Category Archives: C. H. Spurgeon

March 28 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

March 28.—Morning. [Or June 22.]
“Quicken thou me according to thy word.”

AS we have now ended the book of Joshua, we will select a few passages from other portions of the Bible before we continue the history. We will again read a part of David’s wonderful panegyric upon the book of God in

Psalm 119:17–32

17 Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word. (Our lives are preserved by God’s bounty, and should be devoted to his service. True life is the product of rich grace, and always reveals itself by holy obedience to the divine will.)

18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. (The Scriptures are full of wonders, and especially they reveal him whose name is “Wonderful,” but we need to have our eyes opened by the Holy Spirit, or we shall see nothing aright. Far enough are we by nature from being able to keep the law, for we cannot even understand it without divine teaching.)

19 I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me. (Stranger as I am to the world, let me not be a stranger to thy will. With thy precepts as my map I shall find my road, even in this foreign country; without them I shall be as a traveller lost in the desert.)

20 My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times. (His desire was importunate even to heartbreak, and it was constant “at all times.” Such a desire is a sure token that the Spirit of God dwells within.)

21 Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.

Pride brings forth error, and error provokes God to inflict the curse, of which his rebukes are but the fore-runners.

22 Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies. (The best of men are slandered, their appeal is to God, their comfort is the testimony of their conscience.)

23 Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.

He was not so disturbed or disheartened as to give up his faith, but he was in earnest to sustain it with the best spiritual food.

24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors. (In consequence of his meditating in the word, David was kept both from sadness and perplexity. We can only gain comfort from the Bible by following its directions, and living upon its doctrines.)

25 My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word. (Here we find nature’s disease confessed, and a cry directed to the Lord for the only remedy. Dust will cleave to dust; only the divinely regenerated rises to God, and even that needs daily renewal. The Lord has promised us quickening, let us seek it.)

26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes. (Confession into the ear of God is good for the soul, and divine instruction is the best preservative for the life. If we confess past failure, we can only avoid future sin by seeking heavenly teaching.)

27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.

It were well if all talk were upon such themes. When there is gold in the understanding, our speech will be golden, but how seldom is it so. When God instructs us we talk to profit, but not else.

28 My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word. (Lord, when we dissolve with weakness, make thy word to be the bread of heaven to strengthen us.)

29 Remove from me the way of lying: (Take it from me as well as me from it; for its presence is grievous to me:) and grant me thy law graciously.

30 I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me. (Like a boy’s copy, or an artist’s model. We cannot learn unless we have our great class-book open before us.)

31 I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O Lord, put me not to shame.

32 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart. (The more God gives us of comfort and knowledge, the more will we serve him. The weight of his grace shall lead us to put off “every weight” of sin. May the Lord make more room in our hearts for himself and his love.)

Smile on thy servant, bounteous Lord!

Grant me to live, and keep thy word:

Grant me to view, with eyes unsealed,

The wonders by thy law revealed.

Shine on me still, while far from home,

A stranger here on earth I roam;

While pines my soul with restless love,

Thy righteous judgments, Lord, to prove.

March 28.—Evening. [Or June 23.]
“I trust in thy word.”

Psalm 119:33–48

TEACH me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. (Bernard says, “He who is his own teacher has a fool for his master.” We cannot teach ourselves what we do not know, and to know anything aright we must be taught of God. Those whom the Lord himself instructs, become practical scholars and persevering disciples. Lessons divinely learned are never forgotten.)

34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. (Where the Spirit of God gives a spiritual understanding of the Word, the whole nature is sanctified and set upon keeping the Lord’s commands. This prayer is suitable for each one in the family; let us stop a moment, while we breathe it from our hearts.)

35 Make me to go in the, path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight. (I am like the poor impotent man who could not move; therefore, Lord, make me to go. Where my heart already runs, there let all my faculties follow.)

36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. (Covetousness is the rival of religion. Those who love not God, frequently make a god of their gold. This sin is sure to bring ruin upon those who fall into it. It made Judas a traitor, and dragged him down to hell.)

37 Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.

Looking brings longing, and longing leads to sin, therefore let not the eye gage on evil.

38 Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear. (My whole nature is set upon honouring thee; therefore, O Lord, make all thy promises to stand firm for me.)

