Sermon 3458. Redeeming the Unclean
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, MAY 13, 1915.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, FEBRUARY 9, 1868.
"And every first-born of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck."Exodus 13:13.
WE read to you in the former part of the service the origination of the Law of God by which the first-born, both of man andbeast, belonged to the Most High. That Law seemed to be a very admirable memorial of what the Lord did, and also a very justrequirement on the part of God that the first-born, whom He had so miraculous delivered, should be His through all time.
But the difficulty arose as to how some beasts, which were counted unclean by the Law, could be offered to God at all. Therewere many animals necessary to man, useful for draught, and so forth, but not coming under the list of clean animals, suchas divided the hoof and chewed the cud. Among the rest, the donkey, useful everywhere, but most of all in oriental countries,was counted unclean. How, then, could it be dedicated to God? How could the first-born of the donkey be given to Him? Ourtext solves the difficulty. An exchange was made. A lamb was offered instead, and then the donkey, of course, was redeemed.But if the owner did not sufficiently value it to give a lamb, instead, then the neck was broken and the animal destroyed.
The teaching of the text is just as follows. It is fourfold and I think we shall have to bring out each fold. Of course, itis typical of something to do with ourselves and Christ, and our standing before God. And the first observation is this, that-
I. AS THE DONKEY, BEING UNCLEAN, WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE TO GOD, EVEN SO, UNRENEWED MAN, BEING UNCLEAN, IS ALSO UNACCEPTABLE BEFORETHE MOST HIGH.
Did it ever strike you that man, according to the Jewish ceremonial Law, is an unclean creature? Nothing was clean, accordingto the Law of Moses, but that which divided the hoof and chewed the cud. Now man fails in one of these, and by the Law heis put down as a sinner, as being on a level with the unclean beasts. What a wonder the Gospel does for us when, being redeemedwith a price, we are said to be the sheep of God, the lambs of Christ's flock, so that therein we bear the same name as theLord Jesus Christ, Himself, and we are raised from the condition of the brute, into which sin brought us, and are made tosit far above principalities and powers, in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus! Lost by sin through the Law and placed inthe very depths, man, by Grace through Jesus Christ, is lifted up to the very heights!
But we return to what we started with, namely, that man has become, through sin, like the donkey-a creature incapable of renderingacceptable service to God. For, in the first place, every man has already broken the Law of Godand, as God accepts no servicebut that which is, like Himself, perfect, no unrenewed man is capable of rendering perfect legal obedience such as God canaccept. His Law is like a superb crystal vase. If it is whole, it is whole. But if it is chipped or cracked in the smallestdegree, the Law is broken. It is like a great golden chain which is precious and useful while whole, but the snapping of onelink breaks the chain. So, unless a man could keep God's Law without any defect or transgression, it would not be possiblethat he could be accepted by the Most High. Now there is not one of us but has certainly broken some command. I fear we have,all of us, broken all the commands! If not in act, yet in word or in thought, so that before God's bar we ought to plead guiltyto every count in the indictment and should not hope to be accepted by our works. What a condemning text is that in Isaiah-"Weare altogether as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags"! He does not say that all our wickednessesare so-no, these are worse and baser, still, but all our righteousnesses are-that is, the best thing which unrenewed naturecan possibly produce is nothing better than the
rag which is too filthy to be seen, but must be cast away and burned in the fire! Yes, you that seek to be justified by yourgood works, you may pant, and strive, and wear out your lives in energetic failures, for success is entirely impossible! Youcannot thus, while you are what you are, produce a righteousness that God can accept, seeing that you have already sinned.
