Joshua’s Obedience

C. H. Spurgeon

Excerpted from his sermon, Joshua’s Obedience

…if we get no outward prosperity here, I trust you and I, if we love Christ, and are filled with His Spirit, can do without it. Well, if we must be poor, it will soon be over, and in heaven there shall be no poverty. Well, if we must fight for it, in order to maintain our conscience, we did not expect to come into this world that we might—

“Be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease.”

If it must come to this, that we must suffer hunger and even nakedness itself, we shall not be worse off than the apostles—better men than we, we shall not be brought lower than the martyrs—with whose names we are not worthy to have ours coupled. Let us, then, run all risks for Christ. He is no soldier who cannot die for his country, he is no Christian who cannot lose his life for Christ. We must be willing to give up all things rather than sell the truth or sell the right, and if we come to this, we shall have such courage within our spirits, such a quiet consciousness of the presence of God the Holy Spirit, and such sweet smiles from the once suffering, but now reigning Savior, that we shall have to bless God all our days for these light afflictions, which are but for a moment, which shall work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

I may not have spoken much to the comfort of God’s people, but I shall be glad if I have said only half a word that may tend to nurture in the midst of our church earnest obedience, practical piety, real positive godliness carried out in ordinary life. We have plenty of doctrine, plenty of thinking, plenty of talking, but oh, for more holy acting! It is sickening to see the inconsistencies of some professors. It is enough, indeed, to make the world ridicule the church to see how many profess to follow Christ, and then keep any rule rather than God’s rule, and obey anybody sooner than the Lord Jesus Christ.

Brethren, let us pray to God that our hearts may be sincere in the Lord’s ways, and that we may be guided by His Spirit even to the end.

Our Expression of God’s Love

Lord, is there an opportunity for me today in which I might deprive myself for the good of another?

Please guide me.

Lord, is there an opportunity for me today in which I might make myself lesser that you might become greater?

Please guide me.

Lord, is there an opportunity for me today in which I might demonstrate your love?

Please guide me.

(Video note:  My apologies for the ad, can skip after 5 seconds.)

Our Necessary Weakness

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

A primary qualification for serving God with any amount of success, and for doing God’s work well and triumphantly, is a sense of our own weakness.

When the Christian warrior marches forth to battle, strong in his own might, when he boasts, “I know that I shall conquer, my own right arm and my conquering sword shall get unto me the victory!” then defeat is not far distant. God will not go forth with that man who marches in his own strength. He who reckons on victory by his own strength—has reckoned wrongly, for “it is not by might, nor by power—but by My Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.” They who go forth to fight, boasting of their prowess—shall return with their mirthful banners trailing in the dust, and their armor stained with disgrace.

Those who serve God—must serve Him in His own way, and in His strength, or He will never accept their service. God will never own that man who works, unaided by divine strength. The mere fruits of the earth—He casts away; He will only reap that grain, the seed of which was sown from heaven, watered by grace, and ripened by the sun of divine love. God will empty out all that you have—before He will put His own into you; He will first clean out your granaries—before He will fill them with the finest of the wheat. The river of God is full of water—but not one drop of it flows from earthly springs. God will have no strength used in His battles—but the strength which He Himself imparts.

Are you mourning over your own weakness? Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give you victory. Your emptiness—is but the preparation for your being filled; and your casting down—is but the making ready for your lifting up!

Our Victory in Christ

C. H. Spurgeon

Excerpt from the sermon, The Arrows of the Bow Broken in Zion.

“There broke he the arrows of the bow, the shield, and sword, and the battle.”
– Psalm 76:3

That glorious cry of “It is finished,” was the death-knell of all the adversaries of His people, the breaking of “the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle.” I think I see before me the hero of Golgotha using His cross as an anvil, and His woes as a hammer, and dashing to shivers bundle after bundle of our sins, those poisoned “arrows of the bow,” trampling on every charge, and destroying every accusation. What glorious blows the mighty breaker gives! How the weapons fly to fragments, beaten small as the dust of the threshing floor!

Behold, I see Him drawing from its sheath of hellish workmanship the dread sword of hellish power. See, He snaps it across His knee, as a man breaks dry wood of kindling, and casts it into the fire. Like David, he cries, “He teaches my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by my arms.” “I have pursued my enemies, and destroyed them; and turned not again until I had consumed them. And I have consumed them and wounded them, that they could not arise: yea, they are fallen under my feet…Then did I beat them as small as the dust of the earth; I did stamp them as the mire of the street.”

Beloved, no sin of a believer can now be an arrow to mortally wound him, no condemnation can now be a sword to kill him, for the punishment of our sin was borne by Christ, a full atonement has been made for all our iniquities by our blessed Substitute and Surety. Who now accuses? Who now condemns? Christ has died, yea, rather has risen again. Let hell, if it can, find a single arrow to shoot against the beloved of the Lord, they are all broken, not one of them is left. Christ has emptied the quivers of hell, has quenched every fiery dart, and broken off the head of every arrow of wrath, the ground is strewn with the splinters and relics of the weapons of hell’s warfare, which are only visible to us to remind us of our former danger, and of our great deliverance.

