But who may abide the day of his coming? — Mal 3:2
His first coming was without external pomp or show of power, and yet in truth there were few who could abide its testing might. Herod and all Jerusalem with him, were stirred at the news of the wondrous birth. Those who supposed themselves to be waiting for Him, showed the fallacy of their professions, by rejecting Him when He came. His life on earth was a winnowing fan, which tried the great heap of religious profession, and few enough could abide the process.
But what will His second coming be? What sinner can endure to think of it? “He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked!” When in His humiliation He did but say to the soldiers, “I am He!“—they fell backward! What will be the terror of His enemies—when He shall more fully reveal Himself in judgement? His death shook earth and darkened heaven—what shall be the dreadful splendor of that day in which as the living Savior, He shall summon the living and dead before Him? O that the terrors of the Lord would persuade men to forsake their sins and “kiss the Son—or He will be angry, and you will perish in your rebellion, for His anger may ignite at any moment!”
Though a lamb, He is yet the lion of the tribe of Judah, rending the prey in pieces! Though He does not break the bruised reed—yet will He crush His enemies with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. None of His foes shall bear up before the tempest of His wrath, or hide themselves from the sweeping hail of His indignation!
But His beloved blood-washed people look for His appearing with joy, and hope to abide it without fear; to them He sits as a refiner even now and when He has tried them they shall come forth as gold. Let us search ourselves this morning and make our calling and election sure, so that the coming of the Lord may cause no dark forebodings in our mind. O for grace to cast away all hypocrisy, and to be found by Him—“blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation” in the day of His appearing!
But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. — Exod 34:20
Every firstborn creature must be the Lord’s but since the donkey was unclean, it could not be presented in sacrifice to Him. What then? Should it be allowed to go free from the universal law? By no means. God admits of no exceptions. The donkey is His due but He will not accept it; He will not abate the claim but yet He cannot be pleased with the victim. No way of escape remained, but redemption—the donkey must be saved by the substitution of a lamb in its place; or if not redeemed, it must die!
My soul, here is a lesson for you. That unclean donkey is yourself! You are justly the property of the Lord who made you and preserves you but you are so sinful that God will not, cannot, accept you! It has come to this—the Lamb of God must stand in your stead—or you must die eternally! Let all the world know of your gratitude to that spotless Lamb who has died for you, and so redeemed you from the fatal curse of the law!
Must it not sometimes have been a question with the Israelite, as to which should die—the donkey or the lamb? Would not the man pause to estimate and compare? Assuredly there was no comparison between the value of a sinful man and the spotless Lord Jesus! Yet the Lamb dies and man the donkey is spared! My soul, admire the boundless love of God to you! Vile worms are bought—with the blood of the holy Lamb of God! Dust and ashes are redeemed—with a price far above silver and gold! What a doom would have been mine—had not plenteous redemption been found!
The breaking of the neck of the donkey was but a momentary penalty but who shall measure the wrath to come; to which no limit can be imagined! Inestimably dear is the glorious Lamb—who has redeemed me from such a doom!
Morning and Evening - October 15
Public domain content taken from Morning and Evening by Charles H. Spurgeon.