Category Archives: C. H. Spurgeon

May 23 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

May 23.—Morning. [Or October 12.]
“O Lord, my God, thou art very great.”

ANOTHER of David’s grandest Psalms is

Psalm 104

which our space compels us to read almost without comment.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind: Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.

6, 7, 8, 9 Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. (Probably alluding to the flood.) At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. They go up by the mountains; (rising in mists and exhalations) they go down by the valleys (rippling in rills, leaping in cataracts) unto the place which thou hast founded for them. Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.

10, 11, 12 He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst. By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches.

13, 14, 15 He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.

16 The trees of the Lord are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;

17 Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.

18 The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies. (So that each place has its creature, and each creature its place. The loneliest spots are populous.)

19, 20, 21, 22, 23 He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down. Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth. The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens. Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening. (Thus each period has its appropriate action, the wheels of providence never stand still.)

24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein. These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth. (God is in all things, great or small. He has not left the world to mere laws and forces, but he is working everywhere. Let us behold him and adore.)

31 The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works.

And if he does so, it is not wise on our part to close our eyes to nature’s beauties under the notion of superior spirituality.

32 He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke.

33 I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

34 My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord.

35 Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. (For they alone spoil creation, and blot the Maker’s handiwork.) Bless thou the Lord, O my soul. Praise ye the Lord.

May 23.—Evening. [Or October 13.]
“Wait thou only upon God.”

ANOTHER Psalm highly characteristic of David is

Psalm 62

which we are in the habit of calling the only Psalm, from its containing such frequent repetitions of the word only. David rejoiced to place his confidence in God “only.”

Truly (or as it is in the original only) my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation. (Our salvation in no measure or degree comes to us from any but the Lord; let us therefore depend alone upon him. If to wait on God be worship, to wait on the creature is idolatry; if to wait on God alone be true faith, to associate an arm of flesh with him is audacious unbelief, yet, how very few of its steer clear of these evils, and look to God alone.)

He only if my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.

“Moved,” as one says, “but not removed.” Moved like a ship at anchor, which swings with the tide, but is not swept away by the current. Nothing stays the soul like a faith which leans alone on God. In faith it is good to have but one string to our bow, one pillar to our house.

How long will ye imagine mischief against a man? ye shall be slain all of you: as a bowing wall shall ye be, and as a tottering fence.

They only consult to cast him down from his excellency: they delight in lies: they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah. (The world is full of flatterers, and these are plotters against our best prosperity: let us fly from them to the one only confidence of the saints. If we have God for us, who can be against us?)

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. (Knock at no other door but that of thy God. God is one; let thy hopes look towards him alone. A single eye will fill thee with light.)

He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.

In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.

Notice how David brands his own initials upon every title which he rejoicingly gives to God, my expectation, my rock, my salvation, my glory, and so on. There are seven my’s in two verses, and there can never be too many. The faith which makes personal appropriation of divine blessings is the faith we all need.

Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah. (Ye to whom his love is revealed, reveal yourselves to him. Turn the vessel of your soul upside down in his presence, and let your inmost thoughts, desires, sorrows and sins be poured out like water. To keep our griefs to ourselves is to hoard up wretchedness. Give your woe free course before the Lord, and its end is near.)

Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.

Men, whether great or small, are still but men, and men are dust. To trust in the many is folly, to rely upon the eminent few is madness; to depend upon the Lord alone is the only sanity.

10 Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them. (Here is a difficult precept, for worldly wealth is a slimy thing, and is too apt to cling to the heart. Perhaps this is the reason why so many of the saints are in poverty, because the Lord would spare them from being tempted by increasing riches, God only must be our rest, and not the treasures of time. Wealth is but wind if we make it our confidence.)

11 God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.

Not to men nor to their possessions may we look for power, that is the prerogative of God alone. Those are wise who look for help alone to him.

12 Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work. (He gives us strength equal to our day. Power is all his own, but he will render as much to us as our work requires. Let us seek it at his hands, and at his hands only.)

Ever to the Saviour cling,

Trust in him and none beside:

Never let an earthly thing

Hide from thee the Crucified.

Ever cast on him thy care,

He invites thee so to do;

Never let thy soul despair,

He will surely help thee through.

Ever live as in the view

Of the day of glory, near;

Never be to Christ untrue,

Thou shalt soon his glory share.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 301–302). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

May 22 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

May 22.—Morning. [Or October 10.]
“His name shall be continued as long as the sun.”

WE will now read David’s Psalm for Solomon, which still more fully refers to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalm 72

Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son.