39 Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good. (The reproach of Christ we rejoice in, but from the reproach of inconsistency we should daily pray to be delivered.)

40 Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness. (Mere professors long after the promises, but genuine saints long after the precepts also. He who does not desire holiness will be shut out of heaven. Lord, send us more grace that we may be more holy.)

41 Let thy mercies come also unto me, O Lord, even thy salvation, according to thy word.

Mercy, yea, many mercies, we need, and we cannot be saved without them, but then they are promised in the Word, and here is our ground of comfort. Let us plead the promise in prayer.

42 So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.

Faith, by the help of realised joy and manifested holiness, shuts the mouths of gainsayers.

43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments. (If we are somewhat straitened in spiritual enjoyments, yet do not quite prevent our praising Thee. Let us rather stammer out Thy praises, than be entirely silent.)

44 So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever. (This would be heaven upon earth; it is heaven in heaven.)

45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts. (Holiness is the truest liberty.)

46 I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed. (What is there to be ashamed off? God grant us the boldness of true faith in all companies.)

47 And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.

“I live a voluptuous life,” said holy Joseph Alleine; “but it is upon spiritual dainties, such as men of the world know not and taste not of.”

48 My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.

He longed to embrace the truth, and therefore held up his hands to receive it with inward delight. He felt encouraged to practise diligently the law of his God, because he loved the Lord’s Word, and daily meditated therein. It should be our daily habit to search the Scriptures. We must not be content with this family reading, but must each, in private, feed upon the precious Word. Are we all mindful of this?

In thee I live, and move and am;

Thou dealest out my days:

Lord, as thou dost my life renew,

Let me renew thy praise.

To thee I come, from thee I am;

For thee I still would be;

’Tis better for me not to live,

Than not to live to thee.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 178–179). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

March 27 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

March 27.—Morning. [Or June 20.]
“Cleave unto the Lord your God.”

HAVING served his nation faithfully, Joshua at the close of his life delivered his soul to the people in an earnest exhortation, the spirit of which as much needs pressing home upon believers now as in his day

Joshua 23:1–15

And it came to pass a long time after that the Lord had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age.

And Joshua called for all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers, and said unto them, I am old and stricken in age:

And ye have seen all that the Lord your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the Lord your God is he that hath fought for you. (The sight of the judgments of God upon the ungodly should have a salutary influence upon us, and the remembrance of the Lord’s mercy to us should bind us for ever to him.)

Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward.

And the Lord your God, he shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the Lord your God hath promised unto you.

Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left; (This had been the command of the Lord to himself, the music of it was not out of his ears, and therefore he used the selfsame words to the people. Language which has acted powerfully upon our own hearts we fondly hope will have the like effect upon others.)

That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them:

But cleave unto the Lord your God, as ye have done unto this day. (He commends them as well as commands them. A little judicious praise makes men all the readier to hear. Separation from sinners was Joshua’s lesson, and it is one which is not stale or needless at this time.)

9, 10, 11 For the Lord hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day. One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you. Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God. (Sin is weakness. Love to God gives us the strength of God.)

12 Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them:

13 Know for a certainty that the Lord your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you. (Marriage with the ungodly is expressly mentioned, because it is a frequent and deadly snare. It has done more mischief in the church of God than tongue can tell. It is the wolf which devours the lambs.)

Note from this verse that any sins in our own hearts which we do not resolutely drive out will become our plague and scourge. Think of “thorns in the eyes.” No man can have peace while he is at peace with any sin. Can a man carry coals in his bosom and not be burned?

14 And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.

15 Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the Lord your God promised you; so shall the Lord bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you.

God’s faithfulness to his promises leaves us no room to doubt his equal faithfulness to his threatenings. He is a true God, both in mercy and in justice. We had need be carefully obedient, for the Lord is in earnest in every word he utters.

March 27.—Evening. [Or June 21.]
“Let me not wander from thy commandments.”

JOSHUA was moved to speak in the name of the Lord, and remind the people of what had been done for them. Having recapitulated the wonders of Egypt and the wilderness, he mentions the Lord’s goodness to them in Canaan.

Joshua 24:11–26

11 Ye went over Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I delivered them into your hand.

12 And I sent, the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow. (God can make insects to be more terrible than men-at-arms, and he did so in this case. Israel fought, but her victories were due to a higher arm. After all we can do, our salvation is still of the Lord alone.)

