Night Scenes of Scripture
Seventeen Bible Night Scenes, illustrating and elucidating various truths of the Gospel.
by W. T. P. Wolston, M.D., 1896.
A Night in Egypt — Redemption.
We have already looked at the wonderful truth of the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and that He is the One of whom this twelfth of Exodus speaks, in type, there can be no manner of doubt whatever. You will remember that when John the Baptist saw Jesus coming to him, he emphatically said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
Again, we have seen the necessity of the new birth taking place in man — that he is in a condition which requires an absolutely new work in him. Now we will look a little at the testimony of Scripture as to the work done for him. There is an immense difference between the work done for me, and the work done in me. The work of the Holy Ghost in a man is going on all through his history here; it is a progressive work, and in that sense it is never complete; but the work done for us, the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, is complete. The words of the dying Saviour on the cross were, "It is finished." And, oh, it is an immense thing for the soul to get hold of what those words convey. If you have never, to your knowledge, had a legacy left to you, never say so again, for there has been indeed a legacy left to you by the Lord Jesus Christ — a finished work, which, if you only receive and rest on, will do two things for you; it will deliver you out of the grip of the devil, and it will bring you to God.
There are two sides to the foundation truth of redemption, which is our subject this evening, though I can only touch on one side at present. It has the Godward side, and it has the side that relates to the power of the enemy, who oppresses me as a sinner. Israel in Egypt was in a very sorry case. The people were under a terrible oppressor. They were just like us sinners, in the hands of the enemy, ground down by oppression. Their lives were embittered by cruel bondage, and they were in misery. Well, just like exercised souls, they wanted to escape from their bondage, and the power of the enemy was of course put forth to hinder them. This is where redemption comes in; and redemption is this, that the shackles, the fetters, and the chains that bound the captive must all be broken to pieces in order that the captive may be set free. "Redemption" is a beautiful word. It implies not only that we are brought out of the power of the enemy, but that we are brought to God.
But observe, I cannot be brought from under the power of the enemy till the claims of God, in righteousness, have been first perfectly met, and satisfied. I am a sinner, you are a sinner, man is a sinner, and therefore the condition which has come in between God and man, as the result of sin, must first be met. The result of sin is death, and the only way for you and me to be delivered from our sins and their consequences is by a redemption that is connected with death. I can only be brought out of death by death. There is but one doorway to God, and that is death typified in Exodus 12 by the death of the lamb.
Now the difference between, Exodus 12 and Exodus 14 (which will come before us at another time) is this, that in the former I am set right with God, in the latter I am delivered from Pharaoh, the enemy. What puts you right with God? The blood. And what will put you right with the enemy? God. In Exodus 12 the people had the blood between them and God; in chap. 14 they had God between them and the foe; and that is deliverance. There is no soul really delivered unless he knows distinctly what Exodus 14 teaches in figure — the salvation of God — typified in the Red Sea. The death of the paschal lamb is that aspect of the cross of Christ which meets our need, as screening us from God, while that death also brings us to God; the Red Sea is, in type, the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ for us, by which we are brought entirely out of the grip, and the reach of the enemy; nay, more, in which we see the power of the enemy absolutely broken, so that what is rightly called "The salvation of the Lord" is there seen.
I may just say in passing, that, if you are at all careful to study Scripture, it will interest you to see that there are four great truths in Exodus 12, 13, 14, and 15. I am not, however, going to build doctrines upon the types of these chapters. We have the doctrines in the New Testament, but the types of the Old Testament are exceedingly valuable, as forming a sort of picture-book of Christ, and we have in these four chapters most precious pictures of four fundamental and unspeakably blessed truths presented in the gospel.
