January 5 Today’s Reading: Genesis 17 — 19
“Is Anything Too Hard for the Lord?”
We should endeavor, with the reading of Holy Scripture each day, to remember what we have read, so that we can meditate upon it through the day. As we read the Word of God and meditate upon it, let us pray that God the Holy Spirit will graciously apply it to our hearts and lives and inspire us by his Word to consecrate ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ. To that end, let us meditate today upon seven specific things in the passage we have read.
1. God’s Promise
The Lord God promised Abraham a Seed with whom he would establish his covenant in the earth and in whom a chosen multitude scattered through all the nations of the earth would be blessed. That Seed promised to Abraham is Christ our Savior. Abraham seems to have understood clearly that God’s promise extended far beyond Isaac to One coming in whom he himself would find everlasting righteousness, acceptance and blessedness before God. He believed God could do all he promised, though God’s promise was totally contrary to all appearance. May God give us grace to trust him and look to Christ for everything (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).
What was the meaning of circumcision? Why was this painful act practiced and required throughout the Old Testament? Circumcision was a token, or sign of God’s covenant. It was a symbolic cleansing, by cutting away the filth of the foreskin of the flesh. Any who were not circumcised among the Jews were to be permanently severed from the people. All these things tell us (as does the New Testament — Colossians 2:11) that circumcision pointed to and portrayed the work of God the Holy Spirit in the new birth, by which all who are born of God are sealed (experimentally) into the kingdom of God and the blessedness of his covenant people.
3. A Father’s Prayer
When Abraham knew God’s gracious purpose for Isaac, he feared for Ishmael. He cried to God, “O that Ishmael might live before thee!” Blessed are those children whose father’s seek the welfare of their souls above all other things.
4. Submissive Faith
Though he loved Ishmael and sought the same grace for Ishmael as God promised to Isaac, when the Lord God made his will known to Abraham (17:21) even regarding his son Ishmael, believing God, Abraham bowed his will to God’s will. May God give us such grace!
Abraham’s example of hospitality is used in the book of Hebrews to urge us to graciously entertain others in our homes. Believers who open their homes, their families and their hearts to God’s pilgrims in this world often find those they entertain to be divinely sent messengers of grace, by whom they are blessed (Hebrews 13:1-2.
6. Intercessory Prayer
The Lord God spared Lot when he destroyed Sodom, because Abraham prayed for him. May God the Holy Spirit, teach us this day that “the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
7. Sovereign Grace
How marvelously the deliverance of Lot from Sodom displays God’s sovereign, saving grace in and by Christ Jesus. As the angels could not destroy the place until Lot was safely delivered, so the Lord God will not destroy this world until all his chosen have been saved by his grace (2 Peter 3:9). As God sent his messengers to Lot when the time for his deliverance had come, so the Lord God graciously sends his appointed messengers to chosen sinners when the “time of love” for them has come (Romans 10:17-18). When “Lot lingered,” grace snatched him from Sodom, as a brand from the burning. O Lord God, we praise you this day for the blessed violence of your grace, by which you saved us, even when we would not be saved!
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