the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“I give waters in the wilderness.”
God’s people are never long untried.
Complaining of second causes is really complaining of the Lord, let us disguise it as we may. What, after all, had Moses to do with it? The root of this sin of murmuring was unbelief. Could they not trust Jehovah? Would he not be sure to supply their wants? Had he ever been unmindful of them? Alas, notwithstanding all our experience of his faithfulness we ourselves are not clear from unbelief. He that is without fault among us, let him throw the first stone at Israel.
Moses took the case into the right court. The people cried against him, but he cried unto the Lord. Here is our best resource. We may cry to God now.
See how the Lord answers their murmurings; not by fulfilling their bitter speeches and leaving them to die of thirst, but by fetching living streams from a rock. Surely the Lord, who thus recompenses good for evil, deserves our heart’s unwavering confidence from this day forward. It is wanton insult to doubt one who is so overflowing with kindness. Render not evil for good.
The Lord takes note of his peoples chidings and commemorates them. We must not think a grumbling spirit to be a small evil. The Lord has here set a mark and a brand upon it.
Isaiah 41:17 , Isaiah 41:18
The God who supplied Israel with natural water is ready to grant us the living water of his grace. Hear what his words are in
Isaiah 41:17, Isaiah 41:18.
To strengthen bur faith in this promise we are bidden to look back upon the Lord’s wonders of old and to expect yet greater things, for God has not changed, nor are the fountains of his power and grace exhausted.
Glory be unto the Lord, we can bear witness that we daily and hourly receive fresh supplies of grace from him. No good thing hath he withheld from us. His praise shall continually be in our mouths.
Poor needy souls athirst and faint,
Who gasp for my redeeming love;
I will attend to their complaint,
And pour them rivers from above.
Water’d by me, the desert-soul,
The garden of the Lord shall prove,
Replenished as a wide-spread pool,
By springs of everlasting love.
“Watch and Pray.”
These ferocious wanderers attacked Israel unawares in a cowardly and unprovoked manner, when they were least able to defend themselves. They seem to have been of all Israel’s foes the most wantonly malicious, and hence they are instructive emblems of sin and Satan.
We must fight as well as pray. Though effort without prayer would be presumption, prayer without effort is mockery. Joshua must go to battle as well as Moses to the hill. Jesus said, “Watch and pray.”
Let all of us labour to uphold the prayerfulness of the church, for if that flags all flags. “Lift up the hands that hang down, and confirm the feeble knees.” Spiritual evil can only be overcome by the energy of prayer, and when we fail in devotion, the enemy easily overcomes us.
Exodus 17:13 , Exodus 17:14
It has been suggested by a quaint author, that the Lord’s reason for specially commanding this event to be recorded is, that his people may imitate it. We are to fight against sin, and to expect victory over it by God’s help, afforded us in answer to supplication. Our Lord Jesus is both our Joshua to slay our sins, and our Moses to intercede for us against them, and his hands never need upholding. “He shall not fail nor be discouraged.” Amalek shall be utterly destroyed, and we shall be for ever freed from sin.
or, the Lord my banner, for the uplifted rod had been as a sacred banner to Israel. Whenever we win victories we ought to bring thank-offerings, and ascribe the glory unto the Lord alone.
We find this war carried on in Saul’s day, and he was bidden to root out the nation.
On account of the sinfulness of Amalek, as well as its unprovoked hostility to the tribes, the nation was doomed by divine justice to utter extirpation, even as our sins are by divine grace doomed to be crucified with Christ, that henceforth we should not serve sin. Let us read
Deuteronomy 25:17 , Deuteronomy 25:18
God will not endure it that his people should be assailed. He counts their injuries as done to himself.
Deuteronomy 25:17 , Deuteronomy 25:19
By the aid of the Eternal Spirit let us carry on war to the knife against all sin, whether in ourselves or others. All sins are our deadly foes, with whom we must hold neither truce nor parley. Death to them all, for they all aim at our death, and they were the crucifiers of our Lord Jesus.
While Moses stood with arms spread wide,
Success was found on Israel’s side;
But when through weariness they fail’d,
That moment Amalek prevail’d.
O thou whose hand is stretch’d out still,
Our sinking hands confirm and stay;
While praying for us on the hill,
Fight with us in the plain to-day.