2523. Abraham’s Double Blessing

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No. 2523-43:301. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, November 8, 1885, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, June 27, 1897.

I will bless you, and you shall be a blessing. {Ge 12:2}

1. This was to be the double result of Abraham’s coming out from his own country and his father’s house. Those Orientals clung with great tenacity to their native homes. We in these latter ages are not so restful; we think nothing of crossing the Atlantic, and many think little of going to the other side of the globe; but those Easterners trembled even to cross the Euphrates or the Tigris. They spoke of the land beyond those rivers as “across the flood,” and a journey of two or three hundred miles seemed to them to be an event second only to death itself. Yet when the Lord said to Abraham, “Get out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you”: he “departed, as the Lord had spoken to him.” His obedience was an act of heroic faith.

2. Now, brethren, as result of this obedience, Abraham obtained the double blessing of which our text speaks. But he is called the father of the faithful; that is, the father of all such as believe in God; so that, if we truly believe in God, we shall do what Abraham as a believer did. Children are like their father; believers are like the father of all believers, so that there will be a going out for them as there was for him. We may not be actually called to leave our homes and our native land; but we shall have a more troublesome task than that by a great deal, for we are to be separated from the people among whom we dwell, — to dwell among them, yet not to be of them, — in the world, but not of the world. This is not an easy thing; it is far easier to become a monk, or a nun, and shut yourself up alone, than it is to live in the midst of ungodly people, and yet to be godly yourself, — to trade with the usual followers of commerce, and not to fall into their business customs, — to mix with the usual host of thinkers, yet not to think as they think, but to endeavour to think the thoughts of God, and to obey the will of the Most High. Our Lord Jesus Christ was the most perfect man among men; in no respect, in dress or in anything else, did he separate himself from the rest of mankind by anything merely external. He ate and drank just as they did, he sat at their tables, slept in their houses, and talked with them by the way, yet he was always “holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.” All believers are called to live a separated life like this in the world, in obedience to the divine command, “ ‘Come out from among them, and be separate,’ says the Lord, ‘and do not touch the unclean thing.’ ” There is no necessity for us to wear either the broad-brimmed hat or the collarless coat, or anything whatever by which we shall be marked off from the rest of men; we are to be separated in reality rather than merely in appearance, to be separated by a higher tone of morals, to be separated by a truer life, — have life with God, a life in God, — to be separated by faith in the unseen, to be separated by an enthusiasm to which the rest of mankind will not pretend; which, indeed, they will even despise. This is the high, hard, holy, heavenly task to which believers in Christ are called. Oh, for grace to accomplish it!

3. In proportion as we accomplish it, the words of my text will come true for us: “I will bless you, and you shall be a blessing.” As far as Abraham did not live the life of separation, so far he missed the blessing. You remember that he went down into Egypt, and you know what trouble he got into there, and he brought more trouble away with him. As I said, this morning, very likely Hagar was one of the slaves given to him by Pharaoh when he dismissed him and Sarah; and you know what trouble Hagar brought into the family. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1869, “Hagar at the Fountain” 1870} If Abraham had lived the separated life, and had not fallen into the customs of those all around him, he would not have had that sin and sorrow concerning Hagar; nor would he have had that righteous rebuke from Abimelech, the king of Gerar, when again he had acted deceitfully with regard to his wife. Whenever you see Abraham living alone before the Lord, you see a man of God, blessed by God, even as the Lord said, “I called him alone, and blessed him.” But when he goes and links himself with others, he loses the fulness of the blessing, and gets into severe trouble. And you, Christian men and women, will find that, as long as you keep close to your Lord and Master, you will enjoy his blessing. You may have cares and trials, but they shall be blessed cares and blessed trials; but if you go into the world, and act as men of the world act, — if you sow your wild oats, you will have to reap them. Depend on it, the child of God will feel the weight of his Father’s rod if he begins to play with the boys of the street. If he is not careful concerning his company, keeping with his Father’s children, and careful concerning his life and conduct, doing and saying what his Father would have him do and say, he will find the rod fall heavily on his shoulders, even as the Lord said of old to the children of Israel, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” The blessings of which I am about to speak belong to those who live the separated life, to those who stay in the narrow way; just in proportion as the grace of God helps us into that separated life, and keeps us there, we shall be blessed and shall be made a blessing.