In Ex. 12 we have SHELTER through the blood; in Ex. 13 SANCTIFICATION by the blood; in Ex. 14 SALVATION; and in Ex. 15 SATISFACTION. The blood which has sheltered me from the righteous judgment of God is the very thing that sets me apart to God. Therefore in chap. 13 God claims the firstborn as His own, on the ground of redemption. I frankly confess that I believe I have treated this thirteenth chapter with very scant courtesy, in the course of my thirty-five years' preaching, and I am sure it is too generally overlooked. I would now say to all preachers, Do not skip from the twelfth chapter of Exodus to the fourteenth, let the thirteenth have its own place. There is nothing more important. From the moment I am sheltered from the righteous judgment of God, by the blood of the lamb, I belong to God, I am set apart to Him. "It is mine," God says, of the sheltered soul (Ex. 13:2). When we come to chap. 14 we have salvation, and in chap. 15 satisfaction. Thus in chap. 12 I am sheltered from God by the blood; in chap. 13 I am set apart to God by the blood; in chap. 14 I am saved by God from my foes; and in chap. 15 I am satisfied with God — there the people SING. Indeed, redemption is a wonderful word. Shelter, sanctification, salvation, and satisfaction, are all wrapped up in God's redemption, and pictured to us in these four chapters.
Now let us look a little more closely at this twelfth chapter. It is important to take in first of all what Israel's position was. They were a set of slaves — so were we; they were in bondage to a hard taskmaster — so were you and I by nature. Satan, the god and prince of this world, holds every unredeemed, unconverted, sinner, firmly in his grasp. If we turn back for a moment to Exodus 1, we there read: "The Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour; and they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field; all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour" (vers. 13, 14). Yes, they were in a sad case. Slaves in Egypt (type of the world), and under the power of this heartless king, held in bondage of the bitterest kind, little wonder that their souls became distressed — they were miserable. Are they not like sinners in this world? Why, unsaved man, you are often as miserable as you can be. You cannot face death calmly, and you are afraid of the truth that after death comes judgment, for sin has produced a breach between the soul and God, and He must judge sin, sooner or later. And now, if you think of turning to God in your misery, Satan will do his best to hinder you. God notices the misery of His people, and in Ex. 3 He announces to Moses His determination to come down and deliver them: "I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them" (vers. 7, 8). This is Luke 2 anticipated. The Lord was come down — what for? To deliver. What did Jesus come down for? To save. You could not save yourself, I could not save myself, so the Lord Himself comes down to save. Here is His purpose; not only "to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians," but "to bring them up out of that land to a good land and a large, to a land flowing with milk and honey." Redemption carries with it the thought not only bringing out, but bringing in. God would bring you out of the world, from under the bondage and slavery of sin, and to Himself through the redeeming work of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is God's purpose.
Of course the moment this purpose of God is propounded, the hatred and opposition of the enemy are aroused. God sends a message to Pharaoh: "Let my people go" (Ex. 5:1). Pharaoh answers: "Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go?" He is like many sinners nowadays. When even the gospel comes to them they will not submit; they refuse to obey. I recommend you to obey His voice; you will find it a terrible thing, by-and-by, if you do not. Remember, too, that it is sovereign grace and goodness on the part of God to appear for our deliverance. Only think of the interest that God has in us! Why did He not leave us alone? Why did He not let us perish in our sins? Why did He send His Son? Ah, He knew our state, He pitied our misery, He yearned over us, and therefore He sent His beloved Son, in order to accomplish a work that could redeem us.
Well, as I have said, the moment Pharaoh hears that it was in God's mind to deliver this miserable company of brick-making slaves from under his power, his opposition is aroused. I will not let them go, he says. Am I going to let my servants go? Not I. And do you think the devil is going to help to set his slaves free, who now hear me? Not if he can hinder it. He will do his very best to hinder; he always does. His first move is to make the world a happy place, to make people satisfied with themselves, to make them think they are not lost at all, that they are not in bondage, that they are getting on very well in the world. If only he can get you to go on unawakened, and unaroused, his object is gained. And when the gospel for sinners, for the ungodly, for the lost, rings in your ears, Satan will make you a most generous man. Ah! yes, you say, that is a very good gospel for the man behind me, and just suits the man beside me, but, as for myself, of course a decent, respectable man, as I am, does not need it. There is no place where people are so generous as in a gospel meeting; they will give this piece to this person, and the next to another, and let this man, or that man, any one but themselves, have the blessing; they come and they go away unsaved, for the god of this world blinds their eyes.