13 And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.

Everything which we possess is as much given to us of God as Canaan was to the tribes.

14, 15 Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Every man must have a god, the question was, who should be their god? Joshua declares that Jehovah alone should be God to him and to his household. We cannot serve two gods, and it will be a happy thing if in our house we never attempt it, but once for all choose the Lord alone to be our God. May divine grace so direct us.)

16, 17, 18 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods; For the Lord our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: And the Lord drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the Lord; for he is our God. (They spoke well, yet not well enough, for they were much too confident in their own resolves. Having so often turned aside, it had been wiser to pray, “Lord, keep us,” than to cry so confidently, “we will” and “we will.”)

19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.

20 If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.

Joshua reminded them that their promise would not be so easy to keep as they imagined. It is one thing to promise, but quite another to perform. How solemn are the thoughts suggested by the words—“he is a jealous God.” He will not endure a rival, nor tolerate half-hearted service.

21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord.

22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. (With good intent, but far too little self-knowledge, they entered into a covenant which they soon violated. Beware of trusting self in its best mood. It is fickle as the wind.)

23, 24, 25, 26 Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel. And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey. So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the Lord.

O Lord, we in this house desire to serve thee for ever. Help us by thy grate to be thy beloved children and thy faithful servants.

Lord, I long thy will t’obey

Fain I’d put all sin away;

But that I may serve aright,

Let thy Spirit be my might.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 176–177). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

March 26 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

March 26.—Morning. [Or June 18.]
“Judge not that ye be not judged.”

Joshua 22:1–6; 10–20

THEN Joshua called the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, And said unto them, Ye have kept all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you: Ye have not left your brethren these many days unto this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the Lord your God. (It is simple justice to give praise wherever it is deserved. There is a notion abroad, that to commend is dangerous, but wise men of old did not think so. While faultfinding is so abundant, it is refreshing to meet with a man who can speak in praise of his fellows. It is not so very common for men to be thoroughly true to their engagements, and when they are so, they ought to have it mentioned to their honour.)

4, 5 And now the Lord your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side Jordan. But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Having praised them, Joshua now directs them to their further duty. The terms of his exhortation deserve careful notice. They were to do the commandment—their religion must be practical; they were to love the Lord—their service must be hearty and sincere; they were to walk in all his ways—their obedience must be universal; they were to cleave to him—it must be persevering. Many excellent graces make up a believer’s obedience, and the lack of any one will grievously mar it. Who but the Spirit of God can produce all these good things in fallen man?

So Joshua blessed them, and sent them away: and they went unto their tents.

10 ¶ And when they came unto the borders of Jordan, that are in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by Jordan, a great altar to see to.

Not a wise thing, because not commanded of God, and very liable both to be misunderstood by others, and misused by themselves.

11 ¶ And the children of Israel heard say, Behold, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh have built an altar over against the land of Canaan, in the borders of Jordan, at the passage of the children of Israel.

12 And when the children of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered themselves together at Shiloh, to go up to war against them. (A departure from God by setting up another altar in opposition to that of the tabernacle was apprehended, and right zealously the loyal spirit of Israel resolved to nip the evil in the bud. Was there not, however, rather too great sharpness of temper in talking so speedily of civil war?)

13 And the children of Israel sent unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, into the land of Gilead, Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest,

14 And with him ten princes, of each chief house a prince throughout all the tribes of Israel; and each one was an head of the house of their fathers among the thousands of Israel.

We should hear before we judge. Israel did not rush into strife, but sent prudent men to see how the case really stood, and what their brethren had to say.

15 ¶ And they came unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, unto the land of Gilead, and they spake with them, saying,

16 Thus saith the whole congregation of the Lord, What trepass is this that ye have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this day from following the Lord, in that ye have builded you an altar, that ye might rebel this day against the Lord? (Here they stated the case and the cause of their anger. Had their suspicions been correct their anger would have needed no further justification.)

17, 18 Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day, although there was a plague in the congregation of the Lord, But that ye must turn away this day from following the Lord? and it will be, seeing ye rebel to day against the Lord, that to morrow he will be wroth with the whole congregation of Israel. (They here shew that the sin of apart might bring evil upon the whole community, and therefore they meant to stamp out the evil before it spread further.)

