Delighting in the Psalms

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“The sweet psalmist of Israel.” 2 Samuel 23:1

Among all the saints whose lives are recorded in Holy Writ, David possesses an experience of the most striking, varied, and instructive character. In his history we meet with trials and temptations not to be discovered, as a whole, in other saints of ancient times, and hence he is all the more suggestive a type of our Lord.

David knew the trials of all ranks and conditions of men. Kings have their troubles—and David wore a crown; the peasant has his cares—and David handled a shepherd’s crook; the wanderer has many hardships—and David abode in the caves of Engedi; the captain has his difficulties—and David found the sons of Zeruiah too hard for him.

The psalmist was also tried in his friends, his counselor Ahithophel forsook him, “He who eats bread with me—has lifted up his heel against me.” His worst foes were they of his own household—his children were his greatest affliction.

The temptations of poverty and wealth, of honor and reproach, of health and weakness—all tried their power upon him. He had temptations from without to disturb his peace, and from within to mar his joy. David no sooner escaped from one trial—than he fell into another; no sooner emerged from one season of despondency and alarm—than he was again brought into the lowest depths—and all God’s waves and billows rolled over him!

It is probably from this cause, that David’s psalms are so universally the delight of experienced Christians. Whatever our frame of mind, whether ecstasy or depression, David has exactly described our emotions. He was an able master of the human heart, because he had been tutored in the best of all schools—the school of heart-felt, personal experience. As we are instructed in the same school, as we grow matured in grace and in years, we increasingly appreciate David’s psalms, and find them to be “green pastures.” My soul, let David’s experience cheer and counsel you this day!

Our Trust in His Leading

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“He led them forth by the right way.” Psalm 107:7

Trials and troubles often leads the anxious believer to enquire, “Why is this happening to me? I looked for light—but lo, darkness came! I looked for peace—but trouble came! Lord, you hide Your face, and I am troubled. It was but yesterday that I could read my title clear; today my evidences are bedimmed, and my hopes are clouded. Yesterday I could climb to Pisgah’s top, and view the landscape o’er, and rejoice with confidence in my future inheritance; today, my spirit has no hopes—but many fears; no joys—but much distress. Is this part of God’s plan with me? Can this be the way in which God would bring me to heaven?”

Yes, it is even so! The eclipse of your faith, the darkness of your mind, the fainting of your hope—all these things are but parts of God’s method of making you ripe for the great inheritance upon which you shall soon enter. These trials are for the testing and strengthening of your faith—they are waves that wash you further upon the rock—they are winds which waft your ship the more swiftly towards the desired haven.

According to David’s words, so it might be said of you, “so He brings them to their desired haven.” By honor and dishonor, by evil report and by good report, by plenty and by poverty, by joy and by distress, by persecution and by peace—by all these things is the life of your souls maintained, and by each of these are you helped on your way. Oh, do not think, believer, that your sorrows are out of God’s plan; they are necessary parts of it. “We must, through much tribulation, enter the kingdom.” Learn, then, even to “Consider it a great joy, whenever you experience various trials.”

“O let my trembling soul be still,
And wait Your wise, Your holy will!
I cannot, Lord, Your purpose see—
Yet all is well since ruled by Thee.”

Have We Been Called?

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“Those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.” Romans 8:30

Here is a precious truth for you, believer. You may be poor, or in suffering, or unknown—but for your encouragement take a review of your “calling” and the consequences that flow from it, and especially that blessed result here spoken of. As surely as you are God’s child today—so surely shall all your trials soon be at an end, and you shall be rich to all the intents of bliss. Wait awhile, and that weary head shall wear the crown of glory, and that hand of labor shall grasp the palm-branch of victory. Lament not your troubles—but rather rejoice that before long you will be where “there shall be neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.” The chariots of fire are at your door, and a moment will suffice to bear you to the glorified. The everlasting song is almost on your lip. The portals of heaven stand open for you.

Do not think that you can fail of entering into rest. If He has called you—nothing can divide you from His love. Troubles cannot sever the bond; the fire of persecution cannot burn the link; the hammer of hell cannot break the chain. You are secure; that voice which called you at first, shall call you yet again from earth to heaven, from death’s dark gloom to immortality’s unuttered splendors. Rest assured, the heart of Him who has justified you—beats with infinite love towards you. You shall soon be with the glorified, where your portion is; you are only waiting here to be made fit for the inheritance, and that done, the wings of angels shall waft you far away, to the mount of peace, and joy, and blessedness, where, “Far from a world of grief and sin—with God eternally shut in,” you shall rest forever and ever!

