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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
Devotional: May 16th
“Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth.”
2 Samuel 15:29-37
2 Samuel 15:29
This was a mournful procession indeed. To see a good king in his old age fleeing with heavy heart, covered head, weeping eyes, and bare feet, from the rage of his own son this was a spectacle of woe such as is seldom seen. Well might the people join in the royal lamentation. Little did David think when he acted so wickedly with Bathsheba that his sin would cost him so dear.
2 Samuel 15:31
David was not too sorrowful to pray. He knew where his strength lay, and took care to resort to his strong helper.
2 Samuel 15:32
Perhaps at the brow of the hill the king paused, looked after the ark, and solemnly prostrated himself in worship. Just as he rose from his knees, he found that God had sent him a valuable ally in the person of Hushai, by whose diplomacy Ahithophel’s devices were to be defeated. When we most honour God he will be most ready to help us. David was glad to see Hushai, but thought that he would be most useful to his cause by returning to Jerusalem:
2 Samuel 15:33 , 2 Samuel 15:34
This species of trickery no Christian can approve of, but among Orientals it is highly esteemed. We are sorry that David should fall into it. We must, in this matter, look at him as a warning, rather than as an example.
2 Samuel 17:22 , 2 Samuel 17:24 , 2 Samuel 17:27-29
The intelligence which Hushai sent by the two young priests induced the king to flee further away, and to retreat beyond the Jordan into the far east of the country.
2 Samuel 17:22
Here was another sad march. It was a gloomy sight to see David and the people fording the Jordan at the dead of night.
2 Samuel 17:24
This wicked young prince hotly pursued his father, and could not be content unless he could shed his blood. Yet this was a son of David! What bad sons may come of holy sires!
2 Samuel 17:27-29
Thus strangers became the good man’s friends. There were some sweetening drops in his cup. The Lord never utterly leaves his people. If he smites them, he at the same time supports them. Let us always trust in him.
“Let patience have her perfect work.”
2 Samuel 16:5-14
2 Samuel 16:5
At the moment when grief had made poor David most sensitive, the foul mouth of Shimei was opened to curse him. It is an evidence of a very cruel disposition when those who need pity are singled out for abuse. It is reckoned a very cowardly thing to strike a man when he is down, and Shimei was just such a coward. All the while that David prospered we hear nothing of Shimei; but as our trials show us who are our friends, so do they reveal our enemies.
2 Samuel 16:6
His stones and his words were meant not only to hurt the king, but to show his utter contempt for him, contempt which he had found it convenient to conceal through so many years.
2 Samuel 16:7 , 2 Samuel 16:8
This was a base libel, for David had never laid his hand upon Saul or any of his house. Did he not execute the Amalekite who professed to have slain Saul? Did he not pour out a passionate lament for Saul and Jonathan? Did he not enquire for any of the house of Jonathan, that he might show him kindness? Had he not entertained Mephibosheth at his own table? Evil tongues will not be quiet, and no innocence can ward off their calumnies.
2 Samuel 16:9
Nobody can wonder at Abishai’s anger. Shimei was barking like a cur, and it seemed only justice to return him iron for his stones; but David was not of a revengeful mind, and therefore rebuked his angry guardsman.
2 Samuel 16:10-12
How humbly did David kiss the Lord’s rod, and refuse to avenge himself upon the instrument which smote him so furiously. Nothing helps us to bear a provocation so well as humbly seeing the hand of God in it, chastening us for our former faults. David has well said in the Psalms, “I opened not my mouth because thou didst it.” He also consoled himself with the belief that the Lord would not always chide him, but would in due time return and comfort him. Nothing brings God to his children’s rescue like the revilings of their enemies. Fathers cannot bear to hear their dear ones abused.
2 Samuel 16:13
David’s patience encouraged Shimei’s insolence, so that the base fellow went from bad to worse; yet he could not provoke the king to revenge. In this forbearance the exiled monarch looks greater than even in his prosperous days. No ermine or gold so well adorn a king as patience and longsuffering. How like was David to our Redeemer who “endured such contradiction of sinners against himself,” and answered his revilers with prayers and benedictions.
2 Samuel 16:14
So that at his lowest estate David had some followers; and when he and his men were weary, providence found them refreshment. Let us hope in the worst times, for better days are in store.
When gathering clouds around I view,
And days are dark, and friends are few,
On him I lean, who, not in vain,
Experienced every human pain.
If wounded love my bosom swell,
Deceived by those I prized too well,
He shall his pitying aid bestow
Who felt on earth severer woe.
When trouble, like a gloomy cloud,
Has gather’d thick and thunder’d loud,
He near my soul has always stood,
His lovingkindness, oh, how good!
Calm me, my God, and keep me calm,
Let thine outstretchèd wing,
Be like the shade of Elim’s palm
Beside her desert-spring.
Calm in the sufferance of wrong,
Like him who bore my shame;
Calm ‘mid the threatening, taunting throng,
Who hate thy holy name.
Calm me, my God, and keep me calm,
Soft resting on thy breast;
Soothe me with holy hymn and psalm,
And bid my spirit rest.
Lord, what a thoughtless wretch was I,
To mourn, and murmur, and repine,
To see the wicked, placed on high,
In pride and robes of honour shine.
But, oh their end! their dreadful end!
Thy sanctuary taught me so;
On slipp’ry rocks I see them stand,
And fiery billows roll below.
Their fancied joys, how fast they flee!
Just like a dream when man awakes:
Their songs of softest harmony
Are but a preface to their plagues.
My God, I feel the mournful scene,
My bowels yearn o’er dying men;
And fain my pity would reclaim,
And snatch the firebrands from the flame.
But feeble my compassion proves,
And can but weep where most it loves;
Thy own all-saving arm employ,
And turn these drops of grief to joy.
Pray that Jerusalem may have
Peace and felicity:
Let them that love thee and thy peace
Have still prosperity.
Therefore I wish that peace may still
Within thy walls remain,
And ever may thy palaces
Now, for my friends’ and brethren’s sakes,
Peace be in thee, I’ll say:
And for the house of God our Lord,
I’ll seek thy good alway.
O worship the King,
All glorious above;
O gratefully sing
His power and his love;
Our Shield and Defender,
The Ancient of Days,
Pavilion’d in splendour,
And girded with praise.
Frail children of dust,
And feeble as frail,
In thee do we trust,
Nor find thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender,
How firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender,
Redeemer, and Friend!
the Second Week of Advent
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