the First Week of Lent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Be strong, fear not.”
The whole of the prophecies of Isaiah are precious, and should be read by us constantly in private. To whet our desires to read the whole book, we shall take a few of the choicer portions. He gives a very wonderful description of the pilgrims to heaven, and their joyful march. We find it in Isaiah 35.
Though oftentimes despised and oppressed, there will come a time when the people of God shall be known to be the greatest blessings to men, for the most waste and desolate parts of society shall be cheered and benefitted by their presence and influence. It has been so already in a measure, but better days are in store.
Spiritual blessings in heavenly things shall be enjoyed by them in Christ Jesus, and so shall all men see how glorious a God they serve.
Isaiah 35:3 , Isaiah 35:4
He will execute vengeance on his foes; but as for you who trust in him, though you are weak and timid, he will come and save you. What comfort these words are calculated to afford!
These are the miracles which attest the gospel now, and these shall be more abundantly multiplied in the golden age, which is on its way. Believers know what these miracles mean, for they have experienced the gracious cures which Jesus works, and in their wants and needs the Lord daily gives them “streams in the desert.”
Salvation can gladden desolation; places and hearts abandoned to every unclean thing, and empty of all good, shall yet, through divine grace, become fruitful in every good word and work.
Isaiah 35:8 , Isaiah 35:9
The Lord has cast up a way of grace for simple souls, and in it they are safe from sin and Satan, and every foe. Are we travelling this sacred road? If so we are redeemed by blood, and are striving after holiness; for those who love sin cannot be journeying to heaven. How thankful we ought to be that the road to heaven is for plain people, and how gladly ought we to forsake sin and walk therein!
This is the end of holy pilgrimage; it ends in bliss which knows no end. Crowns of joy will be placed upon the heads of all who follow the Lamb of God, their mourning shall be ended, and they shall rest with him for ever. Happy pilgrims, fain would we all go with you: father, mother, children, and servants, we would all march to the celestial city by the pathway of faith.
Jesus, my all, to heaven is gone,
He whom I fix’d my hopes upon,
His track I see, and I’ll pursue
The narrow way, till him I view.
The way the holy prophets went,
The road that leads from banishment,
The King’s highway of holiness,
I’ll go, for all his paths are peace.
Lo! glad I come; and thou, blest Lamb,
Shalt take me to thee, as I am:
Nothing but sin have I to give;
Nothing but love shall I receive.
“I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not.”
We shall now listen to Isaiah while he speaks partly of Cyrus, and principally of Christ in Isaiah 42:1-16.
mine elect or my choice one
This Jesus has done in our case, for we who were sinners of the Gentiles rejoice in his righteousness. Glory be to his name!
Jesus was meek and lowly, and no clamorous fainter for popularity.
The poor, useless, feeble heart, which, like a crushed reed, can yield no music, Jesus binds up; and the soul in which only a spark of grace lingers, and out of which only a smoke of desire arises, he will preserve and fan into a flame. How encouraging is this! Oh, for faith to lay hold upon it!
See what a Saviour we have, and how the Lord is. with him. He works wonders of grace, and why may we not share in them? Will he not bring out our captive spirits to gospel liberty?
The finished work of Jesus is enough to fill the universe with the praises of the Eternal God. We will daily pray that it may be made known, till the whole earth shall rejoice in it and bring glory to God.
The gospel is the cry of the mighty God, and those who do not receive it will be overthrown by it. To the unbelieving its voice is terrible as the roaring of a lion.
Isaiah 42:14 , Isaiah 42:15
Longsuffering has its limits; and when God begins to deal with sinful nations and ungodly men, his works of justice will be beyond measure dreadful. No comforts will be left to those who refused comfort in Christ.
In the midst of judgment, mercy and truth shall not be forgotten; God’s chosen shall be led safely, and their afflictions shall be removed. Specially precious are the last words, “and not forsake them.” Why are we sorrowful? for God is our friend still. Never has he deserted a sincerely believing heart, and he never will, come what may. Let us, then, rest in his love, and go forward to our life’s end with exulting courage.