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Sunday, September 24th, 2023
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
Devotional: March 3rd

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“I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.”

Numbers 20:1-13

Numbers 20:1

Here was a great sorrow for Moses. Excepting her one fault in once being jealous of her brother, she was a noble woman a true princess and prophetess. Moses, no doubt, sorrowed greatly under the bereavement.

Numbers 20:2 , Numbers 20:3

They evidently laid the destruction of Korah and his company to heart, and resented it upon Moses, instead of being held in awe by it. While the two holy brothers were yet sorrowing over their departed sister, the unfeeling crowd raised a clamour against them, and laid the deficiency of water at their door; as if they could be expected to dig rivers in the desert.

Numbers 20:5

They taunted Moses with the old, wornout cry that he brought them out to die in the wilderness, and added the new sting that he had not brought them into the goodly land of promise; though, indeed, it was only their own sin which kept them out of it. Those who want to murmur are never very long without a peg to hang their complaints upon.

Numbers 20:6

These holy men knew where their great strength was, they fell down in prayer and adoration, leaving the matter with the Lord, who was not slow in appearing for them.

Numbers 20:7 , Numbers 20:8

To show that the Lord is not tied to any one mode of action, the rock is not to be smitten this time, but only spoken to.

Numbers 20:9-11

Were they not wrong in calling the people rebels, and in saying “must we fetch you water?” Certainly Moses erred in smiting the rock, for he was bidden to speak to it. The best of men are men at the best.

Numbers 20:12

See how jealous the Lord is of those whom he most loves. He will have them obey him in every particular, or else he will chasten them. A whole life of service shall not excuse us for one glaring offence. What manner of persons ought we to be? How careful should we be in thought, and word, and deed; and how doubly anxious lest we transgress by unbelief!

Numbers 20:13

This was one of the most memorable of Israel’s sins, because it was a repetition of an old crime; in the face of former mercies and judgments. May the Lord save us from repeating our sins, lest we be made bitterly to smart for them! Keep us, dear Saviour, that we rebel not against thee.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

Let me hide myself in Thee!

Let the water and the blood,

From thy riven side which flow’d,

Be of sin the double cure,

Cleanse me from its guilt and power.


“Sing aloud unto God our strength.”

Psalms 81

Let us read at this time Psalms 81.

This song exhorts men to praise the Lord, tells of his goodness to Israel, and bewails the sins and consequent sorrows of that erring people

Psalms 81:1

Singing should be hearty and joyful: we should all take our share in the public thanksgiving.

Psalms 81:2 , Psalms 81:3

By which the passover is intended.

Psalms 81:4 , Psalms 81:5

The Egyptian tongue was unknown to the Lord in the sense of having no fellowship with it; just as we read in the New Testament that the Lord will say to the hypocrite, “I never knew you.” In Egypt the Passover was established as a memorial of Israel’s redemption, and the freeborn sons of Israel delighted to maintain the commemoration.

Psalms 81:6

Or from the earth baskets. God set his people free from the slavish business of brick-making, as he has also redeemed all his people from the accursed bondage of their sins.

Psalms 81:7

Poorly did they bear that test. Their murmurings were both deep and loud, and their inconstancy was self-evident. Yet see how, when the Lord was tested by the people, he proved himself to be ready to hear and swift to bless.

Psalms 81:10

Have large expectations of God, and offer large prayers to him, then shall great things be your joyful portion. Who would not ask largely if he believed that his requests would be granted? In the matter of prayer to God if we be stinted, it is by ourselves, for God has not straitened us in his promise. Come then, let those of us who are believers, plead for the salvation of the whole family, the servants, and the neighbours. Let our prayer, during this day, be on a great scale. Men sin hugely let us pray abundantly.

Psalms 81:11-13

See the loving tenderness of the Lord, he laments our sins because he sees what they cost us. He knows what we lose by our folly, and he is sorry for us. Not as a judge does he condemn with tearless eye, but as a father he censures with loving regret in his heart.

Psalms 81:14

God either turns our enemies hearts, or makes them turn their backs, when he sees his people walking carefully in the “way of obedience.” “When a mans ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

Psalms 81:16

May we, as a family, walk in continual obedience to the Lord that we may be fed upon the precious promises which are “the finest of the wheat,” and may enjoy in close fellowship with Jesus that honey of sweet peace which drops from no other rock but that which was smitten for us. Holiness is happiness hence obedience to God is true wisdom. Enemies we shall have none to fear, if we dwell in the bosom of Jesus our friend.

Oh how I love thy holy law!

‘Tis daily my delight;

And thence my meditations draw

Divine advice by night.

Am I a stranger, or at home,

‘Tis my perpetual feast;

Not honey dropping from the comb

So much allures the taste.

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