He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment.

The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.

He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.

They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.

He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth.

In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.

He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.

They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.

10 The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.

11 Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.

12 For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper.

13 He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.

14 He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.

15 And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: prayer also shall be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised.

16 There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth.

17 His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.

18 Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things.

19 And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.

20 The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended. (David’s heart was glad at the foresight of the glories of his son Solomon, but far more did he rejoice as his prophetic eye foresaw the greater splendours of the throne of the Messiah. At the second coming of the Lord Jesus, this Psalm will have a grand fulfilment, and meanwhile it is for us by prayer and effort to extend his kingdom. If anything can warm the heart of the Christian, it is the prospect of the Redeemer’s universal reign, and reign he will despite all his foes. The Lord Jehovah’s power and faithfulness are pledged to give our Lord Jesus the heathen for his inheritance, and, therefore, we may rest fully assured that it will be done. Jesus has fought the fight and won the victory, therefore will the Lord divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong. There is no room for despondency or trembling; with a covenanted God on our side, sworn to give the victory, all danger of defeat is removed far away. David ended his prayers when he had prayed for the filling of the whole earth with Messiah’s glory; he felt that he had reached the summit of his wishes, and had nothing more to ask. With this prayer upon his lip he is content to die. He strips himself of his royalty, and becomes only “the son of Jesse,” thrice happy to subside into nothing before the crowned Messiah. Before his believing eye the reign of Jesus, like the sun, filled all around with light, and exulting therein with all his heart, the holy man felt like Simeon, when he said, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.” May the glory of Jesus in like manner be the one great wish of our souls.)

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun

Does his successive journeys run;

His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,

Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

For him shall endless prayer be made,

And praises throng to crown his head;

His name like sweet perfume shall rise

With every morning sacrifice.

May 22.—Evening. [Or October 11.]
“Bless the Lord, O my soul.”

BEFORE we proceed to the reign of Solomon, we must read two or three of David’s choicest Psalms, regretting that we have not time to read them all in our family worship. We must not however omit to study every one of them in private, for they are all more precious than fine gold. One of the sweetest and most notable is

Psalm 103

A Psalm of David.

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. (Soul music is the soul of music; when we praise the Lord it should be with every faculty we possess.)

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: (Our memories are frail towards good things: let us stir them up while we bless the Lord.)

3, 4, 5 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (The sweet singer threads a few of the choicest pearls of mercy upon the string of memory, and casts them around the neck of gratitude, to glitter there while she sings the joyful praises of her God.)

The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. (No downtrodden one shall ever appeal to him in vain. Woe to those who deal tyrannically with the poor.)

He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.

He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. (He must in very love to us chasten us at times, but his hand is soon stayed.)

10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

What a glorious fact: for the east is infinitely distant from the west, and so to an infinite length is sin removed; yea, it is blotted out, made an end of, and for ever forgotten.

13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. (At their best they want his pity, for they are poor, frail things.)

14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. (We are not iron, and not even clay, but dust held together by daily miracle.)

15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.

16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.

17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;

18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

Children who forsake the Lord will derive no benefit from their parentage. It will increase their condemnation, but it cannot remove their guilt; they must remember his covenant for themselves personally, or they will have no share in it.

19 The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.

20 Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.

21 Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts: ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.

22 Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul.

The psalmist was so full of praise that he desired the aid of all creation to assist him in glorifying the Lord; but he did not forget that still the main matter is for our own soul to adore the Lord. He concludes on his keynote, as good composers do; let it be our motto all the day, “Bless the Lord, O my soul.”

O bless the Lord, my soul!

Let all within me join,

And aid my tongue to bless his name,

Whose favours are divine.

O bless the Lord, my soul,

Nor let his mercies lie

Forgotten in unthankfulness,

And without praises die.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 299–300). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

May 21 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

May 21.—Morning. [Or October 8.]
“The Lord hath chosen Zion.”

Psalm 132

THIS Psalm fitly closes the active life of David and introduces us to his last thought and care. He longed to see the temple erected upon that spot which had been consecrated by the feet of the celestial messenger when the plague was stayed. He rehearses the story of his former longing to build a house for the Lord, and then dwells upon the covenant which the Lord, in infinite mercy, made with his servant.

Lord, remember David, and all his afflictions:

Many of these afflictions were endured for the Lord’s sake and in defence of the Lord’s worship, therefore the psalmist dwells upon them; he begs especially that God would remember David’s longing to build a temple.

How he sware unto the Lord, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob;

Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed;

I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids,

Until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.

Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood.

In his earliest days, when he dwelt at Bethlehem Ephratah, he had heard of the ark and loved it, and, at last, he found it at Kirjath-jearim, the forest city. Happy are they who love the cause of God in their youth, and are resolved to find out his church and people, even though they should be as much concealed as if hidden in a wood.

We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.

Wherever God’s worship was, there David resolved to go. Be ours the same holy vow. If the saints be few, poor, and despised, we will sooner worship with them than with the great congregations of the worldly rich.

Arise, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength. (This was the song of Israel when the ark was moved from place to place. We may use it in these days when we are pleading for the presence and power of the Lord in his church.)

Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy.

10 For thy servant David’s sake turn not away the face of thine anointed.

Be this our constant prayer, that the church may prosper and the Lord glorify himself in the midst of his people, for the sake of Jesus our greater David, whose face is ever fair in the sight of the Lord.

11 The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.

12 If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.

13 For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.

14 This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.

What God has chosen let us choose, where he dwells let us dwell, and where he rests there let us rest. The church of God should be very dear to our hearts. It should be our anxiety to unite with those who follow the Lord in all things; and when we are joined to their fellowship we should, both by our prayers and efforts, seek to build up the church. What precious promises are those which follow!

15 I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread. (The gospel is our food, the Lord give us grace to feast on the rich provision, and make us poor in spirit that this heavenly bread may be sweet to us.)

16 I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.

None are so full of joy or so much in a mind to show it as those who dwell where God abides.

17 There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed.

The glory of Jesus, the Son of David, is great in his church, and in her midst he preserves the light of truth among men.

18 His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall his crown flourish.

Jesus shall reign. Oh, to be found among his friends! Who would wish to wear the garments of shame?

Glorious things of thee are spoken,

Zion, city of our God!

He whose word cannot be broken,

Form’d thee for his own abode:

On the Rock of Ages founded,

What can shake thy sure repose?

With salvation’s walls surrounded,

Thou may’st smile at all thy foes.

May 21.—Evening. [Or October 9.]
“They offered willingly to the Lord.”

DAVID never turned aside from his desire to see a glorious temple erected to the honour of the Lord his God, and although he was not permitted to build it himself, he diligently provided the materials, earnestly charged Solomon to carry out his design, and at last gathered a solemn council to whom he commended this noble work.

1 Chronicles 29:1–9; 20–23

Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the Lord God. (God must never be served in a slovenly manner. We should feel under bonds to do our best in all religious work, because the labour is not for man, but for the Lord God.)

Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and the brass for things of brass, the iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood; onyx stones, and stones to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance.

He had thought upon the matter, and provided many things, and these were all of the best. Would to God that we all served God in this fashion, with thought and with sacrifice.

Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house,

4, 5 Even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal: The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hands of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord? (He who gives freely himself may justly ask of others. Those who collect but never contribute are inconsistent.)

¶ Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king’s work, offered willingly,

And gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron.

And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the Lord, by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite.

He kept the accounts. God’s business should be done in order. Church funds should be very carefully accounted for, lest scandal arise.

Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.

The joy of giving to the Lord is a very great one. Angels might well envy us such bliss.

20 And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the Lord your God. And all the congregation blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the Lord, and the king. (Paying religious homage to God, and respectful honour to the king.)

21 And they sacrificed sacrifices unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings unto the Lord, on the morrow after that day, even a thousand bullocks, a thousand rams, and a thousand lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel: (Thus the threshing-floor of Araunah was saturated with blood that the foundations of the temple might be laid in sacrifice. Happy are those who are built upon the substitutionary death of Jesus.)

22 And did eat and drink before the Lord on that day with great gladness. (So should sacred worship be far removed from sadness, and be regarded as a choice festival.) And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him unto the Lord to be the chief governor, and Zadok to be priest.

23 Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him.

He was viceroy for his father for awhile, and then succeeded him by the consent of the whole nation.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 297–298). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

May 20 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

May 20.—Morning. [Or October 6.]
“Let us fall now into the hands of the Lord.”

AFTER many trials, David again enjoyed a period of repose, but his leisure again proved a temptation to him, and he resolved to form an estimate of his own greatness that he might have whereof to glory.

2 Samuel 24:1–4; 9–15

And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. (In the Book of Chronicles, Satan is said to have provoked David to this deed, and so indeed he did, and thus the moral evil of the action belongs to the tempter and his ready victim; but the writer of the present passage saw the hand of the Lord in it, using the sin of David as the means of punishing the sins of the people. Both statements are true, and there is no need to attempt a reconciliation, since one truth must agree with another whether we see it or not.)