In addition to this, man's heart is alienated. We would not, ourselves, accept a service done us by an enemy, or that is donewithout any motive of repentance. No, since the very essence of obedience lies in the yielding up of the heart-until a man'sheart is made new, till he loves the God whom he has despised, all that he can do is but the false serving of a hypocrite,the dead service of a formalist, or the forced service of a slave-and none of these can God accept! Do you think when theungodly man repeats a prayer, and his heart is absent, that God accepts the prayer? I tell you that that prayer is, in itself,a sin and a great provocation against the Most High! When the ungodly man stands with God's people and pretends to be oneof them, repeats their creeds and declares himself to be a Believer in the things which he does not believe, he does but liebefore God and the things he says cannot be received by Him. All outward, external religion, in which the heart does not join,so far from being received by the Most High with approbation, must be viewed by Him with utter abhorrence. How is it possible,then, for a man who loves not God to be accepted before the King of Kings?
In, addition to this, there is no service which unrenewed man can render which is not defiled with sin, even in itself, chieflywith one sin, namely, self-righteousness. If a man works works of righteousness with the idea that he is meriting a reward,thereby, to whom is he a servant? I answer, not to God, but to himself! If I obey, or profess to obey, the Law of God, butmy whole motive is that I may save myself, and that I may get happiness unto myself, evidently self is the reigning principle.I am not truly obedient to God as the great delight of my spirit. I do not love Him with heart, and soul, and strength, butI love myself, and cover up this selfishness with the pretence that I love Him. Oh, you that are thus striving to serve yourselvesunder some spiritual garb or other, you cannot serve the living God, do what you will! Your holiest service will be an offense,a smoke in His nostrils, and He will put away your best things as being offered with strange fire and, therefore, not to bereceived!
Once more. By very nature, man is so obnoxious to the wrath of God that it is impossible for God to accept him as His creature.Kings would not delight to be served by men with foul hands who left defilement everywhere. Yet such are we! We would notlike to always have before our eyes, in our servants, some dreadful disease, some disgusting leprosy and yet such is the diseaseof sin. "You are of purer eyes than to beheld evil, and cannot look on iniquity." I have heard that text quoted, "You cannotlook upon it but with abhorrence." That is true, but it is put still stronger. The Prophet puts it that He cannot look uponit, that He cannot endure it. He is a consuming fire towards sinners and what He will do with the finally impenitent is, soHe says, "tear them in pieces, and there shall be none to deliver," for out of Christ, God cannot tolerate the ungodly! Notfor a single hour would He spare this world were it not that the Mediator comes between-otherwise the Immaculate Perfectionof the eternal God could not endure sin to be anywhere within His reach. He would sweep the universe clear of every rebelwith the broom of destruction! He would, once and for all, ease Himself of His adversaries and shake Himself from His enemies,even as a man shakes the dust from his feet!
Now what a very solemn Truth of God this is! Do not think that it is mystatement. It is really the teaching of God's Word,that the unregenerate man is an unclean man and cannot be acceptable to God. "He that believes not is condemned already, becausehe has not believed on the Son of God." The unrenewed man is corrupt! He is dead in trespasses and sins! Now this is meantfor some of you. It is meant for some of you who are very excellent and amiable people, and very moral. It is meant not forthe vilest of the vile, alone, but for all classes and conditions of men-for the professedly religious people, too. Unlessyour hearts are right before the Lord and you have believed in Jesus, you cannot, you never can, strive as you will, be receivedbefore the Most High any more than the donkey could be acceptable upon the altar of God! But now we advance to the secondTruth of God which is in the text, namely, that-
