the Third Sunday of Lent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“My soul thirsteth for God.”
This is a very favourite psalm, and has many thousands of times cheered the hearts of the people of God.
As the hunted hart instinctively seeks after the river to lave its smoking flanks and to escape the dogs, even so my weary, persecuted soul pants after the Lord my God.
How he repeats and reiterates his desire! After his God, he pined even as the drooping flowers for the dew, or the moaning turtle for her mate. It were well if all our resortings to public worship were viewed as appearances before God; delight in them would then be a sure mark of grace.
His appetite was gone; his tears not only seasoned his meat, but became his only food. It was well for him that the heart could open the safety-valves; there is a dry grief far more terrible than showery sorrows. His tears, since they were shed because God was blasphemed were “honourable dew,” drops of holy water, such as Jehovah putteth into his bottle.
“I sigh to think of happier days
When thou, O God, wast nigh
When every heart was tuned to praise
And none more blest than I.”
As though he were two men, the psalmist talks to himself. His faith reasons with his fears, his hope argues with his sorrows. These present troubles, are they to last for ever? My absence from the solemn feasts, is that a perpetual exile? Why this deep depression, this faithless fainting? As Trapp says, “David chideth David out of the dumps;” and herein he is an example for all desponding ones. To search out the cause of our sorrow is often the best surgery for grief. Self-ignorance is not bliss; in this case it is misery.
He recalls his seasons of choice communion by the river and among the hills, and especially that dearest hour upon the little hill, where love spake her sweetest language and revealed her nearest fellowship. It is great wisdom to store up in memory our choice occasions of converse with heaven; we may want them another day, when the Lord is slow in bringing back his banished ones.
As in a waterspout the deeps above and below clasp hands, so it seemed to David that heaven and earth united to create a tempest around him. His woes were incessant and overwhelming.
Psalms 42:8 , Psalms 42:9
To know the reason for sorrow is in part to know how to escape it, or, at least, how to endure it.
Psalms 42:10 , Psalms 42:11
This sentence is peculiarly sweet. The enemies had said “Where is thy God,” and the persecuted one replies, “He is here, as my joy and my all.” Faith is not ashamed to own that God is her God even when he is greatly testing her. If we can keep our hold upon the Lord when in the midst of trial we shall come out of it safely.
For yet I know I shall him praise,
Who graciously to me
The health is of my countenance,
Yea, mine own God is he.
“Wait, I say, on the Lord.”
We shall now read that very choice experimental song Psalms 27.
Past experience is a great help to faith. If fierce and powerful enemies have been defeated before, we need not fear now.
Divided aims tend to distraction, weakness, disappointment. The man of one book is eminent, the man of one pursuit is successful. Let all our affections be bound up in one affection, and that affection set upon heavenly things. David desired above all things to be one of the household of God, a home-born child, living at home with his Father. This is our dearest wish, only we extend it to those days of our immortal life which have not yet dawned. We pine for our Fathers house above, the home of our souls; if we may but dwell there for ever, we care but little for the goods or ills of this poor life. What a day will that be when every faithful follower of Jesus shall behold “the King in his beauty.” Oh, for that infinitely blessed vision!
In the pavilion of sovereignly, the holy place of sacrifice, and the rock of divine immutability we dwell securely.
To sing in time of trouble is faith’s glory. We need not wait till full deliverance comes, but even while our foes surround us we may shout the victory, for it is sure.
If we would have the Lord hear our voice, we must be careful to respond to his voice. The true heart should echo the will of God, as the rocks among the Alps repeat, in sweetest music, the notes of the peasant’s horn.
A prayer for the future, and an inference from the past. If the Lord had meant to leave us, why did he begin with us?
These dear relations will be the last to desert me; but if the milk of human kindness should dry up even from their breasts, there is a Father who never forgets. Some of the greatest of the saints have been cast out by their families, and persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
These will entrap us if they can, but the way of simple honesty is safe from their rage. It is wonderful to observe how honest simplicity baffles and outwits the craftiness of wickedness.
We must believe to see, not see to believe; we must stay our soul’s hunger with foretastes of the Lord’s eternal goodness, which shall soon be our feast and our song.
David, in the words “I say,” sets his own private seal to the word which, as an inspired man, he had been moved to write. At this moment he says to us as a family, “Wait, I say, on the Lord.”
The Lord of glory is my light,
And my salvation too;
God is my strength, nor will I fear
What all my foes can do.
When troubles rise, and storms appear,
In him his children hide:
God has a strong pavilion, where
He makes my soul abide.