Sermon 3459. More and More
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, MAY 20, 1915.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"But He gives more Grace." James 4:6.
PRACTICAL as the Epistle of James is, this Apostle does not neglect to extol the Grace of God. He would be very unpracticalif he did. There are some professors of religion who talk as if they loved the doctrines and loathed the duties. They clingto the faith, while they shrink from the works! They accept the principles that are announced, but refuse the precepts thatare enjoined. Herein they err. Yet we would be equally at fault and, perhaps, commit a graver error, were we to be biasedin the opposite direction! Did we constantly expound and enforce the great things to be done by us without reference to thegreater things that have been done for us. Did we commend the fruits regardless of the root from where they spring. Did weapplaud the deeds of men without lauding the Grace of God, we would, I say, commit a graver error! Happily we have been taughtboth the saintship and the service, the Covenant engagements, as well as the creature obligations, the Divine enabling andthe divers abilities of Believers that are set in motion, so that we discern without difficulty how the principle of Gracecombines and co-operates with the practice of goodness. In our conflict with the natural spirit of enmity, Grace takes theform of, "more Grace," and it is bestowed upon us that we may be able to overcome and prove victorious.
We shall first consider the words of our text in their natural connection. Secondly, we shall contemplate their general instructions.Then, thirdly, we shall connect them with a special application, seeking, each one of us, to appropriate them to ourselves.
I. OUR TEXT IN ITS NATURAL CONNECTION.
Directly you look at the matter, you are struck with the contrast. It is not merely that a comparison is instituted, but twopotent motives are confronted-the one a strong instinct, the other a liberal endowment. "The spirit that is in us lusts toenvy, but He gives more Grace." On our side it is a "spirit"-a turbulent passion! On God's side it is a sweet gratuity-a supplyof more Grace! We fretful and murmuring, anxious and complaining. He, far from grudging, stinting, or withholding (which wouldbe a fit retaliation), succors us and augments and multiplies His liberality, as if to compensate the aggravation of our waywardnessby the enlargement of His concessions! The spirit that is in us complains of God, as though we were jealous that He gave moreto others than to us. Still, the Spirit that is in God goes on to give, saying, "Is your eye evil because Mine is good? MayI not do what I will with My own?" The spirit that is in us undervalues what we possess, because, under some aspects, it maynot be equally precious with that which somebody else possesses. But God, instead of taking away from us what He has given,because we judge Him so unworthily, only gives more! "He gives more Grace." One might have supposed, that because "the spiritthat is in us lusts to envy," therefore we should discover God opposing us, restraining the bottles of Heaven, commandingthe dew no longer to fall upon us and withdrawing all the benedictions of His love! But no, it does not say, "He is opposedto us and, whereas we run in one direction, He runs in another. His thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are His ways ourways. And then, again, our ways are not His ways, nor our thoughts His thoughts. We do not rise to Him and He does not stoopto us, so as to lower His Character, by meeting us with that return that would seem due to us if strict laws of retaliationwere carried out." Note that contrast! Note it always! Observe how weak we are, how strong He is-how proud we are, how condescendingHe is-how erring we are, and how Infallible He is! Note how changing we are, and how Immutable He is-how provoking we are,and how forgiving He is. Observe how in us there is only evil, and how in Him there is only good. Yet our evil but draws Hisgoodness forth, and still He blesses! Oh, what a rich contrast!
Do we not get a hint, here, as to the quarter from which we are to derive the weapons of war against our sin? "The spiritthat is in us lusts to envy." What will you say to this? Will you, therefore, sit still and consider that you are excusedbecause this is a positive instinct of your nature? Do you say that envy is a natural proclivity, a craving passion of manymen and that it is, therefore, to be accounted of rather as a mental cast than as a moral crime-a flaw in one's constitutionrather than a fault in his conscience? Or, to say the worst, more of a distressing temptation than of a detestable transgressionagainst God? Ah, no, my Brothers and Sisters, there is not a word in Holy Scripture that gives the least countenance or thefaintest indulgence to any sin! Indulgences for sin may come from Rome, but they never come from Zion! I have known personsattempt to exculpate themselves after a fit of anger by a cool acknowledgment like this-"I was always hot-tempered." Whatis that but a bitter aggravation? You do but admit that your sin is of long standing and frequent recurrence! You confess,indeed, your greater guilt, and there is no repentance to regret it, no force of conviction to forsake it. So it is with envy-"Thespirit that dwells in us lusts to envy." So much the worse for our spirit! So much the more guilty we are. This is not onlyan infirmity which our circumstances have betrayed, but it is an inherent quality of the animal, debased propensity of thecreature! Oh, how defiled must the nature be to which vice is as natural as a black skin to the Ethiopian, or as a spottedskin to the leopard! In vain your every plea-you cannot lighten the sin, albeit you may heighten the shame! There is no causeto tamper, but there is a call to arms. "He gives more Grace." This is as much as to say, "Sit not coolly down and parleywith the spirit that is in you lusting to envy, but up! Resist, withstand and oppose till you quench it!"