II. THE SERVICE OF MAN, WHICH GOD CANNOT ACCEPT, IS, NEVERTHELESS, GOD'S DUE.
God could not receive the donkey because it was unclean, but still it belonged to God for all that. God's claim extended overall the first-born, clean or unclean, and that claim must be maintained. Sinner, you cannot serve God-you are too sinful!Your heart too evil-your service too impure! But still, God's claim upon you for a perfectly holy life has not ceased. Ithas not lost its power, nor bated one jot or tittle of its just and righteous force. It has been laid down by some theologiansas being almost a self-evident Truth that God will require no more of a man than he can do-but this, by every thoughtful mind-willbe soon discovered to be a self-evident lie instead of being true-for God's Law is not
changed by our being changed! Whatever God demanded of man when he was perfect, He demands the same thing of him now thathe is imperfect! The Law of God is holy, and just, and good. If it were ever too severe, then God was not righteous in makingit. And if He alters it to suit us, what is that but the cutting down of His integrity and the disfiguring of the tables ofHis own perfectly pure and holy statute Book? It cannot not be! You, in common life, know very well that a man is sometimesbound to do what he cannot do. If a man is in your debt and he tells you he cannot pay you, you do not consider that his notbeing able to pay exonerates him from the debt. He is still in your debt. If he could have paid when he entered upon the debt,it was a debt-but now that he cannot pay it, it is still a debt! True, there are ways in which he can get cleared of the debt,just as there are ways of salvation by which a man may be delivered from sin, but still, the debt is none the less a debtbecause the man cannot pay it. Everybody knows that inability to pay does not exonerate the man from the duty to pay. So withGod. He did not make you a sinner, Sinner. You were pure and holy when you came from His hands. Your sin is your own. Yourweakness, inability, your willfulness, your backwardness to keep the Law- all these are your own, and so far from excusingyou, they shall be swift witnesses against you to condemn you!
Take another instance. There are some men who have become such thieves that we say of them, and say truly, that it is impossiblefor them to be honest. They are no sooner out of prison than their hand is into somebody's pocket-they cannot be easy andat rest till they are up before the magistrate again! But did you ever hear such a man say, "Sir, I cannot be honest! I havesuch an irresistible tendency to steal that the law ought to be changed on my account because I have lost my principle ofhonesty-therefore the law ought not to bind me"? "No," you say, "but he ought to be kept in prison always, for this is anotheroffense to make his evil heart an excuse for his evil ways." Remember, Sinner, that your inability to come to Christ is notyour misfortune, but your sin! Your inability to keep the Law of God is not your calamity as much as it is your willful wickedness.Inasmuch as you are unclean and evil, the thought that you cannot help it should alarm you, for you ought to help it. Youhave no business to be in the state of sin you now are. If you could not help it, if there were any physical disability, youmight be excused. But inasmuch as the disability is spiritual and moral, and deals with your will, there is no excuse foryou! The donkey could not be accepted, but still the donkey belonged to God. You cannot be received as you are, all unconverted,but still God has a claim upon you-and for every idle word that you shall speak, He shall bring you into judgment-and fornot serving Him, He will condemn you! For not believing in Christ, you shall be called to account at the last.
But I must pass on. The third thing in the text is this, that the difficulty in hand was met in this way-the donkey must beGod's, yet it cannot be, for it is too impure for Him to receive! What then?
III. IT MUST BE REDEEMED BY A SUBSTITUTE.
"Every first-born of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb." Oh, the glorious Gospel comes out here in much of its effulgencein connection with the redemption of men! The Jew would, perhaps, deliberate awhile. "Well," he might say, "I fancy I shouldlike to have this donkey grown up, for I need it as a beast of burden. But here is a lamb that must be killed in its place,and he is the more valuable of the two." I fancy I can hear a consultation held in the family as to what should be done. Itmay be that in some cases the lamb would be the less precious of the two. However what may be, it is agreed at the last thatthe lamb shall die and that the donkey shall live.
Now, in our case, there might have been a consultation, indeed, as to which was the more precious-our poor, willful, wickedselves, or the Lamb of God, the Only-Begotten of the Father. All of us put together, and millions upon millions of our humanrace could never equal in value the precious Lord Jesus! If you were to put in all the angels as well, and all the creaturesthat God has ever made, they could not equal Him who is the brightness of His Father's Glory and the express Image of HisPerson! "Yet He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all." And this is the Gospel which we have to preach toyou every time we stand before you, namely, that Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God, was offered to God as a Substitute for ungodly,unclean, unacceptable man! That we might not die, Christ died! That we might not be cursed, Jesus was cursed and fastenedto the tree! That we might be received, He was rejected! That we might be approved, He was despised-and that we might liveforever He bowed His head and died in our place!
