365 days with Newton

21 AUGUST

An atoning sacrifice

‘And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.’ Genesis 15:8–9
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Hebrews 12:1–3

We have Abraham’s request—he wanted a sign:
(i) for the confirmation of his own faith. When we believe, there is still unbelief in us.
(ii) for the sake of his posterity. What the Lord put now in Abraham’s heart to ask, was recorded in his Word for those who should come after. Believers of old had but few footsteps to follow, but we have a beaten path before us—the advantage of their experiences.
In the Lord’s command we may observe a sacrifice and a sign.
(i) A sacrifice. The animals mentioned were the same as were principally used after Moses. The death of Christ was thus set forth from the beginning to intimate that without shedding of blood there is no remission. All the promises of God are made and confirmed in the death of Christ. Here is our only right to them, and in this way they are sure.
(ii) A sign. The division of the beasts was the customary form of a covenant (Jeremiah 34:18–19). And between these the smoking furnace and the lamp afterwards passed.
FOR MEDITATION:
The GOD who once to Israel spoke
The holy Moses quaked and feared
From Sinai’s top, in fire and smoke,
When Sinai’s thundering law he heard;
In gentler strains of gospel grace
But reigning grace, with accents mild,
Invites us, now, to seek his face.
Speaks to the sinner, as a child.

He wears no terrors on his brow,
Hark! how from Calvary it sounds;
He speaks, in love, from Zion, now;
From the Redeemer’s bleeding wounds!
It is the voice of JESUS’ blood
‘Pardon and grace, I freely give,
Calling poor wanderers home to GOD.
Poor sinner, look to me, and live.’

SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 32 [2/3], GENESIS 15:7–11

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