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#354 SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON #16 GEN 16:4-16
LESSONS FROM SARAI'S CONDUCT
In this sermon, based on Genesis 16:4-16, we will discuss the conduct of Sarai, or Sarah, toward Abram. There are some very striking lessons to be learned in this chapter.
Sarai was a very beautiful woman as we see from GEN 12:14, "And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair." We can go to 1PE 3:1-6 to find the source of her beauty: "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement."
Sarai's beauty was in her meek and quiet spirit. She was a lovely person who was of great price in the sight of God. We want to see the awesome lesson of this chapter. See how human reasoning marred this blessed, meek, and quiet spirit. When the Lord finds human reasoning in the place of faith, He withdraws His restraining grace. He allowed that beautiful person to mar her beauty. She became a contentious and angry woman. That is the fruit of forsaking God. It is a lesson recorded here for our learning. That blessed, meek, and quiet spirit of submission unto the Lord was the source of her beauty. Unbelief and walking in human reasoning marred that precious beauty. When we forsake the Lord, He allows confusion to become our portion. Confusion came into Abram's house as a result of human reasoning.
Sarai acknowledged the Lord's restraining hand in her barrenness. GEN 16:2 says, "And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing." She acknowledged that it was of the Lord that she was childless. Why did they manipulate the situation through human reasoning instead of entreating the Lord? They should have come before the Lord to inquire of His will. This is a lesson for us. When we forsake the will of God by using human reasoning, confusion becomes our portion.
Scriptures clearly teach that it is the Lord who gives children as we read in GEN 33:5 about Jacob. "And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children [when he met with Esau]; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant." Children are the heritage of the Lord. They are the inheritance of the Lord.
It is also very clear from Scripture that it is the Lord who withholds the fruit of the womb as we also see in GEN 30:2. Rachel was telling Jacob that he had not given her children. Here is Jacob's answer. "And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?" Who withheld the fruit of the womb? It was God.
When Sarai recognized that the Lord had restrained her from bearing children, she should have entreated the Lord instead of resorting to human reasoning. She should have patiently waited upon the Lord.
The Scriptures also teach that the Lord hears the prayer of those who are childless. There are several references, but I will cite only one. GEN 25:21 says, "And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived." We have Scripture that clearly teaches where Sarai's problem was. She knew and understood, but she failed in her faith and resorted to human reasoning. This is a dangerous area in the lives of God's dear children.
Many times in my own life I have been a victim of human reasoning. God gives a promise, and then I begin to reason that this or that will happen. None of it happens. In PRO 30:5-6, we learn that "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar."
The Lord had promised Abram that his seed, the fruit of his own bowels, would inherit the Gentiles, but he added to that. He said they had been there ten years and nothing had happened, so in his human reasoning, he began helping God bring forth that promise. This is where Abram failed of God's grace and fell into human reasoning; this brought much grief into his household. Abram was to become Abraham, father of the faithful, so we must learn from his example. We are not above falling in this same slippery spot. When we fall, we bring much misery into our lives. We bring about our own misery by falling in this same slimepit.
GEN 16:2 says, "And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. [She realized it was to be her child, but she thought she could obtain a child by her maid. She used human reasoning ] And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai." He did the same thing Adam did that brought about the fall of man. Adam also listened to the voice of his wife instead of coming before the Lord to seek the Lord's will. In so doing, he violated one of God's principles.
Abram failed to see the principle taught by the Apostle Paul in 1TI 2:12-15. "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety."
Sarai convinced Abram to come under her leadership. She presented her argument and convinced him to listen to her. She told him what to do. Adam was not deceived when he partook of the forbidden fruit; he did it with his eyes open. Adam knew he was transgressing and violating the law of God. Eve was deceived, but Adam was not.
Sarai would have had her child if she had waited in faith. When Abram became impatient, he began to walk by sight instead of by faith. His eye was no longer upon the Lord for direction, and he came against God's eternal Word. That is what we do every time if we start human reasoning and following our own sense of direction. We end up coming against the Word of God.
The Scriptures clearly teach that those who were childless could entreat the Lord. ISA 28:16 says, "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste." Abraham became impatient. He believed, but he had his human reasoning. In his impatience, he faltered and violated the principles of the Word of God. This is what happens when we run ahead of the Lord.
