the Third Sunday of Lent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“The Lord shall suddenly come to his temple.”
Here we conclude our Old Testament readings; the Lord grant that we may not have read in vain.
The people were far too ready to justify themselves and deny the charges which were so justly drought against them. We are never right while we try to clear ourselves before God.
They looked for temporal benefit from their outward religiousness. Like hirelings they would be paid for everything they did, and had no real love to God.
Thus they envied the condition of the wicked, and thought God’s dealings were unjust.
While sinners were murmuring, a few saints of a better temper were communing about the best things. They spake often together, and spake so sweetly that the Lord listened, and recorded what he heard. Holy conversation is both edifying to us and pleasing to God.
The Lord made these holy talkers to be his crown jewels, his peculiar treasure, and he promised that at the last great judgment day he would own them as his choice ones. May we all be among them.
Men will be seen in their true colours at the last, and hypocrisy will come to an end.
Carefully attended and bountifully supplied.
This shall be the result of Christ’s coming, that the wicked shall be overcome, while the righteous shall rise to glory and happiness.
Malachi 4:5 , Malachi 4:6
John did come in the power of Elias; he began to preach the glad news which bids all discord cease. That gospel word has continued its peace-giving power, and will do so for ever. The Old Testament concludes with the word “curse.” The Jews have wished to alter this, but there it stands. Let us look away from the law which can only curse us to that better covenant which blesses us in Christ Jesus.
How will my heart endure
The terrors of that day,
When earth and heaven, before his face,
Astonish’d shrink away?
Ye sinners, seek his grace,
Whose wrath ye cannot bear;
Fly to the shelter of his cross,
And find salvation there.
So shall that curse remove,
By which the Saviour bled;
And the last awful day shall pour
His blessings on your head.
“If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful.”
Let us not commence our reading of the New Testament without earnest prayer that it may prove a blessing to us by the teaching of the Holy Spirit. These things are written that we may believe in the Lord Jesus, and we shall read to no purpose unless we do in very deed believe in him to the salvation of our souls. It will be well to remember that four hundred years had passed since the days of Malachi, and that Judea formed a part of the great Roman Empire, with Herod the Great as its tributary king. Now was the time appointed for the coming of John, the forerunner of the promised Messiah.
This was done twice every day, at the time of the morning and evening sacrifices, and was an emblem of the merits of Jesus, and of the prayers of saints, which ascend like sweet perfume to the throne of God.
His faith was staggered by the apparent impossibility of the case, as ours too often is when outward providences appear to contradict the promise.
Luke 1:19 , Luke 1:20
Unbelief is very displeasing to God, and cannot be indulged in, even by the best of men, without involving them in chastisement. If we will not believe a promise, we shall not be permitted the comfort of it, and its fulfilment will be attended with some humiliating circumstance which will mark the Lord’s displeasure at our unbelief.
He did not make his infirmity an excuse for leaving his office, as many would have done. We must work on for the Lord as long as we have any ability left.
The mother of John had more faith than her husband, but both were excellent persons. We may reasonably expect the best preachers to be born of pious parents. Would to God that in our household might be raised up those who will cry, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”