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A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, OCTOBER 12, 1884,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen." Genesis 22:14.
"ABRAHAM called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh," or, "Jehovah will see it," or, "Jehovah will provide," or, "Jehovah will be seen." We are offered a variety of interpretations, but the exact idea is that of seeing and being seen. For God to see is to provide. Our own word, "provide," is only Latin for, "to see." You know how we say that we will see to a matter. Possibly this expression hits the nail on the head. Our heavenly Father sees our needs and, with Divine foresight of love, prepares the supply. He sees to a need to supply it—and in the seeing He is seen—in the providing He manifests Himself!
I believe that the Truth of God contained in the expression, "Jehovah-jireh," was ruling Abraham's thoughts long before he uttered it and appointed it to be the memorial name of the place where the Lord had provided a substitute for Isaac. It was this thought, I think, which enabled him to act as promptly as he did under the trying circumstances. His reason whispered within him, "If you slay your son, how can God keep His promise to you that your seed shall be as many as the stars of Heaven?" He answered that suggestion by saying to himself, "Jehovah will see to it!" As he went upon that painful journey with his dearly beloved son at his side, the suggestion may have come to him, "How will you meet Sarah when you return home, having covered your hands in the blood of her son? How will you meet your neighbors when they hear that Abraham, who professed to be such a holy man, has killed his son?" That answer still sustained his heart—"Jehovah will see to it! Jehovah will see to it! He will not fail in His word. Perhaps He will raise my son from the dead, but in some way or other He will justify my obedience to Him and vindicate His own command. Jehovah will see to it." This was a quietus to every mistrustful thought.
I pray that we may drink into this Truth of God and be refreshed by it. If we follow the Lord's bidding, He will see to it that we shall not be ashamed or confused. If we come into great need by following His command, He will see to it that the loss shall be recompensed. If our difficulties multiply and increase so that our way seems completely blocked up, Jehovah will see to it that the road shall be cleared. The Lord will see us through in the way of holiness if we are only willing to be thorough in it and dare to follow where ever He leads. We need not wonder that Abraham should utter this truth and attach it to the spot which was to be forever famous, for his whole heart was saturated with it and had been sustained by it. Wisely he makes an altar and a mountain to be memorials of the Truth which had so greatly helped him. His trials had taught him more of God—had, in fact, given him a new name for his God—and this he would not have forgotten, but he would keep it before the minds of the generations following by naming the place Jehovah-jireh.
Observe, as you read this chapter, that this was not the first time that Abraham had thus spoken. When he called the name of the place Jehovah-jireh he had seen it to be true—the ram caught in the thicket had been provided as a substitute for Isaac. Jehovah had provided. But he had, before, declared that Truth of God when, as yet, he knew nothing of the Divine action—when he could not even guess how his extraordinary trial would end! His son Isaac had said to him, "Behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" And the afflicted father had bravely answered, "My son, God will provide." In due time God did provide and then Abraham honored Him by saying the same words. But instead of the ordinary name for God, he used the special Covenant title—Jehovah. That is the only alteration— otherwise, in the same terms he repeats the assurance that, "the Lord will provide."
That first utterance was most remarkable! It was simple enough, but how prophetic! 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 unstagger-ingly 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 state-ment—"God will provide"—will turn out to be literal truth! If you want to come near to prophesying, hold hard to the promises of God and you shall "prophecy according to the measure of faith." He that can say, "I know and am sure that God will not fail me in this, my hour of tribulation," will, before long, drop pearls of Divine confidence and diamonds of prediction from his lips. Choice sayings which become proverbs in the Church of God are not the offspring of mistrust, but of firm confidence in the living God!
To this day, many a saying of a man of God is quoted among us, even as Abraham's words were quoted. Moses puts it, "As it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen." And we might mention many a sentence which is said unto this day which first fell from the mouth of a faithful spirit in the hour of the manifestation of the Lord. The speech of the father of the faithful became the speech of his spiritual seed for many a year afterwards and it abides in the family of faith unto this day! If we have full faith in God, we shall teach succeeding generations to expect Jehovah's hand to be stretched out.