If any man wants to understand theology, he had better begin here. This is the first and main point. I do not think I shoulddispute with any of my Brothers in the ministry upon what else they hold if they all hold purely and straightforwardly theDoctrine of Substitution by Jesus Christ on the behalf of His own elect people. Martin Luther stood out for Justificationby Faith, and rightly so, for in his day that seemed to be the center, where all the battle raged. I think that just now Substitutionby Christ seems to be the place where the garments are rolled in blood-and where the fight is
thickest. That Jesus Christ was punished in the sinner's place-that the wrath which was due to His people was endured by Him,that He drank the cup of bitterness which they ought to have drunk-is the grandest of all the Truths of God and so sublimea Truth that if all the Christians in the world were to be burned in one dreadful holocaust, the price would be but littleto maintain this precious Doctrine in its integrity upon the face of the earth!
Now most men know that they are to be saved by Christ, but I am afraid-but I am afraid that it is not always preached plainly,so that men know how it is that Christ saves them. My dear Hearer, I would not have you go away without knowing this! ChristJesus came into the world to take the sins of His people upon Himself and to be punished for them. Well, if Christ was punishedfor them, they could not be punished afterwards. Christ's being punished in their place was the full discharge of their debtwhich they owed to Divine Justice, and they are sure to be saved. They for whom Christ died as a Substitute can no more bedamned than Christ, Himself, can be! It is not possible that Hell can enclose them, or else where are the justice and theintegrity of God? Does He demand the man, and then take a Substitute and then take the man again? Does He demand the paymentof our debt, and receive that payment at the hand of Christ, and then arrest us a second time for the same debt? Then, inthe great court of King's Bench in Heaven, where is justice? The honor of God, the faithfulness of God, the integrity of Godare certain guarantees to every soul for whom Christ died, that if Christ died for him, he shall not die, but shall be exemptfrom the curse of the Law!
"How then," says one, "may I know that Christ died for my soul?" Sir, do you trust Him? Will you trust Him now? If so, thatis the mark of His redeemed! This is the King's mark upon His treasure! This is the mark of the great Sheep-Master upon allof those whom He has bought with His blood. If you will take Him to be the only pillar of your salvation. If you will buildupon Him as the sole foundation of your everlasting hope, then you are His! And as for your sins, they are laid on Him. Asfor your righteousness, you have none of your own, but Christ's righteousness is yours! As in the case before us, the lambwas offered-the donkey was spared. The unclean animal lived-the clean creature died! There was a change of places. So doesChrist change places with the sinner! Christ puts Himself in the sinner's place and what do we read? "He was numbered withthe transgressors," and, being numbered with the transgressors, what then? Why, He was put to death as a transgressor! Theycrucified Him between two malefactors. He had to suffer the death of a felon! And though in Him was no sin, yet, "the Lordhas made to meet upon Him the iniquities of us all." He was, before God, the Representative of all His people, and all thesins of His people covered Him until He had drunk the cup of wrath. And then He threw off the horrible incubus of His people'ssins and cast the stupendous load of the guilt of all His elect down into the sepulcher and there left it buried forever!And in His rising from the dead, He gave to them the pledge and earnest of their acquittal and of their everlasting life!Ah, my Hearers, I wish I had a thousand tongues with which to proclaim this one Truth of God! As I have not, I ask the tonguesof all those who know its preciousness to tell it forth. Tell the sick, tell the dying, tell the young, tell the old, tellsinners of every degree and every class, that salvation is not by what they do, nor by what they feel, but that it all liesin that Man who was once crucified, but who now lives in the power of an endless life before the eternal Throne of God! Andif they say, "What do you mean by this?" tell them that this Man is none other than God Over All, blessed forever, and thatHe condescended to become Man and take upon Himself the sins of His people, and to be punished for their guilt, so that whoeverbelieves on Him might not perish, but have everlasting life! The Just for the unjust, He died to bring us to God! This isthe Gospel-the core, the kernel, the marrow of the entire Bible! You may say of all the Book besides, that it is but foldsand wrappings-but this is what it wraps up-Substitution by Christ! This is but the box, the case-it is Christ that is theJewel, the Treasure for which the case was made! Believe this Truth of God! Believe it as a Doctrine, but, better still, castyour souls on it, and say, "If it is so, then I will trust in the power of Him who loved, and lived, and died for sinnersthat I might go free." The last Truth of God in the text is a very solemn one, namely, that-