Our Sufferings

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21

BUT imperfectly, perhaps, beloved reader, are you aware of the high privilege to which you are admitted, and of the great glory conferred upon you, in being identified with Jesus in His life of humiliation. This is one of the numerous evidences by which your adoption into the family of God is authenticated, and by which your union with Christ is confirmed. It may be you are the subject of deep poverty—your circumstances are straitened, your resources are limited, your necessities are many and pressing.

Perhaps you are the “man that has known affliction;” sorrow has been your constant and intimate companion; you have become “acquainted with grief.” The Lord has been leading you along a path of painful humiliation. You have been “emptied from vessel to vessel.” He has brought you down, and laid you low; step by step, and yet, oh, how wisely and how gently, He has been leading you deeper and yet deeper into the valley!

But why all this leading about? why this emptying? why this descending? Even to bring you into a union and communion with Jesus in His life of humiliation! Is there a step in your abasement that Jesus has not trodden with you—ah! and trodden before you? Is there a sin that He has not carried, a cross that He has not borne, a sorrow that has not affected Him, and infirmity that has not touched Him? Even so will He cause you to reciprocate this sympathy, and have fellowship with Him in His sufferings.

As the Head did sympathize with the body, so must the body sympathize with the Head. Yes, the very same humiliation which you are now enduring the Son of God has before endured. And that you might learn something what that love and grace and power were which enabled Him to pass through it all, He pours a little drop in your cup, places a small part of the cross upon your shoulder, and throws a slight shadow on your soul!

Yes, the very sufferings you are now enduring are, in a faint and limited degree, the sufferings of Christ. “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you,” says the apostle, “and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for His body’s sake, which is the Church.”

There is a two-fold sense in which Jesus may be viewed as a sufferer. He suffered in His own person as the Mediator of His Church; those sufferings were vicarious and complete, and in that sense He can suffer no morel “for by one offering He has perfected forever them that are sanctified.” The other now presents Him as suffering in His members: in this sense Christ is still a sufferer; and although not suffering to the same degree, or for the same end, as He once did, nevertheless He who said, “Saul, Saul, why persecute you me?” is identified with the Church in all its sufferings; in all her afflictions, He being afflicted. The apostle therefore terms the believer’s present sufferings the “afflictions of Christ.”

Our Increasing Strength

C. H. Spurgeon

This  Morning’s Meditation

“They go from strength to strength.” Psalm 84:7

There are various renderings of these words—but all of them contain the idea of progress. “They go from strength to strength.” That is, they grow stronger and stronger. Usually, if we are walking, we go from strength to weakness; we start fresh and in good order for our journey—but by-and-by the road is rough, and the sun is hot; we sit down by the wayside, and then again painfully pursue our weary way. But the Christian pilgrim having obtained fresh supplies of grace, is as vigorous after years of toilsome travel and struggle—as when he first set out! He may not be quite so elated and buoyant, nor perhaps quite so hot and hasty in his zeal as he once was—but he is much stronger in all that constitutes real power, and travels, if more slowly—far more surely.

Some gray-haired veterans have been as firm in their grasp of truth, and as zealous in diffusing it, as they were in their younger days; but, alas, it must be confessed it is often otherwise, for the love of many waxes cold and iniquity abounds—but this is their own sin and not the fault of the promise, which still holds good, “The youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall—but those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint!”

Fretful spirits sit down and trouble themselves about the future. “Alas!” say they, “we go from affliction to affliction.” Very true, O you of little faith—but then you go from strength to strength also. You shall never find a bundle of affliction which has not bound up in the midst of it sufficient grace. God will give the strength of ripe manhood—with the burden allotted to full-grown shoulders.

The Trial of our Faith

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:7

Trials and temptations are the means which God employs to manifest to the soul the reality and strength of the faith which he bestows upon it; for there is in every trial and temptation opposition made to the faith that is in the heart; and every trial and temptation, so to speak, threaten the life of faith. And they threaten it in this way–Under the trial God for the most part hides himself. He puts forth, indeed, a secret power whereby the soul is held up, or otherwise it would sink into utter despair, and be overcome and swallowed up by the power of unbelief. Hence comes the conflict between the trial that fights against the faith and the faith which fights against or rather under the trial.

