Far Better the Bitter Waters

So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: – Exodus 15:22,23

Notice that the perils and trials of the wilderness occur very early in the pilgrim life. It is a notion, I have no doubt, of very young Christians who still have the shell upon their heads and are scarce hatched, that their trials are over now that they have become winged with faith; they had far better have reckoned that their trials have begun with tenfold force, now that they are numbered with the servants of the Most High. Whatever else comes not to thee, O servant of God, this will surely be fulfilled, “In the world ye shall have tribulation.” “What son is he whom the Father chasteneth not?”

When Israel was in Egypt, they drank of the river Nile. No ordinary water that…What a change from the sweetness of the Nile to the bitterness of Marah! Did not the suggestion rise in their hearts, “It was better with us in the bondage of Egypt, with water in abundance, than it is now in the liberty of the wilderness with the bitterness of Marah?” The devil tempted some of us at the very first by saying: “See what you have got by being a Christian. While you were as others are, your mind had mirth; now you have come out and followed the Crucified, you have lost the liveliness of your spirits, the brightness of your wit-that which made life worth having is taken away from you.” Young Christian, is that your case to-day? Be not stumbled, neither believe the enemy. Man, it were better to die at Marah free, than live a slave by the sweet Nile. Even men that know not the Spirit of God have felt it were better to die free than live slaves, and truly to be a slave to Satan is so degrading a thing, that if this mouth were for ever filled with Marah’s bitterness, yet were it better to be so than to be enchanted with the pleasures of sin. Yet these early trials are very severe, and need much grace lest they cause us great mischief.~ C.H. Spurgeon


Our Marah

And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet. -Exodus 15:23-25.

What a sudden change from the sound of the timbrel (vv.21-22) to the voice of murmuring! You saw the maidens dancing three days ago, and you little dreamed that they would make part of yonder clamorous throng who surround the servant of God, and cry, “What shall we drink?” Such are the changes of our outward conditions and of our inward feelings, so fickle and so mutable is man. What is there that can be rested upon in this mortal life? We say to-day, “My mountain standeth firm, I shall never be moved;” to-morrow, terra firma there is none, and we are tossed upon a stormy sea. Our life is like an April day, the sunshine alternates with the shower; or like each day of all the year, the morning and the evening are needful to complete it. Quick on the heels of light treads the darkness, followed with equal haste by light again. The sun’s rule, at this golden hour, is but temporary; he must abdicate in favor of the usurping stars, but they, in their turn, must give way before his lordly presence yet again. This world, which is our inn, owns to the sign of the “chequers”-the blacks and whites are everywhere. We can be sure of nothing between here and heaven of the things which are seen; but of this we may be certain, that underneath all the outward change there is the immutable love of God towards His people, and that, after all, the change lies only in the seeming things, not in the things which truly are; for the things which are not seen are eternal and changes come not there; it is but in the things which are seen that the change occurs. Let us set the less store by earth, because its fashion abides not. Let us prize heaven more, because it cannot fade. ~ C.H. Spurgeon


O Lonely Spirit, You Are Not Alone

The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry...The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.Psalm 34:15-16

God is all eye and all ear, and all His eye and all His ear are for His people. Are you distressed in heart? God sees your distress. Are you crying in secret in the bitterness of your soul? God hears your cry. You are not alone. O lonely spirit, broken spirit, be not dismayed; be not given to despair. God is with you. If He sees nothing else, He will see you. “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous.” And if He hears no one else in the world, He will hear you. “His ears are open to their cry.”

You know what we say sometimes. “I set my face against such a thing as that.” Now God sets His face against them that do evil. You will come to an end, my friend. Your happiness, like a bubble painted with rainbow colours, may be the object of foolish desires; but in a little while it will burst and be gone, as the bubble is, and there will be nothing left of you. Even your remembrance will be wiped out from the face of the earth. What numbers of books have been written against God of which you could not get a copy now, except you went to a museum! What numbers of men have lived that have been scoffers; and they have had great names amongst the circles of unbelievers, but they are quite forgotten now! But the Christian Church treasures up names of poor, simple-hearted Christian men and women-treasures them up like jewels, and their fame is fresh after hundreds of years.~ C.H. Spurgeon



The Great One Who Hears Poor Men’s Prayers

I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears...This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.Psalm 34:4,8

