Christian Friend vol. 18, 1891, p. 41.
H. C. Anstey.
"Manoah and his wife LOOKED ON." - Judges 13:20.
Christ is the grand subject of the Bible. He is the object of God, in type and shadow, in the Old Testament, but in real substance in the New. Hence, when on earth, He said, "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of ME." There is blessed food for the soul in reading the Old Testament in this light. Christ is the key which unlocks the treasure to us.
The burnt-offering - Christ in all His blessed perfection - wholly burnt - a sweet savour to God (Leviticus 1) - is before us in this offering of Manoah and his wife. The burnt-offering was all for God, none of it could be eaten by man; but along with it we find God provided a meat-offering (vv. 19, 23), and of this the priest might eat.
Christ, as the food of God, is presented to us in the burnt-offering. What did Manoah and his wife see? They saw it was all for God. God has found infinite satisfaction and delight in the work of the cross. It all went up a savour of infinite sweetness to God. But God has called us in to share in our measure in this His own delight in Christ and His work. There is a meat-offering. He has given to the believer that same blessed Christ to be the continual food of his soul. Christ is the fatted calf of Luke 15. God says, "Bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry." Who are the "us" here invited to "eat, and be merry"? It is the Father and the returned prodigal son. God says, "I have found my delight in Him, and now do you come and find your delight in Him too." Thus by His own request I feed upon what the Father feeds upon.
Do not be for ever occupied with, and complaining of, your leanness; we must all admit it, and then it is time to have done with it. Can you fathom what that blessed Christ is to God - the burnt-offering? No, you cannot; but you can do what Manoah and his wife did. You can "look on" and see what God's estimate is. We want more of this habit. We want daily to say, "Well I know what Christ was to God in all the work of the cross;" and as I look on and am occupied with that, I am feeding upon what delights the heart of the blessed God Himself. And note it is God's WISH for me to be thus occupied. It will be the theme of eternal occupation in heaven, and if so it is fitting that it should be my theme on earth. Thus we feed upon that which has eternally satisfied God.
The fire is judgment. But what need of the judgment of God upon Him? Though Christ in all His absolute perfection is seen in the burnt-offering, the fire proclaims that He took the place of judgment. The sin and the sinner needed this, and the holiness of God demanded it. But then God has accepted that work. Yes, He finds His delight in it. It is done; and as we contemplate it we partake with God. We "look on" upon that wondrous scene, always fresh to God, and we see Christ, and the work He accomplished, all going up and accepted by Him. We are called in to share with God in all the blessing of it, to feed, and if I am not there I am not in communion with God's thoughts of His blessed Son.
"God, thine everlasting portion,
Feeds thee with the mighty's meat;
Price of Egypt's hard extortion,
Egypt's food no snore to eat."
God delights to draw our attention to His own delight in Christ. May our hearts find their true rest there. It is not what I am or can be, it is what Christ was and is. May it be now the food of our souls, as it will be throughout eternity. H. C. A.
* * *
Truth, and the application of truth, are two very different things. It is one thing to speak of the peculiar glories of the Church, and quite another thing to be practically influenced by those glories. C. H. Mackintosh.