Remember that the very fact of God having sent a Saviour is a proof that you and I are lost. But people will not have this; they do not like to hear it. If a preacher talks of judgment to come, or of sinners going to hell, they will not listen to it. "Surely we are all facing for heaven," people say. No, no. Do not deceive yourself. If you are not redeemed, if you are not under the shelter of the blood of Christ, God's Lamb, your face is not heavenward, but toward the lake of fire. You will have to meet the judgment of God yourself, unless you get under the shelter of the blood of Him who bore that judgment as your substitute.
Pharaoh seeks to hinder the Israelites from getting out of bondage; he will not let them go; so, from Ex. 5 to the end of Ex. 11, you have the long and wonderful account of how God waits in patience while seeking to break down the opposition of the enemy, and at the same time discovering whether the Israelites really wanted deliverance.
I do not dwell on these chapters, full of deep interest as they are, if carefully studied, but pass on to Ex. 12, where God brings out the truth of redemption. Nine plagues have rolled over Egypt, and now the moment has come for God to bring out the great foundation truth, running all through Scripture, that the only basis of relationship between man and God, since man has fallen, is founded on death; relationship with Him must he established by blood. I know that nowadays people do not like to hear of the blood; I know that the blood of Christ is trampled under foot; but, thank God, I assure you there is a way, and only one way, in which you and I, as sinners, can meet God, in righteousness, and that is the bloodstained pathway of the cross. The new and living way to God is through the death of Christ, not His birth. His birth was necessary, of course, for, if He had not been born, He could not have died; He became a man in order to die.
The difference between the death of Christ and the death of one of us is vital. You and I die because we are sinful men, whereas Christ became a man in order that He might die. You and I had to die; He had not. On Him death had no claim whatever. He could say, "The prince of this world comes, and has nothing in me" (John 14:30). There was no seed of death in Christ. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separated from sinners. It was not only that the Father could say, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;" but His very foes had to confess His excellence and spotlessness. "Never man spake like this man," said the officers who had been sent to take Him; Herod found nothing worthy of death in Him; Pilate was obliged to declare, "I find no fault in him"; the dying thief said to his neighbour, "This man has done nothing amiss." What did he mean by that? He says, as it were, You and I never did a right thing, and here is One who never did a wrong one, and yet He is dying for me, and I am going to cling to Him. And so he turns to the Lord, and says, "Lord, remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom." Oh! my friends, get hold of this; you and I were sinners under sentence of death, but, in grace, the Lord Jesus Christ has stepped in, and died in the room and stead of those who were guilty and lost.
But if God is to bring His people out of Egypt, He must do so righteously; His own character must be vindicated. And therefore the death of Christ must, in figure, be brought before us. The sentence of God upon man for sin is death; that is sin's wages; but, if a man die for himself, how can he redeem himself? That is the difficulty. Psalm 49 declares that "none can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him." Therefore we are shut up to the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, redemption through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, God's own Son, who has died, and "once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18).
The moment has come, in Exodus 12, when God is going to redeem His people; but, I emphasise, that redemption has two sides. Redemption by blood meets the claims of God's nature, whereas redemption by power meets the necessity of the people's condition, as under Pharaoh's (for us Satan's) power. Observe too that God marks out redemption as the commencement of an entirely new history for His people: "This month shall be to you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you" (ver. 2).
May I now ask you, Are you saved yet? Have you begun to live to God? You have not, unless you have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. I saw an old man the other day, every hair of whose head was snow white, and his face wrinkled and furrowed with age, and I asked him, "How old are you?" The old man answered, with a smile, "just four years old." I knew what he meant. For eighty years he had been in the service of the devil, and on the road to hell, but four years before God had opened his eyes and his ears to the beauty and sweetness of the gospel; he had fled to Jesus, and Jesus had saved him. It was the commencement of a new history for him, and he could therefore say truly that his age was just four years.
How old are you, my friend? Well, I daresay many could tell the year, the month, the day, perhaps the very hour of their conversion. I could give you, I might almost say, the very tick of the clock when I was converted, thirty-five years ago. But the point is, Have you got under the shelter of the blood of the Lamb? Have you begun this new history? Can you from the bottom of your soul, with an honest and true heart, say, "Lord, I have got under the shelter of the blood of the atoning Lamb; I have begun to live to God"? If you have never yet done so, let me urge you to begin now. I do not know a better time to begin your soul's history with God than this very moment.
