Sermon 2962. Diamond Hinges - 'as' and 'so'
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 1905.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, AUGUST 1, 1875.
"For this is as the waters of Noah unto Me; for as Ihave sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; sohave I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you." Isaiah 54:9.
THERE are some people in the world who, the moment we begin to speak of a type, try to disparage that style of speech by callingit "spiritualizing." They seem to be far too wise to be able to learn anything by that mode of teaching. Yet the Holy Spirithas given us, in the Old and New Testaments, abundant instances of spiritualizing and, though He could have used new metaphorsand fresh phrases in His Infinite Wisdom, He preferred to use the old historical allusions and the old historical types forthe instruction of God's people. It is a pity that we should crave that which is new when it can truly be said, "the old isbetter." In the case before us, the Holy Spirit uses Noah's flood and the Lord's Covenant- that it should no more return todestroy the earth-as symbolical of the Covenant of Grace which is made with the people of God in Christ Jesus. Surely He didthis for our instruction! Oh, that He would shine upon the Word and make it to be both for our edification and our comfort!His Divine Treasure House is full of blessings, but He must give us the key or we shall not to able to enter. Open it, blessedSpirit, to all Your believing people!
There are two things in our text for us to consider. The first is that there are, in Noah and the Flood, and the Covenant,many symbols illustrating the Covenant of Grace. And the second is that there is one main symbol here which was certainlyintended first and chiefly, whether the rest were intended or not. On that main point I hope to speak at some length.
I. But, first, IN NOAH, THE FLOOD AND THE COVENANT, THERE ARE MANY SYMBOLS ILLUSTRATING THE COVENANT OF GRACE.
First, Noah's name signified, "rest."We know where our rest is to be found and who is our Noah. Of our Lord Jesus Christ,we can truly say, "He is our peace." It is through Him that "the peace of God, which passes all understanding," keeps ourheart and mind at rest evermore. We rest in Him and nowhere else. Did He not say, "Come unto Me, all you that labor and areheavy laden, and I will give you rest"? And has He not fulfilled His promise?
Further, Noah, in a time of general corruption, was the only man who was found righteous before God. If you turn to the Bookof Genesis, at your leisure, you will see that "the wickedness of man was great in the earth." But you will also read that"Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God." It is also written that "Noah found grace(or favor) in the eyes of the Lord." Noah was, in his day, the one man who was told to prepare a hiding place from the stormand a refuge from the tempest. Noah's ark was the one place of refuge for our race in which eight persons wore preserved,or, otherwise, the whole race would have been destroyed!
Now, we know that Jesus Christ is pre-eminently the one lone Man of the human race whose perfect righteousness has given Godinfinite delight. When all the rest of mankind had gone astray like lost sheep, He walked with God. Here upon earth He wasfound, tempted, but never sinning. He was compassed with infirmity, but never transgressing-the one Man upon whom God couldlook with complacency as the type of what the race ought to have been. He could not look thus on the first Adam, for, whenHe looked upon him, He cursed the ground for his sake. The blessing came through the Second Adam, upon whom the Lord alwayslooks with joy, and for whose sake He blesses all those who are in Him. If I might call Noah the second father of the humanrace-and I might properly do so-I might with still
greater propriety call Jesus the Second Father of the ever-living race-the race that is quickened into newness of life bythe power of the Holy Spirit!
Again, Noah, thus standing out in solitary grandeur, as a type of the lone Redeemer, was a preacher of righteousness and therein,also, he was a type of our Lord Jesus, for never did any mere man preach righteousness as He did, for He not only preachedit-He created it! We must not forget that Noah preached righteousness in vain, for no one except the members of his own familywould believe his testimony. In this respect, also, he was a type and symbol of Him who was to come. The cry of Jesus andof His faithful servants in all ages has been, "Who has believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?"