Here is counsel to instruct you in this arduous encounter. That evil spirit must be met with a pure, a devout spirit. Theweapons of this warfare are not carnal-they are only to be found in the armory of Grace. "He gives more Grace." You cannotovercome your sins by denouncing them, or frustrate their malignity by fostering an admiration of virtues that never grewin the soil of your own hearts. Nor can you, resolve as you may, keep the moral Law. Neither is it possible, by religiousservices in the future, to make amends for the perversity of your past life. Such proposals and such efforts would becomethe race of Ishmael, for they are under bondage. But we are the children of the free woman and we are not moved to holinessby the hope of gaining Heaven, or the fear of being sent to Hell. We live under a different Covenant from that! They haveto do with Sinai, which made men tremble-we are not under the Law, but under Grace, so other arguments persuade us! When weneed weapons wherewith to fight against our sin, we turn to Divine Love and say, "Behold how God has loved us. Can we actunloving to Him?" Or we go to Calvary and there see what a bitter thing it is to our Well-Beloved. We take the spear thatpierced His heart, to see if it cannot pierce the heart of our sin. And we take the nails that nailed Him to the tree andpray the Holy Spirit to crucify our flesh with its affections and lusts. Our warfare is not carried on by weapons from thearmory of Moses-the shield and spear of David suit us better. By faith in the living God who defends us from danger and guardsus with strength, we shall bring down the lion, rend the bear like a kid, and vanquish the Philistine! By the help of Hisright hand we expect to kill the enemy. We are not going back to legal bondage-we have "more Grace." And with Divine Gracethere always comes joy, peace and security. That Doctrine which, it has been often argued, gives liberty to sin does reallyset forth the way in which to overthrow and conquer it! The text, then, gives an indication of the place where we may findthe shield and buckler of our sacred war-"He gives more Grace."
And then the text, besides giving thus a contrast and a suggestion, appears to me to give us an encouragement for the continuanceof our spiritual warfare. "He gives more Grace." You had Grace at first with which to struggle against the envying and everyother sin. You are now alarmed because the warfare of your spirit is so protracted. "He gives more Grace" to continue thestruggle! As long as there is one passion in your soul that dares to rise, there will be Grace in your soul to answer! Areyou distressed because you don't appear to be making the headway you could wish against sin? It is a blessed distress andI would not mitigate it, but, meanwhile, let us not degenerate into unbelief. Know this, that though there may be more temptation,God will give more Grace! And though advancing years may bring more infirmity and, consequently, more temptation, He willalways give you more Grace! As long as the fight shall last, the help will last. You shall have manna all the while you arein the wilderness-it shall never cease to drop till you come where you no more require it, having crossed the Jordan. Fighton, then! Never think of saying, "I cannot overcome this sin." By God's help you must, for no sin can enter Heaven with you!You must overcome it. It cannot be permitted that you sit down in peace with any foe to purity. You are never to have peacewith any sin. When, first of all, the Lord Jesus made
peace with us, He proclaimed war against sin on every side and of every size, and the loyal Christian never dreams of peace,but contemplates only a perpetual fighting against sin, expecting to have perpetual Grace bestowed!