19 Notwithstanding, if the land of your possession be unclean, then pass ye over unto the land of the possession of the Lord, wherein the Lord’s tabernacle dwelleth, and take possession among us: but rebel not against the Lord, nor rebel against us, in building you an altar beside the altar of the Lord our God.

With true generosity they offer them a possession on their own side of Jordan, if their position across the river had driven them into setting up another altar. To enable a man to correct an error without great loss to himself is a great help towards getting him right. The pleading of the tribes with their brethren was very practical, earnest, decided, and generous.

20 Did not Achan the son of Zerah commit a trespass in the accursed thing, and wrath fell on all the congregation of Israel? and that man perished not alone in his iniquity. (This judgment was fresh in their memories, and therefore, they finished their argument with it. They feared that their brethren were about to do very wrong, and to bring upon all Israel much mischief, and therefore they spoke warmly. O that we were all zealous to prevent sin in the family, and in ourselves. God still chastens those he has chosen, and though in this life the wicked may go unpunished, his own children shall not be left without chastisement. Let us walk humbly and jealously before the Lord.)

To God the Father, God the Son,

And God the Spirit, three in one,

Be honour, praise, and glory given

By all on earth, and all in heaven,

 

Our ears have heard, O glorious God,

What work thou did’st of old;

And how the heathen felt thy rod

Our fathers oft have told.

’Twas not thy people’s arm or sword,

But only thy right hand,

Which scatter’d all the race abhorr’d,

And gave thy tribes their land.

In thee alone we make our boasts,

And glory all day long,

Arise at once, thou Lord of hosts,

And fill our mouth with song.

 

Let us, with a gladsome mind,

Praise the Lord, for he is kind:

For his mercies shall endure,

Ever faithful, ever sure.

He his chosen race did bless

In the wasteful wilderness:

For his mercies shall endure,

Ever faithful, ever sure.

He hath, with a piteous eye,

Look’d upon our misery:

For his mercies shall endure,

Ever faithful, ever sure.

My name is entered on the list,

I’ve plighted hand and word,

To fight to death for Jesus Christ,

And conquer for my Lord.

And I will prove my vow sincere,

If he my helper be;

Nor all his foemen will I fear,

Since he upholdeth me.

 

May the grace of Christ our Saviour,

And the Father’s boundless love,

With the Holy Spirit’s favour,

Rest upon us from above;

Thus may we abide in union

With each other and the Lord;

And possess, in sweet communion,

Joys which earth cannot afford.

 

Jesus thy perfect love reveal,

My Alpha and Omega be,

And I thy blessed words shall feel

And witness them fulfill’d in me:

“Nothing hath fail’d of all the good,

My Saviour hath performed the whole,”

Firm to his promise he hath stood

I witness this with all my soul.

March 26.—Evening. [Or June 19.]
“A soft answer turneth away wrath.”

THE tribes on the other side of Jordan received the deputation with courtesy, and answered for themselves without anger.

Joshua 22:21–34

21, 22 Then the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh answered, and said unto the heads of the thousands of Israel, The Lord God of gods, the Lord God of gods, he knoweth, and Israel he shall know; if it be in rebellion, or if in transgression against the Lord, (save us not this day),

23 That we have built us an altar to turn from following the Lord, or if to offer thereon burnt offering or meat offering, or if to offer peace offerings thereon, let the Lord himself require it; (In the sincerity of their hearts they appealed to God that they had no idea of offering sacrifice anywhere but at the one appointed altar. Appeals to God must never be lightly made, nor in any case where anything less than the highest interests are concerned. It is consoling to feel that God knows our motives, but we must do our best so to act that God’s people shall also know what we aim at.)

24, 25, 26, 27 And if we have not rather done it for fear of this thing, saying, In time to come your children might speak unto our children, saying, What have ye to do with the Lord God of Israel? For the Lord hath made Jordan a border between us and you, ye children of Reuben and children of Gad; ye have no part in the Lord: so shall your children make our children cease from fearing the Lord. Therefore we said, Let us now prepare to build us an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice: But that it may be a witness between us, and you, and our generations after us, that we might do the service of the Lord before him with our burnt offerings, and with our sacrifices, and with our peace offerings; that your children may not say to our children in time to come, Ye have no part in the Lord.