But that wondrous man, Noah, was also a builder. Probably all that he had of worldly abundance and wealth went into that strangeark in which the survivors from the deluge were to be preserved. And you know how our blessed Master gave all that He hadin order that He might build a spiritual Church out of which the new world should be peopled. He laid down His life that Hemight be the Redeemer of His chosen race, and He still lives to be the great Master-Builder of His Church.
You know also that when the right time came, Noah went into the ark and was shut up in it, away from all the rest of mankind.When the flood came, it spent itself upon the ark as well as upon all people and things outside it. The ark must endure thelong pelting of the rain and go through the terrible deluge as through the waters of death, itself, as though it were a coffin,floating over the world's grave-from a dead world into a new world. "The same figure," says the Apostle Paul, "whereunto evenbaptism does also now save us." That is to say, Baptism is a type and symbol of salvation, just as Noah's ark was, for thereinwe, being spiritually dead with Christ, are buried with Christ in the outward symbol and rise from the water, even as Christrose from the grave, to live henceforth among the twice-born race who fear not the second death! After the deluge, Noah cameout into a new worldand Jesus rose into a new world to which He had brought life and immortality to light. Noah survived aflood that had spent all its force-and Jesus stands among us and we, His people, stand with Him to look upon a flood of Divinewrath that has spent all its force so far as we are concerned. It is true that it will sweep away the ungodly who are notof the twice-born race, but it will not injure any who belong to the race that is allied to this Second Adam, this more gloriousNoah! For them, the flood of wrath has spent itself forever. Noah came out into a new world which was very different fromthat which existed before the flood. And he came out of the ark with a sacrifice of thanksgiving, even as Jesus presentedHimself to His Father as the appointed Offering which made all His people acceptable in Him.
And, lastly, it was with Noah that the Lord's Covenant was made, even as the Covenant which most concerns us was made withJesus Christ. And, as the Covenant with Noah still stands, so stands the Covenant with Christ. The world, preserved todayfrom destruction by flood, is a symbol of the Church of Christ preserved forever from all the wrath of God which was due toit because of its sin, but which was borne by its great Substitute and Surety, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
I have just hurriedly mentioned these various points in which Noah was a type of Christ. This is a subject which is worthyof being thought out another time-and it deserves your earnest consideration and constant remembrance.
II. But in the second place, I want to deal more fully with the chief point of the text. THERE IS A MAIN SYMBOL HERE-"Thisis as the waters of Noah unto Me; (for this reason, that) as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over theearth; so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you."
The text turns on the two hinges of, "as," and, "so"-two precious diamond hinges upon which it hangs! And these mean, I think,first, "as surely as," and then, "in the same manner as."
First, as surely as God has sworn that a devouring flood shall never again cover the earth, so certainly has He sworn thatHis wrath and rebuke shall never go forth against His redeemed Church, or against one of His redeemed people. And you mayrest assured that as the one is a fact, so is the other, and as the one shall never be altered, so the other never shall be!The first oath is irrevocable and so is the second-"As I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth;so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you."-
"My God, the Covenant of Your love Abides forever sure And in its matchless Grace I feel My happiness secure."
But it not only means "as surely as," it also means, "in the same manner as," and there I notice two points of resemblance.As God has sworn, absolutely, that He will not again destroy the earth with a flood, so has He sworn absolutely that He willnot pour forth His wrath against any Believer, or against the Church of Christ as a whole. And the second point is that asGod has promised with a symbol that He will not destroy the earth a second time by water, so has He also promised to His people,with a symbol, a token, a sure sign-that He will not be angry with them or rebuke them.
First, then, in both cases God has promised absolutely what He will not do. You observe that there is not a single, "if,"in either of these Covenants. The Lord said absolutely, "I will not again destroy the earth with a flood." He did not say,"Unless such-and-such contingencies arise, I will not send another flood." He supposed no contingencies, or else, regardlessof all contingencies, He said, "I will never again destroy the earth with a flood-under no circumstances, at no time, andfor no reason whatever will I do so." In like manner, God has sworn that His wrath shall never be let loose upon you who believein Jesus Christ and are saved, in time or in eternity, or under any supposable circumstances whatever-"As I have sworn thatthe waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you."There may be dark rain clouds-there have been many such. There may be partial floods-there have been many such-but these havenot invalidated the Covenant that the waters shall never again cover the earth as the flood did in the days of Noah. ThatCovenant stands fast forever!