Abram's folly in human reasoning is recorded for our learning that we may seek God's counsel through His Word and through prayer. People so often want to continue to pray and seek Gods will even after a passage of Scripture directly relating to their situation has been pointed out to them. When the Word of God is not our authority, were not going to get an answer outside of His Word. We have to seek counsel through His Word. When we come before the Lord and ask for counsel, it is in His Word that we will find a verse that is exactly on point. That is how God answers. When we see in the Word explicitly what the Word of God commands us to do in that circumstance, we dont need to pray for the Lord to tell us something different. That is His counsel. We need to seek His counsel through His Word and through prayer. MAT 7:7-8 reads, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
We must also be very careful when someone says, "The Lord told me ," and there is no resemblance in Gods Word to that message as though the Lord is speaking outside of His Word. Dont fall into the thinking that the Lord is going to talk to us by some little thing that comes to our mind. All of a sudden, weve thought of something and are saying the Lord spoke to us. If it is not in His Word or if His Word is not in total harmony with what we think the Lord is telling us, we had better be careful. It might be our own imagination. It may not be the Lord speaking at all. "Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." What will be opened? The Word of God will be opened to us so that we will understand the will of God according to His Word.
Now if we ask and do not receive, it may be because we are cherishing some bosom sin. When you and I come before the Lord and are asking the Lord for some particular petition, but are not receiving an answer though we go on for months, we must examine our petition. Are we asking for something that is not according to His will? Are we asking for something that would come into conflict with His Word? Or, are we asking with a bosom sin that we are cherishing? We may have in the back of our hearts some bosom sin that we want to glorify, some idol that we want to glorify, and were asking the Lord to bring about that which will help us perform something which is contrary to His will.
We learn from David how cherishing some bosom sin is a reason God does not hear. PSA 66:16-18 states, "Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. If I regard [if I cherish] iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:" In other words, God answered the prayer, but the thing He is teaching us here is that "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." In effect David is saying, "While I will declare what he has done for my soul, he has granted my request because that bosom sin was cast out."
See how soon Abram saw the fruit of having violated the principle that was taught in 2CO 6:l4-l6.
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" Abram became unequally yoked, and the result was a seed after the flesh. The son of Abraham born to the Egyptian woman became the Arabic nation, and those Arabs are still anti-Christ. That was the fruit of it and what yoke did he bring upon a people even though he was a chosen vessel of Gods mercy. Abraham, in his human reasoning, violated Scriptural principles. These violations brought much grief into his home.
The fruit of such an unwarranted union brought forth nothing but confusion and bondage. Look at GAL 4:22-24: "For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. [The one was born after the flesh, and the other was born of promise. The one born after the flesh was the fruit of human reasoning; it was not the fruit of Gods will.] The verses above are also an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar." The word "Agar" is the Greek word for "Hagar" in Hebrew. We see that it "gendereth to bondage."
To gender means to father children. Abram was fathering children unto the flesh because he was unequally yoked. He violated scriptural principles, the very Word of God. The fruit of that is he gendered unto bondage, which is Hagar, under Mt. Sinai, not under Mt. Zion. It was outside of the Lords favor. Abram's failure to entreat the Lord (like Isaac did) brought immediate confusion into his house which only "gendereth to bondage." All of a sudden there was a conception that brought bondage, confusion, strife. It brought nothing but sin.
Take note of GEN 16:3-4: "And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes." See the immediate confusion it brought into his house. Abram had two wives, one gendering seed after the flesh and becoming an indignation against his other wife, the one of the promise. You see now where the spiritual warfare was born in his house. The flesh strives against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh.
We see that Hagar is elated by the fact that she conceived and Sarai did not. Sarai was despised in her eyes. Abram finds out by painful experience what Solomon found out from his unwarranted union with heathen women. We see this in PRO 30:21-23: "For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear: [In other words, the earth is disquieted; it brings trouble, depression, friction, and strife.] For a servant when he reigneth; [Thats what happened with Hagar. She was a servant and was exalting herself above Sarai.] and a fool when he is filled with meat; For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress." Solomon saw the bitterness of these same follies. He sees a handmaid that becomes an heir to her mistress, and he was married to an odious woman, a woman that immediately rose up in pride.
Now we see a contrast. We saw in the beginning the blessed beauty of Sarah in her meek and quiet spirit. Then contention set in, and we see how it marred that blessed beauty of Sarah. God often makes our sin as His instruments to ensnare us in our own human reasoning. See PRO 26:27: "Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him." We fall in our own misery which is of our own making. We bring about our own confusion, all with human reasoning by violating the principles of the Word of God, by following our own reasoning instead of coming before the Lord for wisdom to discern His will.
The consequences of Abram's folly were just what could be expected. The Egyptian maid was elated with honour. It was an honour for a woman to bear seed. It was a great dishonour to be barren. We see in I-SA l that Elkanah was the husband of two wives, "but Hannah had no children" though his other wife did. Note verse 6-11: "And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb. And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat. Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? And why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? Am not I better to thee than ten sons? So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk, Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head."
Her bitterness was the reproach of being childless. In the situation we are studying, Sarai was childless, and Hagar was exalting herself above Sarai who had fallen in her estimation. This brought strife not only between Hagar and Sarai but also between Abram and Sarai.