They feared lest they should lose the means of grace, and lest the Jordan should become a line of division between them and their brethren at some future time.

28, 29 Therefore said we, that it shall be, when they should so say to us or to our generations in time to come, that we may say again, Behold the pattern of the altar of the Lord, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifices; but it is a witness between us and you. God forbid that we should rebel against the Lord, and turn this day from following the Lord, to build an altar for burnt offerings, for meat offerings, or for sacrifices, beside the altar of the Lord our God that is before his tabernacle. (Their intention was thus shown to be honest, though the action had a very doubtful appearance. We are bound, however, never to put a worse construction than we can help upon other peoples’ conduct.)

30 ¶ And when Phinehas the priest, and the princes of the congregation and heads of the thousands of Israel which were with him, heard these words, it pleased them.

31 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said unto them, This day we perceive that the Lord is among us, because ye have not committed this trespass against the Lord: now ye have delivered the children of Israel out of the hand of the Lord. (Religious quarrels are usually very fierce, but in this case true wisdom ended the strife. When one is ready to explain, and the other willing to receive the explanation, difficulties will soon be got over. May all differences in this family be handled wisely and tenderly, and peace and love ever rule among us.)

32, 33 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the princes, returned to the children of Israel, and brought them word again. And the thing pleased the children of Israel; and the children of Israel blessed God, and did not intend to go up against them in battle, to destroy the land wherein the children of Reuben and Gad dwelt. (Zeal for the truth made Israel prepare for war, but they were not hot-headed as some are in these days. Once enabled to believe well of their brethren, they were glad of it, and gave God thanks that doubtful matters were cleared up. It is well to watch over others with holy jealousy, but not to be rancorous and bitter.)

34 And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar Ed, (or witness:) for it shall be a witness between us that the Lord is God. (Thus all ended well, and true religion ruled on both sides the Jordan. When shall our land become one again,—knowing only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism?)[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 173–175). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

March 25 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

March 25.—Morning. [Or June 16.]
“Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it.”

WE shall now see what Caleb did with his inheritance in the land of promise.

Joshua 15:13–19

13 ¶ And unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh, he gave a part among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the Lord to Joshua, even the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron.

14 And Caleb drove thence the three sons of Anak, Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak. (These were giants, but their gigantic stature did not frighten Caleb from attacking them. He who fears God is not the man to fear anyone else.)

15 And he went up thence to the inhabitants of Debir: and the name of Debir before was Kirjath-sepher. (This Debir appears to have been mastered before, but the Canaanites had re-occupied it. Our sins are very apt to return upon us, and when they do so we must drive them out a second time. The ancient name of Debir is here given, but why it would be hard to say. Kirjath-sepher signifies the city of the book. Since learning was scarce in those days, it may be that this place was famed for its records. Anyhow it was a Canaanitish city, and it was to be captured. Ungodliness is none the better for being associated with education.)

16 ¶ And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjath-sepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife.

17 And Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife. (This exploit is recorded again in the book of Judges; probably because the hero of it, in after years was moved by the Spirit of God to become a judge arid deliverer of Israel. He was a worthy nephew of a noble man. The younger members of a family should never allow their elders to engross all the seal and faith. If there be one earnest Christian of our kin, let us endeavour to equal him.)

18 And it came to pass, as she came unto him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted off her ass: and Caleb said unto her, What wouldest thou?

19 Who answered, Give me a blessing; for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And he gave her the upper springs and the nether springs. (If earthly parents thus give to their children what they desire, how much more will our heavenly Father bestow upon us more of his Holy Spirit. Some blessings we must fight for, as Othniel fought for Kirjath-sepher; others may be won by prayer, as Achsah gained the field of the abounding springs.)

CALEB having gained his promised inheritance appears to have shown a noble spirit by generously resigning the city of Hebron to the Levites. He was brave to win, but not greedy to hold.

Joshua 21:3; 10–13

And the children of Israel gave unto the Levites out of their inheritance, at the commandment of the Lord, these cities and their suburbs.

10 The children of Aaron, being of the families of the Kohathites, who were of the children of Levi, had the first lot.

11 And they gave them the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron, in the hill country of Judah, with the suburbs thereof round about it.

