God will be “as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon” (Hosea 14:5). These are not words wastefully spent, for we have great need of such promises, especially in a distressed estate, for then our spirits are apt to sink and our hearts to faint, and therefore we have need to have the same comforts often repeated. Profane persons think “What need of all this?” But if ever you have been touched in conscience for your sins, you will then be far from finding fault when God uses all the secrets in the book of nature and translates them to spiritual things to assure us of His mercy and love.
God has not in vain taken upon Him the name of a Father; He fills it up to the full. It is a name of indulgence, a name of hope, a name of provision, a name of protection. It argues the mitigation of punishment; a little is enough from a father, therefore, in all temptations, it should teach us by prayer to fly under the wings of our heavenly Father and to expect from Him all that a father should do for his child, as provision, protection, indulgence, yea, and seasonable corrections also (which are as necessary for us as our daily bread), and when we die we may expect our inheritance, because He is our Father. But yet we must understand also that the name of a father is a word of relation, something also He expects from us. We must also reverence Him as a Father, which consists in fear and love. He is a great God and therefore we ought to fear Him. He is also merciful, yea has bowels of mercy, and therefore we ought to love Him. If we tremble at Him we know not that He is loving, and if we be over-bold we forget that He is a great God; therefore we should go boldly to Him with reverence and godly fear.
The quintessence and spirit of the things we ask in prayer are in God, as joy and peace and contentedness. Without this joy and peace, what are all the things in the world? And in the want of these outward things, if we have Him we have all, because the spirit of all is in Him and Him alone.
God is said to be our God, or to be a God unto us, when He applies for the good of His creature that all-sufficiency that is in Himself. God is our God by covenant because He has made over Himself unto us. Every believing Christian has the title passed over to him so that God is his portion and his inheritance. There is more comfort in this, that God is our God, than the heart of man can conceive. It is larger than the desires of his heart and therefore, though we cannot say that riches or honors or friends are ours, yet, if able to say by the spirit of faith that God is ours, then we have all in Him; His wisdom is ours to find out a way to do us good. If in danger His power is ours to bring us out. If under the guilt of sin His mercy is ours to forgive us. If in any want His all-sufficiency is ours to supply us. If God be ours then, whatsoever God can do is ours, and all things even whatsoever God has shall be ours.
We must take heed of coming to God in our own persons or worthiness but in all things look to God in Christ. If we look to God as a Father we must see Him to be Christ’s Father first. If we see ourselves acquitted from our sins let us look at Christ risen first. If we think of glorification in heaven let us see Christ glorified first, and when we consider of any spiritual blessing, consider of it in Christ first. All the promises are made to Christ. He takes them first from God the Father and gives them to us by His Spirit. The first fullness is in God and then He empties Himself into Christ. “And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16).
God oftentimes makes wicked men friends to His children, without changing their disposition, by only putting into their hearts some kind thoughts for the time, which incline them to show favor, Nehemiah 2:8, “And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.” God put it into the king’s heart to favor His people. So Genesis 33: 4, “And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.” Esau was not changed, only God for the time being changed his affections to favor Jacob; so God stirs up the hearts of many who still remain notoriously wicked, signally to favor the best, the holiest persons.
God has not in vain taken upon Him the name of a Father; He fills it up to the full.
Written ByNathan D
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