4. I. First, let us consider THE FIRST BLESSING promised to Abraham in our text: “I will bless you.”

5. Notice that the personal blessing comes first; you cannot be a blessing to others unless God has first blessed you. We do not encourage selfishness in anything, but we do say that you must fill your own pitcher before another man can drink out of it, you must have bread in your own hands before you can break it for the multitudes. It is no use for you to attempt to sow from an empty basket, for that would be sowing nothing but wind. First of all, then, you must get the blessing yourself, for until it can be said to you, “I will bless you,” it cannot be said, “You shall be a blessing.”

6. What was the blessing which God gave to Abraham? It was the blessing which he will give to all who live as Abraham lived, and believe as Abraham believed; and, first, Abraham had the rest of faith. He had no home except his tent, — always an uncomfortable style of dwelling, — and no plot of land to call his own. He was a mere gypsy, moving around from place to place: “by faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise.” Yet, surely, there never was a man more restful than this same Abraham; wherever you find him, he stands out before you as a calm, quiet, noble figure. Jacob is always cunning, bargaining, plotting, and scheming; but Abraham has nothing of that kind of character, he is a plain, simple man, believing in God, and going about his business with that leisure which comes from perfect trustfulness. If God says to him, “Leave your country,” he leaves it. Go and ask him, “Where are you going, Abraham?” He does not know; God has told him to go out, and he is going. The Canaanite is still in the land of promise; is he not afraid to go there? May not the inhabitants kill him immediately when he comes near them? Abraham is not afraid; God has told him to go to the land of Canaan, and he feels that he has a right to be there. God causes a superstitious dread to fall on those Canaanites; a voice seems to whisper in their heart, “Do not touch my anointed”; and so Abraham dwells securely among them. An invading host comes from a distance, and carries away his poor nephew Lot, who has gone to live down Sodom way, so that he may be more comfortable in a city. Abraham does not deliberate about his course of action; it is his business to set Lot free, and with the few young men who are around him the old man pursues the five kings, drives them before him like stubble driven before the wind, and brings back his nephew Lot and all the plunder. Whenever he sets his hand to anything, he succeeds in it, and he never seems to worry himself about anything. God’s will is the one rule that he is always content to obey, and he feels perfectly satisfied wherever he may be. Kings fall down before him, for he is a more truly royal personage than those who are draped in purple, and who wear crowns; they say that he is one of nature’s true princes, and so he is. God had made him a prince by one touch of faith, for it was faith that did it all; he believed in God, and that believing made him truly great.

7. Do not say, dear friends, that this faith was only possible for Abraham. Brothers, sisters, it is possible for us also if we will have it. May God help us to believe the promise, and not to be staggered by it through unbelief! If we will only trust God through thick and thin, through dark and light, — if we will only believe God more than we believe our eyes or our ears, — if we will only believe steadily, even though our own body seems as dead, that God will keep his promise to the very letter, — and if we will, through that faith, always do the right, and never be daunted or turned aside, then our peace shall be like a river, and our righteousness as the waves of the sea; and there shall be a kingly majesty about our character, simple and unadorned as it may be, and open as it may seem to be to the jests and sarcasms of an unbelieving age. Whatever men may say, they will really respect and reverence the man who believes in God, and lives as a man of faith should live. If you want perfect rest in this life, — and it is worth more than thousands of precious jewels, — if you would wear in your button-hole the herb called heart’s-ease, {a pansy} — if you would go through the world content, and quiet, and happy, and free from care and fear, “trust in the Lord, and do good; so you shall dwell in the land, and truly you shall be fed.” Has not God said, “I will bless you?” He will bless you by means of your own faith, making you a peaceful, happy man while all the world besides seems to be up in arms, and worried, and anxious.

8. Besides the rest of faith, Abraham had the victory of faith. “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” Abraham was not a fighting man; but when he was called to fight, he fought in real earnest, and his adversaries fell or fled before him. The victory of Abraham’s faith, when he vanquished Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, was not only a victory on the battle-field, but a victory afterwards. Those kings had taken the spoils of the kings of the cities of the plain, and had carried away all the booty, but Abraham recovered it all, that he might have claimed it as his own, and even the king of Sodom said to him, “Give me the people, and take the goods for yourself.” It was a fine pile, no doubt, and ordinary men do not look at such treasures without some kind of longing for them; but Abraham answered, “I have lifted up my hand to the Lord, the Most High God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread even to a shoe-latchet, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ ” “No,” says the patriarch, “what I receive shall come from God, and not from the king of Sodom.” It was a real victory of faith for him to be able to act like that. It is a great thing for a Christian man to conquer sin, but I think that it is a greater thing for him not to yield to what looks dubious, or what is selfish although it may be just. It is a victory for faith when the man says, “No, no; I might do this, or that, or the other, but I am a child of God, and therefore I shall not do it. I trust in God, and I will not do it, lest at any time in my future life someone should say, ‘That was not acting as a Christian should act.’ Indeed, I will not take from a thread even to a shoe-latchet what belongs to the king of Sodom, lest my God should be displeased or dishonoured by it.” What a glorious victory Abraham had that day in the king’s dale! A Christian man, if he lives for God by faith, will often have just such a victory as that. If he does not have as much of this world’s goods as others have, he will not fret and pine after them; he will say, “I am happy enough without them”; and if God should be pleased to give him riches, he will live above them, and he will never let them get into his heart. “No,” he will say, “I am not enriched by these things; my treasure is of a higher and nobler kind.” There are many men who could not be trusted to be rich; for if they were to attain to wealth, they would become proud, and make an idol of their gold. But the true heir of heaven has received this blessing from God, — that he knows, with Paul, both how to be abased and how to abound, how to be full and to be hungry; he has learned, in whatever state he is, to be content with it; and the man who has learned that lesson is a blessed man.

