Egypt In Our Rear View Mirror

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“What have you to do in the way of Egypt—to drink the waters of the muddy river?” Jeremiah 2:18

By wondrous miracles, by manifold mercies, by marvelous deliverances, Jehovah had proved Himself to be worthy of Israel’s trust. Yet they broke down the hedges with which God had enclosed them as a sacred garden; they forsook their own true and living God, and followed after false gods. Constantly did the Lord reprove them for this infatuation, and our text contains one instance of God’s expostulating with them, “What have you to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of the muddy river?” for so it may be translated. “Why do you wander afar to drink the waters of the muddy river—and leave your own cool stream from Lebanon? Why are you so strangely set on mischief, that you cannot be content with the good and healthful—but would follow after that which is evil and deceitful?”

Is there not here a word of expostulation and warning to the Christian? O believer, called by grace and washed in the precious blood of Jesus—you have tasted of better drink than the muddy river of this world’s pleasure can give you! You have had fellowship with Christ; you have obtained the joy of seeing Jesus, and leaning your head upon His bosom. Do the trifles, the songs, the honors, the merriment of this earth—content you after that? Have you eaten the bread of angels—and can you live on swine-husks? Good Rutherford once said, “I have tasted of Christ’s own manna, and it has put my mouth out of taste for the brown bread of this world’s joys.” Methinks it should be so with you.

If you are wandering after the muddy waters of Egypt, O return quickly to the one living fountain! The waters of the Nile may be sweet to the Egyptians—but they will prove only bitterness to you. What have you to do with them? Jesus asks you this question this evening—what will you answer Him?

Our Cry, “Grace, grace”

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain–and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.” Zechariah 4:7

If the literal temple had been built up without any trouble whatever; if all had gone on smooth and easy, there would not have been any shouting of “Grace, grace,” when it was finished. But when it was seen how the Lord had brought a few feeble exiles from Babylon; how he had supported them amid and carried them through all their troubles; and how he that laid the foundation had brought forth the head-stone, all that stood by could say, “Grace, grace unto it.” It was these very perplexities and trials that made them join so cheerily in the shout, and made the heart and soul to leap with the lips, when they burst forth with “Grace, grace unto it.” And who will shout the loudest hereafter?

He that has known and felt the most of the aboundings of sin to sink his soul down into grief and sorrow, and most of the super-aboundings of grace over sin to make him triumph and rejoice. Who will have most reason to sing, “Grace, grace?” The lost and ruined wretch, who has feared that he would go to hell a thousand times over, and yet has been delivered thence by sovereign grace, and brought to the glory and joy of heaven. No other person is fit to join in that song; and I am sure no other will join in it but he who has known painfully and experimentally the bitterness of sin and the evil of a depraved heart; and yet has seen and felt that grace has triumphed over all, in spite of the devil, in spite of the world, and in spite of himself, and brought him to that blessed place where many times he was afraid he would never come.

Our Place of Low Esteem

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“They are to move out last, with their banners.” Numbers 2:31

The camp of Dan brought up the rear when the armies of Israel were on the march. The Danites occupied the last place—but what did the position matter—since they were as truly part of the host as were the foremost tribes; they followed the same fiery cloudy pillar, they ate of the same manna, drank of the same spiritual rock, and journeyed to the same inheritance. Come, my heart, cheer up, though you are the last and least; it is your privilege to be in the army, and to fare as they fare, who lead the van. Someone must be last in honor and esteem, someone must do menial work for Jesus—and why not I? In a poor village, among an ignorant peasantry; or in a back street, among degraded sinners—I will work on, and “go last, with my banners.”

The Danites occupied a very useful place. Stragglers have to be picked up upon the march, and lost property has to be gathered from the field. Fiery spirits may dash forward over untrodden paths to learn fresh truth, and win more souls to Jesus; but some of a more conservative spirit may be well engaged in reminding the church of her ancient faith, and restoring her fainting sons. Every position has its duties, and the slowly moving children of God will find their peculiar state, one in which they may be eminently a blessing to the whole host.

The rear guard is a place of danger. There are foes behind us—as well as before us. Attacks may come from any quarter. We read that Amalek fell upon Israel, and slew some of the hindmost of them. The experienced Christian will find much work for his weapons in aiding those poor doubting, desponding, wavering, souls—who are hindmost in faith, knowledge, and joy. These must not be left unaided, and therefore be it the business of well-taught saints to bear their banners among the hindmost. My soul—tenderly watch to help the hindmost this day.

Our Path of Sorrow

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall you be also of the consolation.” 2 Corinthians 1:7

The Lord has appointed the path of sorrow for the redeemed to walk in. Why? One purpose is to wean them from the world; another purpose is to show them the weakness of the creature; a third purpose is to make them feel the liberty and vitality of genuine godliness made manifest in their soul’s experience. What am I, and what are you when we have no trials? Light, frothy, worldly-minded, carnal, frivolous. We may talk of the things of God, but they are at a distance; there are no solemn feelings, no melting sensations, no real brokenness, no genuine contrition, no weeping at the divine feet, no embracing of Christ in the arms of affection.

But when affliction, be it in providence or be it in grace, brings a man down; when it empties him of all his high thoughts, lays him low in his own eyes, brings trouble into his heart, I assure you he needs something more than mere external religion. He needs power; he needs to experience in his soul the operations of the blessed Spirit; he wants to have a precious Jesus manifesting himself to his soul in love and blood; he needs to see his lovely countenance beaming upon him in ravishing smiles; he needs to hear the sweet whispers of dying love speaking inward peace; he needs to have the blessed Lord come into his soul, manifesting himself to him as he does not manifest himself to the world.