12 But the fields of the city, and the villages thereof, gave they to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for his possession. (Thus Caleb had the Lord’s servants for near neighbours, and the very chief of them lived at his doors. It was well for them to have so valiant a defender, and well for him and his household to have such excellent instructors. God’s ministers are our best friends.)

13 ¶ Thus they gave to the children of Aaron the priest Hebron with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Libnah with her suburbs. (A double honour was thus put upon Caleb’s city. If the Lord will but use our property for his service we will cheerfully give him the best that we have.)

O happy soldiers they who serve

Beneath thy banner, Lord!

And glad the task if thou but nerve

Their arm to wield the sword.

Though Satan fiercely rage without,

And fears o’erwhelm within,

Rings in the air Faith’s victor note

Against the world I’ll win.”

March 25.—Evening. [Or June 17.]
“Thou shalt stand in thy lot at the end of the days.”

Joshua 18:1–10

AND the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them. (Shilok was a fit name for the dwelling of the God who is Israel’s rest, and as a place for those sacred institutions which typified Jesus, our peace. Yet it was in the city of peace that Joshua stirred up the people to war. True peace wages a determined war against all the enemies of the Lord. Even The Great Peace-maker came to make war in the earth, war with evil, war with Satan, for there can be no peace for holiness till sin is exterminated.)

And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance.

And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you? (Enriched with the spoil already taken, the people declined the toils of further conquest. Too often this is the sin of believers; they rejoice in the things whereunto they have already attained, and no longer press forward to that which is beyond. Self-satisfaction is the end of progress; the Lord deliver us from it. Joshua rebuked the people for their slackness.)

Give out from among you three men for each tribe: and I will send them, and they shall rise, and go through the land, and describe it according to the inheritance of them; and they shall come again to me.

And they shall divide it into seven parts: Judah shall abide in their coast on the south, and the house of Joseph shall abide in their coasts on the north.

Ye shall therefore describe the land into seven parts, and bring the description hither to me, that I may cast lots for you here before the Lord our God. (Surveyors were to go forth to lake a prospect of all the land: it is good for us to consider what graces are attainable by us, for this will aid in stirring us to action. The division of the land among the tribes would also secure more ardent service on the part of each tribe. Division of labour, so long as it does not lead to envying and jealousy, is a wise arrangement in the service of God. All the land will be conquered when each tribe fights for its own portion: all church work will be done when each worker diligently performs the peculiar duty allotted to him.)

But the Levites have no part among you; for the priesthood of the Lord is their inheritance: (God’s ministers, now-a-days, ought to be cared for by the people, since they are shut out from the profits of trade, and the emoluments of secular offices. God will take care of those whose lives are freely given to his service:) and Gad, and Reuben, and half the tribe of Manasseh, have received their inheritance beyond Jordan on the east, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave them.

¶ And the men arose, and went away: and Joshua charged them that went to describe the land, saying, Go and walk through the land, and describe it, and come again to me, that I may here cast lots for you before the Lord in Shiloh. (He who was once a spy himself is now the sender forth of others: those who serve God well in a lower position are the most likely to be promoted to a higher office.)

And the men went and passed through the land, and described it by cities into seven parts in a book, and came again to Joshua to the host at Shiloh. (They were brave and pushing men who performed this service. The church has need at this time both of enterprising spirits who will survey and describe the state of the unconverted world, and of diligent and brave soldiers who will go forth to the conquest of it. At present we are slack to go up and possess the land, and need to be aroused to our duty. O that zeal might revive among us, till the Lord’s host should again press forward in the holy war.)

10 ¶ And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the Lord: and there Joshua divided the land unto the children of Israel according to their divisions. (God chose to appoint the casting of lots as his way of revealing his mind, but this by no means teaches us to follow the superstitious method of judgment by lot. That is little better than tempting the Lord our God. We have no precept for using the lot, and consequently no promise is connected with it. It would be in our case a heathenish custom, which as Christians we must not follow.)[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 171–172). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

March 24 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

March 24.—Morning. [Or June 14.]
“His mercy endureth for ever.”

Psalm 136

THIS psalm may be very fittingly read at this time, for it celebrates the Lord’s dealings with Israel until he had settled them in the land which he had promised to them as a heritage.

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Praise the Lord for what he is by nature, for his own personal goodness deserves our adoration.

O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.