Let us now look at God's instructions to Moses regarding the lamb. "Speak ye to all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb . . . your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year . . . and ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month; and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening" (vers. 36). This is a type, no doubt, of the life of Christ on earth. Had there been a blemish in Him, it would have come out. But, thank God, there was none. It speaks of Him who knew no sin, and who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth — of Him too who at last was made sin. That holy spotless One, perfect in every thought of His heart, in every word of His lips, in every deed of His life before God, at length, in grace, gave Himself a victim, a sacrifice, a substitute for poor sinners like you and me.
But are you sure this is a figure of the Lord Jesus Christ? I am sure; but if I had a doubt in my mind the twenty-ninth verse of John 1 would suffice to settle it. Who but He could take away the sin of the world? Let us also hear what the testimony of the apostle Paul on the point is. He says, "Christ our passover is sacrificed for us" (1 Cor. 5:7). The apostle John also gives us a confirmatory word. When the soldier pierced the blessed Lord's side, after His death on the cross, he distinctly says that His legs were not broken that the scripture (Ex. 12:46) should be fulfilled (see John 19:36). It was because the paschal lamb was a type of the blessed Son of God, the true Lamb of God, who was going to die for sinners in a yet distant day, that the children of Israel were enjoined not to break a bone thereof. The apostle Peter goes yet further, saying: "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" — the very words we have here — "who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you." The giving of His Son to be the atoning Lamb was no after-thought on the part of God, consequent upon man's sin. It was the eternal purpose of God, who knew what man's history would be. Possibly you may ask, Why did God allow man to sin? He let man be a sinner that He might Himself be the Saviour. He let man fall in order that He might show how He could meet his ruin, and bless him. The giving of His Son was the eternal thought of God.
When the Holy Ghost here says, "The precious blood of Christ," does your heart respond and say, "Precious blood indeed it is"? It is not often the Spirit of God uses adjectives, but is it not sweet to hear these words, "Redeemed . . . with the precious blood of Christ"? Remember nothing else can meet the claims of God, nothing can wash you whiter than snow, save that precious blood. But, thank God, that blood can do it. It has cleansed and redeemed untold millions, and if still unsaved, you may now taste of the saving, the cleansing, redeeming, emancipating power of the precious blood of Christ. The devil hates, and men despise it, but God honours it, faith prizes it, and the saints of God rejoice in it.
Israel's instructions on this memorable night were very clear. The lamb was to he kept till the fourteenth day, and then it was to be killed, the blood was to be sprinkled, and the body was to be roasted with fire. It was to be slain between the evenings. "And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts, and on the upper doorpost of the houses, wherein they shall eat it." And now observe what God says: "And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire." Eat not of it raw. Many a man is trying to do this. Many a one will say, I believe that Jesus was a good man, that He was a holy man, that He was a great example, and that He died a martyr for the truth; I admire His life, and I believe that He sealed the doctrines of His life with the devotedness of His death. Ah, that will not do. The flesh must be eaten roast with fire. What does God mean by that? That nothing could deliver me from Satan's power, nothing could clear me of guilt, and bring me to God, but the atoning sufferings — the sacrifice — the death and blood-shedding — the propitiatory offering of the blessed Saviour, the Lamb of God. Christ was made sin for us, He sustained the judgment the sinner deserved. God forsook Him on the cross, — when His soul was made an offering for sin — and that is where and how propitiation was effected.
If you look at the atonement, there are two sides to it, the Godward and the manward. Propitiation is Godward, glorifying Him about sin; substitution is manward, delivering him from his sins, and their consequences. Propitiation is the meeting of the claims of God's nature, His holiness, His majesty, His truth and righteousness, and all these claims have been perfectly and divinely met in the atonement which the Lord Jesus Christ rendered when He died on Calvary's tree, having there borne the judgment of God, His forsaking, and the hiding of His face, the darkness and the smiting, and all the suffering that the bearing of sin must entail. Remember that sin and God can only meet for judgment, either at the cross, where the blessed Saviour bore the judgment of God in respect to sin, that the one believing in Him might never bear it; or else at the great white throne where the sinner will be judged himself. My sin must meet God's judgment, my sin must have expended against it the holy righteous indignation of God's nature, and there are but two places where the judgment of God is expressed and borne — the cross, where the Son of God suffered in the room and stead of the sinner, or the lake of fire, where the sinner suffers for himself. You will have to make your choice, you cannot escape it.
