The Earnests of More and More
‘He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.’—Joel ii. 23.
GOD keeps writing a commentary on His Word in the volume of our own experience. That is, in so far as we put that volume into His hands, and do not think to fill it with our own scribble. We are not to undervalue or neglect this commentary, but to use it as John Newton did, when he wrote—
‘His love in time past forbids me to think
He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink;
Each sweet Ebenezer I have in review
Confirms His good pleasure to help me quite through.’
The keywords of what the Spirit writes in it are, ‘He hath,’ and therefore ‘ He will.’ Every record of love bears the great signatures, ‘I am the Lord, I change not;n ‘Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.’4 Every Hitherto of grace and help is a Henceforth of more grace and more help. Every experience of the realities of faith widens the horizon of the possibilities of faith. Every realized promise is the stepping-stone to one yet unrealized.
This principle (and it is a very delightful one) of arguing from what God has done for us to what He will do for us, comes up perpetually in all parts of His word. If He hath given us the former rain, it is the pledge and proof that ‘ He will cause to come down for us the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain; ” the blessing already given shall be continued or repeated, and a fuller future one shall be certainly added. Manoah’s wife argued well: ‘If the Lord were pleased to kill us, He would not . . . have showed us all these things, nor told us such things as these.’* Oh consider what things the Lord has shown and told you and me ! are they not abounding proofs of His purposes towards us?
1 Mai. iii. 6. 2 Heb. xiii. 8. 3 Joel ii. 26. 4 Judges xiii. 23.
David made frequent use of the thought, arguing from the less to the greater: ‘The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.’1 St. Paul gives a close parallel, rising from temporal to spiritual deliverance: ‘I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work.’2
‘Who delivered us from so great a death and doth deliver; in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us.”
‘The Lord hath heard the voice of my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer.’* ‘The Lord hath dealt bountifully with me,’ comes first; then follows, ‘Deal bountifully with Thy servant;’ and then, ‘Thou shalt deal bountifully with me.’ ‘The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad,’6 leads us on to the prophecy, ‘Be glad and rejoice, for the Lord will do great things.’6
The same argument is used in prayer. ‘Pardon, I beseech Thee, the iniquity of Thy people, . . . as Thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.” ‘Thou hast delivered my soul from death ; wilt Thou not deliver my feet from falling?’8 So in the lovely typical request of Achsah to her father, ‘Give me a blessing; for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water.’9
1 I Sam. xvii. 37. 2 2 Tim. iv. 17, 18. 3 2 Cor. i. 10,
* Ps. vi. 9. 6 Ps. cxxvi. 3. 6 Joel ii. 21.
‘ Num. xiv. 19. 8 Ps. Ivi. 13. » Judges i. 15.
Turn now to the basis of such expressions of trust and petition. ‘He that spared not His own Son,’ —there is the entirely incontrovertible fact of what He hath done: ‘shall He with Him also freely give us all things,’1—there is the inspired conclusion of what He will do. ‘Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.’2 ‘He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.’3 For how true is the type, both as to each individual temple of the Holy Ghost, and ‘all the building that groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord :’*—’ The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house, his hands shall also finish it,’5—’ His own house, whose house are we.’6 Our Lord Jesus Christ endorses it in the very amen of His great prayer: ‘I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it.” Only let us simply receive and believe what He shows us and tells us, and then to every Nathanael who comes to Him, He will say, ‘ Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig-tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.’8 Then we shall have, personally and indeed, ‘showers of blessing.’9
Unto him that hath Thou givest
Ever more abundantly;
Lord, I live because Thou livest,
Therefore give more life to me,
Therefore speed me in the race,
Therefore let me grow in grace.
1 Rom. viii. 32. 2 John xiii. i. 3 Phil. i. 6.
* Eph. ii. 21. 6 Zech. iv. 9. 6 Heb. iii. 6.
? John xvii. 26. 8 John i. 50. 8 Ezek. xx.xiv. 26.