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. The stones which were set up of old were not to the memory of dead men, but they were memorials of the deeds of the living God—they abundantly uttered the memory of God's great goodness! Abraham, on this occasion, did not choose a name which recorded what he had done, but a name which spoke of what Jehovah had done. It is true Abraham's faith was worthy to be remembered throughout all generations, for there he believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness—and the Lord said to him, "And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed My voice."
There the Patriarch had endured the extreme test—no gold was ever passed through a hotter furnace. But true faith is always modest. From her gate, boasting is excluded by law. Abraham says nothing about himself at all, but the praise is unto God who sees and is seen. The record is, "Jehovah will provide." I like that self-ignoring. I pray that we, also, may have so much strength of faith that self may go to the wall. Little faith is very apt to grow proud when, to its own astonishment, it has worked righteousness. But strong faith so completely empties itself and so entirely depends upon the all-sufficiency of God, that when anything is achieved, it remembers nothing but the Divine hand and lays the crown where it ought to be laid. Growing in experimental acquaintance with the God of the Covenant, faith has a new song and a new name for her God and takes care that His wonderful works shall be remembered.
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, then, but prophesying a second time for future ages? He bids us know that as God had provided for him in the time of his extremity, so He will provide for all them that put their trust in Him! The God of Abraham lives! Let His name be praised and let us rest assured that as certainly as in the Patriarch's distress, when there seemed no way of escape, the Lord appeared for him and was seen in the mountain, even so shall it be with all the believing seed while time endures! We shall all be tried and tested, but in our utmost need God will see us and see to our deliverance, if we will but let faith have her perfect work and will hope and quietly wait the moment when the Lord shall be seen working salvation. The Lord is the Preserver of men and the Provider for men. I long for all of us to get this Truth of God firmly fixed in our hearts and, therefore, I shall try to show that God's provision for Abraham and Isaac typified the far greater provision by which all the faithful are delivered from death. And that God, in providing in the mountain, has given us, therein, a sure guarantee that all our necessities shall be provided for henceforth, even forever!
Consider, then, that the provision which God made for Abraham was symbolic of the greater provision which He has made for all His chosen in Christ Jesus. "Jehovah-jireh" is a text from which to preach concerning Providence and many have been the sermons which have been distilled from it. But I take the liberty of saying that Providence, in the ordinary sense of the term, is not the first thought of the passage which should be read with some sort of reference to its connec-tion—and the more so because that connection is exceedingly remarkable.
I. When Abraham said, "Jehovah will provide," he meant for us, first of all, to learn that THE PROVISION WILL COME IN THE TIME OF OUR EXTREMITY. The provision of the ram, instead of Isaac, was the significant type which was before Abraham's mind. And our Lord tells us, "Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it, and was glad." And, surely, if ever Abraham saw the day of Christ and was glad beyond measure, it was at that moment when he beheld the Lord providing a substitute for Isaac! At any rate, whether Abraham understood the full meaning of what he said, or not, he spoke not for himself, but for us. Every word he uttered is for our teaching—and the teaching is this—that God, in the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, made the fullest provision for our greatest needs. And from that we may infer that whatever need shall ever occur to us, God will certainly provide for it, but He may delay the actual manifestation of it until our darkest hour has come—
"Just in the last distressing hour The Lord displays delivering power. The moment of danger is the place Where we shall see surprising Grace."
The Lord gave our Lord Jesus Christ to be the Substitute for men in view of the utmost need of our race. Isaac was hard pressed when God interfered on his behalf. The knife was lifted up by a resolute hand. Isaac was within a second of death when the angelic voice said, "Lay not your hand upon the lad." God provided instantly when the need pressed urgently. Beloved, was Isaac nearer to death than sinful man was near to Hell? Was that knife closer to the throat of the beloved Isaac than the axe of the executioner was near to the neck of every sinner—yes, to the neck of the whole race of man? We have so sinned and gone astray that it was not possible for God to wink at our transgressions! He must visit our iniquities with the just punishment which is nothing less than eternal death!
