Rescued—taken by the hand
‘And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.’ Genesis 19:16
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Jonah 1:17–2:10
The Lord takes believers by the hand and saves them in defiance of themselves. The usual means are:
(i) by his Word and ordinances. Here he meets them—sometimes with an alarming word that makes them tremble; sometimes a humbling word that makes them ashamed (as when he looked upon Peter); sometimes a reviving word, accompanied with a constraining force of his love. Then like Matthew and the sons of Zebedee they can forsake all and follow. O it is a blessing to have the ordinances.
(ii) by his conduct towards them. He hides his face. They lose the blessedness they once spoke of. He makes the heavens over their heads iron and the earth brass. They walk in darkness and mourn under deadness and dryness of spirit. Thus he makes them feel the evil of their way.
(iii) by his providence. He fills their mouths with ashes and makes the world bitter—pains, sickness, poverty, crosses, loss of friends and earthly comforts. He has many scourges of this kind.
When thy loved presence meets my sight,
My sun is hid, my comforts lost,
It softens care, and sweetens toil;
My graces droop, my sins revive;
The sun shines forth with double light,
Distressed, dismayed, and tempest-tossed,
The whole creation wears a smile.
My soul is only just alive!
But ah! since thou hast been away,
LORD, hear my cry and come again!
Nothing but trouble have I known;
Put all mine enemies to shame,
And Satan marks me for his prey
And let them see, ’tis not in vain
Because he sees me left alone.
That I have trusted in thy name.
SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 41 [4/4], GENESIS 19:16