Then Abraham got up from beside his dead wife and said to the Hittites,
I. The PREPARATION for this great grace God and Abraham recognizing each other; the servant called by name, responding with the profession of readiness for obedience.
II. The COMMANDMENT is itself a secret communication, a covenant. Do this, and I will bless thee; follow me in this journey "as I tell thee," and thou shalt see my salvation.
III. The simple, childlike OBEDIENCE of the patriarch is reflected in the quiet demeanor of Isaac bearing the wood of the burnt offering, type of Jesus bearing his cross, inquiring for the lamb with lamb-like innocence and patience. "They went both of them together" (Vers. 6 and 8) - "together" in the beginning of the journey, "together" in the end, in the trial and in the blessing.
IV. FAITH which accepts the will of God and takes up the Divine mission WILL COMMIT THE FUTURE TO THE GRACIOUS PROVISION ON WHICH IT DEPENDS. "My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering" (Ver. 8). Already Abraham was saying, "The Lord will provide." We say it sometimes with a fearful burden upon our heart; but when we go steadfastly and hopefully forward we say it at last with the remembrance of a great deliverance sending its glory along the way of our future.
V. THE TRIAL OF THE TRUE HEART IS OFTEN STRETCHED OUT TO ITS LAST EXTREMITY, that the revelation which rewards faithfulness may be the more abundant and wonderful (Vers. 9, 10). We must take God at his word, otherwise we shall not experience the promised deliverance. "Take thy son, and offer him there" (Ver. 2). "And Abraham stretched forth his hand and took the knife to slay his son." What else could he do? The commandment must be obeyed. The obedience must be "good and perfect and acceptable" as the will of God.
VI. AT THE POINT OF ENTIRE SURRENDER APPEARS THE ANGEL, is heard the voice of relief, the assurance of acceptance, the change in the method of obedience, the opened eyes, the provided sacrifice, THE RETURNING JOY OF SALVATION (Vers. 11-13). There is a blindness of self-sacrifice which leads to a sight of immeasurable joy. Abraham saw nothing before him but the plain path of obedience; he went on, and at last "lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold' the self-sacrifice changed into peaceful offering of an appointed substitute (Ver. 13) "in the stead of his son."
VII. THE CLIMAX OF OUR EXPERIENCE AND OF DIVINE MERCY BECOMES TO US A NEW NAME OF JEHOVAH. We know him henceforth by that knowledge of fact. "Jehovah-jireh (the Lord will provide): as it is said to this day, in the mount of the Lord it shall be provided" (or seen) (Ver. 14).
1. Not before the mount, but in the mount; therefore go to the summit and wait.
2. What the Lord will provide will be better every way than what we could provide.
3. The offering on the mount is the great provision, the whole burnt offering for the sins of the world, by which the true humanity is redeemed and the true "joy" ("Isaac," laughter) is retained.
4. The last name of Jehovah which Abraham gave him was Jehovah the Everlasting; now he adds to that name that which brings the Everlasting into the sphere of daily life - "Jehovah-jireh, the Lord will provide." We name that name when we reach the mount where the great sacrifice was provided - Mount Moriah, Mount Calvary.
5. The end of the great trial and obedience was a renewal, a solemn republication, of the covenant. "God could swear by no greater; he swore by himself" (Hebrews 6:13). On the foundation of practical faith is built up the kingdom of heaven, which the Lord swears shall include all nations, and be supreme in all the earth. The notes of that kingdom are here in the history of the patriarch -
(1) acceptance of the word of God,
(3) faith instead of sight,
(4) withholding nothing,
(5) perseverance to the end. Beersheba became now a new place to Abraham, for he carried to the well and grove which he had named after the oaths of himself and Abimelech the remembrance of the Divine oath, on which henceforth he rested all his expectations. After this the man in whom all nations shall be blessed looks round and finds the promise being already fulfilled, and his kindred spreading widely in the earth. - R.
I. WE ARE FIRST ARRESTED BY ABRAHAM'S TEARS.
1. Observe the honour which the ancients paid to the dead. This proves that they had a secret glimmer of immortality.
Abraham buried Sarah his wife.I. CONSIDER HIM AS A MAN.
II. CONSIDER HIM AS A MAN OF BUSINESS.
1. His independence (vers. 4, 6).
2. His exactness (vers. 17, 18).
3. His courtesy.
III. CONSIDER HIM AS A GODLY MAN.
1. He believed in immortality.
2. He believed that God would grant his posterity to inherit the land.
3. He believed in a future state of blessedness for the righteous.
(T. H. Leale.)
