the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“He will joy over thee with singing.”
The prophet Zephaniah appeared at the close of Josiah’s reign. We will read a portion from his prophecy.
Zephaniah 3:8 , Zephaniah 3:9
After wrath will come mercy. The language of men has become impure with sin. and their tongues are confounded with diverse forms of speech; but when the Spirit of God descended at Pentecost he sanctified human lips to the Lord’s service, and gave an earnest of that future day in which with one voice all nations shall praise God.
From afar shall Israel return to their land, and the most distant nations shall be converted to the Lord. O long-expected day, begin!
The cause of shame would be removed by sanctifying grace, and then they would enjoy peace with God.
When boasting is excluded, trust begins, and the poorest are then made rich in grace.
What a choice promise! Sin both starves and disturbs the soul, but grace brings both food and rest.
Zephaniah 3:14 , Zephaniah 3:15
Joyful is the presence of God: what evil can harm us when Jesus is near? The fulfilment of this promise to Israel is yet to come, but believers in their measure enjoy it even now.
Zephaniah 3:16 , Zephaniah 3:17
A marvellous expression. Think of God himself as singing! “As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride so shall thy God rejoice over thee!” Creation could not make Him sing, but the work of grace is above measure dear to his heart, and makes him “rejoice with joy” a very vivid and forcible expression.
When in exile they could not hold their solemn feasts, and this was a burdensome reproach to them; but God will gather them, and their reproach shall be rolled away.
Zephaniah 3:19 , Zephaniah 3:20
Persecution and contempt will come to an end, and the saints shall in the latter days be accounted the excellent of the earth. Shame and reproach are the cross which Christians must carry for their Lord’s sake, but the loving providence of God will change all this ere long, to the confusion of our adversaries and his own eternal glory. Let us hope and quietly wait, resting in the love of God.
The covenant of grace all blessings secures, Believer, rejoice, for all things are yours; And God from his purpose will never remove, But love thee, and bless thee, and rest in his love.
“Thou, O Lord, remainest for ever.”
2 Chronicles 35:20-27
2 Chronicles 35:20
Probably he thought he had good reasons for so doing: it may be that he was bound by treaty to side with the Assyrian king; but it would have been far better to have let the matter alone. God’s people were separated for himself, and they did well when they remained so. What had they to do with the quarrels of these two great kings? They had better have said, “Let the potsherds strive with the potsherds of the earth;” as for us, we will abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 Chronicles 35:21
Pharaoh knew that Josiah was a devout man, and therefore hoped to keep him quiet by a pretended message from God. It was not likely that the true God would send a message to his own favoured servant by a heathen like Necho; and Josiah is by no means to be blamed for disregarding the cunning advice of the Egyptian.
2 Chronicles 35:22-24
Though Pharaoh had only intended deceit, the event proved that God had resolved to take his servant home by an honourable death, removing him speedily from the evil to come. Josiah intended no wrong infighting with Necho; but felt in honour bound to oppose his march against the Assyrian king, to whom his grandfather owed his restoration to the throne: the fact that he was killed by no means shows that he was in error, for in the best of causes a man may die.
2 Chronicles 35:25
This is not that Book of Lamentations which forms part of Holy Scripture, but some other volume which is now lost. There were many books extant in those days which were not inspired, and the fact that these are lost should make us the more grateful for the special providence which has preserved the sacred volume entire.
Though not written in sole reference to Josiah, the following portion of Jeremiah’s Lamentations is appropriate.
Child of sorrow, do they leave thee,
Those on whom thy hopes were stayed?
Jesus calls, and will receive thee
With a love which cannot fade;
Hark, he bids thee
Seek the home for sinners made.