Now, when in this trial, in this sharp conflict, in this hot furnace, faith does not give way, is not burned up, is not destroyed, but keeps its firm hold upon the promise and the faithfulness of him who has given it, this trial of faith becomes very precious. It is precious to the soul when God again smiles upon it, and becomes thus manifest as genuine. It is precious in the sight of God’s people, who see it and derive strength and comfort from what they witness in the experience of a saint thus tried and blessed; and it is precious also in the sight of God himself, who crowns it with his own manifest approbation, and puts upon it the attesting seal of his own approving smile. But above all things, it will be found precious at the appearing of Jesus Christ, and that not only in his various appearings in grace, but in his final appearance in glory, for of that the Apostle mainly speaks when he says that “it may be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”

Our Spiritual Maturity

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:17

What perfection does the Holy Spirit speak of here? Certainly not perfection in the flesh; that is but a wild dream of free-will and Arminianism. But perfection here and elsewhere means a being well-established and grounded in the faith, as we find the Apostle speaking (Heb. 5:14), “Strong food belongs to those who are of full age” (literally, as we read in the margin, “perfect”), “even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Christian perfection does not then consist in perfection in the flesh, but in having arrived at maturity in the divine life, in being what I may call a Christian adult, or what the Apostle terms “a MAN in Christ.”

When Paul therefore says, “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect,” he means “being no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine,” but favored with a measure of Christian wisdom and strength. It is this Christian maturity which is called in Scripture, “perfection,” and it is only obtained by suffering. It is only in the furnace that the tin and dross of pharisaic righteousness is purged away; and the soul comes out of the furnace “a vessel unto honor, sanctified and fit for the Master’s use.”

The Lord of life and glory was made “perfect by suffering;” and there is no other way whereby his followers are made spiritually perfect. Until a man is led into suffering, he does not know the truth in its sweetness. We are full of free-will, pride, presumption, and self-righteousness. But when the soul is baptized into suffering, it is in a measure established in the truth, strengthened in the things of God, and conformed to the image of Christ.

Our Necessary Perspective During Time of Trial

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“Every branch that bears fruit he prunes, that it may bring forth more fruit.”

John 15:2

The Lord empties before He fills. He makes room for Himself, for His love, and for His grace. He dethrones the rival, casts down the idol, and seeks to occupy the temple, filled and radiant with His own ineffable glory. Thus does He bring the soul into great straits, lay it low, but to school and discipline it for richer mercies, higher service, and greater glory. Be sure of this, that, when the Lord is about to bless you with some great and peculiar blessing, He may prepare you for it by some great and peculiar trial.

If He is about to advance you to some honor, He may first lay you low that He may exalt you. If He is about to place you in a sphere of great and distinguished usefulness, He may first place you in His school of adversity, that you may know how to teach others. If He is about to bring forth your righteousness as the noon-day, He may cause it to pass under a cloud, that, emerging from its momentary obscuration, it may shine with richer and more enduring luster. Thus does He deal with all His people. Thus He dealt with Joseph. Intending to elevate him to great distinction and influence, He first casts him into a dungeon, and that, too, in the very land in which he was so soon to be the gaze and the astonishment of all men. Thus, too, He dealt with David, and Job, and Nebuchadnezzar; and thus did God deal with His own Son, whom He advanced to His own right hand from the lowest state of humiliation and suffering.

Regard the present suffering as but preparatory to future glory. This will greatly mitigate the sorrow, reconcile the heart to the trial, and tend materially to secure the important end for which it was sent. The life of a believer is but a disciplining for heaven. All the covenant dealings of His God and Father are but to make him a partaker of His holiness here, and thus to fit him for a partaker of His glory hereafter. Here, he is but schooling for a high station in heaven. He is but preparing for a more holy, and, for anything we know, a more active and essential service in the upper world. And every infirmity overcome, every sin subdued, every weight laid aside, every step advanced in holiness, does but strengthen and mature the life of grace below, until it is fitted for, and terminates in, the life of glory above.