9. Another blessing which Abraham had, and which all believers may have, is this, — he had power with God. Oh, that every one of us possessed such power, and constantly used it! God was about to destroy the cities of the plain on account of their horrible lusts, and he said to himself, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing?” Was he not a blessed man concerning whom God asked that question? God goes to Abraham, and tells him what he is about to do; and Abraham, at once, with the power that he had with God, begins to plead with him in that famous dialogue between the man of God and the God of the man. You know how he pleaded: “Will you also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Perhaps there are fifty righteous within the city: will you also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous who are in it?” The next plea was, “Will you destroy all the city for lack of five?” Then he brought the number down to forty, to thirty, to twenty, and at last to ten righteous. Was it not a glorious thing for this man, this sheik, this Bedouin of the desert, to plead and wrestle like this with the eternal God? Do not talk to me about the grandeur of kings on their thrones; Abraham speaking like this with God is greater than all of them put together. Do not tell me of brave warriors returning from the fight amid the acclamations of the throng; this lonely man, grasping the arm of Jehovah, and urging his suit for mercy for the people of these doomed cities, is a greater man than all mortals besides. They used to say of Luther, as he walked along the street, “There goes the man who can have anything from God he likes to ask for”; and there is some I know to whom God has given this same privilege. And if we will only walk alone with God, and will fully trust him, he will give us carte blanche; he has given it to us in those wondrous words of Christ, “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you shall ask what you wish, and it shall be done for you.” “Delight yourself also in the Lord; and he shall give you the desires of your heart.” It is as if the silver keys of Paradise swung on the belts of the saints. Have they not had the keys of the rain? Did not Elijah turn the key, and shut up the clouds for three years and six months; and then turn it the other way, and bring a blessed deluge on the land? Oh, if we only have faith, we shall have this high privilege of coming to the mercy seat just when we wish, and asking from our God according to our need, and his promise shall be fulfilled for each one of us, “I will bless you.”

10. I must add, yet further, that Abraham had from God the great blessedness of being sustained under trial. Have you ever noticed a certain little record concerning Abraham? It is after he had offered up his son Isaac. That was the sharpest trial that could have befallen mortal man, — to be commanded to go and offer up his own son, his only son, his beloved son, the son who had been miraculously given to him; but he, with stalwart faith, felt sure that God would keep his promise, and that he would raise Isaac from the dead if needs be; so it was not for him to reason about the matter, but to do what seemed to be the terrible will of God. Some little while after that great trial, it is written, “Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.” That is the short history of his long life; God told him that he would bless him, and he did so. “The Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.” What! when he commanded him to kill his son? Yes; he “had blessed him in all things.” What! when he took away his wife Sarah? Yes, for “the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.” Perhaps, if his life had been without troubles, that sentence would not have been true.