O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever. (His sovereignty over all, and his transcendant superiority above all other existences should command our reverent praise at all times. All his power and majesty are sweetened with mercy.)

To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever. (How sweet is the chorus. It comes over and over again, but it never degenerates into a vain repetition. God is to be praised not only for his nature and dignity, but also for his works.)

To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.

To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.

O thou Creator of all things, we magnify the mercy which shines in all thy handiworks.

To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever. (What should we do without the sun? Could life itself hold out? And how cheerless would night be if the moon were quenched! Herein is mercy.)

The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever:

The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Each distinct blessing deserves a verse of praise to itself.)

10 To him that smote Egypt in their first-born: for his mercy endureth for ever:

From nature, the psalmist turns to providence and sees mercy all around. Mercy is everywhere around us, like the air we breathe. Judgment to Egypt was mercy to Israel.

11 And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever:

12 With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever:

13 To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever:

14 And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever:

15 But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Destruction it was to Pharaoh, but that destruction was needful for the escape of the Israelites, and for their safety while in the wilderness, and therefore mercy was in it all.

16 To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Notwithstanding all their provocations, the Lord continued to lead them on; and in their case, as in ours, proved the eternity of his mercy. Time cannot rust it, sin cannot conquer it; throughout eternity it must and shall endure.

17 To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:

18 And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:

19 Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever:

20 And Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever:

21 And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever:

22 Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever. (He makes the just punishment of some to redound to the gain of others, and thus in his judgments magnifies his grace.)

23 Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever:

24 And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Our personal experience is one of the sweetest notes of the song which celebrates infinite mercy. Our redemption is the joy of all our joy.)

25 Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Daily providence which feeds the countless fish of the sea, and birds of the air, and beasts of the field, deserves our reverent gratitude.)

26 O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever. (The Lord reigneth in the highest above all, making heaven the throne of his glory. Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.)

March 24.—Evening. [Or June 15.]
“I will run in the way of Thy commandments.”

Joshua 14:6–14

THEN the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the Lord said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadesh-barnea. (We are glad to meet with this old hero, Joshua’s compatriot. Note how he dwells upon the promise, “Thou knowest the thing that the Lord said concerning me and thee.” Faithful hearts treasure up the divine word and prize it more than gold.)

Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart. (He was a man of true heart, and spake as his heart bade him, and not as the majority of the spies would have had him. Only a true-souled man has courage to go against the stream, and speak the truth in the teeth of a false public opinion. Oh, that we had more such men now-a-days! The old man looks back with gratitude to this fact which had happened so many years ago. It is well to sow seed in our youth, which we shall not be afraid to harvest in our old age.)

Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the Lord my God.

And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children’s for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the Lord my God. (What his own conscience had told him, Moses also had admitted. It is well when our own consciousness tallies with the encomiums which others may give to us, otherwise their praises may make us blush rather than smile. Caleb now claims what had been promised him; things are very sweet when they come to us by the way of the promise.)

10 And now, behold, the Lord hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the Lord spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old.

11 As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.

This was a rare privilege, and Caleb was thankful for it, and ready to use all the strength which God had given him against the enemies of Israel. He might have claimed his retiring pension, but instead thereof, he sues for fresh work, with all the ardour of a young man.

12 Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord said.

He probably reminded Joshua of a brave conversation he had held with him under the walls of the city of Hebron, when they had seen the giants, and marked the stupendous strength of the fortifications. He then spoke like a bold believer, and now he desired to prove that his words were not mere vapouring, but could be backed up by valiant deeds. Hebron it seems had once been captured by Israel, but the Anakims had returned to their strongholds, and Caleb felt that with God’s help, he would hunt them out again, once for all.

13 And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance.

14 Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel. (The good old soldier had his desire, and in due time he took possession of the territory allotted to him. Whole-hearted loyalty to the Lord will have its reward. The Lord never allowed a man to be confounded, whose sole trust was in him, and whose entire heart followed him. In this family may there be many a Caleb; yea, may we all be whole-hearted for the Lord.)

Up comrades up! undaunted be,

And valiant in the fight,

For him who died upon the tree,

For him who reigns in light.

Jesus himself leads on the strife:

Stand to his banner true;

Be steadfast now and all through life,

For he will strengthen you.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 169–170). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.