In like manner, the Church of God may be very severely tried. Fierce persecutions may break out against her. She may be tornwith schisms and poisoned with heresies-but God will not forget her or forsake her! And you, child of God, may have many trialsand, indeed, you will have them because you are a child of God. You may have to go through deep waters, and sometimes unbeliefwill say-
"The Lord has quite forsaken you! Your God will be gracious no more." But that can never be true! You must not judge of God'slove by any outward Providences any more than you would judge of His Covenant not to destroy the earth with a flood by thefact that there are heavy showers of rain now and again. God stands true to His Covenant with Noah, let it rain as heavilyas it may! And God stands true to His still greater Covenant of Grace, let your trials and troubles be as numerous and severeas they may be! Get a firm grip of this glorious Truth of God, that there is not a drop of Divine wrath in all your sufferings!You have an aching head and a palpitating heart. You have lost your property. You have buried the darlings that nestled inyour bosom. You say, "I am the man that has seen affliction," but, for all that, not a drop of God's wrath, nor even a rebuke,in the strong sense in which that word is used here, has fallen upon you! Gentle, tender, paternal rebukes you have had andcan expect to still have-but no such rebuke as signifies fierce wrath, no such rebuke as brings a withering curse with itcan ever fall upon you if you hide yourself in the Redeemer's pierced side, if you trust to the Covenant of Grace which Christhas made with His Father on your behalf!
There will yet come upon the earth greater convulsions than have yet been experienced, for, in the verse following our text,we read, "The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed." Before the history of the world is complete there will comedreadful shakings and upheavals. I am no Prophet, nor the son of a Prophet, but, as it has been in the past, so may we expectthat it shall be in the future. Dynasties will die, empires will collapse, there will be wars, famines, pestilences and weknow not what, for the earth is subject to all these things! But the Church of God shall never suffer from famine-her dynastyshall never be dissolved, the gates of Hell shall not prevail against her-and her King shall sit upon His throne forever!And you, dear Friend, may have such troubles that it shall seem to you as if the mountains had departed and the hills hadbeen removed and you shall seem to have no resting place for the soles of your feet, but if you are trusting in Jesus, Hewill not be angry with you, nor rebuke you, for so God's promise stands! "The mountains shall depart and the hills be removed,but My kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall the Covenant of My peace be removed, says the Lord that has mercyon you." Ah, the most terrible convulsions may come-the star called Wormwood may fall and the seven vials be emptied out!And the earth may shake with the tramp of the armies gathered together for the last dread battle-but, whatever may happen,the people of God must forever remain-
"Safe in the arms of Jesus."
Stormy may be the outlook, but all are safe who are within the ark! The huge billows may threaten to overwhelm us, but, "withChrist in the vessel," we can "smile at the storm." His kindness shall not depart from us nor shall the Covenant of His peacebe removed-
"Firm as the lasting hills, This Covenant shall endure, Whose potent shalls and wills Make every blessing sure. When ruinshakes all nature's frame, Its jots and tittles stand the same." I would like to sit down and think over these blessed Truthsof God and enjoy them. May the Lord be pleased to give each of us the Grace to feed upon them and to know, by personal experience,the blessedness of them! Think, dear Brothers and Sisters, how can there be any wrath treasured up against God's people whenit was all poured out upon the Lord Jesus Christ, their Surety and Substitute? For-
"Payment God cannot twice demand, First at my bleeding Surety's hand, And then again at mine."