You may dream about God being merciful, and good, and loving, and kind, by which you mean you hope that God will make light of sin. People say, Of course I know I am a sinner, but God is good, and in the day of judgment will He not have mercy upon me? No, He will not; simply because it will then be a day of judgment, not of grace. When people talk about knowing they are sinners, but that God is good, and will be merciful, it simply means that they think very lightly of their sins, and they hope God will do the same. They are mistaken. God thinks so much about your sins and mine that His own Son had to suffer death and judgment, in order that those sins borne by Him, and suffered for on the cross, might not be suffered for by us.
"Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof," was the significant order to Israel, and it speaks to us also. The soul is to take in the beauty and excellence and perfection of Christ in His life, and then to feed upon His death. It is quite true that the will and wickedness of man were expressed in putting the blessed Lord upon the cross, but, forget it not, that Christ "must needs suffer"; there was the necessity of love on His side, as well as the fact of sin on our side. See how beautifully all this comes out here in type.
Now what have I to do in order to obtain salvation? Christ has died and risen again — is not that all that I have to believe, and is not that enough? No. There was something that every household in Israel had to do that night in Egypt, in order to escape the judgment of God. The Lord declares distinctly, "I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt." Why the first-born? Because the first-born expresses what man is in nature. The judgment of God is upon man as man. It matters not whether he be learned or ignorant, religious or irreligious; man is a sinner under sentence of death, and he must meet it. The first-born is the one in whom all hopes are centred, in whom all expectations are wrapped up, and he must die. How can he be delivered? Only by the sweet and precious truth of substitution, another must die in his stead, if he is to be delivered.
"I will execute judgment," says the Lord; but He adds, "The blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt" (ver. 13). Here they have God's promise. Observe at this point they only hear what God wanted, and how they are to be saved. They are not yet saved, they are not yet under the shelter of the blood in this verse. It is like the preaching of the gospel, so to speak. The Lord is here preaching the gospel to Israel, and He tells them, You must kill the lamb, you must take its blood and sprinkle the lintel, and the two side posts of the doors of your houses. And why not on the threshold also? Ah, that is reserved for the unbelief of this learned, educated, cultured, highly scientific nineteenth century. It is reserved for the last decade of this century, above all years, to bring out cold, scathing, heartless criticism of the atonement, and to do what? To trample the blood of Christ beneath the feet. God said, Put the blood upon the lintel, and the two side posts, and that is where faith puts it, above me, and around me; but where does scientific criticism put it today? I will tell you. Our latter-day critics put it on the threshold; they trample the blood of Christ beneath their feet.
This is a solemn indictment, but you know that what I say is true, and that men boldly set aside the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. God's Word declares, "Without shedding of blood there is no remission" (Heb. 9). And what, by-and-by, will be the song of the redeemed in glory, addressed to the Lamb? "Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by "what? Is it by Thy life, by Thy example, by helping us to follow, and walk in Thy steps? No, it is by "Thy blood."
The instructions to Israel were plain and simple: Take a lamb, whose life is altogether apart from yours, kill the lamb, pour its blood into a basin, and put it on the lintel, and two side posts, and then, says God, when I pass through the land in judgment, "the blood shall be to you for a token . . . and when I see the blood (mark that), I will pass over you, and the plague (death) shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt" (ver. 13). Then I ask, What can shelter me from the plague, what can shelter me from God's judgment? The blood, and nothing but the blood: the blood of Jesus, the blood of God's own dear Son, the blood of the Lamb of God. Tell me, are you sheltered, have you that blood between you and God? Well, if never before, let it be there for the future.