IV. THE UNREDEEMED MAN MUST DIE.
The unredeemed donkey was put to a speedy and very ignominious death. "You shall break its neck." There was no bringing ofit to the altar, but it must be as an obnoxious thing, killed with the axe and left. There is no choice for any man, woman,or child here, except this. If you trust in Christ, you are redeemed, and you shall live. If you do not, there is somethingworse for you than the breaking of the neck of the poor donkey. When they break its neck, it is done-just a pang and a struggle,and it is over. But it is not over with us when the time comes to execute the righteous sentence of the Law if Christ hasnot suffered that sentence for us and we are found unbelievers in Him! Then, first of all, the soul is torn from the body-thebody left here, the soul to appear before God-and then it immediately receives the foretokens of its
last and ultimate doom! It is driven from God's Presence to abide as a naked spirit in utter wretchedness. When our Lord picturesthe death of the rich man, He does not talk about any sleep, but He says, "In Hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments."He was one moment on earth, but the next moment in Hell! There the soul must continue till the Resurrection comes, and thenthe soul must come back to the body and, body and soul together must stand in that great gathering where every eye shall seethe Pierced One and behold Him in His Glory. Then the great and final sentence shall be pronounced and to the unregenerateit will be this-"Then shall He say to those at His left hand, Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, preparedfor the devil and his angels."
I tremble while I speak thus, but you must hear it, lest you miss it. And we must speak it, lest we be found guilty of yoursoul's blood. In the name of the living God, I speak to everyone to whom this voice can come. You must have Christ die foryou, or you must die forever! It must be either Calvary or Hell-one of the two! His blood must be sprinkled upon your conscience,or else your blood shall be upon your own head! It is with you tonight-turn or burn-believe or perish! For I do assure you,according to the teaching of the Word of God and of His Holy Spirit, that there is not the shadow of a hope anywhere elsefor you. You may belong to some church and you may hope to be saved by your baptism or by your confirmation, but these areuseless apart from Christ! You may attend some meeting house, and you may think to be saved because you are very orthodox,but your orthodoxy will perish with you, and will only be firewood for your burning if you trust to that! Perhaps you thinkthat leaving something in your will at the last to some charity, or giving liberally to the poor, may cover a multitude ofsins, and that with such a covering as Achan used when he covered up the wedge of gold that God's eyes might not see the unholything. But Achan died, notwithstanding that he had covered up his ill-gotten wealth-and so will you!
