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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
Devotional: February 5th
“I know that Thou canst do everything.”
Job 42:1 , Job 42:2
The patriarch made an unreserved submission. He felt that the very idea of judging the conduct of the Almighty was preposterous. Omnipotence and Omniscience render the thought of calling the Eternal into question superlatively ridiculous.
That first question of the Lord abides in his memory, and now in humble wonder at his own temerity he asks it of himself. It is tantamount to that apostolic question, “Nay, but O man, who art thou that repliest against God?” The patriarch illuminated with new light sees his own folly, and humbly confesses it before the Lord. A very great part of our religious talk consists of utterances which we ourselves do not understand, and all our complaining is based upon ignorance.
Job desired to enter God’s school, and to be taught of him. He will no longer be a pleader but a humble enquirer.
Hearing goes for little till the Lord’s arm is revealed in a man’s heart. Caryl well observes, “No man knoweth what a nothing he is in knowledge, grace, and goodness till the Lord is pleased to reveal himself to him.” While we compare ourselves with ourselves, or with others who are below us, we fancy ourselves important personages, but when the Lord unveils himself we become as nothing in our own eyes. The more we see of God the less shall we think of ourselves. Sound knowledge is the death of conceit.
Out of zeal to defend God’s providence they were not fair in argument. We have no business to defend truth with lies or suppressions. God will have honest defenders or none. He is displeased with untruthful advocates even though they fancy that they are upon the Lord’s side, and at any rate desire to be so.
Let us never judge others, for it may be we may come to be indebted to them for their prayers. We may have to crave their intercession, therefore let us not now judge them harshly.
If the Lord accepted Job and blessed his friends for his sake, how much more doth he accept the Lord Jesus Christ who offered himself a sacrifice for sin, and how safe we, his poor offending friends, are in him.
When in a forgiving spirit we pray for those who have behaved harshly to us some blessing is in store for us.
Thus shall the Lord’s procedures vindicate themselves, and his people shall be no losers by their afflictions.
If peace and plenty crown my days,
They help me, Lord, to speak thy praise;
If bread of sorrows be my food,
Those sorrows work my real good.
I would not change my blest estate
For all that earth calls good or great;
And while my faith can keep her hold,
I envy not the sinner’s gold.
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise.”
Exodus 1:1-14 , Exodus 1:22
Our reading will now take us back from the land of Uz to the land of Egypt, where we left the chosen family in Goshen.
The Lord knoweth them that are his. The names of the godly seed are precious to his heart.
Thus the ancient covenant that Abraham’s seed should be many received its first fulfilment. God is not unmindful of his promises.
Out of sight out of mind; a man may confer on a nation permanent advantages, but he cannot hope for permanent gratitude. Those who serve man are generally rewarded with forgetfulness.
The ungodly always try to make out that God’s people are a dangerous set, but indeed, if they would treat them kindly they would find them the best of neighbours. It is only when they wilfully stumble at this stone that it breaks them. The Egyptians tried to prevent the increase of Israel. Vain was this attempt. Pharaoh might as well have tried to stem the sea, or prevent the rising of the Nile. Jehovah had determined that the people should be multiplied, and no policy of kings and princes could prevent it. Great was the monarch’s worldly wisdom, his plan had in it both the subtlety and cruelty of Satan, and yet he was but a fool, and his schemes failed at every point.
Unscrupulous and determined as the enemies of God’s people have been, they have nevertheless been unable to achieve their design. The church must spread, and spread too by the very means made use of to destroy her. There are herbs which increase rapidly when they are trodden upon, and true religion is one of them.
This was with the view of degrading them, crushing their spirit, and lessening their vigour, but the cruel device succeeded not. No weapon can prosper against the Lord’s chosen. Hard labour is after all less injurious than pampered indolence. Better slave in a brick-kiln than canker in laziness.
After a futile attempt to procure the murder of all the male children by those who attended at their birth, Pharaoh passed a tyrannical decree which is thus recorded.
Murder was thus called in to make an end of the elect people, but it was in vain. The Lord of Israel was greater than the King of Egypt, and proved more than a match for all his plots and plans.
What though to make our numbers less
Our foes their wisdom try,
The more our enemies oppress,
The more we multiply.
Then let the world forbear its rage,
Nor put the church in fear,
Israel must live through every age
And be th’ Almighty’s care.
the Sixth Week after Easter
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