It is when God sees the blood sprinkled that He passes over, and judgment is stayed. The shedding of the blood was the rendering to God of that which His holiness demanded, and which His word enjoined but when the life of the lamb was taken, and the blood sprinkled on the lintel, and the two door-posts, we get what Scripture speaks of as "the obedience of faith." How is a man saved? By faith in Christ, and in the testimony of God to the work of His dear Son. True, it is Christ Himself in whom we trust, but the testimony of God is this, that while we trust in His Person — in what He is in Himself — the soul that believes in Him comes under the benefit of all the work He has wrought. No doubt the expression is used, "Through faith in his blood" (Rom. 3:25), but, generally speaking, what we have in Scripture is this: My faith rests in a Person, the eternal Son of God, who came down here that as man He might die for me, and rise again; He wins the confidence of the heart, and then, when I trust in Him, I get the full benefit of the work He has accomplished.
The directions as to the sprinkling of the blood are very significant, and we should weigh them well, and see if we have acted similarly. "Ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you." It is when He sees the blood that God passes over, not when He sees your faith, or your repentance, or your prayers, or anything else but the blood.
But observe the importance of this last instruction. "Take a bunch of hyssop." I am persuaded that there are some in this audience tonight whose hands have never grasped the bunch of hyssop. I do not doubt that you believe in the fact of the death of Jesus, but, I ask you, Have you taken the bunch of hyssop, and sprinkled the blood on the lintel? If you had passed down a street in Egypt that night, you would have seen some houses where the blood was on the lintel — outside, not inside — but you might have come to a house where no blood was to be seen. And yet that man was an Israelite, and had heard God's instructions. You ask the man, How is it there is no sprinkled blood, have you no lamb? Yes, I have a lamb. Is it killed? Yes, and roasted too. But I see no blood. Oh, no, the blood is in the basin. But why is it not outside? Well, I do not see much importance in having the blood there, so long as the lamb has been killed, and the blood shed: I do not like to have the blood on my house, and to put myself up for observation in that way. Surely it cannot make much difference where the blood is when it has been shed. The person who believes merely that Jesus has died, is just like the man who has never sprinkled the blood. He has accepted the truth of the atonement, but it has never been applied to his own soul. What does the bunch of hyssop mean? I believe it signifies the sense, always wrought in the soul when the gospel reaches it, of what I am as a sinner: it is repentance, self-judgment: I am brought low in my own eyes, I am brought to the sense that I am a lost man, and I turn to the cross, and shelter myself beneath the blood of the Lamb.
The hyssop has a very distinct place in Scripture. Solomon "spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon, even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall" (1 Kings 4:33), i.e., the greatest and the least of the products of the vegetable kingdom. The hyssop was a little shrub that did not even take root in the ground, but came out between two stones in the wall. Have I any part in my own redemption? Yes. What is it? My sins, that is all. And of course, if I have a real sense of what my sins are, I shall be bowed before God in repentance, and self-judgment, and the acknowledgement of those sins. And I believe the bunch of hyssop expresses what goes on in the soul of the convicted sinner, contrition before God, in the sense of my sins, and of what I am. My sins would have brought me into death and judgment before God, and nothing but the blood of the Substitute can meet the necessity of my case, so, in faith, and in the sense of my need, I put that blood between my soul and God, and I am safe.
When midnight came in the land of Egypt, and God came out to judge, what was the event? Where there was no sprinkled blood there was no salvation, no shelter. And here tonight, where there is no blood sprinkled, there is no salvation. You say, Oh, yes, I believe the blood of Christ was shed. True, but is it sprinkled? Have you in real, simple faith, fled to the Saviour, and put your guilty, godless soul under the shelter of His precious blood? If not, heed the Word of God, I beseech you: take hold of the bunch of hyssop just now, and get down before the Lord, in the acknowledgement of your sins, and say, Lord Jesus, Saviour, I trust in Thee, and in Thy precious blood. He would love to hear you say —
"Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid'st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come."
Where the blood was sprinkled, salvation was the result; and where no blood was seen, the plague fell. God passed through the land that night in judgment, and "there was not a house where there was not one dead" (ver. 30). In the houses of Israel there was one dead — the lamb, the victim, the substitute. In the houses of Egypt there was one dead — the first-born. In the houses of Israel the lamb had died in the room and stead of the first-born, and that brought peace to many a household that night. So now the poor sinner can say, Jesus has died in my room and stead, and I am free.