That was David’s testimony. That is mine. Brother, that is yours. Is it not? Sister, is not that yours too? Well, if you have such a blessed testimony, be sure to bear it. Often do you whisper it in the mourner’s ear, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me.” Tell it in the scoffer’s ear. When he says, “There is no God,” and that prayer is useless, say to him, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” It is a pity that such a sweet encouraging profitable testimony should be kept back. Be sure at all proper times to make it known. But it is not merely ourselves. There are others who can speak well of God. And who were they? Why, all the people of God-the whole company of the saints in heaven, and the saints on earth….This poor man cried. Who was he? He was a poor man-any poor man-nothing very particular about him, but he was poor-a poor man. What did he do? He cried. That was the style of praying he adopted-as a child cries-the natural expression of pain…What came of it? “The Lord heard him.” I do not suppose anybody else did; or, if they did, they laughed at it. But it did not signify to him. The Lord heard him. And what came of that? He “saved him out of all his troubles.” Oh! is there a poor man here tonight in trouble. Had he not better copy the example of this other poor man? Let him cry to the Lord about it. Let him come and bring his burdens before the great One who hears poor men’s prayers. And, no doubt, that poor man lived to tell the same tale as he who wrote this verse. “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.”~ C.H. Spurgeon


Make Your Boast in the Lord

My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name togetherPsalm 34:2,3

Boasting is generally annoying. Even those that boast themselves cannot endure that other people should boast. But there is one kind of boasting that even the humble can bear to hear-nay they are glad to hear it. “The humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.” That must be boasting in God-a holy glorying and extolling the Most High with words sought out with care that might magnify His blessed name. You will never exaggerate when you speak good things of God. It is not possible to do so. Try, dear brethren, and even boast in the Lord. There are many poor, trembling, doubting, humble souls that can hardly tell whether they are the Lord’s people or not, and are half afraid whether they shall be delivered in the hour of trouble, that will become comforted when they hear you boasting. “The humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.” “Why,” says the humble soul, “God that helped that man can help me. He that brought him up through the deep waters, and landed him safely, can also take me through the river and through the sea, and give me final deliverance. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord. The humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.”

(And) he cannot do enough of it himself. He wants others to come in and help him. First, he charges his own heart with the weighty and blessed business of praising God, and then he invites all around to unite with him in the sacred effort. “Magnify the Lord with me. Let us exalt His name together.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon


What a Blessed Mouthful!

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.Psalm 34:1

“Others may do what they please, and murmur, and complain, and be filled with dread and apprehension of the future; but I will bless the Lord at all times. I can always see something for which I ought to bless Him. I can always see some good which will come out of blessing Him. Therefore will I bless Him at all times. And this,” says the Psalmist, “I will not only do in my heart, but I will do it with my tongue. His praise shall continually be in my mouth,” that others may hear it, that others may begin to praise him, too, for murmuring is contagious, and so, thank God, is praise; and one man may learn from another-take the catchword and the keyword out of another man’s mouth, and then begin to praise God with him. “His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” What a blessed mouthful! If some people had God’s praises in their mouths, they would not so often have fault-finding with their fellow-men.

If half the breath thus vainly spent in finding fault with our fellow-Christians were spent in prayer and praise, how much happier, how much richer, we should be spiritually! “His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon


In the Hand of Jesus All His People Are

My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. – John 10:29

Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am… – John 17:24

Now, can I believe that He who promises that I shall be with Him where He is, that I may behold His glory – He who gives the certainty to every believer that He shall enter into everlasting happiness – can I believe that He is perfecting that for me-that the way by which He is taking me, so dark, so gloomy, so full of dangers, is, nevertheless, the shortest way to heaven? that He is using the quickest method to perfect that which concerns my soul? O faith! here is something for thee to do; and if thou canst perform it, thou shalt bring glory to God. The pith of it is this: that if God hath the keeping of us, He will perfect the keeping in the day of Christ. In the hand of Jesus all His people are, and in that hand they shall be for ever and ever…Every child of God is set apart by Christ, and in Christ, and the work of the Spirit has commenced which shall subdue sin, and extirpate the very roots of corruption; and this work shall be perfected; nay, is being perfected at this very moment. The dragon is being trodden down under foot. The seed of the woman within us is beginning to bruise the serpent’s head, and shall clearly bruise it and crush it, even to the death within our soul. He is perfecting us in all things for Himself. He has promised to bring us to glory. We have the earnest of that great glory in us now. The new life is there; all the elements of heaven are within us. Now He will perfect all these. He will not suffer one good thing that He has planted within us to die. It is a living and incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth for ever…What a marvellous thing is a Christian! How mean; how noble! How abject; how august! How near to hell; how close to heaven! How fallen, yet lifted up! Able to do nothing; yet doing all things! Doing nothing; yet accomplishing all things; because herein it is that, in the man, and with the man, there is God, and He performeth all things for us. God, give us grace to look away entirely, evermore, from ourselves, and to depend entirely upon Him.~ C.H. Spurgeon