I constantly meet with persons under the convincing power of the Spirit of God and I always find that in their apprehension, the punishment of sin is something terrible and overwhelming. When God deals with men by His convincing Spirit, they feel that their sin deserves nothing less than the wrath of God in Hell! So it was with our race—we had altogether destroyed ourselves and were shut up under condemnation by the Law of God—and it was in that dread hour that God interposed and proclaimed a Savior for men! "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." I would to God we all felt what a dreadful thing it is to be lost, for then we would value the provision of the Savior much more than we do now! Oh, Sirs, if no Redeemer had been provided, we might have gathered here, this morning, and if you could have had patience to hear me, all I would have been able to say would have been, "Brothers and Sisters, let us weep together and sigh in chorus, for we shall all die and, dying, we shall sink into the bottomless pit and shall abide forever under the righteous anger of God."
It would have been so with us all if a Substitute had not been found! If the gift of the loving Father had not been bestowed! If Jesus had not condescended to die in our place, we would have been left for execution by that Law of God which will by no means spare the guilty! We talk about our salvation as if it were nothing very particular! We have heard of the plan of Substitution so often that it becomes commonplace! It should not be so—I believe that it still thrills the angels with astonishment that man, when he had fallen from his high estate and had been banished from Eden and had become a rebel against God—should be redeemed by the blood of the Heir of all things, by whom the Divine Father made the worlds! When death and Hell opened their jaws to devour, then was this miracle completed and Jesus taken among the thorns was offered up a Sacrifice for us!
God not only interposed when the death of Isaac was imminent, but also when the anguish of Abraham had reached its highest pitch. The Patriarch's faith never wavered, but we must not forget that he was a man like ourselves—and no father could see his child offered up without an inward agony which surpasses all description. The anguish of so perfect a man as Abraham—a man who intensely felt all the domestic affections as every truly godly father must feel them and who loved his son as much as he loved his own life—must have been unspeakably great. What must have been the force of faith which enabled the man of God to master himself, to go contrary to the current of human nature and deliberately to stand ready to sacrifice his Isaac? He must have been wound up to a fearful pitch of anguish when he lifted the knife to slay his son—but just then the angel stopped his hand—and God provided the ram as the substitute in the moment of his utmost misery.
Surely the world had come to a great state of misery when, at last, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, that He might become the Sacrifice for sin. At any rate, this I know, that as a rule, men do not see Christ to be their Substitute
nor accept Him as their Redeemer till they feel that they lie at Hell's door—and until their anguish on account of sin has become exceedingly great. I remember well when I first beheld the Lamb of God who suffered in my place. I had often heard the story of His death. I could have told it out to others very correctly, but then I did not know my own pressing need—I had not come to feel the knife at my throat, nor was I about to die and, therefore, my knowledge was a cold, inoperative thing.
But when the Law had bound me and given me over to death—and when my heart within me was crushed with fear—then the sight of the glorious Substitute was as bright to me as a vision of Heaven! Did Jesus suffer in my stead outside the gate? Were my transgressions laid on Him? Then I received Him with unspeakable joy—with my whole nature accepting the good news! At this moment I accept the Lord Jesus as my Substitute with a deep, peaceful delight. Blessed be the name of Jehovah-jireh for having thought of me—a beggar, a wretch, a condemned criminal—and for having provided the Lamb of God whose precious blood was shed instead of mine!
