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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
Devotional: July 18th
“Oppress not the poor.”
2 Kings 23:34-37
We now find another of Josiah’s sons upon the throne, but he was no better than his brother. Alas, poor Judah!
Ezekiel has described his character and reign in a parable. Jehoahaz was the first lion cub which had been destroyed, and then the nation found another in Jehoiakim.
Jehoiakim was evidently a plunderer of the poor nations around him, a common freebooter, living by the sword.
2 Kings 24:1-4
2 Kings 24:1
No doubt tempted by the promises of the Egyptian king. Judah lay between the territories of the two great rivals, and both were anxious to secure it as a border country.
2 Kings 24:2-4
Jehoiakim and his people endorsed the sin of Manasseh, and the accumulated wrath of God fell upon them.
This king was a great oppressor, and built a palace for himself by the unpaid toil of his subjects, making it sumptuous with the spoils which he took as a border robber. Jeremiah thus bravely rebuked him Jeremiah 22:13-19.
None lamented this tyrannical monarch. Consigned to infamy, his carcase was left to rot like that of an ass, none caring to cast a handful of earth over his detested person. The poor should be paid fair wages for their labour, and never should the rich and mighty dare to wrong them, for God is the avenger of all such. Woe unto those who grind the faces of the needy!
“Be ye followers of God as dear children.”
Jeremiah 35:1-3 , Jeremiah 35:5-19
The Rechabites were descendants of Jethro, and maintained a separate existence as a nation by continuing their wandering habits and dwelling only in tents.
The reasoning is very forcible. If the sons of Jonadab so exactly and continuously obeyed their father, how great was the sin of Judah in refusing to obey her God!
The Rev. Joseph Wolf, missionary in the east, thus writes: ”On my arrival in Mesopotamia, some Jews that I saw there pointed me to one of the ancient Rechabites. He stood before me, wild like an Arab, holding the bridle of his horse in his hand. I showed him the Bible in Hebrew and Arabic, which he was much rejoiced to see, as he could read both languages, but had no knowledge of the New Testament. After having proclaimed to him the tidings of salvation, and made him a present of the Hebrew and Arabic Bibles and Testaments, I asked him, ‘Whose descendant are you?’ ‘Mousa,’ said he, boisterously, ‘is my name, and I will show you who were my ancestors; on which he immediately began to read from the fifth to the eleventh verse of Jeremiah 35. ‘Where do you reside’? said I.
‘At Mesha, now called Mecca, in the deserts around those places. We drink no wine, and plant no vineyard, and sow no seed; and. live in tents, as Jonadab our father commanded us. Hobab was our father too. Come to us, and you will find us sixty thousand in number; and you see thus the prophecy has been fulfilled.’ ‘Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever;’ and saying this, Mousa the Rechabite mounted his horse and fled away, and left behind a host of evidence in favour of sacred writ.”
O that God’s children here below,
Might thus his laws fulfil,
And each, where God has placed him, know
And do his holy will.
Guide us, O Lord, by grace divine,
That we may never stray;
May Christ our Sun, for ever shine,
Upon our heavenward way.
With one consent let all the earth
To God their cheerful voices raise;
Glad homage pay with awful mirth,
And sing before him songs of praise.
Convinced that he is God alone,
From whom both we and all proceed
We, whom he chooses for his own,
The flock that he vouchsafes to feed.
For he’s the Lord, supremely good,
His mercy is for ever sure;
His truth, which always firmly stood,
To endless ages shall endure.
What though no flowers the fig-tree clothe,
Though vines their fruit deny,
The labour of the olive fail,
And fields no meat supply:
Though from the fold, with sad surprise,
My flock cut off I see;
Though famine pine in empty stalls,
Where herds were wont to be;
Yet in the Lord will I be glad,
And glory in his love;
In him I’ll joy, who will the God
Of my salvation prove.
God is the treasure of my soul;
The source of lasting joy;
A joy which want shall not impair,
Nor death itself destroy.
The Lord, the Judge, before his throne
Bids the whole world draw nigh;
The nations near the rising sun,
And near the western sky.
No more shall bold blasphemers say,
“Judgment will ne’er begin;”
No more abuse his long delay
To impudence and sin.
Thron’d on a cloud our God shall come,
Bright flames prepare his way;
Thunder and darkness, fire and storm,
Lead on the dreadful day.
O Zion, when I think on thee,
I wish for pinions like the dove,
And mourn to think that I should be
So distant from the place I love.
But yet we shall behold the day,
When Zion’s children shall return;
Our sorrows then shall flee away,
And we shall never, never mourn.
The hope that such a day will come,
Makes e’en the captives’ portion sweet;
Tho’ now we wander far from home,
In Zion soon we all shall meet.
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