His bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob. — Gen 49:24
That strength which God gives to His Josephs is real strength; it is not a boasted valor, a fiction, a thing of which men talk but which ends in smoke; it is true—divine strength. Why does Joseph stand against temptation? Because God gives him aid. There is nothing that we can do—without the power of God. All true strength comes from “the mighty God of Jacob.”
Notice in what a blessedly familiar way God gives this strength to Joseph, “The arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob.” Thus God is represented as putting His hands on Joseph’s hands, placing His arms on Joseph’s arms. Like as a father teaches his children—so the Lord teaches those who fear Him. He puts His arms upon them! Marvelous condescension! God Almighty, Eternal, Omnipotent, stoops from His throne and lays His hand upon the child’s hand, stretching His arm upon the arm of Joseph, that he may be made strong!
This strength was also covenant strength, for it is ascribed to “the mighty God of Jacob.” Now, wherever you read of the God of Jacob in the Bible, you should remember the covenant with Jacob. Christians love to think of God’s covenant. All the power, all the grace, all the blessings, all the mercies, all the comforts, all the things we have, flow to us from the well-head, through the covenant. If there were no covenant, then we would fail indeed; for all grace proceeds from it, as light and heat from the sun. No angels ascend or descend, except upon that ladder which Jacob saw, at the top of which stood a covenant God. Christian, it may be that the archers have sorely grieved you, and shot at you, and wounded you but still your bow abides in strength; be sure, then, to ascribe all the glory to Jacob’s God!
The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power. — Nah 1:3
Jehovah “is slow to anger.” When mercy comes into the world she drives winged steeds; the axles of her chariot-wheels are red hot with speed! But when wrath goes forth, it toils on with tardy footsteps, for God takes no pleasure in the sinner’s death. God’s rod of mercy is ever outstretched in His hands; His sword of justice is in its scabbard, held down by that pierced hand of love which bled for the sins of men.
“The Lord is slow to anger,” because He is GREAT IN POWER. That person is truly great in power—who has power over himself. When God’s power does restrain Himself, then it is power indeed: the power that binds omnipotence is omnipotence surpassed. A man who has a strong mind can bear to be insulted long, and only resents the wrong when a sense of right demands his action. The weak mind is irritated at a little: the strong mind bears it like a rock which moves not, though a thousand breakers dash upon it, and cast their pitiful malice in spray upon its summit.
God marks His enemies, and yet He bestirs not Himself but restrains in His anger. If He were less divine than He is, He would long before this, have sent forth the whole of His thunders, and emptied the magazines of heaven; He would long before this have blasted the earth with the wondrous fires of its lower regions, and man would have been utterly destroyed; but the greatness of his power brings us mercy.
Dear reader, what is your state this evening? Can you by humble faith look to Jesus, and say, “My substitute, You are my rock, my trust!” Then, beloved, be not afraid of God’s power; for by faith you have fled to Christ for refuge, the power of God need no more terrify you, than the shield and sword of the warrior need terrify those whom he loves. Rather rejoice, that He who is “great in power” is your Father and Friend!
Morning and Evening - February 22
Public domain content taken from Morning and Evening by Charles H. Spurgeon.