II. Secondly, upon the mountain THE PROVISION WAS SPONTANEOUSLY MADE for Abraham—and so was
the provision which the Lord displayed in the fullness of time when He gave up His Son to die. The ram caught in the thicket was a provision which, on Abraham's part, was quite unsought. He did not fall down and pray, "O Lord, in Your tenderness provide another victim instead of my son, Isaac." Probably it never entered his mind. But God spontaneously, from the free Grace of His own heart, put the ram where Abraham found it. You and I did not pray for Christ to die. He died for us before we were born and if He had not done so, it would never have entered into our mind to ask for so great a
Until the Lord sought us, we did not even seek to be saved by Christ, of the fact of whose death we had been made aware. Oh, no, it is not in man, by nature, to seek a Savior—it is in God to give a Savior—and then the Spirit of God sweetly inclines the heart to seek Him, but this seeking comes not of man. "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." It is ours to sin, it is God's to save. "We have turned, every one, to his own way, and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Ours is the wandering, but the laying of those wanderings upon Jesus is of the Lord, alone—we neither bought it, nor sought it, nor thought it.
In Abraham's case, I believe it was an unexpected thing. He did not reckon upon any substitute for his son. He judged that he would have to die and viewed him as already dead. As for ourselves, if God had not revealed the plan of salvation by the substitution of His only-begotten Son, we would never have dreamed of it. Remember that the Son of God is One with the Father and if the Holy Spirit had not revealed the fact that the offended God would, Himself, bear the penalty due for the offense, it would never have occurred to the human mind! The brightest of the spirits before God's Throne would never have devised the plan of salvation by the sacrifice of Jesus! It was unexpected. Let us bless the Lord, who has done for us exceedingly above what we asked or even thought in giving us redemption through the death of our Lord Jesus Christ!
I may say of Christ what I could not have said of Abraham's ram, that not only was He unsought for by us and unexpected, but now that He is given, He is still not perfectly comprehended—
"Much we talk of Jesus' blood, But how little's understood! Of His suffering's, so intense, Angels ha ve no perfect sense."
I am often ready to beat upon my own breast as I study the wondrous mystery of atoning love, for it seems to me so mean a thing to be so little affected by such boundless Grace! If we fully felt what God has done for us in the great deed of Jesus' death, it might not be amazing if we were to die under the amazing discovery! "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, it is high, I cannot attain unto it." The immortal God undertakes to bear death for man! The Incarnate stands in the sinner's place! The well-pleasing Son is made accursed for those who otherwise had been accursed forever! He who was above all shame and sorrow laid aside His Glory and became the "Man of Sorrows," "despised and rejected of men"! "Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor."
It is more extraordinary than romance! Poets may sing their loftiest stanzas, but they shall never reach the height of this great argument. "Paradise Lost," a Milton may compose and fascinate a world with his majestic lines, but Paradise Restored by the Divine Substitution is not to be fully sung by mortal minds! Only God knows the love of God! All the harps of redeemed men and all the hymns of adoring angels can never set forth the splendor of the love of Jehovah in pro-
viding for our need, providing for our salvation, providing His only-begotten Son and providing Him of His own free love—unsought and undesired of men.
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. No one else could have provided a ransom! Neither on earth nor in Heaven was there found any helper for lost humanity. What sacrifice could be presented to God if a sacrifice could be accepted? Behold Lebanon, as it rises majestically toward Heaven, white with its snows! See the forests which adorn its sides! Set these all on fire and see them blaze as the wood of the altar of God. Yet, "Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering." Take the myriads of cattle that roam the hills and shed their blood till you have made a sea of gore, but what of that? "It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins."
Men may, themselves, die, but in death each man who dies only pays his own debt to Nature—there is nothing left for another. "None can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him." Where shall a redemption be found by which it shall be possible that the multitude of the elect shall be effectually redeemed from death and Hell? Such a ransom could only be found by God! And He could only find it in Himself—in Him who was One with Himself— who lay in the bosom of the Father from old eternity. The provision was made by God Himself, since no other could provide. God alone could say, "Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a Ransom."
But was it not singular that the Lord Jehovah should provide it? When a law has been broken and its honor has to be retrieved, it would not be judged likely that the aggrieved party should make the sacrifice! That God, against whom all the blasphemy and sin and wickedness of a ribald world was aimed—shall He Himself make expiation? Shall the judge bear the penalty due to the criminal? "Lay it on the sinner; for it is his due"—so Justice cries aloud—"Lay the penalty on the transgressor!" But if a substitute can be permitted, where can one be found able and willing to become surety for the guilty? He is found upon the Throne of God! He is found in the Majesty that is offended!
