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“IS ANYTHING TOO HARD FOR THE LORD?”

GENESIS XVIII. 14.

What are we but creatures of his unlimited wisdom! When “deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts,” and we are overwhelmed, should we cry unto God and say, What doest thou? The mystery of a thousand worlds are as an open book before the Lord, for his mind conceived them all, and his hand created them. He spake, and touched the springs of life, and myriads of created things sprang into harmonious action, all to act in perfect obedience, through every cycle of time, to his divine and sovereign will. The earth’s rotation, and the mysterious movements of the solar system as studied by natural minds, is but a single instance of the infinitude of the inconceivable power and wisdom and greatness of the God of heaven and earth. The finite mind of man reaches not beyond the scope of finite things. “Sarah laughed within herself “when the Lord told her husband Abraham, saying, “Sarah thy wife shall have a son.” For it is declared, “Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age, and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.” She could not believe things beyond that which was natural until the voice of him that spake to her pierced her very soul, saying, “Is anything too hard for the Lord!” The ingenuity of the mind of man leads him to various heights and stages of ambition. By finite means be strives to reach the infinite, not perceiving or admitting the unwritten and unalterable law of nature, that the stream can never rise above its source, nor the thing of nature ascend beyond its elementary surroundings. Neither does he see the handwriting of the finger of God walled up against the background of his highest aspirations, which reads, “Thus far shalt thou go and no farther.” To this aspiring, puny creature we might ask with him who spake to one of old out of the whirlwind, saying, “Where is the way where light dwelleth! and as for darkness, where is the place thereof?” “Hast thou entered into the treasure of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?” Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee? Canst thou send lightnings that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are? Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?” And again, when thou art cast down from thine imaginative height, and repliest against God, shalt thou not be made to see in a rainbow of power and glory, the words of inspiration, “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right!” By faith alone can we believe the infinitude of God; only by faith can we understand with the apostle, “That the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen, were not made of things which do appear.” Through the same faith can we know that God is above all law he is above impeachment, because the thing created cannot say aught to him that created it. The countless posterity of Adam are but as grasshoppers in the mind and contemplation of the God and Creator of heaven and earth. He that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Jehovah, gave to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Word, (which is Jesus) of whom it is declared, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” This precious Word illumines the soul of each one of the election of grace, causing him to become conscious that he is a sinner, justly condemned under the violated law of God, and also conscious of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, of the depravity of his carnal mind, and the vileness of his Adamic nature. To these chosen ones in Christ Jesus (the Word) is given life eternal; Jesus in them the hope of glory. And this life “is the light of men,” by which they discover their death under the law, and their life by the body of Christ, who died and gave himself for them. None of these things are too hard for the Lord, for by him are all things. The question asked by the angel, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” is asked and answered by every one of God’s children when they have been delivered out of nature’s darkness into the light and liberty of the kingdom of Christ, and also many times along the pathway of their experience, when grace has surprised them by bringing them up out of all their troubles. O, that I could make a pen picture of all that is experienced by the child of God, which leadeth him step by step to that place in his journey where with humble boldness he can throw off the fears and doubts which have well nigh overwhelmed him, and say out of a full heart, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Every man believes himself strong and sufficient in himself until he is brought low, by reason of the force of a chain of circumstances and things which control him, and over which he discovers he has no power. The Lord found Jacob in a wilderness, he was alone, and at the mercy of venomous reptiles, and howling, savage beasts; a waste wilderness. Hungry and thirsty was he, weary and footsore, but alas, no food was there, neither water to cool his parched lips, no place upon which to lie, save the damp and dangerous ground, but when exhausted from fatigue and weariness, after having tried every means within his power to extricate himself from the howling, barren waste, and failed, he “lay down in that place to sleep,” and there the Lord found him, or in other words, he opened Jacob’s eyes to the wondrous truth that the Lord was in that place, and that the Lord was with him. More astonishing still, right in that desolate, howling, noxious, foodless, waterless place, all things were added unto him, all his needs were supplied, and precious promises given. He said unto Jacob, “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; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth; and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 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.” Surely Jacob could then say in truth and soberness, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Thomas refused to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead, or that it was he that had appeared unto his brethren, but the moment Jesus spake unto Thomas, the vail from his eyes was lifted, and he cried, “My Lord and my God.” Faith in Jesus could make Thomas ask, “Is anything too hard for the Lord!” When the subject of God’s boundless grace is first brought to see himself a sinner in the sight of God, and see his condemnation just, he truly feels that no salvation is possible for him, and God remain just and holy. He is Jacob in that wilderness, where whatever way he may turn, all ways point to death and destruction. Yet while he is treading that dark and terrible way, a voice from behind (or from above) surprises him, saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it,” and when he has been turned about, Jesus is revealed to him as the ladder reaching from the earth to heaven, and now it is made plain to him how salvation can and does come to the ungodly: that “of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption,” depending in no sense upon any merit in the creature, and when the sunlight of God’s glory illumines the soul with this glorious truth, he discovers the door of his prison-house unbarred and open; his blind eyes are opened to the revelation of Jesus as his life; his deaf ears are unstopped, and he hears the voice of his suffering, dying Lord, saying, “It is finished.” Then his glad soul mounting higher echoes the words of the angel to Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

B. F. COULTER,
Philadelphia, Pa., May 8, 1900.

Signs Of The Times
Volume 68, No. 11.
JUNE 1, 1900.