WHEN reading the Old Testament Scriptures it is pleasant to behold the dealings of the Lord with his chosen and blessed people; pleasant to be reminded of his loving-kindness and faithful care of them in all generations. How true the saying of Moses: Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations. The mercy of the Lord has been in evidence since man transgressed his law; yea, even before man was formed of the dust of the ground the Lord’s mercy was manifest in the creation and formation of everything needful for him while time shall last. But even this was not the beginning of the Lord’s mercy, for spiritually all the elect were blessed in his choice of them unto salvation in Christ our Lord before the world began. The mercy of God endureth forever and forever, and his faithfulness is even unto the ends of the earth. Never has he failed one called by his name – he cannot deny himself. But how unfaithful and forgetful are all his children of him; how we all deny him in our lives, saying, “I know not the man.” But as he knew in Peter’s day all things, he is fully acquainted with us now, and as Peter received mercy and forgiveness, so do we.
When Peter told the Lord he knew all things, he had in mind his vow, his promise never to forsake, never to deny him; he would go to prison and to death with him, though he did none of these things. Yes, he knew the Lord remembered all he had said, and on the other hand, he knew just as well that the Lord knew he loved him, notwithstanding his denial and unfaithfulness. How good it is now to know that the Lord knoweth all things, and that he searcheth all things, yea, even the deep things of God. Peter, like all the Lord’s people now, had the faith of Abraham, hence the things written with reference to Abraham were not written for him alone, but for us all, if we believe that Christ died and rose again. Such belief was counted to Abraham for righteousness; such faith is also counted for righteousness to all the family. Abraham is the father of the faithful, or, in other words, of all who have faith. The faith of Abraham was severely tried when the Lord commanded him to offer Isaac, his only son, as a burnt offering. In that son was hope for all nations of the earth, but Abraham believed God was able to raise him up from the dead and fulfill his promise in him. Isaac in a sense was not the promised seed, because in Christ are all nations blessed, and be according to the flesh was Abraham’s seed, hence Isaac’s offspring as well as Abraham’s. The Savior said, Abraham desired to see my day, and he saw it and was glad. How little the poor old man knew how and through what sore distress that revelation should come. The desire of his heart, or prayer, was to see the day of Jesus Christ: day of salvation, redemption and justification; that day of rest from all labor; that day when seeking the building of God, which hath foundations, would cease; that day when his seed should be as the stars of heaven gathered into the fold of God, when the kingdom of Christ should become greater than all other kingdoms. This vision had to come through the trial of his faith in the sacrifice of Isaac, his only son. Early in the morning Abraham, his son and two young men started on the journey to the mount which God would afterward shew him. Two days were ended before the mountain appeared Where and when the sacrifice had to be made. Two days or dispensations passed before the mountain of God’s holiness appeared where Christ was offered for the redemption of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, together with all the promised seed. As Abraham, Isaac and the two young men drew near the place Abraham said to the young men, You abide here while I and the lad go yonder and worship and return unto you. Something seemed to say within Abraham, The son shall return with me. Here is seen the wonderful faith of the man of God, yes, faith that laid hold upon the truth that God was faithful to his promise, and if the life of the boy should be taken he would raise him up again and he should return with the father to the young men. When Isaac asked, saying, Father, here is the wood and here is the fire, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? Abraham by faith answered, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for an offering. A slight glimpse of the day of Christ was then seen. They journeyed until they came to the place, and Abraham built the altar, bound Isaac and placed him on it, fully expecting to take his life. We read of no resistance upon the part of Isaac, nor was there any way of escape in sight at that critical moment. Isaac was a figure of the church bound by the fetters of sin, without hope and without God in the world, absolutely no way of escape in and of herself, yet God had provided a Lamb for her deliverance. When Abraham raised the knife to take the life of Isaac the angel out of heaven said, Do the lad no harm, for now I know that thou fearest God. That was not it new thing to God, but was said that it might be recorded for the comfort of the tried and faithful. Abraham looked be hind him, and saw a ram caught by the horns in the thicket, and he took the ram and offered it instead of Isaac. Through that sacrifice Isaac escaped, and Abraham then and there saw the day of Christ, salvation of the church, and was glad. Thus his prayer was answered, and Abra ham called the name of the place Jehovah-jireh, which means, the Lord will provide.
O how little we know what we are asking when in our attempts to pray to God. We have sometimes thought if we could know how our prayers would be answered, through what great deeps we must pass, what fires we must endure, what heartaches and tears, that we would be most afraid to ask anything of God. We are glad he knows our frame, glad he knows all our needs, glad he will provide for all our needs through grace in Christ Jesus. If the children fail in asking, the blessings will not be less. If the cross be heavy, the strength shall be equal.
In conclusion we will say, if any have seen the Lamb of God, by faith, that they have seen the same as did Abraham, and now sit down in the kingdom of God with him. K.
Elder H. C. Ker
Signs of the Times
Volume 84, No. 18.September 15, 1916