And then it seems to me that, in this matter, we have a prediction of victory, for if He gives more Grace, it seems to methus, that He promises so to augment the force of Grace that the sin must ultimately yield to repeated assaults. There shallbe more Grace than sin-where sin abounded, Grace did much more abound. Such shall be the climax of every Christian's experiencewhen it comes to be summed up. O Sin, you cruel, deadly foe! You seek to capture us, and, if possible, to slay us-but youshall not prevail! Sin seeks to enter, Grace shuts the door. Sin tries to get the mastery, but Grace, which is stronger thansin, resists and will not permit it. Sin gets us down at times and puts its foot on our neck- Grace comes to the rescue andfaith prompts us to say, "Rejoice not over me, O my enemy, for though I fall, yet shall I rise up again." Sin comes up likeNoah's flood, but Grace rides over the tops of the mountains like the Ark! Sin, like Sennacherib, pours forth its troops toswallow up the land-Grace, like the Angel of the Lord, goes through the camp of Sennacherib and lays sin dead. O gloriousGrace, you shall certainly get the victory! "He gives more Grace." Surely, therefore, there is a prediction, here, of ultimatevictory! "The spirit that is in us lusts to envy," but for us there is victory, and to Jehovah shall it be ascribed, for Hegives more Grace! Such, as it seems to me, is the instruction to be drawn from the text, if we take it in its connection.Now let us take it out of the connection and-
II. USE IT AS A GENERAL TRUTH.
"He gives more Grace." Does not this mean that He gives new supplies of Grace?. The Grace you had yesterday is of no use today.It would breed worms and stink like the old manna. The man who has no new experience of Divine Love, but tries to live onthe memory of the past, will find the food very musty and apt to breed diseases. The child of God will never prosper on Tuesdaythrough Monday's Grace-and you will not find the supplies of Grace for last year keep you afloat during this year! "He givesmore Grace." Grace is like a river-its waters are always sweet and fresh as it comes rushing from the eternal hills. Likethe sunlight, it never sends the same beams twice! It is always fresh, always new. Blessed be God for this! There are perpetualstreams of Grace.
And He gives larger supplies of Grace.He gives new drops to the blade, He gives a greater watering to the corn in the ear,sends heavy showers when it comes to the full corn in the ear. There is comparatively little Grace with him who is but a babein Grace, though enough for his present need. There is more Grace for the young man who has temptations to avoid that he maycleanse his way. And there is the most Grace for the valiant man who is strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.Little faith has Grace, but great faith has more Grace. Little love has Grace, but God gives greater Grace where there isgreater love. None of us have got so far but what there is much beyond. Suppose a man says he is perfect? You may concludethat he does not know himself, or the course that lies before him, for if he is perfect in his own estimation, he has nota perfect standard to judge himself by and probably he is not so perfect in his humility as it is desirable he should be!
"God gives more Grace," that is, higher, larger, deeper, stronger Grace, so that we may go from strength to strength. Whenit is said, "He gives more Grace," it means that He gives higher styles of Grace, for there are differences and degrees ofGrace. One man has Grace-a proportionate amount of it, but it is of one kind. Now the Grace of patience appears to me to bea higher Grace than many others, and to come late to some of us. We have not got to it yet. We have got courage and we havefaith in a measure and that will produce every other virtue, doubtless, but as yet we have not the full closeness of fellowship,the perfectness of acquiescence, the keen susceptibility of the Presence of God, and certain other and higher forms of Graceof which we cannot now particularly speak. But these are not things that are reserved and laid by-He gives these higher Graces-theyare to be had. There is no degree of Divine Grace which we ought not to seek-not with the covetousness that seeks Grace fora graceless object like self-exaltation, but with that sacred eagerness which longs for more Grace that God may have moreGlory! God gives to His people the highest forms of Grace and, therefore, they ought to be encouraged to ask for them.
This precious Word of God which I have before me, dear Friends, on which my heart is fondly set, and which my tongue gladlyrepeats, expresses a statute of the Lord which we ought to live upon every day. "He gives more Grace," By the Grace of GodI have got to the end of another day! Well, then, I need to go to Him again at my bedside, before my eyes are closed in slumber,and seek fresh fellowship with Him-"He gives more Grace." What He is prepared to give most certainly I am prone to need! Tomorrow,when I go forth to follow my calling, I know not what may befall me, for I have not trod that way before-but "He gives moreGrace." Every day there are fresh supplies of Grace as fresh needs for Grace arise. And oh, how I ought to recollect thisin my pleadings for others! Should I not pray for my minister, that he might have more Grace? If I do not profit under hisministry as I could wish, I should pray more, being confident of this very thing, that, "God gives more Grace." And if I doprofit as I could wish, then I have new reasons for praying that he will continue to get more Grace, for God has promisedto give it! Have I a child whom I hope to see grow up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? As I see the budding, thebeginning of Grace in him, I should plead for more Grace! And how, my Christian Brothers and Sisters in the service of theChurch, should I fail to plead with God on your behalf?