Sin has no more dominion over us. Jesus has made an end of it, and put it away forever. O you enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end. Talk you of all the wondrous works of the Lord, you who make mention of His name, keep not silent.

Our Champion

C. H. Spurgeon

Excerpt 1 from the sermon, The Arrows Of The Bow Broken In Zion.

“There broke he the arrows of the bow, the shield, and sword, and the battle.”

-Psalm 76:3

…he has fought victoriously FOR US. Our God has wrought for us great spiritual victories, by which all the ingenious weapons of our many adversaries have been snapped. Let me remind you, beloved, in the first place, of what the Lord our God did in the day of our redemption by the sufferings of Christ. Let us celebrate the triumphs of Cavalry. The Lord of angels descended from heaven, and left the glories of His Father’s throne to take upon Himself the form of a servant, and to be made in the likeness of man, throughout the whole of His life of humiliation He was attacked by the enemy, but He was victorious at every point. Hell strove to empty out all its quivers upon Him, and the sword of Satanic malice sought with its keenest edge to wound Him, but never was He staggered, or so much as scarred, He quenched every fiery dart and repelled every barbed arrow. The prince of this world watched Him with jealous eye, and scanned Him from head to foot, but found no place for the entrances of sin, nothing within His soul upon which evil could gain a footing. Jesus was unconquerable, to show us that in the power of grace manhood may overcome the sword of evil, and break the arrows of temptation.

At last the fullness of time ushered in that dreadful night when all the powers of darkness met, and collected all their infernal might for one last tremendous charge, buckler, and sword, and arrow, and every weapon of offense and defense were wielded by the leaguered hosts of hell, but all in vain. Our Champion was hard put to it, He sweat as it were great drops of blood, falling to the ground, He was numbered with the transgressors, He was led away like a malefactor, tried and condemned, the Lord JEHOVAH made to meet on Him the iniquity of us all, but in all and over all He was more than conqueror.

You never can forget, for it is written upon the fleshy tablets of your grateful hearts, how His enemies dragged Him to the mount of crucifixion, fastened Him to the accursed tree, lifted Him up all bleeding and suffering, exposed Him to the glare of the sun, dashed the cross into its place, dislocating all His bones, sat around and stared upon Him, and mocked His miseries, but in all this He remained invincible. These griefs, which were outward and conspicuous to our eyes, were but a small part of His agonies—the inward strife, the internal conflict, the soul-desertion and depression were heavier far, sin’s utmost weight, the fury of vengeance, the curse of the law, the sword of justice, the malice of Satan, the bitterness of death—all these He knew and more, and yet, single-handed, He sustained the fight and earned the crown.

That glorious cry of “It is finished,” was the death-knell of all the adversaries of His people, the breaking of “the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle.”

Our Eventide

I don’t know how a believer in their 20s or 30s, even 40s and 50s might respond to this morning’s devotional from Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening, but at 64 years of age I can report that it strikes a chord in me. Even in the midst of many trials I find that God is always faithful to see me through them while calming my anxieties.

Having come to fullness of faith in my 40s, I can only speculate how it might have struck me if I had read it as a believer in my younger days.

I also cannot give a first-hand account of the light that comes at one’s hour of death, but in reading of the experiences of others who have passed through that period, I am confident that it will be a time of joyful experience.

Here’s this morning’s devotional:

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“At evening time—it shall be light.” Zechariah 14:7

Oftentimes we look with forebodings to the time of old age, forgetful that at evening time—it shall be light. To many saints, old age is the choicest season in their lives. A balmier air fans the mariner’s cheek as he nears the shore of immortality, fewer waves ruffle his sea, quiet reigns—deep, still and solemn. From the altar of old age—the flashes of the fire of youth are gone—but the more real flame of earnest love to Jesus remains. The pilgrims have reached the land of Beulah, that happy country, whose days are as the days of heaven upon earth. Angels visit it, celestial gales blow over it, flowers of paradise grow in it, and the air is filled with seraphic music. Some dwell here for years, and others come to it but a few hours before their departure—but it is an Eden on earth.

We may well long for the time—when we shall recline in its shady groves and be satisfied with hope—until the time of fruition comes. The setting sun seems larger than when high in the sky, and a splendor of glory tinges all the clouds which surround its going down. Pain does not break not the calm of the sweet twilight of old age, for strength made perfect in weakness, bears up with patience under it all. Ripe fruits of choice experience are gathered as the rare meal of life’s evening, and the soul prepares itself for rest.

