shall have the greater wages; for when a man hath a friend that hath been employed about any great thing for him, why, the greater the trouble was which he did undergo for him, the more will he be beholden to him, and the greater reward will he bestow upon him; even so, the greater the trials are from the Lord, the greater benefit will come to us by them.
Old Testament Anecdotes.The celebrated Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork, who rose from a humble station in life to the highest rank, and passed through strange and trying vicissitudes, used these words as his motto, and ordered them to be engraved on his tomb: "God's providence is my inheritance."
(Old Testament Anecdotes.)
Fifteen Hundred Illustrations.Paul Gerhardt, the German poet and preacher, after ten years of pastoral work in Berlin, was deprived of his charge by the King of Prussia, and expelled from the country. He turned towards Saxony, his native land, accompanied by his wife and little children, all on foot, without means and without prospect. They stopped at a village inn to pass the night, and there the poor woman naturally gave way to a burst of sorrow and anxiety. Her husband endeavoured to comfort her, especially dwelling upon the words of Scripture, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding; in all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." The same evening two gentlemen entered the inn parlour, and mentioned that they were on their way to Berlin to seek the deposed clergyman, Paul Gerhardt, by order of Duke Christian, of Merseburg, who desired to settle a considerable pension on him as a compensation for the injustice from which he had suffered.
(Fifteen Hundred Illustrations.)
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