Much blessed use, too, Beloved, may we make of this verse when called to any fresh service. If you who never preached before,should be invited to speak to a few people, do not measure your ability by your inexperience. He who calls you to more servicewill give you more Grace! Or should you be about to move from a little to a larger occupation, you may be timid-cast downbecause of the littleness of your strength-but "He gives more Grace." Possibly, you are entering into deeper trials. You haveonly been a coaster before, and you kept among the headlands near the shore. Now you are to cross the sea and get out of thesight of land. Well, the Pilot knows all about the sea which you are about to traverse-trust Him. "He gives more Grace." Iknow you have more fear. The only way to overcome it is by more Grace. Do not be over-anxious to make more provision, or trustto the exercise of more prudence, or rely upon anything you have got, else you will make shipwreck in that manner! But goto the Lord for more Grace. It is the straight way, the right way, the safe way-and in that way you will always find thatmore Grace will carry you through more trouble! Possibly you are about to undergo sharper tests than ever. You are to be triedthis time as to whether you are really God's servant. Well, if the Lord permits Satan to tempt you, He will give you moreGrace! He who preserved you in prosperity, will preserve you in adversity! He who kept you in the high places will not forsakeyou in the lowlands. He who blessed your substance will not suffer you to starve in time of famine. If you need more Grace,you shall have more Grace to supply your need! Do not be afraid, dear Brothers and Sisters, as to what may happen to you.Go in this your strength-seek the Lord's guidance. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. If Godshould bid any one of us go right through a wall of stone, we are to go straight through it and He shall clear our way! Hecuts the gates of brass and breaks the bars of iron asunder. Ours is to obey-not to reason or ask why! Ours is to dare anddie, if need be, for Him-not to halt or draw back! When He bids us go, He will clear the way. Through the Red Sea, Israelwent. "Forward," was the word, and the floods divided and stood upright as a heap! So shall it be, if Providence should callyou to the most extraordinary pathway ever trod by human pilgrims! He that calls you will preserve you and cause you to triumphin the way of obedience, for "He gives more Grace." Again, let us endeavor to-
III. MAKE APPLICATION OF THIS PRINCIPLE TO OURSELVES.
I would urge each dear Brother and Sister here to take the words and see what they say to you. "He gives more Grace." Do yousuffer from spiritual poverty? It is your own fault, for He gives more Grace. If you have not got it, it is not because itis not to be had, but because you have not gone for it-you have not sought for it-you have not walked in such a way that youcould possess it and exhibit its fruit! If there is anyone-a hired servant of our Father-that is hungry, it is not becauseour Father's larder is bare, for He has provided bread enough and to spare! And if there is one of our Father's children whocannot fill his belly, it is not because there is not food enough, nor because there is not abundance on the Father's table,but because he chooses to go after the swine husks in some form or other. We might rejoice, we might triumph, but we takethe course which leads to poverty, littleness of Grace, leanness of soul! It is our own choice-not the Lord's. The text forbidsus ever to lay blame on God. "Have I been a wilderness to Israel?" You might well consider this. You have little love-haveI given you little cause for love? Your zeal burns very low-have I given you objects so contemptible that you might reasonablyrelax your fervor? Ah, no. "He gives more Grace." He always gives. You hungry ones that stand shivering there, faint and readyto die-it is not because the oxen and the fatlings are not killed, and all things are not ready-you that pinch yourselvesand starve yourselves are not straitened in Him, but straitened in your own heart. May God teach us this lesson! May we comenow to God with open mouths that He may fill them. May our desires be strong and our faith a mighty enthusiasm, that, accordingto our faith, it may be done unto us!