Ah, if an angel should come here tonight, and speak, perhaps you would listen to him more intensely than you would to me.But what could he tell you more simple than this, that there is but one hope for you, and that one hope neglected, there isno hope, no hope, no hope forever? God has been pleased to commit this ministry not unto angels, but unto us- poor men likeyourselves-that we may tell you with affection, that we may speak to you with sympathy. Why will you die? You know what painis, do you not? You have suffered enough already. Some of you have to endure the biting pangs of hunger. You are sometimescold and poverty brings you very low. Will you be everlastingly poor? Will you forever endure the pangs and miseries infinitelyworse than any you have known in this world? I am not inventing bugbears to frighten you. God forbid! I am only telling youwhat I have read in God's Word and what you yourselves may see to be there. "Except you repent," said Christ, "you shall alllikewise perish." Why need you perish? Why musts you perish? Jesus Christ is preached to you and we say to you, tonight, inthe name of the Most High-Whoever believes on the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved! Though your sins are as scarlet, theyshall be as wool if you do but trust Him! Though you have gone ever so far into sin, yet simple faith in Christ will bringyou out of it! And though your sins should be ingrained in your nature and have become such a habit to you that you seem nomore able to get rid of your abominable habits than the leopard could get rid of his spots, or the Ethiopian of his blackskin-yet such is the miraculous power of the blood of Jesus that it can take out the leopard's spots, and remove the Ethiopian'shue, and make those white who were once defiled, for it not only takes away the guilt of sin, but the power of sin! If youbelieve in Christ, you will have a new nature, new desires, new tastes, new enjoyments! You shall hate the things you onceloved, and love the things you once hated-
"'Tis but to trustImmnanuel's blood! 'Tis all! 'Tis all!"
"Yes," I hear you say, "but this is too little! It is too easy!" Well, and what a mercy that is for you, for if it were adifficult thing, how could you do it? You are precisely in the case of Naaman, when the Prophet said to him, "Go and washin Jordan seven times." "Oh," said Naaman, "it is too simple!" Then his servant said, "My Father, if the Prophet had bid youdo some great thing, would you not have done it? How much rather, then, when he said to you, Wash and be clean?" The poorHindu will roll himself over and over for five hundred miles to get to the Ganges, because he has been told that he will getrid of his sin if he thus lies prostrate in the dust the whole painful journey. Poor soul, he is but like us! We would alldo that if we were quite sure that we would be saved by it. How much rather, then, when Christ simply says, "Trust, trust,trust, trust Christ and live! Depend simply upon Him! Rely upon Him!"
Are you not almost sick of hearing me tell you this? We have to iterate and reiterate on this point. We have to bring thehammer down continually on just the same place on the anvil, and to strike just the same note. Ah, well, if you were
all saved, and all believed in Christ, we would gladly go on to something else-but until every soul is saved, we can do nothingbut blow the trumpet with the same sound! Believe! Trust in the Substitute! Take Christ to be yours! Look out of self-lookto Christ! Have done with your doings! Have done with your trusting in your own powers, and now, whether you sink or swim,give up every other hope and rest in Him, and rely on Him, and upon Him alone!
Perhaps these simple words may bring the Gospel home to some aching heart with comfort. And if it should, I pray you to besure to follow it up at once. Do not put it off. Do not delay! 'Tis resting in Jesus, now-that is the thing. I call to recollectionjust now the morning when first I rested on Him. I never, never, never can forget it. I had been as downcast as anyone couldbe. I had attended places of worship. I had done all I could, but I could get no peace till at last I heard a simple preacherput it thus-"Look unto Me, and be you saved, all you ends of the earth!" Now there is nothing to do here but to look-a foolcan do that! A baby can do that! You don't need a deal of learning to do that-you only have to look! But you will ask whatit is that you are to look to. Well, it is, "Look to Me"-that is, look to Jesus! There He is in the Garden, sweating greatdrops of blood! Every drop is for you-look to Him! There He is, scourged by Pilate till His shoulders run with gore, and everydrop is for you! Look to Him! Look to Him! There He is, fastened to the tree! His hands are streaming with blood and everydrop is for you-look to Him! There He is with His side pierced and with the blood and water running out, and every drop isfor you! Look to Him! Look to Him! Do but look to Him! No, it is not to be able to understand it, but to look to Him! No,it is not to be able to write it on paper, but to look to Him! Look to Him! "Well," he said, when he had gone thus far, "thatyoung man under the gallery there looks very unhappy. I think he is feeling the burden of sin but he will never get rid ofhis burden unless he looks to Christ." Then he shouted, "Look! Look! Look! Young man! Look now!"