11. Just look at this matter for a moment, dear friends. When you and I, with all our cares, and trials, and poverty, and sufferings, and pains, shall get to our journey’s end, if we have faith like Abraham’s, it will be written about each one of us, “The Lord had blessed him in all things, — blessed him in his troubles, blessed him in those cruel tests of faith as they seemed to be, blessed him by sustaining him under them all.” I think that, if I were an old sailor, I should not like to have had a life on a sea of glass. If I were at home, say at seventy years of age, and my grandchildren had gathered around me to hear the story of my life, I should not like to have to sum it all up by saying, “Boys, I do not know anything about storms; I never was in one in my life. You see, I never went to sea without a favourable wind. Whenever I got on board ship, all storms ceased, and I had nothing to do but just to watch until I reached the port.” I expect the boys would ask, “But, grandfather, were there never any big waves?” “No, never.” “Were you never cast away on a rock?” “No, never; it was all smooth with me from beginning to end.” There would be nothing to tell about a life like that, and a man would not make much of a sailor that way. Or suppose it is one of our soldiers who, when he has retired from the army says, “I never smelled gunpowder.” I pray God that our soldiers never may have to fight; but, still, a man will never make any kind a soldier if that is the fact with him. And you and I will not make stalwart Christians without trials and troubles; and when we get to heaven, we shall not have so much for which to glorify God if we have had our bread and butter spread for us from the first day to the last, and have never had any lack of food, never any hard labour, never any stern affliction, never any bitter pain, never any deep distress. But how blessed are those who have done business on great waters, who have seen the white teeth of the storm Furies, {a} and sailed through the very throat of death, and yet come out safely. How blessed are those who have had much reason for fear, but who have had no fear, God having lifted them above it by the supernatural energy of his grace! So, brethren, you may often have blessing come to you, not in the form of a smooth path all the way to heaven, but in the form of a faith that endures to the end, so that you shall stand firm in every temptation, and at the last shall enter into your rest, and say at the end of it all, “God has blessed me in all things, blessed be his holy name!”

12. Another special favour that Abraham had was, God’s presence. I think that the greatest blessing God ever gives to a man is his own presence. If I had my choice of all the blessings of this life, I certainly should not ask for wealth, for that can bring no ease; and I certainly should not ask for popularity, for there is no rest to the man on whose words men constantly wait, and it is a hard task one has to perform in such a case as that; but I should choose, as my highest honour, to have God always with me. Who would choose between the burning fiery furnace of Nebuchadnezzar and a bed of down, if God is equally with us in both cases? It does not matter; we might be just as happy in the one case as in the other. If God is with us, if his divine love surrounds us, we carry our own atmosphere wherever we go, we take our own abode with us wherever we journey; and with Moses we can say, “Lord, you have been our dwelling-place in all generations.” That heart is full of heaven that is full of God. That man is blessed to all the intents of bliss who dwells in God, and in whom God dwells; and that is the privilege of all who truly believe in Jesus, all who come out from the world, and live a life of faith as Abraham did. Bow your head, believer, and let the Lord God pronounce on you this blessing, “Surely, blessing I will bless you.” Sorrowing, suffering, weary, burdened, yet receive this blessing as from God’s own mouth, “I will bless you.” Poor, despised, slandered, yet the blessing is not one whit curtailed; so, take it home with you, and go on your way rejoicing.

13. II. Now let us turn to the second part of the text, and consider THE SECOND BLESSING promised to Abraham: “You shall be a blessing.” When God has blessed any man, he makes that man to be a blessing to others. The Lord fills him so that he may overflow with blessing for those around him. The Holy Spirit puts into the man the life of God so that that life may flow out of him to others.

14. How, then, do we bless other men? I answer, — genuine Christians bless other men by their example. I will give you one example; sometimes an example is better than an explanation. I suppose that there is hardly a person here who has not heard of that famous preacher of the gospel, Mr. John Angell James. {b} I remember, thirty-three years ago, taking a journey from Cambridge to Birmingham, so that I might be able to say that I had heard Mr. John Angell James preach; and I did hear him preach, greatly to my comfort and joy. You know that he wrote that book, The Anxious Enquirer, which has been the means of bringing so many to Christ; but did you ever hear how John Angell James came to be a Christian and a preacher? He was engaged as a clerk in an office, as many of you may be, and he slept on his employer’s premises. He had been accustomed, when he retired for the night, to get into bed without any prayer or any reading of the Scriptures; but there came into the same office a new clerk, a young man. James went upstairs, undressed himself as quickly as he could, and got into bed, when, to his surprise, the new clerk moved the candle, went to his box, took out his Bible, drew his chair up, sat down as if he was quite at home, and read a chapter. Then, with equal deliberation, he knelt down at his bedside, and prayed. He never said a word to John Angell James about not praying, but he did what was a great deal better, he himself prayed. Within a few months from that time, Mr. James was a converted man; within two or three years, he was a minister of the gospel, and I cannot help tracing the usefulness of the preacher to the decision of that young unknown clerk who dared to do the right thing come what may. “I will bless you,” said God to that young clerk, “and I will make you a blessing.” I wonder whether, afterwards, he used to say to himself, “I thank God that I knelt down and prayed that night, because, by that simple act of mine, that man of God was brought to the feet of Jesus, and so tens of thousands were converted by his instrumentality.”

