“Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep.”-Hosea 12:12
Jacob, while expostulating with Laban, thus describes his own toil, “This twenty years have I been with thee. That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee: I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes.” Even more toilsome than this was the life of our Saviour here below. He watched over all His sheep till He gave in as His last account, “Of all those whom Thou hast given me I have lost none.” His hair was wet with dew, and His locks with the drops of the night. Sleep departed from His eyes, for all night He was in prayer wrestling for His people. One night Peter must be pleaded for; anon, another claims His tearful intercession. No shepherd sitting beneath the cold skies, looking up to the stars, could ever utter such complaints because of the hardness of his toil as Jesus Christ might have brought, if He had chosen to do so, because of the sternness of His service in order to procure His spouse-
“Cold mountains and the midnight air,
Witnessed the fervour of His prayer;
The desert His temptations knew,
His conflict and His victory too.”
It is sweet to dwell upon the spiritual parallel of Laban having required all the sheep at Jacob’s hand. If they were torn of beasts, Jacob must make it good; if any of them died, he must stand as surety for the whole. Was not the toil of Jesus for His Church the toil of one who was under suretiship obligations to bring every believing one safe to the hand of Him who had committed them to His charge? Look upon toiling Jacob, and you see a representation of Him of whom we read, “He shall feed His flock like a shepherd.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon
“And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.”-Luke 6:12
If ever one of woman born might have lived without prayer, it was our spotless, perfect Lord, and yet none was ever so much in supplication as He! Such was His love to His Father, that He loved much to be in communion with Him: such His love for His people, that He desired to be much in intercession for them.The fact of this eminent prayerfulness of Jesus is a lesson for us-He hath given us an example that we may follow in His steps. The time He chose was admirable, it was the hour of silence, when the crowd would not disturb Him; the time of inaction, when all but Himself had ceased to labour; and the season when slumber made men forget their woes, and cease their applications to Him for relief. While others found rest in sleep, He refreshed Himself with prayer. The place was also well selected. He was alone where none would intrude, where none could observe: thus was He free from Pharisaic ostentation and vulgar interruption. Those dark and silent hills were a fit oratory for the Son of God. Heaven and earth in midnight stillness heard the groans and sighs of the mysterious Being in whom both worlds were blended. The continuance of His pleadings is remarkable; the long watches were not too long; the cold wind did not chill His devotions; the grim darkness did not darken His faith, or loneliness check His importunity. We cannot watch with Him one hour, but He watched for us whole nights. The occasion for this prayer is notable; it was after His enemies had been enraged-prayer was His refuge and solace; it was before He sent forth the twelve apostles-prayer was the gate of His enterprise, the herald of His new work. Should we not learn from Jesus to resort to special prayer when we are under peculiar trial, or contemplate fresh endeavours for the Master’s glory? Lord Jesus, teach us to pray. ~ C.H. Spurgeon
“O Lord, Thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul.”-Lamentations 3:58
Observe how positively the prophet speaks. He doth not say, “I hope, I trust, I sometimes think, that God hath pleaded the causes of my soul”; but he speaks of it as a matter of fact not to be disputed. “Thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul.” Let us, by the aid of the gracious Comforter, shake off those doubts and fears which so much mar our peace and comfort. Be this our prayer, that we may have done with the harsh croaking voice of surmise and suspicion, and may be able to speak with the clear, melodious voice of full assurance. Notice how gratefully the prophet speaks, ascribing all the glory to God alone! You perceive there is not a word concerning himself or his own pleadings. He doth not ascribe his deliverance in any measure to any man, much less to his own merit; but it is “thou”-”O Lord, Thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; Thou hast redeemed my life.” A grateful spirit should ever be cultivated by the Christian; and especially after deliverances we should prepare a song for our God. Earth should be a temple filled with the songs of grateful saints, and every day should be a censor smoking with the sweet incense of thanksgiving. How joyful Jeremiah seems to be while he records the Lord’s mercy. How triumphantly he lifts up the strain! He has been in the low dungeon, and is even now no other than the weeping prophet; and yet in the very book which is called “Lamentations,” clear as the song of Miriam when she dashed her fingers against the tabor, shrill as the note of Deborah when she met Barak with shouts of victory, we hear the voice of Jeremiah going up to heaven-”Thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life.” O children of God, seek after a vital experience of the Lord’s lovingkindness, and when you have it, speak positively of it; sing gratefully; shout triumphantly.
