Alexander MacLaren on Genesis 17

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I had never heard of the 19th century British minister Alexander MacLaren until the other day, but I’m glad I did. For any who might be blessed by them, here are some of his comments on Genesis 17 that struck me:

“We, too, are often tempted to think that, in the highest matters, ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,’ and to wish that God would be content with our Ishmaels, which satisfy us, and would not withdraw us from possessed good, to make us live by hope of good unseen. We need to reflect on this vision when we are thus tempted.”

“The ancient word, that breathed itself into Abram’s hushed heart, should speak new vigour into ours. ‘I am the Almighty God – take My power into all thy calculations, and reckon certainties with it for the chief factor. The one impossibility is that any word of Mine should fail. The one imprudence is to doubt My word.’”

“What a glimpse into the depths of that divine heart is given, when we see that we are His possession, precious to Him above all the riches of earth and the magnificences of heaven! ”

“To possess God is only possible on condition of yielding ourselves to Him. When we give ourselves up, in heart, mind, and will, to be His, He is ours. When we cease to be our own, we get God for ours. The self-centred man is poor; he neither owns himself nor anything besides, in any deep sense. When we lose ourselves in God, we find ourselves, and being content to have nothing, and not even to be our own masters or owners, we possess ourselves more truly than ever, and have God for our portion, and in Him ‘all things are ours.’”

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