MAY 19 – WE MAY SPEAK FOR GOD
Therefore thus saith the Lord, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth. (Jeremiah 15:19) Poor Jeremiah! Yet why do we say so? The weeping prophet was one of the choicest servants of God and honored by Him above many. He was hated for speaking the truth. The word which was so sweet to him was bitter to his hearers, yet he was accepted of his Lord. He was commanded to abide in his faithfulness, and then the Lord would continue to speak through him. He was to deal boldly and truthfully with men and perform the Lord’s winnowing work upon the professors of his day, and then the Lord gave him this word: “Thou shalt be as my mouth.” What an honor! Should not every preacher, yea, every believer, covet it? For God to speak by us, what a marvel! We shall speak sure, pure truth; and we shall speak it with power. Our word shall not return void; it shall be a blessing to those who receive it, and those who refuse it shall do so at their peril. Our lips shall feed many. We shall arouse the sleeping and call the dead to life. O dear reader, pray that it may be so with all the sent servants of our Lord.
MAY 18 – LOSSES OVERCOME
And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten. (Joel 2:25) Yes, those wasted years over which we sigh shall be restored to us. God can give us such plentiful grace that we shall crowd into the remainder of our days as much of service as will be some recompense for those years of unregeneracy over which we mourn in humble penitence. The locusts of backsliding, worldliness, lukewarmness, are now viewed by us as a terrible plague. Oh, that they had never come near us! The Lord in mercy has now taken them away, and we are full of zeal to serve Him. Blessed be His name, we can raise such harvests of spiritual graces as shall make our former barrenness to disappear. Through rich grace we can turn to account our bitter experience and use it to warn others. We can become the more rooted in humility, childlike dependence, and penitent spirituality by reason of our former shortcomings. If we are the more watchful, zealous, and tender, we shall gain by our lamentable losses. The wasted years, by a miracle of love, can be restored. Does it seem too great a boon? Let us believe for it and live for it, and we may yet realize it, even as Peter became all the more useful a man after his presumption was cured by his discovered weakness. Lord, aid us by Thy grace.
MAY 17 – NO NEED TO STINT
The upright shall have good things in possession. (Proverbs 28:10) The book of Proverbs is also a book of promises. Promises ought to be proverbs among the people of God. This is a very remarkable one. We are accustomed to think of our good things as in reversion, but here we are told that we shall have them in possession. Not all the malice and cunning of our enemies can work our destruction: they shall fall into the pit which they have digged. Our inheritance is so entailed upon us that we shall not be kept out of it, nor so turned out of the way as to miss it. But what have we now? We have a quiet conscience through the precious blood of Jesus. We have the love of God set upon us beyond all change. We have power with God in prayer in all time of need. We have the providence of God to watch over us, the angels of God to minister to us, and, above all, the Spirit of God to dwell in us. In fact, all things are ours. “Whether things present or things to come: all are yours.” Jesus is ours. Yea, the divine Trinity in unity is ours. Hallelujah. Let us not pine and whine and stint and slave, since we have good things in possession. Let us live on our God and rejoice in Him all the day. Help us, O Holy Ghost!
MAY 16 – WE RECEIVE AS WE GIVE
Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. (Matthew 5:7) It is not meet that the man who will not forgive should be forgiven, nor shall he who will not give to the poor have his own wants relieved. God will measure to us with our own bushels, and those who have been hard masters and hard creditors will find that the Lord will deal hardly with them. “He shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy.” This day let us try to give and to forgive. Let us mind the two bears-bear and forbear. Let us be kind, gentle, and tender. Let us not put harsh constructions upon men’s conduct, nor drive hard bargains, nor pick foolish quarrels, nor be difficult to please. Surely we wish to be blessed, and we also want to obtain mercy: let us be merciful, that we may have mercy. Let us fulfill the condition, that we may earn the beatitude. Is it not a pleasant duty to be kind? Is there not much more sweetness in it than in being angry and ungenerous? Why, there is a blessedness in the thing itself! Moreover, the obtaining of mercy is a rich reward. What but sovereign grace could suggest such a promise as this’. We are merciful to our fellow mortal in pence, and the Lord forgives us “all the debt.”
MAY 15 – GOD’S HIGH PLACES
I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. (Psalm 91:14) Does the Lord say this to me? Yes, if I have known His name. Blessed be the Lord, I am no stranger to Him. I have tried Him, proved Him, and known Him, and therefore do I trust Him. I know His name as a sin-hating God, for by His Spirit’s convincing power I have been taught that He will never wink at evil. But I also know Him as the sin-pardoning God in Christ Jesus, for He has forgiven me all trespasses. His name is faithfulness, and I know it, for He has never forsaken me though my troubles have multiplied upon me. This knowledge is a gift of grace, and the Lord makes it to be the reason why He grants another grace-gift, namely, setting on high. This is grace upon grace. Observe that if we climb on high, the position may be dangerous; but if the Lord sets us there it is safe. He may raise us to great usefulness, to eminent experience, to success in service, to leadership among workers, to a father’s place among the little ones. If He does not do this, He may set us on high by near fellowship, clear insight, holy triumph, and gracious anticipation of eternal glory. When God sets us on high, Satan himself cannot pull us down. Oh, that this may be our case all through this day!