He that believeth shall not make haste. -Isaiah 28:16
e shall make haste to keep the Lord’s commandments; but he shall not make haste in any impatient or improper sense.
He shall not haste to run away, for he shall not be overcome with the fear which causes panic. When others are flying hither and thither as if their wits had failed them, the believer shall be quiet, calm, and deliberate, and so shall be able to act wisely in the hour of trial.
He shall not haste in his expectations, craving his good things at once and on the spot, but he will wait God’s time. Some are in a desperate hurry to have the bird in the hand, for they regard the Lord’s promise as a bird in the bush, not likely to be theirs. Believers know how to wait.
He shall not haste by plunging into wrong or questionable action. Unbelief must be doing something, and thus it works its own undoing; but faith makes no more haste than good speed, and thus it is not forced to go back sorrowfully by the way which it followed heedlessly.
How is it with me? Am I believing, and am I therefore keeping to the believer’s pace, which is walking with God? Peace, fluttering spirit! Oh, rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him! Heart, see that thou do this at once! ~ C.H. Spurgeon
“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.”-Ecclesiastes 9:10
“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do,” refers to works that are possible. There are many things which our heart findeth to do which we never shall do. It is well it is in our heart; but if we would be eminently useful, we must not be content with forming schemes in our heart, and talking of them; we must practically carry out “whatsoever our hand findeth to do.” One good deed is more worth than a thousand brilliant theories. Let us not wait for large opportunities, or for a different kind of work, but do just the things we “find to do” day by day. We have no other time in which to live. The past is gone; the future has not arrived; we never shall have any time but time present. Then do not wait until your experience has ripened into maturity before you attempt to serve God. Endeavour now to bring forth fruit. Serve God now, but be careful as to the way in which you perform what you find to do-”do it with thy might.” Do it promptly; do not fritter away your life in thinking of what you intend to do to-morrow as if that could recompense for the idleness of to-day. No man ever served God by doing things to-morrow. If we honour Christ and are blessed, it is by the things which we do to-day. Whatever you do for Christ throw your whole soul into it. Do not give Christ a little slurred labour, done as a matter of course now and then; but when you do serve Him, do it with heart, and soul, and strength.
But where is the might of a Christian? It is not in himself, for he is perfect weakness. His might lieth in the Lord of Hosts. Then let us seek His help; let us proceed with prayer and faith, and when we have done what our “hand findeth to do,” let us wait upon the Lord for His blessing. What we do thus will be well done, and will not fail in its effect. ~ C.H. Spurgeon
The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto. -Deuteronomy 28:8
f we obey the Lord our God He will bless that which He gives us. Riches are no curse when blessed of the Lord. When men have more than they require for their immediate need and begin to lay up in storehouses, the dry rot of covetousness or the blight of hard-heartedness is apt to follow the accumulation; but with God’s blessing it is not so. Prudence arranges the saving, liberality directs the spending, gratitude maintains consecration, and praise sweetens enjoyment. It is a great mercy to have God’s blessing in one’s iron safe and on one’s banking account.
What a favor is made ours by the last clause! “The Lord shall bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand unto.” We would not put our hand to anything upon which we dare not ask God’s blessing, neither would we go about it without prayer and faith. But what a privilege to be able to look for the Lord’s help in every enterprise! Some talk of a lucky man: the blessing of the Lord is better than luck. The patronage of the great is nothing to the favor of God. Self-reliance is all very well; but the Lord’s blessing is infinitely more than all the fruit of talent, genius, or tact. ~ C.H. Spurgeon