"This is the resting place, let the weary rest; and this
is the place of repose"—
"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming
a curse for us." Galatians 3:13
"CURSE!"—"the curse of the law;" a curse resting on the
soul of man, and on the fair earth which forms his dwelling!
"Man's world is pain and terror,
He found it pure and fair,
And wove in nets of sorrow
The golden summer air.
Black, hideous, cold, and dreary,
Man's curse, not God's, is there!
"Man's world is bleak and bitter;
Wherever he has trod
He spoils the tender beauty
That blossoms on the sod,
And blasts the loving heaven
Of the great, good world of God!"
From that black, blighting, blasting curse, man and his
world are redeemed.
"REDEEMED!" In an earthly sense, none knew, or could
appreciate so fully the significance of that word, as pilgrim Israel, when,
after their wondrous Exodus, they sat under the shadow of these Elim-palms
in the Sinai wilderness. The echoes of their great redemption song was still
lingering in their hearts, "In Your unfailing love You will lead the people
You have redeemed. In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy
dwelling." (Ex. 15:13).
It was the type and foreshadow of a greater deliverance—a
deliverance which has given birth to a grander strain, "You have redeemed
us unto God by Your blood!"
And who was this Redeemer? We read in classic story that
Pylades laid down his life for Orestes his friend. "But God commends
His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died
for us." He, the true Aaron, with the burning coals in His censer of
love, has come between the living and the dead, and the plague is halted!
He, the true David, when the lion and the bear were rushing on his
defenseless flock, encountered them single-handed and alone, and rescued
them from "the mountains of prey!" He, the true antitypical scapegoat,
has had the sins of His spiritual Israel laid upon Him, and has borne away
the curse forever, into a land of forgetfulness!
The arm of the law is powerless. "There is no
condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus!" To turn again to that
'birthday of freedom' so intimately associated with the encampment of the
Hebrews at Elim, that must have indeed been a memorable morning when the
victorious host stood on the other side of the Red Sea. Terrible, too, these
trophies of Divine vengeance that strewed the beach; the bodies of Pharaoh's
warriors, with the sword still fastened by their side or clutched with
Or, to take a similar incident in the future Jewish
annals, dreadful must have been that spectacle—the armored legions of
Sennacherib—who had, the night before, been gathering up their strength like
a proud wave, to dash themselves against the towers of Zion. When the
morning dawns, the 180,000 are still there, with sword and spear and helmet
and streaming banner; but these banners wave over a silent camp. The trumpet
lies beside silent lips; it is a camp of death. Sword and spear are
still intact; but the arms that wielded them are impotent. The destroying
angel has descended at midnight, and converted the Assyrian tent into a
"The battlefield lies still and cold,
While stars, that watch in silent night,
Gleam here and there on weapons bright
In the dead sleepers' slackened hold."
So it is with the curses of the law. Like the weapons of
Pharaoh or the Assyrians, they are still there; each demanding satisfaction,
and declaring, "The soul that sins shall die." But the Great Angel has come
down in the night of earth's moral and spiritual darkness and paralyzed
them. He has, by His own doing and dying, rendered the law powerless to
smite. "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse
Child of God, member of the ransomed family of the true
Israel which He has purchased with His own blood, "as far as the east is
from the west, so far has He removed your transgressions from you." Amazing
picture! You can take the wings of the morning, and make the sun your
chariot—traverse intervening oceans and continents until that sun dips his
burning wheels in the western wave; and when you take a retrospective view
of that magnificent circuit, think of it as God's own emblem of the distance
to which He is willing to remove your transgressions from your sight
and His own!
Or take another scripture, depicting the same wondrous
truth in equally impressive figure. It is the midst of a wide, vast
wilderness of waters, the boundless horizon stretching on every side; and
when the sounding line is let down, it cannot fathom the depth, it fails to
reach the bottom. There, in the solitudes of that voiceless ocean, a plunge
is heard. The surface is ruffled only for a moment; but the waves resume
their usual play—all is calm again. The load, whatever it be, is never more
seen. It is buried somewhere in these dark caverns. No spirit of the deep
can ever come up from the silent caves to tell its story. Ships cross and
re-cross where it fell, but no milestone is left on the unstable highway, to
mark the spot. The sea can be tempted by no bribe to give up the secret of
its keeping; it is lost from sight, and trace, and memory, forever. That is
a picture of what God is willing to do to you, and to me. "You will cast all
their sins into the depth of the sea" (Micah 7:19).
The one paramount reflection arising from these thoughts
is surely this—How wondrous the love of God in not sparing His own, His only
Son, but freely giving Him up to be a curse for us! He, even HE—could
give no costlier proof of divine affection. Reader! having given you the
greater pledge, you may take it as a guarantee for the bestowment of all
lesser blessings. When His providential dispensations at times seem
baffling; when there seems no bright light in the cloud, no mercy in His
footstep; when you are apt to say with Gideon, "If the Lord be with us, why
has all this happened to us?" return to that cross—that mysterious smiting!
Let it hush every rebellious surmise. Did He wear that crown of
thorns for you? Did He pour out His life's blood for you?
Did He become a CURSE for you? And will you murmur at
anything proceeding from a Father's hands?
"Yes! Mourning one—a thought like this
May well each faithless doubt remove;
Take from all tears their bitterness,
That God is LOVE!"
"I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings until the
disaster has passed."