Spiritual growth, if we have any, must never be the subject of our self-congratulation, but we must give all the Glory toGod, for if you look at the text from another point of view, the more Grace we have, the more has been given us! If we haveit not, it is our own fault, but if we have it, it is not our earning, but His bestowal! If you have more than another,
you have no cause to thank yourself for it. If you can say, "I bless myself that I have more Grace than my brother," you havealready shown that you are naked, poor and miserable, though you think yourself to be rich and increased in goods. All Graceleads us to gratitude. Grace never leads us to lift ourselves up and say, "I have done well to obtain it." Grace, like thecargo in the vessel, makes the ship sink deeper in the stream. He that has most Grace is the lowliest man. You shall measureyour rising in Grace by your sinking in humility.
Oh, Beloved, what satisfaction and what security we should feel in meditating on the goodness of God. Verily, God is good.This is not an occasional display of His bounty, but it is the universal order of His government in the Church, "He givesmore Grace." There is no time given here. You do not find any timetable in Scripture, saying, "At such an hour of the dayHe gives more Grace," or, "At such a time in the year He gives more Grace," but it is day by day, all the year round, longas the cycles roll, while the dispensation of mercy lasts! So long as there is an heir of Heaven that needs, our Father, whois in Heaven, supplies! "He gives more Grace." What a blessing for us that the Grace of God is "unlimited" as to time!
Nor is there any restriction as to the way of our getting it. When "He gives more Grace," you need not apply through certainappointed priests, or use a prescribed ritual, or put yourselves in certain peculiar postures. No, no! Nothing ceremonial-everythingsubstantial! This provision, like every other promise, is in and through Jesus Christ, the Mediator. If you do but go andseek from Him, He gives what none others can give-He gives more Grace! Oh, for the agony of prayer that will lead us to theMercy Seat with power! And for the humility of soul that empties us in order that there may be room for God to fill us! Oh,for the life of faith which believes that God will do great things, and expects Him to do them! How then should we, each one,have to say, "He gives me more Grace: blessed be His name! He leads me on from height to height, enlarges my capacity andstill fills me! He makes me feel that there is a greater capacity yet to receive, and an undiminished fullness when my capacityexpands." Turn the meditation into music in your heart! Let the rich melody charm your thoughts and henceforth may our songbe, "He gives more Grace."
Are any of you seeking more Grace? If He has given you Grace to seek, He will surely give you more Grace-Grace to find! Areany of you grieving for sin? That is of His Grace-He will give you more Grace to rejoice in the pardon of all your sins throughChrist! Have you begun to pray? That is according to His Grace bestowed on you-but He will give you more Grace to continuein prayer until you receive such answers as are the ripe fruit of your supplications! Thank God for little Grace-mind thatyou do. If you have only starlight, thank Him for it, and He will give you moonlight. Or if you have only moonlight, thankHim for it, and He will give you sunlight! Then, if you have sunlight, thank Him fervently and He will give you, shortly,as the light of seven days! Be thankful, since a little Grace is more than you deserve! Be thankful for the least grain thatthe Lord adds to it. Oh, that you might be all led to believe in Christ! It pleased the Father to give Christ Jesus to us,and in Him all fullness dwells. He cannot give you more, because in this one Gift every other gift is concentrated. You cannotneed more than Jesus! With Him you shall find that you receive more and more Grace adequate to your needs and according toHis exceeding riches of glory. So shall you praise Him more and more forever and ever! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: GENESIS 24:1-16; 1 SAMUEL 30:1-13; 1 JOHN 1:1-3.
Our subject is the value of Divine Guidance, and we shall, therefore, read two passages of Scripture illustrating the Truthof God which we hope to enforce.
Verse 1. And Abraham was old, and well advanced in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. Happy man that cansay that, who has a blessing everywhere! And yet Abraham had his, "but," for as yet Isaac was unmarried and, perhaps, he littledreamed that for 20 years afterwards, he who was to build the house of Abraham was to remain childless. Yet so it was. Therewas always a trial for Abraham's faith, but even his trials were blessed, for "God blessed Abraham in all things."
2. And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, Ipray you, your hand undermy thigh-According to the Eastern manner of swearing.
