the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Forgive if ye have aught against any.”
Fig trees put forth their fruit before their leaves: it was not yet time for figs, and yet this pretentious tree was covered with leaves. It promised far more than other trees, and then deceived those who came to it for fruit. It was meet that a blight should fall upon this type of hypocrisy, this symbol of boastful falsehood. Proud professors of religion, whose actions are not right in the sight of God, should tremble lest the like curse should light on them.
Though purged so short a time before, the temple was foul again. Nothing is so hard to make clean and keep clean as a degenerate church. It should be the daily prayer of all who love the pure gospel that in these degenerate times the Lord Jesus would by his Holy Spirit, and the power of divine truth, cleanse out of our churches all false doctrines, Popish practices, and worldly fashions. May the Lord also purge the temple of our hearts and make our inmost nature the house of prayer, the palace of the living God.
Seeking again the quiet of Bethany, so refreshing to his devout and gentle spirit.
When faith concerning anything is given to us, by the Lord, it is the shadow of the coming event and its prayer is always heard; but faith is not in all cases bestowed, nor can we always pray in full assurance, and in such cases it would be base presumption to pretend to have unlimited power in supplication. The limit of prayer is the will of God, our guides as to that limit are the promise of God and the faith which we are enabled to exercise.
This of course is to be understood as taking for granted that we pray for right things, otherwise we shall ask and have not, because we ask amiss. What latitude is here given us in prayer! How slow we are to use the power thus entrusted to us!
Mark 11:25 , Mark 11:26
Remember this when anger tries to hold you in its evil power. Flee from it as from your mortal foe.
Thy mansion is my cleansed heart,
O Lord, thy dwelling-place secure!
Bid the unruly throng depart,
And leave the consecrated floor.
Devoted though I am to thee,
A thievish swarm my soul annoys,
They grieve my Lord away from me,
And rob my heart of all its joys.
O Lord, what bliss thy presence gives!
What peace shall reign when thou art here!
Thy presence makes this den of thieves
A calm, delightful house of prayer.
“Counsel is mine and sound wisdom.”
Thus were they taken in their own craftiness and utterly silenced.
This was a home thrust, and right well deserved by them. It may also be a lesson to us if we see great sinners converted while we ourselves remain undecided. Is there one of us in this condition?
If we oppose the Saviour we shall hurt only ourselves, but if we provoke him to punish us we shall be crushed as completely as if a huge rock had rolled upon us. Who will dare to be at enmity with Jesus?
Lo, the stone which once aside
By the builder’s hand was thrown,
See it now the building’s pride,
See it now the corner stone!
Lo, we hail Jehovah’s deed,
Strange and wondrous in our eyes!
Jesus Christ is Lord decreed,
Bid the voice of gladness rise.