the First Week of Advent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“His mercy endureth for ever.”
This psalm may be very fittingly read at this time, for it celebrates the Lord’s dealings with Israel until he had settled them in the land which he had promised to them as a heritage.
Praise the Lord for what he is by nature, for his own personal goodness deserves our adoration.
His sovereignty over all, and his transcendant superiority above all other existences should command our reverent praise at all times. All his power and majesty are sweetened with mercy.
How sweet is the chorus. It comes over and over again, but it never degenerates into a vain repetition. God is to be praised not only for his nature and dignity, but also for his works.
Psalms 136:5 , Psalms 136:6
O thou Creator of all things, we magnify the mercy which shines in all thy handiworks.
What should we do without the sun? Could life itself hold out? And how cheerless would night be if the moon were quenched! Herein is mercy.
Each distinct blessing deserves a verse of praise to itself.
From nature, the psalmist turns to providence and sees mercy all around. Mercy is everywhere around us, like the air we breathe. Judgment to Egypt was mercy to Israel.
Destruction it was to Pharaoh, but that destruction was needful for the escape of the Israelites, and for their safety while in the wilderness, and therefore mercy was in it all.
Notwithstanding all their provocations, the Lord continued to lead them on; and in their case, as in ours, proved the eternity of his mercy. Time cannot rust it, sin cannot conquer it; throughout eternity it must and shall endure.
He makes the just punishment of some to redound to the gain of others, and thus in his judgments magnifies his grace.
Our personal experience is one of the sweetest notes of the song which celebrates infinite mercy. Our redemption is the joy of all our joy.
Daily providence which feeds the countless fish of the sea, and birds of the air, and beasts of the field, deserves our reverent gratitude.
The Lord reigneth in the highest above all, making heaven the throne of his glory. Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
“I will run in the way of Thy commandments.”
We are glad to meet with this old hero, Joshua’s compatriot. Note how he dwells upon the promise, “Thou knowest the thing that the Lord said concerning me and thee.” Faithful hearts treasure up the divine word and prize it more than gold.
He was a man of true heart, and spake as his heart bade him, and not as the majority of the spies would have had him. Only a true-souled man has courage to go against the stream, and speak the truth in the teeth of a false public opinion. Oh, that we had more such men now-a-days! The old man looks back with gratitude to this fact which had happened so many years ago. It is well to sow seed in our youth, which we shall not be afraid to harvest in our old age.
What his own conscience had told him, Moses also had admitted. It is well when our own consciousness tallies with the encomiums which others may give to us, otherwise their praises may make us blush rather than smile. Caleb now claims what had been promised him; things are very sweet when they come to us by the way of the promise.
Joshua 14:10 , Joshua 14:11
This was a rare privilege, and Caleb was thankful for it, and ready to use all the strength which God had given him against the enemies of Israel. He might have claimed his retiring pension, but instead thereof he sues for fresh work, with all the ardour of a young man.
He probably reminded Joshua of a brave conversation he had held with him under the walls of the city of Hebron, when they had seen the giants, and marked the stupendous strength of the fortifications. He then spoke like a bold believer, and now he desired to prove that his words were not mere vapouring, but could be backed up by valiant deeds. Hebron it seems had once been captured by Israel, but the Anakims had returned to their strongholds, and Caleb felt that with God’s help, he would hunt them out again, once for all.
The good old soldier had his desire, and in due time he took possession of the territory allotted to him. Whole-hearted loyalty to the Lord will have its reward. The Lord never allowed a man to be confounded, whose sole trust was in him, and whose entire heart followed him. In this family may there be many a Caleb; yea, may we all be whole-hearted for the Lord.
Up comrades up! undaunted be,
And valiant in the fight,
For him who died upon the tree,
For him who reigns in light.
Jesus himself leads on the strife:
Stand to his banner true;
Be steadfast now and all through life,
For he will strengthen you.