3. And I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of Heaven, and the God of the earth, that you shall not take a wife untomy son ofthe daughters of the Canaanites, among whom Idwell. This holy man was careful of the purity of his family-he knewwhat an ill effect a Canaanite wife might have upon his son, and also upon his offspring. He was, therefore, particularlycareful here. I would that all parents were the same.
4, 5. But you shall go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. And the servant said unto him,Perhaps the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I bring your son again unto the land from where youcame?The servant was very careful. Those that swear too readily they know not what, will, before long, swear till they carenot what. Better still is it for the Christian to remember the Words of Christ, "Swear not at all, neither by Heaven, norby earth, nor by any other oath." Doubtless the Doctrine of the Savior is that all oaths of every sort are lawful to the Christian,but if they ever are taken, it should be with deep circumspection and with earnest prayerful-ness-that there be no mistakeabout the matter.
6. And Abraham said unto him, Beware you that you bring not my son there again. He knew that God had called him and his kindredto inherit the land of Canaan and, therefore, he was not willing that they should go back to their former dwelling places.
7. The LORD God of Heaven, which took me from my father's house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spoke unto me,and that swore unto me, saying, Unto your seed will I give this land; He shall send His angel before you, and you shall takea wife unto my son from there. What simple faith! This was the very glory of Abraham's faith-it was so simple, so childlike.It might be many miles to Padan-aram, but it does not matter to faith. "My God will send His angel." Oh, we are always makingdifficulties and suggesting hardships, but if our faith were in lively exercise, we Would do God's will far more readily!"Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain." Brothers and Sisters, let us be of good heartand of good courage in all matters, for doubtless the angel of God will go before us!
8-11. And' if the woman will not be willing to followyou, then you shall be clear from this my oath: only bring not my sonthere again. And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham, his master, and swore to him concerning that matterAnd the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand:and he arose and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor. And he made his camels to kneel down outside the city, by awell of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.Now I think I may freely say thatthis looks something like what we call "a wild goose chase." He was to go and find a wife for a young man left at home. Heknew nothing of the people among whom he was to sojourn, but he believed that the angel of God would guide him aright. Whatought he to do, now he had come near to the time when the decision must be made? He should seek counsel of God-and observethat he did so!
12-14. And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, Ipray You, send me good speed this day, and show kindness unto my masterAbraham. Behold, Istandhere by the well ofwater, and the daughters ofthe men ofthe city come out to draw water And let itcome to pass that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down your pitcher, I pray you, that I may drink, and she shall say,Drink, and I will give your camels drink, also; let the same be she that you have appointed for Your servant Isaac and, thereby,shall Iknnow that You have showed kindness unto my master I do not know that he is to be imitated in setting a sign to God.Perhaps not, but he did his best-he left the matter with God, and a thing is always in good hands when it is left with Him.There is a deal of wisdom in this sign, however. Why did he not say, "The damsel that shall first offer me a drink"? No, shemight be a little too forward, and a forward woman was not a fit spouse for the good and meditative Isaac. He himself wasto address her, first, and then she must be ready, with all cheerfulness, to do far more than he asks! She was to offer hima drink, and draw water for his camels. She would thus not be afraid of work, she would be courteous, she would be kind andall these meeting in one might show him! And by this test he might very wisely discover that she was a fitting woman for Isaac,and might become his spouse.
15. And it came to pass, before he had done speaking No, he did not know that promise, "While they are yet speaking I willhear," but God keeps His promises before He makes them and, therefore, I am sure He will keep them after He has made them!
15, 16. That, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, withher pitcher upon her shoulder And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her And she wentdown to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up. And so on-I need not read the rest of
the story, because we now find that, through earnest prayer, the good servant has been rightly led. We will now turn to anotherpassage where we shall have another instance of a difficult case-where another person put his case before the Lord-soughtguidance and found it.
Verses 1, 2. And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invadedthe south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire. And had taken the women captives, that were therein: theyslew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. What a singular Providence! There was ablood-feud between Amalek and Israel since Israel endeavored to exterminate the Amalekites, and it is written, "The Lord shallhave war with Amalek forever and ever." Yet God holds in these tigers and will not let the lions devour their prey!
