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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
Devotional: June 8th
“His bread shall be given him.”
1 Kings 16:9-34
We must now turn from the comparative quiet of the history of Judah to the troublous annals of the more sinful nation of Israel. The house of Jeroboam was rooted out by Baasha, who reigned wickedly twenty-four years, but was not able to found a dynasty, because his sins brought upon his house the same doom as that which had befallen Jeroboam’s family. His son Elah, and all his descendants, were murdered by his captain, Zimri, while drinking at Tirzah. After a week’s reign, Zimri was vanquished by Omri, a rival commander, and perished among the blazing ruins of the palace at Tirzah. Omri had a troubled and wicked reign of twelve years, and was then succeeded by the notorious Ahab, of whom we shall now read.
1 Kings 16:31
The strong-minded Jezebel completely mastered the vacillating Ahab, and became the real ruler of the land, slaying the prophets of Jehovah, and compelling the people to reverence her demon deities.
1 Kings 16:34
It was a time of monstrous deeds of evil, when the fear of God was disregarded, and men gloried in defying the Most High. Infidelity usually flourishes side by side with superstition, and where some are worshipping a thousand deities, others are always to be found who deride the one only Lord: yet even in such days the purposes of the Lord are being accomplished. Hiel, the Beth-elite, in his arrogance, did exactly as the Lord had declared.
1 Kings 17:1-6
1 Kings 17:1
He leaps into the arena, like a lion from the hills. Who he was, or what he had been, we are not told. He comes in thunder, and speaks lightning. The times were fit for an Elijah, and Elijah was fit for them.
1 Kings 17:2-4
God is a good master, and never suffers his servants to starve. He will provide for his own, even if all the land be wasted by drought.
1 Kings 17:5 , 1 Kings 17:6
He had plain but sufficient fare, but what unlikely providers! Ravens are rather robbers than caterers, yet they forgot their own hunger and the cries of their young to feed the prophet. Perhaps they fetched the bread and meat out of Ahab’s larder; there was very little to be found anywhere else. Well does an old writer observe, “O God! thou that providest meat for the fowls of the air, wilt make the fowls of the air provide meat for man, rather than his dependence on thee shall be disappointed: O let not our faith be wanting to thee, since thy care can never be wanting to us.”
More likely to rob than to feed,
Were ravens, who live upon prey,
But when the Lord’s people have need,
His goodness will find out a way.
He lions and ravens can tame,
All creatures obey his command:
Then let me rejoice in his name.
And leave all my cares in his hand.
“Verily thou shalt be fed.”
1 Kings 17:7-24
1 Kings 17:7-9
When one door shuts, another opens. God is not confined to one method of supplying his servants. It was wonderful that Elijah was fed by ravens; it was a new wonder to find him fed by a poor widow, and she a foreigner.
1 Kings 17:10
He did not question the command, but obeyed it; this is the walk of faith.
1 Kings 17:10
How unlikely it seemed that she would be able to sustain the prophet, yet Elijah confidently addressed himself to her.
1 Kings 17:11 , 1 Kings 17:12
The good woman had recognised Jehovah’s servant, and was ready enough to serve him, but his request for bread touched her in a tender place, for she had barely enough meal for one scanty repast, and then she expected to die with her child.
1 Kings 17:13 , 1 Kings 17:14
She was to exercise obedient faith first, and then her needs would be supplied. Many try to reverse this order.
1 Kings 17:15 , 1 Kings 17:16
Thus shall our little always be enough. We shall often scrape the bottom of the barrel, but there will always be a handful left. It may be that we shall never have much in hand, but this is no evil, for then our provision will never grow stale, but come to us fresh from our heavenly Father’s hand.
1 Kings 17:17 , 1 Kings 17:18
We are all too apt to mistake the grounds of our afflictions, and to blame second causes. The child had been preserved from starving by the prophet, how then could the woman blame him for his death? Sorrow makes us hasty. Elijah knew this, and was very tender towards her.
1 Kings 17:22
If the prophet obtained miracles in answer to prayer, how much more may we expect good things which are according to the common course of nature! If we pray like Elias, we shall have like Elias.
Love divine, all joys excelling,
Joy of heaven, to earth come down:
Fix in us thy humble dwelling,
All thy faithful mercies crown;
Jesus, thou art all compassion;
Pure, unbounded love thou art;
Visit us with thy salvation,
Enter every trembling heart.
Finish, then, thy new creation,
Pure and spotless let us be;
Let us see thy great salvation,
Perfectly restored in thee:
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise!
God only my salvation Is,
And my strong rock is he;
He only is my sure defence,
I shall not movèd be.
Ye people, place your confidence
In God, your God, alone,
And you shall see your enemies
Each one of them o’erthrown.
In holy contemplation,
We sweetly now pursue
The theme of God’s salvation,
And find it ever new.
Set free from present sorrow
We cheerfully can say,
E’en let the unknown morrow
Bring with it what it may;
It can bring with it nothing
But he will bear us through:
Who gives the lilies clothing,
Will clothe his people too:
Beneath the spreading heavens,
No creature but is fed;
And he who feeds the ravens,
Will give his children bread.
Though vine nor fig-tree neither
Their wonted fruit should bear,
Though all the field should wither,
Nor flocks nor herds be there;
Yet God the same abiding,
His praise shall tune my voice;
For while in him confiding,
I cannot but rejoice.
Fear not the face of man,
But bravely serve the Lord;
Stand forth and bear thy witness well,
According to his word.
Thou art thyself a king,
Girt with majestic power,
Thy foe is but a puny thing,
A creature of an hour.
Saw ye not the cloud arise,
Little as a human hand?
Now it spreads along the skies,
Hangs o’er all the thirsty land:
Lo, the promise of a shower
Drops already from above;
But the Lord will shortly pour
All the Spirit of his love.
Stand up! Stand up for Jesus!
The trumpet-call obey;
Forth to the mighty conflict,
In this his glorious day;
Ye that are men, now serve him,
Against unnumber’d foes;
Your courage rise with danger,
And strength to strength oppose.
Stand up! Stand up for Jesus!
Stand in his strength alone:
The arm of flesh will fail you;
Ye dare not trust your own:
Put on the gospel armour,
And watching unto prayer,
Where duty calls, or danger,
Be never wanting there.
Stand up! Stand up for Jesus!
The strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle,
The next the victor’s song.
To him that overcometh
A crown of life shall be;
He with the king of Glory
Shall reign eternally.
the First Week of Advent
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