15. “I will make you a blessing.” Oh, that our example might be such that, wherever we go, we may be a blessing! Some of you, perhaps, have lived in very poor neighbourhoods; you get into poverty, and have to dwell in a back slum; as soon as you are converted, you want to move away, and I do not blame you; who would like to remain there? At the same time, it seems a pity that, the moment there is a lamp lit, we should take it out of the dark corner. That slum is the place where your example is needed, my brother. Where do you put the salt? Why, of course, where there is something that, without it, will rot! So there must be children of God, who will say, “We intend to live here, and drive the devil out; we do not intend to leave this corner, but we intend to stay here and fight the foe until God shall give us the victory.”

16. Further, dear friends, those whom God uses are made a blessing by their prayers. Does anyone know the full extent of the blessings which come to us in answer to the prayers of others? Unhappy is the man who does not have someone praying for him; but rich is that one who is daily the object of the prayers of saints. Oh dear friends, if God has saved you, never stint your prayers for others! I ask for a share in them; I consider myself rich in having the prayers of so many, but how often am I cheered and comforted when I know that there are thousands of Christian people who have pledged themselves never to pray either morning or evening without remembering me in their prayers! I thank them from the bottom of my heart; they can do me no greater kindness. Pray for all ministers of Christ, and pray for all Christians, and pray day and night for this great wicked city of ours, steeped up to its neck in sin. May God have mercy on it! Go to your bedroom, child of God, and bow your knee, and cry mightily to the Most High, for these evil days greatly need it. If ever we needed intercessors, it is now. If John Knox’s prayers saved Scotland, — and they did, — we need a man like him to save England, and to bless our country at this present moment. You can be made a blessing by your intense and vehement prayers; therefore, all of you who are believers “pray without ceasing.”

17. Moreover, if God has blessed us, we ought to try to be made a blessing by our ordinary life. Sydney Smith, the witty clergyman, often said some very good things; and one I remember was, “Always make it a rule to make someone happy every day, even if it is only by giving a child a farthing, or helping a poor woman to carry a parcel that is too heavy for her.” There really is so much misery in the world that it is a pity for us to cause a child to cry, or even to cause a dog to go howling down the street. I think that we ought to make everyone happy wherever we are, for our Master went around doing good to all kinds and conditions of men; but certainly in our own family we who love the Lord should have the brightest eyes and the most cheering countenances. I know some professed Christians who are so dreadfully good, so painfully pious, that I cannot live near them. “You shall not, you shall not,” seems written across their very foreheads, all that we must not do they perfectly understand; but in which there is anything of joy and delight and pleasure in this holy faith of ours, which came from our blessed joyful Saviour, — for such he was, though he was the Man of sorrows, — they seem to forget all that. Let it not be so among us, dear friends; but let us try with all our might to be a blessing to everyone, and most of all to be a blessing to those for whom no one cares. Let us go out of our way to remember the forgotten, to help the helpless, to assist those who are in the deepest need. You know how it is in this world, everyone will give something to the person who does not need it; but why not give to the poor, and the needy, and the helpless? That is the place where our gifts should go most freely. These cannot make us any return, but we shall have a reward at the last if we do them good. Oh, for the faith which is truly a blessing because we endeavour to make other people happy wherever we may be!

18. “I will make you a blessing.” When this promise came to Abraham, surely the very essence of it was that Abraham was to be made a blessing to the world by virtue of his connection with Jesus Christ. Our Lord was descended from Abraham: “He did not take on himself the nature of angels; but he took on himself the seed of Abraham.” Our Saviour was a Jew, he took on himself the nature of that nation, and by it Abraham became a blessing to the whole world; and now, spiritually, we who believe are the children of Abraham. We do not come into the covenant as those do who are merely descended from Abraham after the flesh, but we come in with Isaac, the child of the promise, born, not after the flesh, but after the power of the Spirit; and so we become heirs of salvation by virtue of that faith which was in Abraham, and which dwells also in us by the gift of the Holy Spirit.