If Jesus suffered in my place, how can God's wrath fall upon me? Does Infinite Justice demand two victims? Can God smite theSubstitute and them smite the sinner for whom He stood as Substitute? I know, in my inmost soul, that this is utterly impossible!If Jesus really did suffer in my place-and well do I know that He did-if, in the place of all His believing people, He hasbled and died, and well do we know that it was so-then, Beloved, the wrath of God cannot fall upon us, for there is none,it is all gone! Christ has borne it all so far as all His people are concerned!
Observe, too, that there is such a close union between Christ and all His people that if God's wrath did fall upon Christ'speople, it would also fall upon Christ! If you were to scald one part of my body-the soles of my feet, for instance-you wouldscald me. You could not crush my little finger without hurting me. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we are so vitally unitedto Christ that if we were lost, Christ would not have a perfect body, for "we are members of His body, of His flesh and ofHis bones." So His Inspired Apostle assures us. Be comforted, then, you who are one with Jesus! How can wrath fall on anypart of the body of Christ? And you are a part of that body and, therefore, you are safe from wrath forever-
"If ever it should come to pass, That sheep of Christ should fall away, My feeble, fickle soul, alas, Would fall a thousandtimes a day."
That shall never be, for He will keep His own and preserve them in righteousness and true holiness, in faith, and love, andhope, until He brings them to His eternal Kingdom and Glory! When our Great Shepherd counts His sheep at the last, they shall,each one, pass under the rod of Him that counts them, and they will, every one of them, be there! That little lamb that wasall but devoured by the lion shall be there. That poor weather-beaten ewe that was seized by the bear shall be there-the onethat had the hardest lot of all shall be there, for the Lord will never let it be said that He kept the strong but could notkeep the weak! He will not let it be said that He kept them that were not tried, but that He could not keep those that were!That cannot be! The Good Shepherd will never have to say of any of His sheep that He has lost them-but He will say to HisFather, "Those that You gave Me I have kept, and none of them is lost." He will account for the full tale of His flock inthe Presence of Him who gave them to Him. Oh, I think I hear the muster-roll being read out at the last! In it are the namesof all those who ever put their trust in Christ. Let not any true Believer say-
"What if my name should be left out, When You for them shall call?" It will not be left out if you are one of His! If thequestion is put "Is Mrs. Much-Afraid here?" She will sweetly answer to her name and say, "Yes, Lord, I am here, by Your Grace,but I am afraid no longer!" "Is Little-Faith here?" And Little-Faith will sing out, "Yes, Lord, for Little-Faith's grain ofmustard seed has grown into a tree!" "And is Mr. Ready-to-Halt here?" "Yes, Lord, but without his crutches, for he no longerneeds them!" "And Mr. Feeble-Mind-is he here?"
"Yes, Lord, but he has left his feeble mind behind him and now he sings of the eternal love of Christ to such a poor sinneras he was!"
Besides, do you not know that "the Father Himself loves you," and that He loved you so much that He gave His only-begottenSon to die for you? Will He cast you away after doing that? Never! "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to Godby the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." If He so loved us when we were in thehorrible pit and in the miry clay, when the filth of sin was all over us, as to lift us up into the bosom of Christ, do youthink that He will not love us enough to keep us there? From eternity He has chosen us and by the precious blood of JesusHe has bought us! His is no child's love that burns brightly today and goes out into cold ashes on the morrow. His love isno spark of transient passion-it is an eternal flame and He will never allow it to burn itself out. Let us not be afraid,therefore, that the wave of His wrath will ever go over us, or that the torrent of His stern rebuke will ever sweep us away.Let us rest in the joyful assurance that if we are, indeed, in Christ, any question about the wrath of God falling upon uscan be laid aside forever.
What you all need is to have that precious Truth of God brought home to your heart. Possibly some of you are like a sea captainto whom I was once talking about the precious things of the Kingdom. We were going up the river and he pointed to the greatposts to which the barges and ships could be moored. "Ah," he said, "they would hold the forest if I could only get a ropeover them. But, sometimes," he added, "we can't fling the rope so that it goes right over the head of the post and gives usa firm hold." If any of you, dear Friends, are in such a difficulty as that, I pray that the Lord, as He stands on the shore,may throw a rope to you and that you may lay hold of it and be moored fast to this sure Truth of God that as certainly asthe waters of Noah will no more go over the earth, so will the waves of God's wrath never go over the man who is safely shelteredin the wounds of Jesus!
