February 12—Morning Devotion
“And the Lord shut him in.”—Genesis 7:16
It was a sweet invitation to the patriarch Noah, when the Lord called him to the ark. Jehovah did not say, go thou into the ark; but, “Come.” So saith Jesus to his people: “Come with me, from Lebanon, my spouse; with me, from Lebanon.” Yes, precious Jesus, to be with thee is heaven; for thou thyself art the heaven of the soul. But observe further, my soul: when Noah had entered the ark, what kept him there? “The Lord shut him in.” Yes, neither bolts nor bars were his security; but God himself, in his covenant engagements, kept him. The patriarch could no more get out, than the unbelieving carnal throng (who perhaps hung about the ark when they saw the flood arise, and felt its power) could get in. Precious Jesus! and what is it keeps thy people now? Is it not thyself? Are not thy redeemed eternally secure in thee, and thy blood and righteousness, as Noah in the ark? Yes, thou who hast the key of all things;” thou openest, and none shutteth; thou shuttest, and none openeth.” In thee my soul is kept secure; for the Lord Jehovah hath shut me in: and I shall ride out all the storms, and floods, of sin and Satan; and, Noah-like, rise above the fountains of the greatest deeps, being shut in in the ark Christ Jesus.
Robert Hawker (1753-1827) was an Anglican (High-Calvinist) preacher who served as Vicar of Charles Church, Plymouth. John Hazelton wrote of him:
“The prominent features…in Robert Hawker's testimony…was the Person of Christ….Dr. Hawker delighted to speak of his Lord as "My most glorious Christ.” What anxious heart but finds at times in the perusal of the doctor's writings a measure of relief, a softening, and a mellowing? an almost imperceptible yet secret and constraining power in leading out of self and off from the misery and bondage of the flesh into a contemplation of the Person and preciousness of Christ as "the chiefest among ten thousand and the altogether lovely." Christ and Him crucified was emphatically the burden of his song and the keynote of his ministry. He preached his last sermon in Charles Church on March 18th, 1827, and on April 6th he died, after being six years curate and forty-three years vicar of the parish. On the last day of his life he repeated a part of Ephesians 1, from the 6th to the 12th verses, and as he proceeded he enlarged on the verses, but dwelt more fully on these words: "To the praise of His glory Who first trusted in Christ." He paused and asked, "Who first trusted in Christ?" And then made this answer: "It was God the Father Who first trusted in Christ."