19. Beloved, if you and I are to be made a blessing to others, it must be by our bringing the Lord Jesus Christ to those whom we meet from day to day. Do not talk to a friend without speaking of your Saviour, do not be long in a house without introducing that dear name; there is so much of savour, of sweetness, of comfort, of healing, of life, in that precious name of Jesus, that you cannot speak of it too often, or introduce it into all kinds of companies too frequently. I heard, some time ago, of a man handcuffed, and being taken away by the police for a term of imprisonment, — a horrible wretch, with a face that was scarcely human, a man who seemed as if he was cut out for a murderer, — and as he stood in the police station, and few cared even to look at him, a little girl went near, and, looking up to him, said, “Poor man, I pity you.” He was wretch enough to utter some lewd and profane expression, and the child, astonished, ran back to her father; but she could not stay long. There seemed to be a charm to her about that wicked man; so she ran into the room again, and said, “Poor man, Jesus Christ pities you; he does.” The police said to the warden of the jail, when handing over their prisoner, “That man will give you a world of trouble; he is the most horrible brute we ever came across, it took a great many of us to capture him.” The next morning, he was found quiet and subdued; and during all the term of his imprisonment, there was not a better prisoner, and he went out of the jail a changed man. He told the chaplain that it was the little girl who had done it when she said that she pitied him, and that Jesus Christ pitied him. If we would more often bring in that blessed name of Jesus, then our text would be fulfilled, “I will bless you, and you shall be a blessing.” Oh, that we would all first come to him, and find the blessing that is treasured up in him; and then go out, and be a blessing to our own family, and to all around us! Oh Lord, grant that it may be so, for your dear Son’s sake! Amen.

{a} Fury: One of the avenging deities, dread goddesses with snakes twined in their hair, sent from Tartarus to avenge wrong and punish crime: in later accounts, three in number (Tisiphone, Megaera, Alecto). OED. {b} John Angell James was born at Blandford Forum. After seven years’ apprenticeship to a linen-draper in Poole, Dorset, he decided to become a preacher, and in 1802 he went to David Bogue’s training institution at Gosport in Hampshire. A year and a half later, on a visit to Birmingham, his preaching was so highly esteemed by the congregation of Carrs Lane Independent chapel that they invited him to exercise his ministry among them; he settled there in 1805, and was ordained in May 1806. For several years his success as a preacher was comparatively small; but he became suddenly popular in about 1814, and began to attract large crowds. At the same time his religious writings, the best known of which are The Anxious Inquirer and An Earnest Ministry, acquired a wide circulation. The Anxious Inquirer sold over 500,000 copies in his lifetime and was translated into more than a dozen languages. This was the book which D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones gave to his wife, Bethan, when she was seeking the Lord. The book was also of great help to Charles Haddon Spurgeon. See Explore "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Angell_James"

Expositions By C. H. Spurgeon {Ge 12:1-7 14:17-24 22:15-18}

We will read two or three passages in the Book of Genesis concerning God blessing his servant Abraham. Turn first to the twelfth chapter.

12:1. Now the LORD had said to Abram, “Get out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you:

It was God’s intention to keep his truth and his pure worship alive in the world by committing it to the charge of one man, and the nation that should spring from him. In the infinite sovereignty of his grace, he chose Abraham, — passing by all the rest of mankind, — and chose him to be the depository of the heavenly light, so that through him it might be preserved in the world until the days when it should be more widely scattered. It seemed essential for this purpose that Abraham should come right out from his fellow countrymen, and be separated to Jehovah, so the Lord said to him, “Get out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.”

2, 3. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing: and I will bless those who bless you, and curse him who curses you: and in you all families of the earth shall be blessed.”

There, you see, was the missionary character of the seed of Abraham, if they had only recognised it. God did not bless them for themselves alone, but for all nations: “In you shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

4. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed out of Haran.

He had already attained a fine old age, but he had another century of life before him, which he could not then foresee, or expect. If, at his age, he had said, “Lord, I am too old to travel, too old to leave my country, and to begin to live a wandering life,” we could not have wondered; but he did not talk in that way. He was commanded to go and we read, “So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken to him.”

5, 6. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went out to go into the land of Canaan; and they came into the land of Canaan. And Abram passed through the land to the place of Sichem, to the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land.

Fierce and powerful nations possessed the country; it did not seem a very likely place to be the inheritance of a peace-loving man like Abraham. God does not always fulfil his promises to his people all at once; otherwise, where would the room for faith be? This life of ours is to be a life of faith, and it will be well rewarded in the end. Abraham did not have a foot of land to call his own, except that cave of Machpelah which he bought from the sons of Heth for a burying place for his beloved Sarah.

7. And the LORD appeared to Abram, and said, “To your seed I will give this land”: and there he built an altar to the LORD, who appeared to him.

So, you see, Abraham began his separated life with a blessing from the Lord his God.

Further on in his history he received an even greater blessing when he returned from his victory over the kings.