The Lord’s people shall also enjoy light in the hour of death. Unbelief laments; the shadows fall, the night is coming, existence is ending. “Ah no!” cries faith, “the night is far spent, the true day is at hand. Light is come, the light of immortality, the light of the Father’s countenance!”

Gather up your feet in the bed, see the waiting bands of spirits! Angels waft you away. Farewell, beloved one, you are gone—you wave your hand. Ah, now it is light. The pearly gates are open, the golden streets shine in the jasper light. We on earth, cover our eyes—but you behold the unseen! Adieu, brother, you have light at even-tide, such as we have not yet!

Our God, Our Lord, Our Father

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“The Lord looks down from heaven; He observes all mankind.” Psalm 33:13

Perhaps no figure of speech represents God in a more gracious light—than when He is spoken of as stooping from His throne, and coming down from heaven to behold the woes—and to attend to the wants of mankind. We love Him, who, when Sodom and Gomorrah were full of iniquity, would not destroy those cities until He had made a personal visitation of them.

We cannot help pouring out our heart in affection for our Lord—who inclines His ear from the highest glory, and puts it to the lip of the dying sinner, whose failing heart longs after reconciliation. How can we but love Him—when we know that He numbers the very hairs of our heads, marks our path, and orders our ways!

Especially is this great truth brought near to our heart, when we recollect how attentive He is, not merely to the temporal interests of His creatures—but to their spiritual concerns. Though leagues of distance lie between the finite creature and the infinite Creator—yet there are links uniting both. When a tear is wept by you—God beholds it! “Like as a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him.”

Your sigh is able to move the heart of Jehovah; your whisper can incline His ear unto you; your prayer can stay His hand; your faith can move His arm. Do not think that God sits on high taking no account of you. However poor and needy you are—yet the Lord thinks upon you. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards Him.

Our Amazing Identity

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“The myrtle trees that were in the valley.” Zechariah 1:8

The vision in this chapter describes the condition of Israel in Zechariah’s day; but being interpreted in its aspect towards us, it describes the Church of God as we find it now in the world.

The Church is compared to a myrtle grove flourishing in a valley. It is hidden, unobserved, secreted; courting no honor and attracting no observation from the careless gazer. The Church, like her head, has a glory—but it is concealed from carnal eyes, for the time of her breaking forth in all her splendor has not yet come.

The idea of tranquil security is also suggested to us—for the myrtle grove in the valley is still and calm, while the storm sweeps over the mountain summits. Tempests spend their force upon the craggy peaks of the Alps—but down yonder where the stream flows which makes glad the city of our God—the myrtle trees flourish by the still waters, all unshaken by the impetuous wind. How great is the inward tranquility of God’s Church! Even when opposed and persecuted, she has a peace which the world gives not, and which, therefore, it cannot take away! The peace of God which passes all understanding, keeps the hearts and minds of God’s people.

Does not the metaphor forcibly picture the peaceful, perpetual growth of the saints? The myrtle tree does not shed her leaves—she is always green. Just so, the Church in her worst time—still has a blessed verdure of grace about her; nay, she has sometimes exhibited most verdure when her winter has been sharpest. She has prospered most, when her adversities have been most severe.

Hence the text hints at victory. The myrtle is the emblem of peace, and a significant token of triumph. The wreaths of conquerors were bound with myrtle and with laurel; and is not the Church ever victorious? Is not every Christian more than a conqueror through Him who loved him? Living in peace—all the saints fall asleep in the arms of victory!

Our Necessary Poverty

J. C. Philpot

 

Today’s Daily Portion

“The poor have the gospel preached to them.” Matthew 11:5

What is the gospel? Is not the gospel a proclamation of pure mercy, of super-abounding grace? Does it not declare the loving-kindness of God in sending his only-begotten Son to bleed and die, and, by his obedience, blood, and merit, to bring in a salvation without money and without price? Is not this the gospel? Not clogged by conditions, nor crippled by anything that the creature has to perform; but flowing freely forth as the air in the skies?

The poor to whom the gospel is preached, value it; it is suitable to them; it is sweet and precious when the heart is brought down. But if I stand up in religious pride, if I rest upon my own righteousness, if I am not stripped of everything in the creature, what is the gospel to me? I have no heart to receive it; there is no place in my soul for a gospel without money and without price.

But when I sink into the depth of creature poverty, when I am nothing and have nothing but a mass of sin and guilt, then the blessed gospel, pardoning my sins, covering my naked soul, shedding abroad the love of God, guiding me into everything good, and leading me up into enjoyment with a Three-One God, becomes prized.

When such a pure, such a blessed gospel comes into my heart and conscience, has not my previous poverty of spirit prepared me for it? Has not my previous beggary and necessity made a way for it, made it suitable to me, and when it comes, makes it precious to me? We must, then, sink into poverty of spirit, that painful place, in order to feel the preciousness, and drink into the sweetness and blessedness of the gospel of the grace of God.