Brothers and Sisters, I am beaten down by my subject! Forgive me that I cannot speak of it as I would desire. There is no room, here, for words—it is a matter for silent thought. We need the fact of Substitution to strike us and then the Cross will grow sublimely great. In vision I behold it! Its two arms are extended right and left till they touch the east and west and overshadow all races of men! The foot of it descends lower than the grave, till it goes down, even, to the gates of Hell—while upward the Cross mounts with a halo round about it of unutterable Glory—till it rises above the stars and sheds its light upon the Throne of the Most High! Atonement is a Divine business! Its sacrifice is infinite, even as the God who conceived it! Glory be to His name forever! It is all that I can say. It was nothing less than a stretch of Divine Love for Jesus to give Himself for our sins. It was gracious for the Infinite to conceive of such a thing, but for Him to carry it out was glorious beyond all comprehension! What shall I say of it?
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 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 you! Do you cry, "Lord, I cannot master sin, I have not the power to conquer my passions"? He will provide strength for you! 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 you! Do you think that after having given His own dear Son to purchase you, He will let that work fail because you cannot provide some little odds and ends to complete the work? Oh, dream not so! Dote not on such a folly! Whatever you need, poor Sinner, if you believe in Christ, the Lord's provision of a Savior in Christ warrants your believing that God will provide it!
Salvation begins with Jehovah-jireh, the Cross and the bleeding Savior. Do you think it will ever drivel down into your providing this and that? Oh, your pride! Your insane pride! You are to do something, are you? What? Yoke your little something with the Eternal God? Did you ever hear of an angel failing to perform a duty until he was assisted by an ant? Have you ever heard of God's great laws of Nature breaking down till some child's finger could supplement their force? You to help your God to provide? Get out of the way and be nothing—then shall God come in and be everything!
Sink! It is the Lord that must rise! He shall be seen in the mountain—not you! Hide yourself and let the Glory of the Lord be manifested in you. I wish that every troubled one here could catch this idea and hold it fast. Whatever you need to put away your sin. Whatever you need to make you a new creature. Whatever you need to carry you to Heaven, Jeho-
vah-jireh, the Lord, will provide! He will see to it! Trust in Him and before long you shall see the Divine provision and Jehovah shall be glorious in yours eyes!
IV. But I must pass on. 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 your load of sin—God can bear it! The shoulders that bear up the universe can well sustain your load of guilt. God gave you His Godhead to be your Savior when He gave you 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 your Redeemer! For your redemption the Lord God has given you the death of Christ; and what a death it was! I would that troubled hearts would more often study the story of the Great Sacrifice, the agony and bloody sweat, the betrayal in the garden, the binding of the hands, the accusation of the Innocent, the scourging, the crown of thorns, the spitting in the face, the mockery, the nailing to the tree, the lifting up of the Cross, the burning fever, the parching thirst and, above all, the overpowering anguish of being forsaken by His God!
Do you think, O Soul, that to save you, the Son of God must cry, "Lama Sabachthani!"? Do you think that to save you, He must hang naked to His shame between Heaven and earth, rejected of both—must cry, "I thirst"—and receive nothing but vinegar with which to moisten His burning lips? Jesus must "pour out His soul unto death" that we might live! He must be "numbered with the transgressors" that we might be numbered with His saints in everlasting Glory! Was not this a glorious provision? What greater gift could be bestowed than One in whom God and man are blended in one?
When Abraham on the mountain offered a sacrifice it was called a "burnt offering." But when the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary died it was not only a burnt offering, but a sin offering, a meat offering and a peace offering—and every other kind of sacrifice in one! Under the oldest of all dispensations, before the Mosaic economy, God had not taught men the distinctions of sacrifice—but an offering unto the Lord meant all that was afterwards set forth by many types. When the venerable Patriarch offered a sacrifice, it was an offering for sin and a sweet smelling savor besides. So was it with our Lord Jesus Christ. When He died, He made His soul an offering for sin and, "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." When He died, He also offered unto God a burnt offering, for we read, "And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor."