2. Observe the transaction with the children of Heth. A scriptural precedent for exactitude in business.
3. Observe also how courteous phrases contain a higher excellence than they mean. "What is that betwixt me and thee?" The children of Heth had no intention whatever of being taken at their word any more than a man has now when he calls himself your humble servant or bids you command him. We must go back to an earlier age when phrases were coined and meant something, when gifts were gifts and nothing was hoped for in return, in order to catch the life that was once in our conventional phraseology. So now language preserves, as marble preserves shells of hoar antiquity, the petrified phrases of a charity and humbleness which once were living. They are dead, but they do at least this, they keep up memorials of what should be. So that the world, in its daily language of politeness, has a record of its duty. Take those phrases, redeem them from death, live the life that was once in them. Let every man be as humble, as faithful, as obedient as his language professes, and the kingdom of God has come!
4. Lastly, we find in connection with Sarah's burial a Divine provision for the healing of Abraham's sorrow. He was compelled to exert himself to obtain a place to " bury his dead out of his sight." Had he not had to arouse himself and procure a grave for Sarah, he would have brooded over his grief. This is the merciful plan of compensation which God has provided for us; the necessities of life call us from our sorrow. All these merciful provisions plainly show us that we are in a Father's world.
(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)
II. NOTICE ABRAHAM'S CONFESSION.
III. NOTICE ABRAHAM'S FAITH.
(F. B. Meyer, B.A.)
Homilist.I. IN ITS CONNECTION WITH SARAH IT IS A TOKEN OF RESPECT TO THE DEAD. The body deserves this.
1. Because it has been the man's dwelling-place.
2. Because it has assisted the soul to express itself.
3. Because it is destined for a higher and nobler service.
II. IN ITS CONNECTION WITH ABRAHAM HIMSELF IT SHOWS THAT HE PREPARED FOR DEATH.
1. It taught him that the highest earthly possessions terminate in a grave.
2. It implies that he waited for death.
I. IN ITS CONNECTION WITH THE JEWISH NATION IT SERVES AS A MONUMENT FOR THEIR INSTRUCTION.
1. Its purchase taught them that it would soon be theirs.
2. Its stillness taught them to be active.
3. Its solemnity taught them to seek that country where there is no grave.
(Homilist.)I. ABRAHAM'S SORROW.
II. ABRAHAM'S PURCHASE. Strange possession to be the first portion in the land which was promised! A place to bury the dead in — yet observe how this very purchase is an act of faith and a pledge for the future fulfilment of God's promises.
III. ABRAHAM'S HOPE (Hebrews 11:13-16). We Christians to whom more light has been granted concerning the hopes of "the heavenly city" beyond this earthly life can see how, in Jesus Christ and His gospel, the sorrow for the dead and the fear of death are changed into thankfulness and hope. In Christ's death, burial, resurrection we trace an upward course to life eternal. Death is conquered. "Paradise" is the peaceful resting-place of those who "sleep in Jesus." Heaven is the final fulness of joy.
(W. S. Smith, B. D.)
(J. Parker, D. D.)
(J. O. Dykes, D. D.)
(J. O. Dykes, D. D.)
(C. Geikie, D. D.)pecunia, from which our expression pecuniary transactions is derived, comes from pecus, which means cattle. And it is very singular that in the Greek language every word that is used for purchase or property is a derivation from some other word denoting an animal. Thus the Greek word αρνυσθαι, which means, "to bargain," is derived from a Greek word that means a lamb. Again, πωλεω, to sell, is derived from the word used for a colt. Again, the Greek word ωνεομαι, to profit, comes from a word signifying an ass. Again, the Greek word προβιας, revenue, is derived from the Greek word προβατον, sheep or cattle. In short, all the words in Greek and Latin that mean property transactions, buying and selling, are derived from cattle, and the earliest figures that were struck upon ancient coins were figures of cattle. A man was said to be possessed of so many thousand oxen or sheep, and when they entered into a bargain, they gave so many sheep or so many oxen to the person from whom they were purchasing. Here, for the first time, we have silver introduced as currency — that which, in fact, is still the currency of the greatest portion of the nations of the earth — gold being restricted to very few countries, as the representative of property — mainly, I believe, in this country; whereas on the continent it is, I believe, chiefly silver.
(J. Cumming, D. D.)Caveat emptor" — "let the buyer look out for himself." And the buyer, on his side, is too frequently just as eagerly anxious to over-reach the seller. It is far too often "diamond cut diamond" between them. But that both are bad does not excuse either, and God is listening to both. Ah! if we all remembered that, our stores would be different places from what they often are, and business would rise to its ancient and irreproachable renown. Faith in God — such faith as Abraham had-that is still the great necessity of life. For pureness, for integrity, for liberality, for courage, for courtesy, this is what we mainly need. It is as true to-day as when John wrote the words, "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)
Moral and Religious Anecdotes.When old Zachariah Fox, the great merchant of Liverpool, was asked by what means he contrived to realize so large a fortune as he possessed, his reply was, "Friend, by one article alone, in which thou may'st deal too if thou pleasest — civility."
(Moral and Religious Anecdotes.)
(Little's Historical Lights.)
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