The other point we were to notice is that, in both Covenants there was a sign. As I read about the Covenant of Noah, I liketo dwell upon that part where God said of the rainbow, "This is the token of the Covenant which I make between Me and youand every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations." So God has a sign for Himself, for us, and for everyliving soul that is in Christ. The rainbow is a very precious sign of the ancient Covenant. We cannot often see it, but nowand then God hangs it out-often enough, I have no doubt. But He has given to us, in the Covenant of Grace, a sign which wecan always see and I think it is this. Our Lord Jesus once said to His disciples, "As the Father has loved Me, so have I lovedyou." As certainly as the Father loves Christ, so certainly does Christ love His people. If you could look up into Heaven,what would you see there? You would see Christ at the right hand of the Father-Christ the Beloved of the Father, Christ whomthe Father delights to honor, Christ the very apple of the Father's eye! That is your token of the Everlasting Covenant madewith Christ on behalf of all His people! Whenever you can see that sign-and you can always see it, for there is not a singlechild of God who has any doubt about the love which the Father bears to Christ-that is the token to you of the Covenant madewith Christ for you. "As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you."
And, in a minor sense, I think that this Communion Table, around which many of us will presently gather, furnishes us withanother symbol of the Father's love as instructive as the rainbow itself. Let me speak of it for a minute or two. Child ofGod, the fact that your Father loves you and that He will not be angry with you, nor rebuke you, is certain, for there standsHis Table furnished and prepared. For what purpose? Why, that you may feast with Him! At the institution of the Supper, ChristHimself sat and presided at the table-and it is no Lord's Supper if He is not there! "You are My friends," He says to youwho believe in Him-and He invites you to come and sit at His Table and feast with Him. If He did not love you, He would nothave spread the Table for you. As if you have had any doubt about the continuance of His love to you, see the Table spreadfor you. I am sure that the poor prodigal, when he came back from his wanderings, was comforted, among other things, by thekilling of the fatted calf and the loading of the table at which he was a welcome guest. See how your Father loads the tablefor you-
"Never did angels taste above Redeeming Grace and dying love"- yet these items have been set before you. O Believer, restassured that the Lord will not be angry with you, nor rebuke you-otherwise He would not have called you to sit with Him atHis table! "Go to bed, Sir, without your supper," is
what an angry father says to his disobedient boy. But "Eat, O Friends! Drink, yes, drink abundantly, O Beloved," is what yourFather says to you! Therefore, be you greatly comforted!
If you look on the Table, what do you see there? You see the bread and the wine, the emblems of the body and the blood ofJesus, and as you see the two emblems separate from one another, they become to you the emblems of the death of Jesus, whoseblood streamed out of His body through His many wounds. God bids you come here and think of Jesus, your Savior. He does notbid you come here and sit and groan because of your sins! He would have you think of the death of His dear Son by which allyour sins were put away. Our Father in Heaven says to us who have believed in Jesus, "Come, My children, to this Table, andsee how you were cleansed from all your guilty stains. Come and see how all that could provoke Me to wrath against you wasforever put away. Come to My Table and take the tokens of the great propitiatory Sacrifice offered by My well-beloved Sonon your behalf." When I look into the wine cup and think of the precious blood of Jesus shed for many for the remission ofsins-and when I realize that He means this emblem of His bloodshed to be a luxury, a source of exhilaration, a means of spiritualstrength to us as we drink it-I understand that His mind is not full of thoughts of wrath against us, but rather of thoughtsof a sacred hospitality which bids His children to be happy while feasting with Him at His Table!