When Hagar "saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes." What was the first thing that happened? "And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee," GEN l6:5. There was strife between Abram and Sarai, and Abram received the accusation from Sarai that her wrong was still his fault. The contention came between Abram and Sarai. Sarai said, "the LORD judge between me and thee," not "the LORD judge between me and (Hagar)." Sarai said, "My wrong be upon thee."
Now when there was strife between Abram's herdmen and Lot's herdmen, Abram acted wisely. We see this in GEN 13:7-9: "And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left." Abram made no attempt to defend himself. He let Lot have whatever he wanted. He acted very wisely.
Now the Lord allowed the strife to come a little closer to home. Abram couldnt say to Sarai, "you go to the left, and Ill go to the right." That was his wife, his family. That was the wife that the Lord had given him. The strife came a little closer to home so we might learn God's reward for human reasoning and yielding to temptation. So what was Abram's next folly?
One sin most often leads to another. After the folly of listening to his wife instead of entreating the Lord, Abram now refused to accept the responsibility for all the confusion and strife and surrenders his position as head of the house to Sarai. Instead of taking his position as head of the house and dealing with the problem, he turns it over to Sarai. GEN 16:6 states: "But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thine hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face."
Abram is putting Sarai in a position to mar that blessed spirit of meekness and submission to her husband and placing her where she must deal with her own problem. He has failed again, and this time grievously because he has marred the beauty of that blessed spirit of meekness, "which is in the sight of God of great price." Cf. IPE 3:4. He marred that beauty by placing his wife in a position where it was her duty to decide and set his own leadership at naught. See what happened to that beautiful, loving, sweet woman. "Sarai dealt hardly with (Hagar)." She became contentious, mean; she dealt harshly with her handmaid who had to flee from her face.
The Spirit of Christ was no longer the guide of the household. That happens when we start bartering the principles of the Word of God, and we start reasoning with human reasoning. One sin leads to another. This strife only led to further confusion. All peace and unity in the home was destroyed. Note in PRO 21:19 what Solomon said of the plight in which Abram and his unwarranted wife found themselves: "It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman." By laying down his leadership, Abram put Sarai where she became harsh, hard, contentious, an angry woman. He brought the very worst out of her by his failure to follow the principles of Scripture.
In all this, we find no indication in Scripture that Abram ever returned to inquire of the Lord in all this difficulty. Unless the Lord intervenes, we would never return to the Lord. Abram began to fall, and he continued to fall. The further you fall, the faster you fall. Abram fell into a state of total confusion. His handmaid who was carrying his own child was driven from the house because of the angry, harsh dealing of Sarai. It was after Hagar was driven out into the wilderness by this contentious, angry woman that the Lord intervened. The Lord allows it to go to a certain end, and then He intervenes when its His dear people. The Lord intervened in this case. He is always first in the cause of repentance.
In GEN 16:7, " the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur." It was better for Hagar to flee into the wilderness than to stay and try to live under an angry, contentious woman. Hagar was fleeing back to Egypt; she was an Egyptian. The Lord found her. The place where the angel found her attracts our attention. In GEN 16:14, this fountain is referred to as "the well." We have two symbols here, a fountain and a well.
This well and this fountain teach three principles. First, the well was found in the wilderness. It s very important that we understand where this well was. Second, this well was by the fountain. Third, it was by this well that God revealed Himself.
The first principle teaches that when God's people stray away from His love by yielding to sin, it is in the wilderness of sin that God comes with His comforts. He brings us to see the emptiness and barrenness of where weve been, then He comes to restore His comforts. Read HOS 2:13-13: "And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the LORD. Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her." The Lord brings us to see the emptiness of our sin, and the decking, the serving of Baalim and running after the things of the flesh that we love. He says, "Im going to take her out of the midst of all this."
He did that with the prodigal son. The prodigal son wasted his resources with riotous living, but the Lord brought him out of all this. He brought him to the point where he was feeding the swine and eating the husks the swine left.
The second principle teaches us that when we see ourselves in this wilderness of sin, we come to the fountain for cleansing. We read in ZEC 13:1: "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness." In other words, the second thing is Gods leading in grace. First, He brings us into the wilderness to see the heinousness of our position. He brings us to come to ourselves and to understand the sinfulness of sin so that well no longer cherish sin in our heart, but we now have the desire to be delivered from the power of sin. We want to return to the service of the Lord. Secondly, we need cleansing. We need to be cleansed from the pollution of that sin so that we no longer walk in it. It is in that fountain open for all sin and uncleanness that we have our garments washed and made white.
The third principle teaches us that it is through Christ who is typified by this well that God revealed Himself. The apostle Paul spoke of the children of Israel in 1CO 10:4: "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." That Rock became a well of living waters. After we come to see the sinfulness of sin and come to the fountain for cleansing, we start again to drink from that fountain which is the Lord Jesus Christ, from that blessed well.