3, 4. So David and his men came to the city, and behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and theirdaughters, were taken captives. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they hadno more power to weep.They were tired and weary after a long march with Achish, and then another long march home. Oh, howthey longed for their couches! How they desired to sit down and converse with their wives and their little ones! Tears didnot seem a sufficient expression for their sorrow, and yet when a strong man weeps-a burly warrior like Joab, a rough, coarseman like Abishai, or a strong young man like Asahel-there must be deep grief. They wept till they had no more power to weep.
5, 6. And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. AndDavidwas greatly distressed; for thepeople spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all thepeople was grieved, every man for hissons and for his daughters. But David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. He had not only his own personal sorrow, butthat of all his people. And then, instead of comforting him, every friend had turned into a foe! His house was a heap of ashes-hemight have said-"Ahinoam is not, and Abigail is not, and my children have You taken away. All these things are against me!"But he had more faith than Job, and so he encouraged himself in the Lord his God.
7. And David said to Abiathar, the priest, Ahimelech's son, Ipray you, bring me here the ephod. And Abiathar brought therethe ephod to David. Ah, that's the thing! Bring here the old family Bible! Let us go to prayer about it! Down on our kneesand tell the Lord the case.
8. And David inquired ofthe LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? Shall I overtake them? And He answered him, Pursue:for you shall surely overtake them, and without fail recover all But it is easier said than done! Where are they? How shallthey find these fleet Amalekites who fly away so rapidly?
9. 10. So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the Brook Besor, where those that were leftbehind stayed. But David pursued, he and four hundred men: for two hundred stayed behind, which were so faint that they couldnot go over the Brook Besor. Worse and worse you see! But the case is in God's hands and no matter what the circumstancesmay be, all's well that ends well, and God always has the enemy in His hands!
11-13. And they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David, and gave him bread, and he did eat; and they madehim drink water. And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spiritcame again to him; for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights. AndDavid said unto him, Towhom do you belong? And from where didyou come? Andhe said, Iam a young man ofEgypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my masterleft me, because three days ago I fell sick Shame on his master, I say, and yet there are some who stop their men's wagesas soon as they get a little ill! Shame on them, I say! It might be fit for an Amalekite to do this, but certainly not foran Israelite! So this young Egyptian tells David all about what they had done. And David follows them, kills them with thesword, takes away their plunder and, moreover, gets a great spoil to himself, and so the Lord hears the voice of David. NowAbraham's servant and David were men in like difficulties with us, but they asked guidance of God and received it! Let usbe sure in every time of difficulty to do the same.
1 JOHN 1:1-3
Verse 1. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked uponand our hands have handled of the Word of life-The fact that Christ was really in the flesh, that He was no phantom, no shadowmocking the eyes that looked upon Him, is exceedingly important, and hence John (whose style, by the way, in this Epistleis precisely like the style which he uses in his Gospel)-John begins by declaring that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who inHis eternity was from the beginning, was really a substantial Man, for he says, "We have heard Him"-hearing is good evidence."Which we have seen with our eyes"-eyesight is good, clear evidence certainly. "Which we have looked upon"-this is betterstill, for this imports a deliberate, careful, circumspect gaze. But better still, "Which our hands have handled"-for Johnhad leaned his head on Jesus Christ's bosom, and his hands had often met the real flesh and blood of the living Savior. Weneed have no doubt about the reality of Christ's Incarnation when we have these open eyes and hands to give us evidence!
2. For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was withthe Father, and was manifested unto us. That same eternal Being who is Very God of Very God, and is worthy to be called essentiallyLife, was made flesh and dwelt among us, and the Apostles could say, "We beheld His Glory."
3. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you. See how he hammers this nail as if he will drive it fast! How herings this bell that it may toll the death-knell of every doubt!
3. That you also may have fellowship with us. But John, what is the value of fellowship with you, you and your brethren, aparcel of poor fishermen? Who wants fellowship with you-hooted, despised, mocked and persecuted in every city-who wants fellowshipwith you?
3. And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ. What a leap from the fisherman to the Father'sThrone, from the poor, despised son of Zebedee up to the King of Kings! Oh, John, we would have fellowship with you now! Wewill have fellowship with your scorn and spitting, that we may have fellowship with you, and with the Father and His Son,Jesus Christ.