"They Went After Them Unto Jordan"

"They took therefore two chariot horses; and the king sent after the host of the Syrians, saying, Go and see. And they went after them to Jordan: and, lo, the way was full of garments and vessels, which the Syrians had cast away in their haste. And the messengers returned, and told the king" (2 Kings 7:14-15).

What a relief it must have been to those starving Samaritans to find that Jordan was the end of their strong and remorseless foes. Traces of them there were every step of the way to that famous river, for the whole way was full of garments and vessels which the Syrians had cast away in their haste; but them they found not. With what eager steps would those messengers return to tell the king! What good news their report would be to the multitudes in the city! And, set free from fear of those terrible Syrians, with what relish they would turn to the feast so suddenly and unexpectedly given them, according to the word of the man of God. And the silver and gold and raiment! the horses and the asses! it requires no vivid imagination to picture how quickly these would be appropriated by those astonished and triumphant Israelites.

Such is the end of the story so strikingly told, and so well worthy of being read, in 2 Kings 7. A story of deep interest yet of important instruction, telling in pictorial language of "the better things" which the gospel of God proclaims to us.

The Jordan figures the death of Christ. Have we traced our foes to it, to the cross of our great Saviour, and found it to have been the death of them all. Every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ may do so, and rejoice in a complete and everlasting deliverance.

We had no foes more terrible than our SINS. How the guilt of them oppressed us! What a burden they were upon our consciences and souls as we staggered beneath the load of them to destruction! And the sins themselves — some of them went before us to judgment, proclaiming in trumpet tones as they went that rebels against God were coming that way, and others followed after, stealthily and sure, like a pack of hounds upon the trail of a fugitive, or an unerring detective on the track of a criminal, and ready to witness against us in the great judgment day! But whether they went before or after, the thought of them made us shudder and fear, for we knew that our sins would find us out. Before, behind, and on every side of us they gathered like a strong host besieging a doomed city.

What a relief it was to us when we heard the gospel — when we heard how the Son of God, whose precious name is JESUS, had come to save us from our sins, and when, by faith, we saw Him bearing His cross to Calvary as the Lamb of God, who bears away the sin of the world! How great was the load that was laid upon Him there, for the Scripture says, "the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. 53:6), and "who Himself bare our sins in His own body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24). Because of our sins He suffered: "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed" (Isa. 53:5). As the scapegoat in Israel's history carried away, in figure, the sins of that nation into a far off land where no man dwelt, so in His death, when the waves of judgment rolled over Him, did our Scapegoat carry away our sins. They are cast into the depths of the sea (Mic. 7:19); they are to be remembered no more (Heb. 10:17); He was delivered for our offences that we might be justified from them all (Rom. 4:25; Acts 13:29). How blessed for us to see Him, the Omnipotent Redeemer, going down into the darkest waters of judgment with all our sins upon Him; to trace our sins to that sacred spot and to see the mighty flood roll over them and HIM. Then on the third day, to see Him rise up without them, having made expiation for them, and able to say to us, "Peace be to you," and to know that now there is no condemnation for any who are in Him. In the death of Christ our sins were overwhelmed and we are free.

And DEATH also, and him that had the power of it, which is the DEVIL, what merciless foes were these! No kindness throbs in the bosom of the king of terrors, no pity in the heart of the devil; this we knew well, and how the thought of it made us dread the future — the last unavailing struggle, the silent grave, and that which lies beyond! But the gospel has brought peace to our souls, for it has told us the tidings of Him who partook of flesh and blood that, through death, He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage (Heb. 2:14-15). As David laid the giant in the dust of Passdammin and delivered Israel from the dread of him, so has our Lord delivered us; He has bruised the head of the devil; "He death by dying slew"; He has taken the sting out of death and robbed the grave of its victory. We can trace our foes to His death and find in that the death and end of them all.

There were other foes — our own evil selves — the flesh; the world with its allurements and snares; sin as a master, and many others, but the death of Christ is the way of deliverance from them all, whatsoever they be.

And being set free we may now feast upon the provision of God's grace for us, for where sin abounded grace does much more abound, and the gold, the silver, and raiment, the wheat and the barley all have their counterpart in blessed spiritual realities in Christianity. These are "the exceeding riches of God's grace," "the unsearchable riches of Christ," "the love of Christ which passes knowledge," and "all the fullness of God."

Yes; when we come to Christ the famine is turned into a feast, and where we expected foes and feared to meet them, there we find a full deliverance and God's plenteous pros vision for our need, and exceedingly abundantly more than we are able to ask or think.