This fountain of living water is also referred to as a well in NUM 21:16-17: "And from thence they went to Beer: that is the well whereof the LORD spake unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them water. Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it." It was a spring of living waters. It was that Rock that followed them, which was Christ. This is the spiritual lesson that we learn from Hagar in the wilderness. We see that the Lord leads us into the wilderness to empty us.
It is in this wilderness, not while we are living in luxuries, that Christ is made precious to the soul.
You and I will never have the preciousness of Christ while we are living in luxury and in sin with our heart going out after the world. Read PRO 27:7: "The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet." When our hearts are completely full to overflowing with the things and the pleasures of this world, the Lord will empty us before He fills us with His love. Then, every bitter thing becomes sweet. The trials and the exercises of our faith that the Lord used to empty us become very sweet. It was the love of the tender, loving Father. It was the tender love of His hand that brought us these trials, these bitter experiences, that emptied us in order that He might fill us with His fullness and with grace upon grace.
So what is the first effect of cleansing at that fountain which is opened in the wilderness? Is it not that the power of rebellion is broken and submission is restored? It was that blessed submission of Sarai that made her such a beautiful woman. It was that "meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." Cf. IPE 3:4. Now we see that Abrams house was filled with rebellion and contention. What was the blessed fruit of coming to this well? Submission was restored.
GEN 16:8-9 states, "And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou? [Note the Lord didnt say Abrams wife; He said Sarais maid. He did not acknowledge that unwarranted marriage union.] and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. As a result of coming to that well, the rebellion of Hagar is now dealt with, and she must return and submit if she wants to have peace. Do you and I want to live in peace with God? There is only one road that leads to peace, and that is subjection to the will of God.
The Lord did not acknowledge Abram's unwarranted union, which was the product of their human reasoning. God did not tell Hagar to return unto her husband and submit to him but He said, "Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands." That marriage union was unwarranted, and the Lord did not look at Hagar as Abrams wife.
Now see the effect when we truly come before the Lord in the face of Jesus Christ. Read GEN 16:13: "And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?" When she came to that well, to the blessed water flowing from that fountain, where she was brought into subjection, she saw how transparent she was, how "Thou God seest me." See the parallel to this in HEB 4:12-14. (This is the effect when our eyes are opened with a revelation of that heavenly high priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. When we receive a revelation of Christ, the effect is we see how transparent we are.} "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest [as clear as day] in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession."
When our hearts are made naked before the Lord, then we understand what Hagar said, "Thou God seest me." There is no conniving left. There is no manipulating. Our hearts become honest before the Lord because we know that the Lord understands every motive that promotes every action of our life. Now we come naked and open before the Lord. Thats why we need that fountain for cleansing and the water from that free-flowing fountain to feed our thirsty soul.
When the Lord brings His dear people into the wilderness by the way of Fatherly discipline, it is to obtain that desired effect which we see in the angel's instruction to Hagar. "And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands," GEN 16:9. That is what the Lord does in His chastening. He wants us to submit and have the Spirit of Christ. What was that? "He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross," PHI 2:8. When you and I understand what that is, then we understand what it is to become obedient unto death. We write "Death" upon self, "Death" upon sin, "Death" upon all the things that attract the flesh. We take up our cross, crucifying that old man of sin, and follow Him. Thats the blessed effect of a revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When the Lord has reached the desired effect by His chastening hand, then it is as we read in HEB 12:11: "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness [conformity of life to the divine law] unto them which are exercised thereby." Chastening brings about a heart of submission, that blessed meek and quiet spirit that we see on Sarai in IPE 3. She is a type of the church as she is in subjection to her husband. Whos our husband but the Lord Jesus Christ. It brings blessed submission to the authority of that blessed bridegroom. "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous." Its grievous to the flesh, but it brings submission. "Nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." Those whom the Lord chastens, He loves. When the loving hand of the Father has brought about its desired effect, then we can come as we read in ISA 66:10-12: "Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her: That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees." When submission sets in, when the unconditional, total surrender of the heart is in place, then we are dandled upon the knees. Then shall we "suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations."
And, "I will extend peace to her like a river." How do we get peace like a river? Where does a river start? It starts way in the top of the mountains, and it flows into the valley. As our peace flows unto us, it flows as we descend into that valley of humiliation and as we humble ourselves unto death, even the death of the cross, crucifying that old man of sin and all the affections of the flesh. When we take up our cross and follow Him, then peace extends unto us like a river. It comes into that valley of humiliation. "Then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem." Thats the blessed effect were speaking of in HEB l2:11: "Nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them that are exercised thereby." Amen.
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