I have not time to say more, except to remind you that all who lived in the days of Noah did not enter the ark of safety.They did not all have a share in that Covenant of which the bow in the cloud was the visible sign, for the vast mass of thepopulation was swept away by that terrible flood. As I look upon my present congregation, I bless God that it will not beso with you, for the most of you have, I trust, believed in Jesus. It is a melancholy reflection, however, that there aremany here who have not entered the Ark of Salvation, or, as far as we know, have any share in the Covenant of Grace. Everytime the Communion Table is spread here, it seems to me that it would be a wonderful sermon even if I did not say anything.Tonight, as soon as I have finished preaching, many of us will begin to gather around the Communion Table and the congregationwill at once begin to break up into its several parts. There are some of you who will be going home and others of you willbe going upstairs to look on while we are gathered at the ordinance. I do not know how you feel about this division, but Ido not like it, especially with regard to some of you whom I respect and esteem, and who, I believe, have many admirable pointsabout you.
But you are not decided, you have never given your hearts to Christ so you will be lost forever if you die as you now are!You know you will and, years ago, it caused you quite a pang to have to go away when others remained for the Communion. Youhave to leave your wife, do you not?-and your sisters and some of you have to leave your father and mother. I grieve to saythat there are some parents here who have to leave their children to sit at the Table while they, themselves, go away. Therewas a time when you could hardly bear to do that, but you are getting used to it, I am afraid-some of you. I pray God thatyou may not get used to it because, if you do, there will come a day when these partings will be final-when you will not merelybe going home or going up into the gallery, but you will be driven from God's Presence, far away from the everlasting hallswhere His saints will be feasting-and be cast down to the prison of black despair where weeping, and wailing, and gnashingof teeth must be your portion forever! What says that old-fashioned hymn that the Revivalists used to sing?-
"Oh, there will be weeping! Oh, there will be weeping! Oh, there will be weeping- At the Judgment Seat of Christ!" The sharp,two-edged sword will cut many families in two and sever the husband from the wife whom he so fondly loved, though he did notlove her Savior! And the son will be cut off from the mother whom he truly loved, but whose God he did not. Why should webe divided thus? Why should we be divided? Why should we not go hand in hand to Immanuel's
Dear Savior, put Your almighty arms right round this Tabernacle-it is only like a little box to You-and take the whole Tabernaclefull of us, and let us all be Yours in the day when You shall make up your jewels! Oh, that You could then say, "They areall here, as they were all in the Tabernacle on that first night in August, 1875-all here and all Mine, and all saved." Oh,how fervently I pray that it may be so! Will you not yourselves all pray the same prayer? God will hear you if you do, forHe waits to be gracious! There must be a separation, now, but let this be the last time that it shall happen and, betweennow and the first Sabbath in September, may God grant that you may all have resolved to cast
in your lot with Christ and with His people, too! I can assure you that if you do so, we who love the Lord, will greatly rejoice-andyou also will rejoice with us! God bless you all, and so grant us our heart's desire, for Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: GENESIS8:20-22; 9:8-17; ISAIAH 54:1-10.
Genesis 8:20, 21. And Noah built an altar unto the LORD and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offeringon the altar And the LORD smelleda sweet savor-A savor of rest.
21, 22. And the LORD said in His heart, I will not again curse the ground anymore for man's sake; for the imagination of man'sheart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite anymore everything living, as I have done. While the earth remains,seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. So that you all live undera Covenant-a gracious Covenant and, by virtue of it, the day succeeds the night, the summer follows the winter and the harvestin due course rewards the labor of the seedtime. All this ought to make us long to be under the yet fuller and higher Covenantof Grace, by which spiritual blessings would be secured to us-an eternal day to follow this earthly night and a glorious harvestto follow this time of seed sowing!
Genesis 9:8-10. And God spoke unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish My Covenant with you, and with yourseed after you. And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earthwith you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. Happy fowls, and happy cattle, and happy beasts ofthe earth to be connected with Noah and so to come under a Covenant of preservation! And we-though only worthy to be typifiedby these creatures which God had preserved in the Ark-are thrice happy to be in the same Covenant with Him who is our Noah,our rest, our sweet savor unto God!