14:17-19. And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings who were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine: and he was the priest of the Most High God. And he blessed him, —

In the name of God, Melchizedek blessed Abraham. This mysterious personage, the highest type of our Lord Jesus Christ, blessed Abraham; “and without all contradiction the less is blessed by the better.” “He blessed him,” —

19, 20. And said, “Blessed be Abram by the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be the Most High God, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him tithes from everything.

Abraham recognised the priest of God as his spiritual superior, “and he gave him tithes from everything.”

21. And the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people, and take the goods for yourself.”

It was according to the rule of war that, if people who had made an invasion were afterwards themselves captured, then if the new captor gave up the people, he was fully entitled to take the goods for himself.

22, 23. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have lifted up my hand to the LORD, the Most High God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread even to a shoe-latchet, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, I have made Abram rich;

The patriarch is greater than the king. He has a right to all his spoil; but he will not touch it, lest the glory of his God should be stained by it. Abraham will have nothing except what his God shall give him; he will not take anything from the king of Sodom. I like to see this glorious independence of the believing man. “I have a right to this,” he says, “but I will not take it; what are mere earthly rights to me? My chief business is to honour the God whose I am, and whom I serve; and if the taking of this spoil would dishonour him, I will not take even so much as a thread or a shoe-latchet.”

24. Except only what the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.”

“Though I am willing to give up my share of the spoil, that is no reason why these men should do the same.” Christian men ought not to expect worldlings to do what they cheerfully and willingly do themselves; and, indeed, it is not much use to expect it, for they are not likely to do it.

Now let us read in the twenty-second chapter of this same Book of Genesis. Abraham had endured the supreme test of his faith, and had, in full intent, offered up his son Isaac at the command of God, his hand being withheld from the actual sacrifice only by an angelic voice.

22:15-17. And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham out of heaven the second time, and said, “By myself I have sworn,” says the LORD, “for because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son: that in blessing I will bless you, —

“Whenever I am engaged in blessing, I will bless you. I will not pronounce a blessing in which you shall not share: ‘In blessing I will bless you,’ ” —

17, 18. And in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is on the sea-shore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice.”

See the result of one man’s grand act of obedience, and notice how God can make that man to be the channel of blessing to all coming ages. Oh, that you and I might possess the Abrahamic faith which so practically obeys the Lord, and brings a blessing to all the nations of the earth!

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 103” 103 @@ "(Version 2)"}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 89” 89 @@ "(Part 2)"}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Adoption — Sons Of God Blessed” 729}

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Ten Years After!

A Sequel to “Ten Years of My Life in the Service of the Book Fund.”

By Mrs. C. H. Spurgeon.

400 Pages. Illustrated. In Handsome Binding. Gilt Edges.

With New Photograph (taken April, 1897), and Written Autograph, Price 5s.

“A wonderful record of the consecrated services of a retired life. Ten Years After! covers the closing years of Mr. Spurgeon’s own wonderful career. Deep interest attaches to it from this fact alone, for the book abounds in allusions to the great preacher’s home-life. These will render the volume more precious to the very many who revere his memory.” — The Baptist Magazine.

“A most compassionate volume, written in beautiful language, in the shadow of her great sorrow, by Mr. Spurgeon’s widow. With all the fragrance of crushed flowers on every page, the book tells of God’s consolations in the bestowment of his grace, of providential openings for active service, and of blessed results from the Book Fund to which the bereaved writer has given her life.” — Pastor John Robertson, in The Christian Scotsman.

London: Passmore and Alabaster, Paternoster Buildings; and all Booksellers.

Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 103 (Version 1)
1 My soul, repeat his praise,
      Whose mercies are so great;
   Whose anger is so slow to rise,
      So ready to abate.
2 God will not always chide;
      And when his strokes are felt,
   His strokes are fewer than our crimes,
      And lighter than our guilt.
3 High as the heavens are raised
      Above the ground we tread,
   So far the riches of his grace
      Our highest thought exceed.
4 His power subdues our sins;
      And his forgiving love,
   Far as the east is from the west,
      Doth all our guilt remove.
5 The pity of the Lord,
      To those that fear his name,
   Far as the east is from the west,
      He knows our feeble frame.
6 He knows we but dust,
      Scatter’d with every breath;
   His anger, like a rising wind,
      Can send us swift to death.
7 Our days are as the grass,
      Or like the morning flower;
   If one sharp blast sweep o’er the field,
      It withers in an hour.
8 But thy compassions, Lord,
      To endless years endure;
   And children’s children ever find,
      Thy words of promise sure.
                        Isaac Watts, 1719.