When Jesus died, He gave us a peace offering, for we come to feast upon Him with God and, to us, "His flesh is meat, indeed; His blood is drink, indeed." One would need many a day in which to expatiate upon the infinite virtues and excellencies of Christ, in whom all perfections are sweetly hived. Blessed be His name, God has most gloriously provided for us in the day of our need! Jehovah-jireh!
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! I have heard of a theology which, in its attempt to extol the efficacy of Christ's death, virtually deprives it of any certain efficiency. The result of the Atonement is made to depend entirely upon the will of man and so is left haphazard. Our Lord, according to certain teachers, might or might not see of the travail of His soul.
I confess that I do not believe in this random redemption and I wonder that any person can derive comfort from such teaching. I believe that the Son of God could not possibly have come into the world in the circumstances in which He did—and could not have died as He did—and yet be defeated and disappointed! He died for those who believe in Him and these shall live! Yes, they do live in Him. I should think that Isaac, the child of laughter, was solemnly joyous as he descended the hill and went home with his father. I think both of them tripped along with happy steps towards Sarah's
house and their own loved home! And you and I, this day, may go home with the same joyousness! We shall not die, for the Lamb of God has died for us!
We shall never perish, for He has suffered in our place! We were bound on the altar—we were laid on the firewood and the fire was ready for our consuming—but no knife shall touch us, now, for the Sacrifice is offered once and for all. No fire shall consume us, for He who suffered in our stead has borne the heat of the flame on our behalf! We live and we shall live. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." This is an effectual and precious providing! I do not believe in a redemption which did not redeem, nor in an atonement which did not atone! But I do believe in Him who died in vain for none, but will effectually save His own Church and His own sheep for whom He laid down His life! To Him we will all render praise, for He was slain and He has redeemed us unto God by His blood out of every kindred and people and nation!
VI. Turn we then, sixthly, to this note, that we may well glorify Jehovah-jireh because THIS PROVISION WAS MADE FOR EVERY BELIEVER. The provision on the Mount of Moriah was made on behalf of Abraham—he was, himself, a man of faith, and he is styled the "father of the faithful." And now every faithful or believing one may stand where Abraham stood and say, "Jehovah-jireh, the Lord will provide." Remember, however, that our faith must be of the same nature as that of Abraham or it will not be counted to us for righteousness. Abraham's faith worked by love—it so worked in him that he was willing to do all that the Lord bade him—even to sacrifice of his own dear son! You must possess a living, working, self-sacrificing faith if you would be saved.
If you have it, you may be as sure that you are saved as you are sure that you have sinned. "He that believes on Him is not condemned," because Christ was condemned for him. "He that believes on Him has everlasting life"—he cannot die, for Christ died for him. The great principle upon which our security is based is the righteousness of God which assures us that He will not punish the Substitute and then punish the person for whom the Substitute endured the penalty! It were a matter of gross injustice if the sinner, having made atonement for his sin in the Person of his Covenant Head, the Lord Jesus, should afterwards be called upon to account for the very sin for which Jesus atoned! Sin, like anything else, cannot be in two places at once—if the great God took my sin and laid it on His Son—then it is not on me any more! If Jesus bore the wrath of God for me, I cannot bear that wrath—it were contrary to every principle of a just, moral government, that a judge should cast our surety into prison and exact the penalty from him and then come upon those for whom the suretyship was undertaken.
By this Gospel I am prepared to stand or fall! Yes, by it I will live or die—I know no other! Because I believe it, I this day cry from the bottom of my heart, "Jehovah-jireh," the Lord has provided an effectual redemption for all those who put their trust in Him whom God has set forth to be a Propitiation. It is true, as it is written, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." It is true that the faith which works by love brings justification to the soul!