MAY 14 – SURGERY FOR HEALING
Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. (Hosea 6:1) It is the Lord’s way to tear before He heals. This is the honest love of His heart and the sure surgery of His hand. He also bruises before He binds up, or else it would be uncertain work. The law comes before the gospel, the sense of need before the supply of it. Is the reader now under the convincing, crushing hand of the Spirit? Has he received the spirit of bondage again to fear? This is a salutary preliminary to real gospel healing and binding up. Do not despair, dear heart, but come to the Lord with all thy jagged wounds, black bruises, and running sores. He alone can heal, and He delights to do it. It is our Lord’s office to bind up the brokenhearted, and He is gloriously at home at it. Let us not linger but at once return unto the Lord from whom we have gone astray. Let us show Him our gaping wounds and beseech him to know His own work and complete it. Will a surgeon make an incision and then leave his patient to bleed to death? Will the Lord pull down our old house and then refuse to build us a better one? Dost Thou ever wantonly increase the misery of poor anxious souls? That be far from Thee, O Lord.
MAY 13 – DAY IS AT HAND
And I will give him the morning star. (Revelation 2:28) Until the day break and the shadows flee away, what a blessing it is to see in Jesus “the morning star”! I remember when we read in the newspapers the idle tale that the star of Bethlehem had again appeared. On inquiry we found that it was only “the morning star”; but no great mistake had been made after all. It is best to see Jesus as the sun; but when we cannot do so, the next best thing is to see Him as that star which prophesies the day and shows that the eternal light is near at hand. If I am not today all that I hope to be, yet I see Jesus, and that assures me that I shall one day be like Him. A sight of Jesus by faith is the pledge of beholding Him in His glory and being transformed into His image. If I have not at this hour all the light and joy I could desire, yet I shall have it; for as surely as I see the morning star I shall see the day. The morning star is never far from the sun. Come, my soul, has the Lord given thee the morning star? Dost thou hold fast that truth, grace, hope, and love which the Lord has given thee? Then in this thou hast the dawn of coming glory. He that makes thee overcome evil, and persevere in righteousness, has therein given thee the morning star.
MAY 12 – SERVANTS HONORED
Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof; so he that waiteth on his master shall be honored. (Proverbs 27:18) He who tends the fig tree has figs for his pains, and he who waits on a good master has honor as his reward. Truly the Lord Jesus is the very best of masters, and it is an honor to be allowed to do the least act for His sake. To serve some lords is to watch over a crab tree and eat the crabs as one’s wages; but to set ye the Lord Jesus is to keep a fig tree of the sweetest figs. His service is in itself delight, continuance in it is promotion, success in it is blessedness below, and the reward for it is glory above. Our greatest honors will be gathered in that season when the figs will be ripe, even in the next world. Angels who are now our servitors will bear us home when our day’s work is done. Heaven, where Jesus is, will be our honorable mansion, eternal bliss our honorable portion, and the Lord Himself our honorable companion. Who can imagine the full meaning of this promise: “He that waiteth on his master shall be honored”? Lord, help me to wait upon my Master. Let me leave all idea of honor to the hour when Thou Thyself shalt honor me. May the Holy Spirit make me a lowly, patient worker and waiter!
MAY 11 – WAIT FOR THE FINALS
Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last. (Genesis 49:19) Some of us have been like the tribe of Gad. Our adversaries for a while were too many for us; they came upon us like a troop. Yes, and for the moment they overcame us; and they exulted greatly because of their temporary victory. Thus they only proved the first part of the family heritage to be really ours, for Christ’s people, like Dan, shall have a troop overcoming them. This being overcome is very painful, and we should have despaired if we had not by faith believed the second line of our father’s benediction, “He shall overcome at the last.” “All’s well that ends well,” said the world’s poet; and he spoke the truth. A war is to be judged, not by first success or defeats, but by that which happens “at the last.” The Lord will give to truth and righteousness victory “at the last”; and, as Mr. Bunyan says, that means forever, for nothing can come after the last. What we need is patient perseverance in well-doing, calm confidence in our glorious Captain. Christ, our Lord Jesus, would teach us His holy art of setting the face like a flint to go through with work or suffering till we can say, “It is finished.” Hallelujah. Victory! Victory! We believe the promise. “He shall overcome at the last.”
MAY 10 – FEAR ONLY GOD
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (Hebrews 13:6) Because God will never leave nor forsake us, we may well be content with such things as we have. Since the Lord is ours, we cannot be left without a friend, a treasure, and a dwelling place. This assurance may make us feel quite independent of men. Under such high patronage we do not feel tempted to cringe before our fellowmen and ask of them permission to call our lives our own; but what we say we boldly say and defy contradiction. He who fears God has nothing else to fear. We should stand in such awe of the living Lord that all the threats that can be used by the proudest persecutor should have no more effect upon us than the whistling of the wind. Man in these days cannot do so much against us as he could when the apostle wrote the verse at the head of this page. Racks and stakes are out of fashion. Giant Pope cannot burn the pilgrims now. If the followers of false teachers try cruel mockery and scorn, we do not wonder at it, for the men of this world cannot love the heavenly seed. What then? We must bear the world’s scorn. It breaks no bones. God helping us, let us be bold; and when the world rages, let it rage, but let us not fear it.