By Henry Law
"Abraham called the name of that Place Jehovah-Jireh." Genesis 22:14
Faith is the brightest star in the firmament of grace. High is its origin--for it is born in heaven. Lowly is its abode--for it dwells on earth in the hearts of the redeemed. Mighty are its deeds--for it prevails with God, and over sin and Satan. It treads down seeming impossibilities. It strides to victory over mountains of stupendous hindrance. It speeds to its haven through oceans, in which each billow is an overwhelming difficulty. It braces the Christian warrior for every combat--giving a shield to screen, and a sword to subdue. It has a keen eye to discern things invisible. It reads the mind of God, as written in the tablets of eternity--as emblazoned on the cross of Christ--as wrapped up in the folds of providence. It enthrones Jesus, as king of the inner man. It kindles and fans the flame of love. It opens the lips of prayer and praise. It turns the current of life into a strong stream of spiritual service. It endures, until the gates of light open at its touch. It only expires, when it sees the Lord face to face.
Should we not then earnestly covet this gift of gifts? Should we not prize it, as the treasure of treasures? Should we not boldly use it, as our best defense? Should we not seek it, as our truest wealth? With this desire, come with me, and let us view faith's prowess in one of the noblest passages of Abraham's noble life. And may the Lord the Spirit so accompany us with His gracious teaching, that we may become heirs of the faith and blessedness of this heroic servant of the Captain of Salvation!
God had looked on Abraham, when he was low in Satan's dungeon. He had called him from bowing down to stocks and stones to see the light of life. He had turned the darkest night into the luster of truth. He had ofttimes shone around him in cheering communion. He had opened to his wondering gaze the unsearchable riches of redemption. He had given pledge, that the Savior from on high should put on human nature in his family. Nature called hope of progeny an idle dream. But the Lord spoke, and Isaac lived. After such miracles of mercies, after such wondrous promises, and more wondrous fulfillments; "God tested Abraham." A trial was sent to test the reality and the strength of his grace.
Reader! faith untried, unprobed, unproved, is faith uncertain. The quality of the metal is ascertained, by what it can do and bear. The courage of the soldier is evidenced in the field. The depth of the root is shown by resistance to the hurricane. It is a rock, if no lashing surges can move it. It is a good foundation, when no batterings shake the building. But trials do more than search whether faith is deep-rooted. They also consolidate and invigorate it. The often-strained sinew becomes more firm. The long-strained racer wins the prize. By exercise new powers expand and fit for the wrestle.
Reader! if you are a partaker of this blessed gift, think it not strange, that you are called to breast the thwarting current of many an opposing wave. It is needful--it is right--it is good. The issue will be a richer harvest of assurance and delight. Lift up then the head, and "count it all joy, when you fall into diverse trials." But what furnace was ever hot as that which burnished Abraham's faith? He was rejoicing in his child--the signal token of God's signal favor. Suddenly the voice, which had so often caused his heart to burn, freezes his heart to stone. "Take your son, your only son--yes, Isaac, whom you love so much--and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will point out to you." He hears, but can he hear aright? His fondest hopes become a ruin. The promise, dearer than life, withers as a blight-stricken bud. The tree which held salvation's seed, falls low. The channel of redemption's stream is choked.
But God spoke--that is enough. The command is from heaven--positive and clear. It cannot err. Isaac may die, but faith dies not. It can reason, God has all wisdom, and power, and truth; "with Him is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." Clouds and darkness may shroud the event. But through clouds and darkness, the faithful word and the loving purpose will break forth, as a summer's morn. So Abraham rose up early, and hastened to do His will.
Let this example teach, that prompt obedience is the surest wisdom. God loudly addresses you in your Bible. He shows you the one path of life. He calls you to bring one sacrifice to Him in the arms of faith, and to offer one Lamb on one Altar. Rise up early and obey. To linger is to court ruin. Delay is the craftiest net of Satan. It is the terrible pitfall, out of which there are rare escapes. Many in torment will forever deplore the miserable hesitation, which ended in their miserable end. They tarried, but death tarried not. They paused, and the voice of mercy ceased. Commands unheeded are the common and the rapid road to hell.
For three days Abraham journeyed towards the appointed mount. This was large opportunity for unbelief to whisper many a dissuading thought. This was long time for the father's heart to ache. He looks on his child, and there is agony. He looks up to his God, and the agony melts into the calmness of unruffled peace. He turns to his child, and his foot would sincerely falter. He turns to his God, and the step is firm in resolute resolve.
Reader! faith is a persevering and unflinching grace. It holds fast by the Word--so it holds on--so it holds out. But now every fiber of affection is wrung by the simple inquiry of his confiding Isaac, "My father, behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" None can tell the anguish of such a moment, for none were ever pierced by such an arrow, but it laid open the recesses of his heart, only to show how faith there reigned. Abraham answered, "God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son."