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 always 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?" Abraham learned that, for, as soon as he had slaughtered the ram, the Covenant was repeated in his ears and repeated as he had never heard it before—accompanied with an oath! God cannot swear by any greater than Himself, and so He said, "By Myself have I sworn." Thus was the Covenant ratified by blood and by the oath of God!
Oh, that bleeding Sacrifice! The Covenant of God is confirmed by it and our faith is established. If you have seen Jesus die for you, your heart has heard God swear, "Surely in blessing I will bless you!" By two immutable things, wherein it is impossible for God to lie, He has given us who have fled for refuge to the hope set before us in the Gospel, strong consolation! Let us fall back on this eternal Truth, that if God has provided His own Well-Beloved Son to meet the most awful of all necessities, then He will provide for us in everything else!
Where will He provide? He will provide for us in the mountain, that is to say, in the place of our trial. When we reach the place where the fatal deed of utmost obedience is to be worked, then God will interpose. You desire Him to provide for you when you lift up your eyes and see the mountain afar off. He does not choose to do so, but in the mountain it shall be seen! In the place of the trial, in the heat of the furnace—in the last extremity Jehovah will be seen, for He will see to it and it shall become a proverb with you—"In the mountain, Jehovah shall be seen." That is to say, when you cannot see,
the Lord will see you and see to your need, for His eyes are upon the righteous and His ears are open to their cry! You will not need to explain to God your difficulties and the intricacies of your position—He will see it all! Joyfully sing that revival ditty—
"This my Father knows."
As soon as the Lord has seen our need, then His provision shall be seen. You need not climb to Heaven or descend into the deep to find it—the Lord's provision is near at hand—the ram in the thicket is behind you though you see it not as yet. When you have heard God speak to you, you shall turn and see it and wonder you never saw it before! You will heartily bless God for the abundant provision which He reveals in the moment of trial. Then shall the Lord, Himself, be seen! You will soon die and, perhaps in dying, you will be troubled by the fear of death. But let that evil be removed by this knowledge—that the Lord will yet be seen—and when He shall appear, you shall be manifested in His Glory! In the day of the revelation of the Lord Jesus, your body shall be raised from the dead and then shall the Divine provision yet more fully be discovered. "In the mount it shall be seen," and there shall God, Himself, be manifested to you, for your eyes shall behold Him and not another.
There is a rendering given to my text which we cannot quite pass over. Some read it that, "in the mount the people shall be seen"—in that mountain, in years to come, the multitude would gather to worship God. God's Presence was in the Temple which was built upon that spot! There the tribes went up, the tribes of the Lord to worship the Most High! I dwell in a house not made with hands, but piled by God of solid slabs of mercy. He is building for me a palace of crystal, pure and shining, transparent as the day. I see the house in which I am to abide forever gradually growing around me. Its foundation was laid of old in eternal love—"in the mount it shall be seen." The Lord provided for me a Covenant Head, a Redeemer and a Friend—and in Him I abide.
Since then, course upon course of the precious stones of loving kindness has been laid and the jeweled walls are all around me. Has it not been so with you? By-and-by we shall be roofed in with Glory everlasting and then, as we shall look to the foundations, and the walls and to the arch above our head, we shall shout, "Jehovah-jireh—God has provided all this for me!" How we shall rejoice in every stone of the Divine building! How will our memory think over the method of the building! On such a day was that stone laid, I remember it right well—"I was sorely sick and the Lord comforted me." On such a day was that other stone laid—I was in prison, spiritually—and the heavenly Visitor came to me! On such another day was that bejeweled course completed, for my heart was glad in the Lord and my glory rejoiced in the God of my salvation.
The walls of love are still rising and when the building is finished and the top stone is brought out with shouts of "Grace, Grace, unto it!" we shall then sing this song unto the Lord—JEHOVAH-JIREH! The Lord has provided it! From the beginning to the end there is nothing of man and nothing of merit, nothing of self, but all of God in Christ Jesus who has loved us with an everlasting love and, therefore, has abounded towards us in blessing according to the fullness of His infinite heart! To Him be praise world without end! Amen and Amen!
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