the Third Sunday of Lent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“It is well.”
2 Kings 4:18-23 , 2 Kings 4:25-37
The greatest earthly blessings are uncertain; the son who had made the Shunammite so glad was now to cause her grief.
2 Kings 4:18 , 2 Kings 4:19
Perhaps the harvest sun was too hot for him, and he suffered from sunstroke, as many do in the east.
2 Kings 4:21
Full of grief she was, for she had lost her son; but she had a hope left, for she had not lost her faith.
2 Kings 4:22 , 2 Kings 4:23
Her answer was the one word “well.” Her heart was full and her faith sorely tried, therefore she said but little, and would not pain her husband by mentioning their crushing loss until she had proved the power of the prophet’s God.
2 Kings 4:27
She was in an agony, tossed to and fro between faith and fear, therefore she acted not in the manner usual to her, but fell passionately at the prophet’s feet.
2 Kings 4:28
She argued that surely the son was not sent to mock her and break her heart, yet she felt that if he were to be soon removed it looked very like it, and this she could not believe to be the Lord’s intention. Thus her faith and her anguish pleaded with Elisha.
2 Kings 4:31
God would not grant this blessing to a mere form; there must be mighty prayer.
2 Kings 4:35
By faith this woman received her child raised to life again as the woman of Sarepta had done before. Although a miracle will not be wrought for us, we ought to have a like faith, and we shall then see things equally worthy of our gratitude.
2 Kings 4:37
We must imitate this good woman, and in all times of trouble go with it to the Lord, and he will surely help us through. “Trust ye in the Lord for ever.”
Shall I, for fear of feeble man,
Thy Spirit’s course in me restrain?
Or, undismay’d in deed and word,
Be a true witness for my Lord?
Awed by a mortal’s frown, shall I
Conceal the Word of God Most High?
How then before thee shall I dare
To stand, or how thy anger bear?
Give me thy strength, O God of power!
Then let winds blow, or thunders roar.
Thy faithful witness will I be:
‘Tis fixed! I can do all through thee.
Zion stands by hills surrounded,
Zion kept by power divine;
All her foes shall be confounded,
Though the world in arms combine:
What a favour’d lot is thine!
Zion’s Friend in nothing alters,
Though all others may, and do;
His is love that never falters,
Always to its object true.
Crown’d with mercies ever new.
God is our refuge, tried and proved,
Amid a stormy world:
We will not fear though earth be moved,
And hills in ocean hurl’d.
When earth and hell against us came,
He spake, and quell’d their powers;
The Lord of hosts is still the same,
The God of grace is ours.
Jesus our Lord is love,
All gentle are his ways,
And since he suffered in our stead,
No fear our heart dismays.
No fiery vengeance now,
No burning wrath comes down;
If justice call for sinner’s blood,
The Saviour shows his own.
Before his Father’s eye
Our humble suit he moves;
The Father lays his thunder by,
And looks, and smiles, and loves.
Our soaring spirits upward rise
To the celestial throne,
Fain would we see the blessed Three,
And the Almighty One.
Lord, how our souls are all on fire
To see thy bless’d abode;
Our tongues rejoice in tunes of praise
To our incarnate God!
And while our faith enjoys this sight,
We long to leave our clay,
And wish thy fiery chariots, Lord,
To fetch our souls away.
Straiten’d in God we cannot be,
No bounds his power and bounty know,
His grace is an exhaustless sea,
Which flows, and shall for ever flow;
And if its course suspended seem,
The hindrance is in us, not Him.
Long as our faith’s capacity
Is stretch’d to admit the blessing given,
We drink the streaming Deity,
And gasp for larger draughts of heaven!
But when we lose our emptiness,
The oil, the joy, the Spirit stays!
Empty us, then, most gracious Lord,
And keep us always empty here,
Till thee, according to thy word,
We see upon the clouds appear,
Thy glorious fulness to reveal,
And all thy saints for ever fill.
Since like the weeping Shunammite,
For many dead in sin we grieve;
Now, Lord, display thine arm of might,
Cause them to hear thy voice and live.
Thy preachers bear the staff in vain,
Though at thine own command they go;
Lord, they have tried and tried again,
They find them dead, and leave them so.
Come, then, thyself to ev’ry heart,
The glory of thy name make known;
The means are our appointed part,
The pow’r and grace are thine alone.
“The iron did swim.”
2 Kings 4:38-44
2 Kings 4:38
Though there was nothing to put in the pot except a very little meal, the man of God was persuaded that the Lord would send provision, and therefore ordered the pot to be placed on the fire in readiness. We have heard of one who had no bread and much faith; and therefore after prayer he caused the cloth to be laid, to show his practical belief that the Lord would send supplies: such faith Elisha had.
2 Kings 4:39
Unbelief is vainly active: this person could not wait for the Lord to fill the pot, but must needs come to the Lord’s assistance, and so did mischief Faith does better with her patient waiting than mistrust with her vain activity.
2 Kings 4:41
Thus for every evil the Lord finds an antidote. In the great cauldron of society at this moment there are deadly evils, such as ritualism and infidelity: the way to counteract their pernicious influence is to cast in the meal of gospel truth until the error is neutralised by the wonder-working grace of God.
2 Kings 4:42
or rather in his scrip
2 Kings 4:42
Elisha’s faith had enabled him to believe that God could provide when there was nothing in the house; and therefore he was convinced that divine power could multiply their slender store now that they had a little in hand.
2 Kings 4:44
We are to use what we have, and God will give us more. As our needs so shall our supply be, for we are promised strength equal to our days.
2 Kings 6:1-7
2 Kings 6:3
His company would cheer them, and his holy conversation would improve them: they loved him, and therefore desired to have him with them; he loved them, and therefore consented to join them in their labours.
2 Kings 6:5
He was poor, and had been compelled to borrow; he was honest, and was doubly grieved to lose what had been lent to him.
2 Kings 6:6
Yes, and God can still make iron swim; things impossible to us are possible to him. Out of every difficulty Omnipotence can bring us, only let us in childlike confidence cast our burden upon the Lord. Whatever our family trial may be, the Lord will help us through it.
2 Kings 6:7
Joyful enough was this son of the prophets. May we have like work, like society, like faith, and like joy.