the Second Sunday of Lent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“I am thy shield.”
Let those fear who touch the Lord’s anointed, but as for those who trust in the living God they have no cause for alarm. Five kings or fifty kings may come against them, but while Jehovah defends them they are secure. Perhaps the Lord saw a rising fear in Abram’s mind, and therefore came to him with this word of comfort: God is not willing that his servants should be in bondage to fear.
The strongest faith has its conflicts. Abram’s heart was set upon being the progenitor of the Messiah, and he believed in the promise of God that he should be so, but still it appeared impossible, for he had no son, nor did it appear likely that he would ever have one. It is wise always to spread our doubts before the Lord, for he can meet them for us.
Over the head of every difficulty and physical impossibility he believed in God; and therefore he stood accepted as righteous before the Lord.
The sacrifice ratifying the covenant is the most satisfying food for faith. Let us see Jesus confirming the promises and we are content. True, a few distracting questions like these ravenous birds will molest us, but by faith we chase them away. When the Lord covenanted with his servant over the bodies of the beasts slain in sacrifice, he gave him the strongest possible confirmation; and in the death of Jesus we have solid assurance that the promises shall all be fulfilled.
This symbolised the history of the chosen seed: the furnace of affliction with its darkening smoke is often theirs, but the lamp of God’s salvation is never removed from them.
Thus was the fear of Abram cured by the covenant: let us ever resort to the same remedy.
‘Tis mine the covenant of grace,
And every promise mine;
All flowing from eternal love,
And sealed by blood divine.
On my unworthy, favour’d head,
Its blessings all unite;
Blessings more numerous than the stars,
More lasting and more bright.
That covenant the last accent claims
Of this poor faltering tongue;
And that shall the first notes employ
Of my celestial song.
“Christ is all.”
Paul was moved by the Spirit to explain to us the bearings of the solemn transaction which we considered in our last reading. Let us hear his exposition.
The argument is very clear and conclusive. Abraham was justified by faith, therefore by grace; and this justification was not given to him as a circumcised man, for he was not circumcised till years after; therefore the covenant blessings are not given in connection with the law and its work, but in connection with faith and grace. The covenant promise was made to a seed to be born not after the flesh but according to promise, and in that promise all nations had an interest, for out of them would come a blessed people whose badge should be faith, and not the deeds of the law. Jesus is the promised seed, and those believing in him are Abraham’s seed. Are we all in this family believers in Jesus? Who is there among us unsaved? Pass the solemn question round.
No more, my God, I boast no more
Of all the duties I have done;
I quit the hopes I held before,
To trust the merits of thy Son.
The best obedience of my hands
Dares not appear before thy throne;
But faith can answer thy demands,
By pleading what my Lord has done.