Blessed be God, I did look-simply looked, just as the dying men in the wilderness looked to the serpent! They did not calculatethe value of the brass. They did not make a drawing of the various convolutions of the serpent. They did not consider howit could be. They did not get a physician to talk to them about how the eyes might operate upon the nerves. They just didwhat they were told to do! They looked, and they lived! Will you look, or not? Will you trust, or not, young man? On the answerwhich the Holy Spirit shall enable you to give to that question will hang your present peace and your everlasting happiness!If you answer, "No, I will not look," then, Sirs, on your own heads be your blood if you will not rest in Jesus! So simple,so suitable, so gracious is this way of salvation, that I myself, though I love you in my very soul, must say that you deserveto perish if you will not thus be saved-
"How they deserve the deepest Hell
That slight abounding love!
What chains of vengeance must they feel,
Who scorn these hands of love!" Oh, that, instead thereof, you would simply trust! And, trusting, you shall live! Amen
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: EXODUS29:38-46; ISAIAH 53.
Verse 38. Now this is that which you shall offer upon the altar: two lambs of the first year, day by day, continually. Remember,as long as there was a Jewish state, the morning and the evening were to open and to close with the sacrifice of a lamb.
39-42. The one lamb you shall offer in the morning; and the other lamb you shall offer at evening. And with the one lamb atenth an ephah of flour mingled with the fourth part of a hin of pressed oil; and the fourth part of a hin of wine for a drinkoffering. And the other lamb you shall offer at evening and shall do thereto according to the meat offering of the morning.And according to the drink offering thereof, for a sweet savor an offering made by fire unto the LORD. This shall be a continualburnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I willmeet you, to speak there unto you. See, the Lamb is the place of meeting! God comes to His people as His people come to Him-withthe morning and with the evening Lamb.
43. And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by My glory. God's glory isin the Lamb-it is there He is pleased to manifest Himself in the glory of His infinite Grace to His people.
44, 45. And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, And the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons,to minister to Me in the priest's office. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. Not withoutthe lamb, you see-that morning and evening sacrifice must be the token and the way of God's dealing with His people.
46. And they shallknow that Iam the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land ofEgypt, that I may dwell amongthem: Iam the LORD their God. Now concerning this same Lamb, we will read in-
Blessed passage! I hope you all know it by heart-it should be like the alphabet to every child. See how it begins.
Verse 1. Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?This is the continual cry of the men ofGod. The sent ones of God who come to bear testimony of the Lamb of God have no easy time of it. With broken hearts they haveto go to their Master, and say, "Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?"
2. For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He has no form nor comeliness; andwhen we shall see Him there is no beauty that we should desire Him. Carnal minds never did see beauty in Christ, and neverwill. Christ as the great Sacrifice is always rejected.
3-5. He is despised and rejected ofmen; a Man ofSorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hidas it were our faces from Him;He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken,smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisementof our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. Blessed be His name! Some of us can say that with great delight-"WithHis stripes we are healed."
6, 7. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquityof us all He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, andas a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opens not His mouth. "He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened notHis mouth." Our blessed Master-there are His seven cries upon the Cross, but not one word of murmuring, no complaint againstHis enemies-"He opened not His mouth: He is brought as the lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb,so He opens not His mouth."
8, 9. He was taken fromprison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? For He was cut off out of the landof the living: for the transgression of My people was He stricken. And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the richin His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.
10. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief: when You shall make His soul an offering for sin, He shallsee His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. "Yet it pleased the Lordto bruise Him." If ever there was a man whom God should have protected from every sorrow, and guarded from every stroke ofinjustice, it was Jesus! And unless it was for sins not His own, He suffered, unless it was as a Substitute for man, it wasthe most unjust of all heard of injustices that Christ should die at all!
11, 12. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justifymany; for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great. And He shall divide the spoilwith the strong: because He has poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bore thesin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. "He shall see of the travail of His soul." Oh, what a joy is thisto us! He did not travail in vain. His pangs were as of a travailing woman, but the birth, the glorious birth that comes ofit is the salvation of multitudes-this is His recompense!