Let the suffering believer, then, see that he emerges from every trial of the furnace with some dross consumed, some iniquity purged, and with a deeper impress of the blessed Spirit’s seal of love, holiness, and adoption, on his heart. Let him see that he has made some advance towards the state of the glorified; that He is more perfected in love and sanctification- the two great elements of heaven; and that therefore he is fitting for the inheritance of the saints in light. Blessed and holy tendency of all the afflictive dispensations of a covenant God and Father towards a dear and covenant child!

Christ’s Presence in Our Toils

J.R. Miller, “Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ” 1890

“He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.” Mark 6:48

Jesus always sees our toils and distresses in this world. We do not see Him — and sometimes we think that He has forgotten us; but that is never true. He never forgets us, nor is He indifferent for a moment.

On the heights, while the battle was in progress, stood a group of men watching the struggling armies on the plain below. In this group was the American general Sheridan, who watched the mighty strife with the keen eye of a soldier. King William was also there; but his interest was different from Sheridan’s. His son was in the thick of the fight — and he watched the battle with the eye of a father, as well as of a king.

Just so, Christ looks down upon our struggles in this world. He sees us straining and toiling; He beholds all our battles and strifes. He sees us in the waves and in the storm. He sees us, not merely with the eye of the calm spectator — but with the eye of tenderest love!

This is a great thought! If we can only get it into our hearts — it will give us wondrous courage in the hour of toil, sorrow, or struggle. Jesus knows . . .
when the battle is hard,
when the night is dark,
when the temptation is more than we can bear.

The winds were against His disciples — even though Christ sent them out to sea. We learn here, that even when we are doing the things God which has bidden us do — we may encounter great opposition and difficulty. We may even be beaten back, and find the trial too great for our strength. Many of the Lord’s disciples have to make their voyage over very stormy seas — on their way to glory. For some, duty is often very hard. Indeed, a true, noble, courageous, holy life — must always exist in the face of opposition and contrary winds.

Chastening – Our Path to Partaking in God’s Holiness

A. W. Tozer: “We must hide our unholiness in the wounds of Christ as Moses hid himself in the cleft of the rock while the glory of God passed by. We must take refuge from God in God. Above all we must believe that God sees us perfect in His Son while He disciplines and chastens and purges us that we may be partakers of His holiness” (The Knowledge of the Holy, 107).


J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous–nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto those who are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:11

It may be said of spiritual exercises as the Apostle speaks of chastening generally, of which indeed they form a component part, that “for the present they are not joyous, but grievous; but afterward they yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto those who are exercised thereby.” Why the Lord allows so many of his people to be so long and so deeply tried about their saving interest in Christ, why he does not more speedily and fully manifest his pardoning love to their souls, is a mystery which we cannot fathom. But I have observed that, where the first work was not attended with deep and powerful convictions of sin, it is usually the case, as if what was lacking in depth has to be made up in length, and a slow, continuous work compensates, as it were, for a shorter and more intense one.

I consider it, however, a great mercy where there are these exercises, for I am well convinced that exercise is as much needed for the health of the soul as of the body. Without movement the air becomes pestilential, and water putrescent. Motion is the life of the natural, and equally so of the supernatural, creation; and what are exercises, doubts, and fears, accompanied as they always are by desires and prayers, but means by which the soul is kept alive and healthy? As Hezekiah said, “O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit.”

But if you cannot see what good exercises have done you, can you not see what evil they have kept you from? They mainly kept you from being entangled in a worldly system; they have preserved you from resting in the form without the power, and kept you from that notional dead-letter faith which has ruined so many thousands. (This extract was taken from a letter to a friend.) Without exercises you could do without a revealed Christ, without manifested pardon of sin, without the love of God being shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Spirit.

And here most are, who are not exercised–resting in “a name to live,” and in the doctrine without the experience. But, being sick, you need a physician; being guilty, you need mercy; and being a sinner, you need salvation; and all this, not in word and name, but in reality, and divine revelation and application. Your exercises give you errands to the throne of mercy, and make you see in Christ and his precious gospel what otherwise would neither be seen nor cared for.

At the same time, it would be wrong to rest in exercises as marks and evidences of grace. Thirst is good as preparatory for water; hunger is good as antecedent to food; but who can rest in thirst or hunger? Without them, water and food are not desired; so, without exercises, Christ, the Water and Bread of life, is not desired nor longed for. But these exercises are meant to quicken longing desires after Christ, and eventually make him very precious.