“And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.” — Genesis 21:6
It was far above the power of nature, and even contrary to its laws, that the aged Sarah should be honoured with a son; and even so it is beyond all ordinary rules that I, a poor, helpless, undone sinner, should find grace to bear about in my soul the indwelling Spirit of the Lord Jesus.
I, who once despaired, as well I might, for my nature was as dry, and withered, and barren, and accursed as a howling wilderness, even I have been made to bring forth fruit unto holiness. Well may my mouth be filled with joyous laughter, because of the singular, surprising grace which I have received of the Lord; for I have found Jesus, the promised seed, and he is mine forever.
This day will I lift up psalms of triumph unto the Lord who has remembered my low estate, for “my heart rejoiceth in the Lord; mine horn is exalted in the Lord; my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies, because I rejoice in thy salvation.”
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.” — Isaiah 27:13
Called by the sounding of the great trumpet, the perishing and outcasts come to the Lord. And what do they do when they come? Do they trifle with sin, mock God, and abuse His grace? We read not so. They “worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.” They worship Him in spirit and in truth; they worship Him in the beauty of holiness. With purified hearts, purged consciences, and spiritual affections, they fall down before Him, and their souls are impressed with a sense of the greatness of His love.
“And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.” — Genesis 7:16
Noah was shut in away from all the world by the Hand of divine love. The door of electing purpose stands between us and the world which lies in the wicked one.
We are not of the world even as our Lord Jesus was not of the world. Into the sin, the gaiety, the pursuits of the multitude we cannot enter; we cannot play in the streets of Vanity Fair with the children of darkness, for our heavenly Father has shut us in.
Noah was shut in with his God. “Come thou into the ark,” was the Lord’s invitation, by which He clearly showed that He Himself intended to dwell in the ark with his servant and his family. Thus all the chosen dwell in God and God in them.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father’s will. Even all the hairs on your head are numbered. So do not be afraid; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” — Matthew 10:29
“How happy are those who can resign all to Him, who see His hand in every trying dispensation, and believe that He chooses better for them than they could possibly choose for themselves.” — John Newton
Observe how the hand of God’s providence causes little things to lead on to great matters. In the least of incidents the greatest results may hinge! The pivots of history are microscopic. Hence, it is most important for us to learn that the smallest trifles are as much arranged by the God of providence as the most startling events.
He who counts the stars has also numbered the hairs of our heads. Our lives and deaths are predestined, but so, also, are our sitting down and our rising up. Had we but sufficiently powerful perceptive faculties, we should see God’s hand as clearly in each stone of our pathway as in the revolutions of the earth.
The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!” — Matthew 21:9
I long for a concert of heavenly praise,
To Jesus, my God, the omnipotent Son!
My soul should awake in harmonious lays,
Could it tell half the wonders that Jesus has done.
I’d sing how He left His own mansions of light,
The robes made of glory that dressed Him above,
Yet pleased with His journey and swift in His flight;
He came on the pinions of covenant love!
Should it not be the business of this life to prepare for the next life, and, in that respect, to prepare to die? But how can a man be prepared for that which he never thinks of? Do you mean to take a leap in the dark? If so, you are in an unhappy condition, and I beseech you as you love your own soul to escape from such peril by the help of God’s Holy Spirit.
Live while you live. Let every moment be spent as you might spend it when you survey life from your last pillow. Let us live for God in Christ by the Holy Spirit. May the Lord quicken our pace by the thought that it is only a little while! A short day will not allow for loitering. Do we not live too much as if we played at living?
Drop no stitches. Do all your work at your best. Do a day’s work in a day, and have no balance of debt to carry over to tomorrow’s account. Soon you and I shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ, to give an account of the things done in the body: therefore let us live as in the light of that day of days, doing work which may bear that fierce light which shines around the great white throne.
What do we say to our self-indulgence, our sloth, our love of ease, our avoidance of hardship, our luxury, our pampering of the body, our costly feasts, our silken couches, our brilliant furniture, our snappy clothing, our braided hair, our jeweled fingers, our idle mirth, our voluptuous music, our jovial tables, loaded with every variety of wine and rich foods? Are we Christians? Or are we worldlings? Where is the self-denial of primitive days? Where is the separation from a self-pleasing luxurious world? Where is the cross, the true badge of discipleship, to be seen except in useless religious ornaments for the body, or worse than useless decorations for the sanctuary?
“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion!” Is this not the description of multitudes who name the name of Christ? They may not always be “living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.” But even where these are absent, there is “high living,”—luxury of the table or the wardrobe—in conformity to “this present evil world.”