For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people.

And Joab said unto the king, Now the Lord thy God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it: but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing?

Joab was not only right, but courteous on this occasion. He knew that the people would judge that either a new taxation or a conscription was on foot, and they would become uneasy and rebellious, therefore he thought it unwise. According to the law of Moses, a piece of money as a sin-offering was to be offered by every Israelite when the tribes were counted, but this was neglected. Moses numbered the people at God’s bidding, considering them to be the Lord’s people, but David counted them at his own will, as if they were his own people, and this the Lord would not endure.

Notwithstanding the king’s word prevailed against Joab, and against the captains of the host. And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king, to number the people of Israel.

And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.

10 ¶ And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. (That which he looked upon as ground for boasting became reason for humiliation. His army of a million and a quarter of warriors gave him no joy, for he had grieved his God.) And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly. (Grace was in him, and when it came to the front, he was ready enough to mourn his error. O for the like tenderness of conscience!)

11, 12 For when David was up in the morning, the word of the Lord came unto the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, Go and say unto David, (Plain David, not David, my servant, as it had formerly been. If we walk contrary to God, he will shew himself contrary to us) Thus saith the Lord, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.

13 So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days’ pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.

14 And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the Lord: for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man. (He had a hard alternative, but his choice was wise, and it showed that with all his wanderings he had a sound and loving trust in the Lord his God. A child of God feels always safest in his Father’s hands.)

15 ¶ So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel, and there died of the people from Dan even to Beer-sheba seventy thousand men.

O that my chastened heart may smite

And make me inly groan,

Whene’er I vainly take delight

In aught I call my own.

Harden’d by sin’s deceitfulness

O may I never be,

But miss my comfort and my peace,

Whene’er I turn from thee.

May 20.—Evening. [Or October 7.]
“It is enough: stay now Thine hand.”

OF that great population, in whose number David had sought food for his pride, the plague swept away seventy thousand men.

2 Samuel 24:16–25

16 And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the Lord was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite. (The angel of pestilence, appearing in visible shape, added a special terror to the judgment. Solemn must have been the state of men’s minds as they saw the destroyer unsheathe his sword to smile the capital city of the empire.)

17 And David spake unto the Lord when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father’s house.

Was not this well and bravely spoken? Like a true patriot the king is moved by the woes of his subjects, and, like the father of his country, he would sooner perish himself than see Israel smitten. These people had often acted like wolves to him, but he forgot all their injuries and calls them sheep; they had been guilty of a thousand sins, but, in his zeal for them, he makes himself out to be a far greater sinner, and would have the bolts of vengeance spend themselves upon him and his. Even thus does “that Great Shepherd of the sheep” interpose between the destroying angel and his own redeemed. “If ye seek me,” saith he, “let these go their way.”

18 ¶ And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, Go up, rear an altar unto the Lord in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite. (On that very spot where the angel held the knife of Abraham from killing his son, there God restrained the sword of the angel from destroying his people.)

19 And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the Lord commanded.

20 And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground.

21 And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the Lord, that the plague may be stayed from the people.

22 And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood.

23 All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The Lord thy God accept thee.

24 And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

Here two bountiful spirits entered into holy competition, and one hardly knows which to admire most. True devotion is never niggardly: to godly men that service of God tastes sweetest which costs them most. Nothing is dear enough to give to God; expense is not to be reckoned when the gift is for him. We would not be as those who only bring to God what they can collect from other people. Our gifts shall be from our own store.

25 And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord was entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.

Thus was the site of the temple marked out in a very special manner. Zion, the church of God, of which the temple was the type, is founded on the hill of sacrifice; it is a monument in praise of sparing mercy; and there the sword of justice is for ever sheathed. Have we come unto mount Zion? Are we resting upon the precious blood of sprinkling? These are grave questions, which it behoves each one to answer on his own account as before the great heart-searching God.

The Lord beheld the sacrifice

There to be offer’d once for all,

He heard his Son’s expiring cries

For mercy and forgiveness call.

It is enough—our lives he spares,

For Jesus, our Atonement, died,

He sheathes the sword; he hears our prayers;

His justice now is satisfied.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 295–296). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

May 19 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

May 19.—Morning. [Or October 4.]
“He shall sustain thee.”

Psalm 55

THIS Psalm most dearly describes David’s condition when he had fled far away into the wilderness to escape from his son. He bitterly bewails the treachery of Ahithophel, and prophesies his doom; but his Psalm ends with most faithful and cheerful advice, which we shall all do well to follow.

Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication.

Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;

Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me.

My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.

Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.

And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.

Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah.

I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest

Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city.

10 Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it.

11 Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets.

12 For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him:

13 But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, arid mine acquaintance.

14 We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.

15 Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.

16 As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me.

17 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.

18 He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me.

19 God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Selah. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.

20 He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant.

21 The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.

22 Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

23 But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.

Let us dwell a moment upon the twenty-second verse, “Thy burden,” or what thy God lays upon thee, lay thou it “upon the Lord.” His wisdom casts it on thee, it is thy wisdom to cast it on him. He gives thee thy portion of suffering, accept it with cheerful resignation, and then take it back to him with assured confidence. “He shall sustain thee.” He who ordains the burden will also ordain strength. Thy bread shall be given thee, thy waters shall be sure. Abundant nourishment shall fit thee to bear all thy labours and trials. “As thy days so shall thy strength be.” “He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” He may move like the boughs of a tree in the tempest, but shall never be moved like the tree torn up by the roots. He stands firm who stands in God. Many would destroy the saints, but God has not suffered them to perish, and he never will. Like pillars, the godly stand “stedfast, unmoveable,” to the glory of the Great Architect.

God shall preserve my soul from fear,

Or shield me when afraid;

Ten thousand angels must appear,

If he command their aid.

I cast my burdens on the Lord,

The Lord sustains them all;

My courage rests upon his word,

That saints shall never fall.

May 19.—Evening. [Or October 5.]
“Behold how he loved him.”

WHILE the great battle was raging in the wood, the aged king was anxiously watching for news.

2 Samuel 18:24–33

24 And David sat between the two gates: and the watchman went up to the roof over the gate unto the wall, and lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold a man running alone.

25 And the watchman cried, and told the king. And the king said, If he be alone, there is tidings in his mouth. (If there were many men running they would probably be fugitives from the fight, but one would naturally be a herald from the camp.)

26, 27 And the watchman called unto the porter, and said, Behold another man running alone. And the king said, He also bringeth tidings. And the watchman said, Me thinketh the running of the foremost is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok. And the king said, He is a good man, and cometh with good tidings. (It is a great mercy when this can be said of the son of a priest. So it ought always to be, but so it is not always.)

28 And Ahimaaz called, and said unto the king, All is well. And he fell down to the earth upon his face before the king, and said, Blessed be the Lord thy God, which hath delivered up the men that lifted up their hand against my lord the king.

29 And the king said, Is the young man Absalom safe? (There was the tender point in the father’s heart. If there be such love in an earthly father, how much greater is the affection of our heavenly Father! Surely he takes no delight in the death of any, but had rather that they should turn unto him and live.) And Ahimaaz answered, When Joab sent the king’s servant, and me thy servant, I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what it was. (He had learned to hold his tongue. He was in no haste to grieve the king.)

30, 31 And the king said unto him, Turn aside and stand here. And he turned aside, and stood still. And, behold, Cushi came; and Cushi said, Tidings, my lord the king: for the Lord hath avenged thee this day of all them that rose up against thee.

32 And the king said unto Cushi, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Cushi answered, The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is. (The honest Ethiopian told his black news as fairly as he could, but a dagger went to the father’s heart as he heard it.)

33 ¶ And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son! (Herein was love—great, vehement, passionate; but the love of Jesus to us was greater still; for he did not say, “Would God I had died for you,” but he has actually died that we might live. Oh love, amazing and incomprehensible! David weeping is a spectacle of love, but Jesus dying is more wonderful still!)

2 Samuel 19:2, 4–8

And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people: for the people heard say that day how the king was grieved for his son.

But the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!

5, 6 And Joab came into the house to the king, and said, Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, in that thou lovest thine enemies, and hatest thy friends. For this day I perceive, that if Absalom had lived, and all we had died this day, then it had pleased thee well.

Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants: for I swear by the Lord, if thou go not forth, there will not tarry one with thee this night: and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befel thee from thy youth until now. (Joab was probably right, but his manner was rough and unfeeling. It is always well to speak gently, even when we are required to be firm.)

Then the king arose, and sat in the gate. And they told unto all the people, saying, Behold, the king doth sit in the gate. And all the people came before the king: for Israel had fled every man to his tent. (Thus a good end was answered by Joab’s harsh interference. Good men follow sound advice, even when it is wrongly presented: we must not act foolishly because our adviser speaks uncourteously.)[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 293–294). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.