What brings a man here? A few dry notions floating to and fro in his brain, like a few drops of oil in a pail of water? That will never bring the life and power of vital godliness into a man’s heart. It must be by being experimentally acquainted with trouble. When he is led into the path of tribulation, he then begins to long after, and, in God’s own time and way, he begins to drink into, the sweetness of vital godliness, made manifest in his heart by the power of God.

Our Present Darkness, Our Enduring Light

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditaion

“And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.” Genesis 1:5

The evening was “darkness” and the morning was “light,” and yet the two together are called by the name that is given to the light alone! This is somewhat remarkable—but it has an exact analogy in spiritual experience. In every believer there is darkness and light, and yet he is not to be named a sinner because there is sin in him—but he is to be named a saint because he possesses some degree of holiness. This will be a most comforting thought to those who are mourning their infirmities, and who ask, “Can I be a child of God—while there is so much darkness in me?” Yes! For you, like the day, take not your name from the evening—but from the morning; and you are spoken of in the Word of God—as if you were even now perfectly holy as you will be soon. You are called the child of light, though there is darkness in you still. You are named after what is the predominating quality in the sight of God, which will one day be the only principle remaining.

Observe that the evening comes first. Naturally we are darkness first in order of time, and the gloom is often first in our mournful apprehension, driving us to cry out in deep humiliation, “God be merciful to me, a sinner!” The place of the morning is second, it dawns when grace overcomes nature. It is a blessed aphorism of John Bunyan, “That which is last—lasts forever.” That which is first, yields in due season to the last; but nothing comes after the last. So that though you are naturally darkness, when once you become light in the Lord, there is no evening to follow; “your sun shall no more go down.” The first day in this life is an evening and a morning; but the second day, when we shall be with God, forever, shall be a day with no evening—but one, sacred, high, eternal noon!

Live!

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“When I passed by you, I said unto you—LIVE!” Ezekiel 16:6

Saved one, consider gratefully, this mandate of mercy.

Note that this fiat of God is majestic. In our text, we perceive a sinner with nothing in him but sin, expecting nothing but wrath; but the eternal Lord passes by in His glory; He looks. He pauses, and He pronounces the solitary but royal word, “LIVE!” There speaks a God! Who but He could venture thus to deal with life, and dispense it with a single syllable?

Again, this fiat is manifold. When He says “Live!” it includes many things. Here is judicial life. The sinner is ready to be condemned—but the mighty One says, “Live,” and he rises pardoned and absolved. It is spiritual life. We knew not Jesus—our eyes could not see Christ, our ears could not hear His voice—Jehovah said “Live!” and we who were dead in trespasses and sins—were quickened. Moreover, it includes glory life, which is the perfection of spiritual life. “I said unto you, Live!” and that word rolls on through all the years of time, until death comes, and in the midst of the shadows of death, the Lord’s voice is still heard, “Live!” In the morning of the resurrection it is that self-same voice which is echoed by the arch-angel, “Live!” and as holy spirits rise to heaven to be blessed forever in the glory of their God, it is in the power of this same word, “Live!”

Note again, that it is an irresistible mandate. Saul of Tarsus is on the road to Damascus to arrest the saints of the living God. A voice is heard from heaven and a light is seen above the brightness of the sun, and Saul is crying out, “Lord, what will you have me to do?”

This mandate is a mandate of free grace. When sinners are saved, it is only and solely because God will do it to magnify His free, unpurchased, unsought grace. Christians, see your position, debtors to grace; show your gratitude by earnest, Christlike lives, and as God has bidden you live—see to it that you live in earnest!

Our Lean Days – May They Be Few

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“The sickly, thin cows—ate the healthy, well-fed cows.” Genesis 41:4

Pharaoh’s dream has too often been my waking experience. My days of sloth have ruinously destroyed all that I had achieved in times of zealous industry; my seasons of coldness have frozen all the genial glow of my periods of fervency and enthusiasm; and my fits of worldliness have thrown me back from my advances in the divine life.

I had need to beware of lean prayers, lean praises, lean duties, and lean experiences—for these will eat up the fat of my comfort and peace. If I neglect prayer for ever so short a time, I lose all the spirituality to which I had attained. If I draw no fresh supplies from heaven, the old grain in my granary is soon consumed by the famine which rages in my soul. When the caterpillars of indifference, the cankerworms of worldliness, and the palmer-worms of self-indulgence, lay my heart completely desolate, and make my soul to languish—all my former fruitfulness and growth in grace—avails me nothing whatever.

How anxious should I be to have no sickly, thin days, no ill-favored hours! If every day I journeyed towards the goal of my desires, I would soon reach it—but backsliding leaves me still far off from the prize of my high calling, and robs me of the advances which I had so laboriously made. The only way in which all my days can be as the “healthy, well-fed cows,” is to feed them in the right meadow, to spend them with the Lord, in His service, in His company, in His fear, and in His way.

Why should not every year be richer than the past—in love, and usefulness, and joy? I am nearer the celestial hills, I have had more experience of my Lord, and should be more like Him. O Lord, keep far from me the curse of leanness of soul; let me not have to cry, “My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me!” but may I be well-fed and nourished in Your house, that I may praise Your name!

Our Contentment

“Now I say that a heart that has no grace, and is not instructed in this mystery of contentment, knows of no way to get contentment, but to have his possessions raised up to his desires; but the Christian has another way to contentment, that is, he can bring his desires down to his possessions, and so he attains his contentment….The world is infinitely deceived in thinking that contentment lies in having more than we already have. Here lies the bottom and root of all contentment, when there is an evenness and proportion between our hearts and our circumstances. That is why many godly men who are in low position live more sweet and comfortable lives than those who are richer.”
Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

 

courtesy of goodreads.com