Psalm 103 (Version 2)
1 Oh bless the Lord, my soul!
      Let all within me join,
   And aid my tongue to bless his name,
      Whose favours are divine.
2 Oh, bless the Lord, my soul,
      Nor let his mercies lie
   Forgotten in unthankfulness,
      And without praises die.
3 ‘Tis he forgives thy sins;
      ‘Tis he relieves thy pain;
   ‘Tis he that heals thy sicknesses,
      And makes thee young again.
4 He crowns thy life with love,
      When ransom’d from the grave;
   He that redeem’d my soul from hell
      Hath sovereign power to save.
5 He fills the poor with good,
      He gives the sufferers rest;
   The Lord hath judgments for the proud,
      And justice for the oppress’d
6 His wondrous works and ways
      He made by Moses known;
   But sent the world his truth and grace
      By his beloved Son.
                        Isaac Watts, 1719.

Psalm 103 (Version 3) <8.7.4.>
1 Praise, my soul, the King of heaven;
   To his feet thy tribute bring!
   Ransom’d, heal’d, restored, forgiven,
   Who like me his praise should sing!
      Praise him! praise him,
      Praise him! praise him,
   Praise the everlasting King!
2 Praise him for his grace and favour
   To our fathers in distress!
   Praise him still the same as ever,
   Slow to chide and swift to bless!
      Praise him! praise him,
      Praise him! praise him
   Glorious in his faithfulness!
3 Father-like he tends and spares us,
   Well our feeble frame he knows;
   In his hands he gently bears us,
   Rescues us from all our foes.
      Praise him! praise him,
      Praise him! praise him,
   Widely as his mercy flows.
4 Frail as summer’s flower we flourish;
   Blows the wind, and it is gone;
   But while mortals rise and perish,
   God endures unchanging on.
      Praise him! praise him,
      Praise him! praise him,
   Praise the High Eternal One.
5 Angels, help us to adore him;
   Ye behold him face to face;
   Sun and moon bow down before him,
   Dwellers all in time and space.
      Praise him! praise him,
      Praise him! praise him,
   Praise with us the God of grace!
                     Henry Francis Lyte, 1834.

Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 89 (Part 1)
1 My never-ceasing songs shall show
   The mercies of the Lord,
   And make succeeding ages know
   How faithful is his word.
2 The sacred truths his lips pronounce
   Shall firm as heaven endure;
   And if he speak a promise once,
   The eternal grace is sure.
3 How long the race of David held
   The promised Jewish throne!
   But there’s a nobler covenant seal’d
   To David’s greater Son.
4 His seed for ever shall possess
   A throne above the skies;
   The meanest subject of his grace
   Shall to that glory rise.
5 Lord God of hosts, thy wondrous ways
   Are sung by saints above;
   And saints on earth their honours raise
   To thine unchanging love.
                        Isaac Watts, 1719.

Psalm 89 (Part 2)
1 Oh greatly bless’d the people are
   The joyful sound that know;
   In brightness of thy face, oh Lord,
   They ever on shall go.
2 They in thy name shall all the day
   Rejoice exceedingly;
   And in thy righteousness shall they
   Exalted be on high.
3 Because the glory of their strength
   Doth only stand in thee;
   And in thy favour shall our horn
   And power exalted be.
4 For God is our defence; and he
   To us doth safety bring:
   The Holy One of Israel
   Is our almighty King.
                     Scotch Version, 1641.

The Christian, Privileges, Adoption
729 — Sons Of God Blessed <7s.>
1 Blessed are the sons of God;
   They are bought with Jesus’ blood,
   They are ransom’d from the grave,
   Life eternal they shall have.
         With them number’d may we be,
         Now and through eternity.
2 God did love them in his Son,
   Long before the world begun;
   They the seal of this receive,
   When on Jesus they believe:
         With them number’d may we be,
         Now and through eternity.
3 They are justified by grace,
   They enjoy a solid peace;
   All their sins are wash’d away
   They shall stand in God’s great day.
         With them number’d may we be,
         Now and through eternity.
4 They produce the fruits of grace
   In the works of righteousness!
   Born of God, they hate all sin,
   God’s pure word remains within:
      With them number’d may we be,
      Now and through eternity.
5 They have fellowship with God,
   Through the Mediator’s blood;
   One with God, through Jesus one,
   Glory is in them begun:
      With them number’d may we be,
      Now and through eternity.
6 Though they suffer much on earth,
   Strangers to the worldling’s mirth,
   Yet they have an inward joy,
   Pleasures which can never cloy:
      With them number’d may we be,
      Now and through eternity.
               Joseph Humphreys, 1743.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

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Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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