You might have gone up to a young man in one of the households of Israel, who was the first-born, and asked him, How is it with you tonight? Have you peace? Perfect peace! How do you feel? I do not rest on my feelings, but on the word of Jehovah. The blood is upon the lintel. It was father's work to put it there, but I assure you I took good care to see that it was done; I was too much interested in the matter not to see to it; my life would go this night if the blood were not there. But the blood is there, and Jehovah has said, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you." And are you at rest? At perfect rest. The blood is the basis of my peace, not what I feel.
Peace is not a feeling, it is not an emotion, it is not an experience, it flows from the fact that the claims of God have been met by the Lamb of God, and God respects His precious blood. As one has said, the blood of Jesus has reached, and touched the very memory of God, for we read in Hebrews 10, "Your sins and your iniquities I will remember no more." The blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins, but the blood of Jesus does. Its value God alone knows. You and I do not know the value of the blood of Christ. We do value it surely, but our value of it is very poor and inadequate. God knows its value perfectly, He esteems its worth fully, and He says to you and me, Trust that blood; get under its shelter. If your soul and mine can each answer, "Lord, I trust it," then God says, I shall treat you according to My estimate of the value of that blood, not according to yours. And that is wherein peace lies. It does not rest on your estimate, or mine, of the blood of Christ, but on God's estimate of it. And what is God's estimate of it? He estimates it so highly, that there is nothing too great for Him to do on the ground of it. He delivers you from judgment, and brings you to glory, on the ground of the shed blood of His own dear Son. And more than that, it will give you the sweetest peace and confidence of heart towards God.
I shall never forget once drawing near to the bedside of an old lady, whose husband had died a few months before, and whose children were all gone too, and she herself was very low. I said to a relation who was there, "Do you think your aunt has made her will?" She begged me to ask herself, and I said to the old lady, "Mrs M-, have you got your worldly affairs all settled?" "Oh, yes," she replied, "they are all settled; I have nothing to think about." "And what about your spiritual affairs?" for I knew she was a Christian, but I thought I should like to hear what she had to say. She opened her great eyes, and, fixing them on me, rejoined, "I could do nothing at that; the blood of Christ, in its solitary dignity, has settled all." Her earthly affairs she and her lawyer had settled easily enough, but, as to her spiritual affairs, "the blood of Christ, in its solitary dignity, has settled all." Charming reply! Has the blood of Christ settled all for you, my friend? It had for her, it has for me, and for every believer, who by-and-by will sing the praises of the Lamb.
Now, I urge you, if you have never yet found shelter under the precious blood of Jesus, trust Him without delay, get sheltered now; you have no time to delay. If you are a wise man, woman, or child, you will bow down before the Saviour this moment and say, "Just as I am, I come to Thee." Put the blood between your soul and God, and at once you have the assurance of God's own word, "When I see the blood I will pass over you." He did pass over Israel's first-born; not one of them died; they were all delivered, and by what? The precious blood of the lamb. God will deliver you similarly if you rest on Christ, and His precious blood.
WHEN first, o'erwhelmed with sin and shame,
To Jesus' cross I trembling came,
Burdened with guilt and full of fear,
Yet drawn by love, I ventured near,
And pardon found, and peace with God,
In Jesus' rich, atoning blood.
My sins are gone, my fears are o'er,
I shun God's presence now no more;
He sits upon a throne of grace,
He bids me boldly seek His face;
Sprinkled upon the throne of God,
I see that rich, atoning blood.
Before His face my Priest appears,
My Advocate the Father hears;
That precious blood, before His eyes,
Both day and night for mercy cries,
It speaks, it ever speaks to God,
The voice of that atoning blood.
By faith that voice I also hear;
It answers doubt, it stills each fear;
The accuser seeks in vain to move
The wrath of Him whose name is Love:
Each charge against the sons of God
Is silenced by th' atoning blood.
Here I can rest without a fear;
By this, to God I now draw near,
By this, I triumph over sin;
For this has made, and keeps me clean
And when I reach the throne of God
I'll laud that rich, atoning blood.