the First Week of Advent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“They limited the Holy One of Israel.”
2 Kings 13:1-6 , 2 Kings 13:9-11 , 2 Kings 13:14-19
We shall now take another glimpse at the guilty kingdom of Israel. When Jehu had swept away the worship of Baal, he restored the worship of God under the figure of an ox, which the sacred writers always describe contemptuously as a calf. His sons after him maintained that forbidden worship which bore the same relation to the true religion as Romanism does to the faith of the gospel.
2 Kings 13:1-3
The Syrians reduced Israel so low that no army was left to defend the country, and the poor people are described as being made “like the dust by threshing.” Wretched are the wages of iniquity.
2 Kings 13:4 , 2 Kings 13:5
God sometimes hears the prayers of the wicked for temporal things. Who can set bounds to his mercy? Let us seek him for spiritual blessings.
2 Kings 13:6
Perhaps spared for its beauty, even as at this time, foolish persons reverence the images of Popery because they are works of art.
2 Kings 13:9-11 , 2 Kings 13:14
After sixty or seventy years of service, rest came to the faithful prophet. Good men, when they come to die, are often honoured by those who have rejected their living testimony. Bad as Joash was, he knew that Elisha was the only defence of the country, and therefore wept at the prospect of his loss.
2 Kings 13:19
Though a dying man, Elisha was angry at unbelief, and well he might be, for God himself is angry with it, and in this case it robbed Israel of great victories, and of all hope of permanent peace. If our faith can shoot many arrows by asking great things of God, expecting great things from God, and attempting great things for God, we shall see mighty marvels; but want of faith stints the blessing; we win but thrice when we might go forth conquering and to conquer. Wretched are the men who rob themselves, and stop the flow of blessing; yet such a course of action is common with us. Lord, send us great family blessings. Convert every one of us. Bless our work for thee, and do great things for us and by us.
“The Lord is able to give thee much more than this.”
We come back to the history of the kingdom of Judah, and find Joash succeeded by Amaziah.
2 Chronicles 25:1-11
2 Chronicles 25:1 , 2 Chronicles 25:2
Like his father Joash, he lacked steady principle, and therefore, though he began well, he turned aside in his later days and suffered for his apostacy.
2 Chronicles 25:4
This just law was obeyed by the king, though in other eastern courts the entire families of regicides are usually put to death. It spoke well for Amaziah that he broke through prevailing customs to obey the law of the Lord.
2 Chronicles 25:5
This was only one-fourth of the number of Jehoshaphat’s army in former times, and shows how greatly the kingdom of Judah had suffered by the wars which had fallen upon it for its sins.
2 Chronicles 25:6
This amount was paid to the king of Israel for leave to use his troops. It amounted to. about fifty thousand pounds or ten shillings a man, a very paltry pay. The soldiers were not paid, but expected to remunerate themselves from the spoil. What must war have been when carried on upon such principles? Human life was a trifle, and the tenure of property was not worth a day’s purchase.
2 Chronicles 25:8
God would not have his people joining with idolaters; all the help we can get from the ungodly will prove to be hindrance.
2 Chronicles 25:9
This text should be remembered when religion appears to involve us in present loss; God can make it up to us in many ways, both in temporals and spirituals. We may count the cost as rigidly as we please, and we shall find that it is always best to obey the Lord.
2 Chronicles 25:11
Alone he was victorious. If we will trust in God, and no longer lean on the arm of flesh, we shall be conquerors too; and as for any loss which we may have to put up with for Christ’s sake, we may rejoice in it.
Alone relying on the Lord,
The battle we shall win;
But if we trust an arm of flesh,
We fall a prey to sin.
Away, then, carnal confidence,
Let pride be overthrown;
Jesus shall be our sole defence;
We rest in him alone.