the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Underneath are the everlasting arms.”
Here is a blessing for the traveller, and a blessing for the stayer at home. In both cases it is given to the children of God to rejoice, for the Lord is with them. If we go only where we ought, and dwell only where we should, we have the Lord for our companion, and, therefore, may constantly rejoice.
It is a happy office to call others to worship the Lord, and a happy providence which makes the salt sea and the sandy waste minister to the supply of our needs.
It is a blessing from God to be decided and vigorous in executing the will of the Lord. Too many are weak and undecided.
Strength and courage show themselves in bold enterprises. Dan leaped and increased his territory. We ought to be bold for the Lord Jesus, and enlarge the boundaries of his kingdom.
What richer words were ever spoken of mortal men. He has a fulness indeed who is full with the blessing of Jehovah.
A sweet prayer for our minister. Let him have thousands of spiritual children, let him furnish the saints with acceptable teaching and edification, and may he practically manifest that he is abundantly anointed of the Lord.
Blessed promise. A rough road needs strong shoes, and they shall be given us; weary days need plenteous grace, and it shall be afforded us. Our strength shall always be equal to every emergency. Hitherto, the saints of God have proved the promise to be true, and they need not fear that it shall ever fail them. Moses now turns his thoughts to his God, whom he magnifies in glowing language.
None in earth or heaven is so good, so ready, and so able to bless his people.
Very sweet is that word, “underneath are the everlasting arms,” they will break our fall, or prevent us from falling; they will embrace us, give us repose, and finally lift us up to everlasting glory.
God’s people must maintain the separated condition if they would be safe:
Earth’s fountains and heaven’s dews both bless the chosen. All things are full of benediction to those whom the Lord sets apart for himself.
As there is none like the Lord, so there are none like his people. They are happy in the present, and secure for the future since this God is their God for ever and ever.
Afflicted soul, to Jesus dear,
Thy Saviour’s gracious promise hear;
His faithful word declares to thee
That, “as thy day, thy strength shall be.”
Let not thy heart despond, and say,
How shall I stand the trying day?
He has engaged, by firm decree,
That, “as thy day, thy strength shall be.”
“Thy will be done.”
Moses was not permitted to cross the Jordan and take possession of the promised land; we will, on this occasion, hear from his own lips the reason of his exclusion. It does not appear to have been announced to him at the time when the sentence was passed upon all those who came out of Egypt, but thirty-eight years after, at the second smiting of the rock.
Not merely the words themselves, but the inner speech of their hearts, which the words did not fully express; the Lord heard the voice of their words,
Deuteronomy 1:35 , Deuteronomy 1:36
God’s oath was steadfast, and not one of that generation crossed the Jordan save Caleb and Joshua. The Lord notes and rewards the fidelity of individuals, and screens his faithful ones from many of the judgments which fall upon his erring church. Blessed are they who in all things endeavour to follow their Lord’s tracks.
Because his example had not, in the case of the smitten rock, tended to sanctify the Lord’s name among the people. If we are placed in eminent office, God will not only judge the fault itself, but he will consider the ill effect it may have upon his people.
Who but a meek man could obey the command? To encourage the man who is to supersede us is hard for flesh and blood, and the more so if that man has for years been our servant.
Moses prayed humbly for a reversal of the sentence which excluded him from Canaan, and he may have felt encouraged to do so because there was no oath against him as against the people. But he who prevailed for others pleaded in vain for himself. His prayer was powerful in argument, and humbly presented, and yet it was denied. It is not everything that a good man asks that God will give, for there are some points in which he shows himself supreme, and bids us cry, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
To Jesus only it belongs to be always heard without limit. A Moses may plead in vain can we wonder if sometimes we are denied?
If we do not have such an issue to our prayers as we expected, we shall nevertheless have an answer of peace. Moses saw Canaan on earth, and as the vision melted away he saw the better land above. He was a great gainer by not having his petition granted him.
It is very comforting to know that when one good man dies another is ready to take his place. God is never at a loss for a man. His people shall not fail for lack of a leader.
Moses beheld the promised land,
Yet never reach’d the place;
But Christ shall bring his followers home,
To see his Father’s face.
Of Canaan’s land, from Pisgah’s top,
Grant me, my Lord, a view;
Though Jordan should o’erflow its banks,
With thee I’ll venture through.