11-17. And I will establish My Covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off anymore by the waters of a flood; neithershall there anymore be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token of the Covenant which I make betweenMe and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set My bow in the cloud, and it shallbe for a token for a Covenant between Me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, thatthe bow shall be seen in the cloud. AndI willremember My Covenant, which is between Me andyou and every living creature ofall flesh, and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I willlook upon it What a wonderful expression that is! It is similar to that remarkable declaration of Jehovah, recorded in Exodus 12:13. "When I see the blood, I will pass over you." The blood was not to be sprinkled inside the house where the Israelites mightbe comforted by a sight of it, but outside the house where only God could see it. It is for our sake that the rainbow is setin the cloud and we can see it there. Yet Infinite Mercy represents it as being there as a refreshment to the memory of God-"Thebow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it."
16. That I may remember the Everlasting Covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.So when my eye of faith is dim and I cannot see the Covenant sign, I will remember that there is an eye which never can bedim-which always sees the Covenant token-and so I shall still be secure notwithstanding the dimness of my spiritual vision.For our comfortwe must see it, but for our safety, blessed be God, it is only necessary that He should see it!
17. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the Covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is uponthe earth. Now let us read what the Lord says, through the Prophet Isaiah, concerning this Covenant.
Isaiah 54:1. Sing, O barren, you that did not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you that did not travail with child: formore are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, says the LORD. This promise is made to the long-barrenand desolate Gentile Church. She may well sing, for God has visited her in mercy and, at this day, her children are more numerousthan those of the Jewish Church. We have waited, but we have been well repaid for our waiting, for we have a larger and richerblessing than God's ancient people ever enjoyed!
2-4. Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of your habitations: spare not, lengthen yourcords, and strengthen your stakes; for you shall break forth on the right hand and on the left; and your seed shall inheritthe Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. Fear not: for you shall not be ashamed: neither be you confounded;for you shall not be put to shame: for you shall forget the shame of your youth, and shall not remember the reproach of yourwidowhood any more. O child of God, have you passed through a time of great sorrow in which the Lord seemed to desert you?Have all your hopes been blighted and have all your joys fallen, like untimely figs from the trees? Yet the days of your rejoicingshall be many! You shall soon put aside your sackcloth and ashes and dancing and holy gladness shall be your portion!
5. For your Maker is your Husband. Rejoice, O Church of God, that you have such a Husband! Rejoice, every member of the Churchof God, that you have such a Husband to help you!" Your Maker is your Husband."
5, The LORD of Hosts is His name; and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel The God of the whole earth shall He be called.Well might Paul write, in the Epistle to the Romans, "Is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also of the Gentiles? Yes,of the Gentiles also." And here Isaiah says, Inspired by the same Spirit who taught Paul what to write, "The God of the wholeearth shall He be called."
6, 7. For the LORD has calledyou as a woman forsaken andgrievedin spirit, and a wife ofyouth, when you were refused, saysyour God. For a small moment have I forsaken you. A moment is a small period of time, but it is made to appear still smallerby that little word, "small."
7, 8. But with great mercies will I gather you. In a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlastingkindness will I have mercy on you, says the LORD, your Redeemer. Oh, what a blessed mouthful this text is! I might rathersay, What a heart full! What a soul full! It fills and overfills my soul and gives me sweet contentment- "With everlastingkindness will I have mercy on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer."
9. For this is as the waters ofNoah unto Me; for as Ihave sworn that the waters ofNoah shouldno more go over the earth: sohave I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. See how our faithful and unchanging God lays the foundationfor our hopes-
"In oaths, and promises, and blood."
10. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall theCovenant of My peace be removed, says the LORD that has mercy on you. Or, as the Hebrew has it, "says the Lord, the Pitier."Was there ever a sweeter title to comfort our hearts than this, "the Lord, the Pitier"?