Here is faith in its simple element of trust, and in its single consistency of acting. It totters not. Its stand is as a giant's stand on earth: because its head towers above the skies, gazing upon God. It leaves the time, the place, the means, the method, the all to Him. So it goes forward. It knows that God's leadings lead to God's glory. And God's glory is its happy paradise. It was so. Isaac is bound. And must he really die? Faith stops not to inquire. He is laid upon the altar. The hand is stretched out. The knife is taken. The last moment has come. But the last moment is the fit time to crown faith with reward, and victory, and peace. The voice which bade, now forbids. He who said, "Take your son," arrests by saying, "Lay not your hand upon the lad."
Behold God's wondrous way. His word is honored. Faith triumphs, and is honored too. It is tried, and by the trial is confirmed and expanded. The patriarch now begins a new life of heavenly joy. For the joy of Isaac born is nothing to the joy of Isaac restored. A giving God was love in the highest. A restoring God is love in higher heights.
Nor is this all. A memorial is raised to cheer the faithful throughout all generations. So Abraham called that place 'The Lord Will Provide.' And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided." Believer, this memorial proclaims the full provision, which is laid up in Jesus for His waiting people. They are indeed loved, and cared for, and enriched. Jehovah-jireh is this sweet mountain of spices, on the many slopes of which they delightedly recline, and find all blessings strewn around them. These pages are written to exhort you to make this spot your daily and your holy pleasure-ground. Intimately acquaint yourself with these green pastures. Be assured, that here sufficiency abounds for you, while time shall be, and when time shall be no more--sufficiency for every need of body and of spirit, which has been, or shall be, or can be.
I well know that your poverty is deep--your perils countless--your strength a quivering reed. But still you are rich, and safe, and strong; for Jesus changes all your broken and your empty cisterns into overflowing fountains of most suitable supply. When you feel that the burden of your sins is intolerable, and pressing you to the lowest depths of the bottomless abyss, come to Jehovah-jireh! Your Jesus provides relief. His arm is the arm of Omnipotence. His shoulders are the shoulders of Deity. With strong hand He places all your guilt on Himself, and bears it away, and it is no more found. When you sigh to be assured that your every debt is paid, your every penalty endured, come to Jehovah-jireh! Jesus is made flesh, and become your nearest kinsman, that in your very nature, and in your stead, He may pay all, and suffer all. When your soul is trembling and fluttering, as the dove among unsparing vultures, or the lamb before devouring wolves, come to Jehovah-jireh! Jesus presents aid in each trial, power for each duty, shelter in each storm. He is the high place, which the shafts of the foe cannot reach--the covert which the storm cannot pierce. His sure voice proclaims, "I the Lord do keep it, I will water it every moment. Lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day."
As the sun is full of light, and the ocean of drops, so He is the full-stored treasury of needful grace. He is the tree laden with all fruits at all seasons. Whenever we approach, the produce is ripe, and bending low to the hand of faith. In Him are supplies of living grace for a living hour, of working grace for a working hour, of striving grace for a striving hour, of praying grace for a praying hour, of suffering grace for a suffering hour, of dying grace for a dying hour--grace for prosperity and for adversity--grace for the family, the closet, the sanctuary, and the public haunts of men--grace for the palace, the hut, the camp, the fleet--for those who rule, and for those who serve--grace for childhood, for manhood, and for age--grace for health, for sickness, and for pain--grace for those who rejoice with the joyous, and for those who mourn with the mourners, and weep at the grave. When the Father gave Jehovah-jireh to the Church, the gift was all things. "He who spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?"
Reader! let me solemnly ask, have you sought Jehovah-jireh? Is Jesus the king and mainspring of your heart? Then know your rich possession. Rejoice in it. Live on it. Cease to spend money for that which satisfies not. But eat the good which is before you, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Pine not in your own hut of penury, while His palace of all plenteousness courts your entrance. Lean not on your own crumbling staff, while the Rock of ages is near to uphold you.
It may be that some poor sinner hears of this all-sufficiency, and wails, Oh that I had interest in these blessed provisions! But alas! I starve, while others feast. Friend, why is it so? Why are you a stranger to this fertile mount? It is not because Jehovah-jireh is far distant. It is not because repelling barriers drive back. Scripture ever points to it, crying, "Yet there is room." No, Jesus draws near to the very door of your heart and knocks. In the lines before you, He beseeches you, Open unto Me, open unto Me. Will you tarry? Will you refuse? What! will you be poor now, and poor forever--miserable now, and miserable forever--while Jehovah-jireh, with inviting fullness, presents to you the overflowings of present grace, and future glory?