Devotional: June 2nd
Then said his wife unto him, dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God and die.- Job 2:9.
In seasons of distress and affliction how must it alleviate the mind, and soothe our sorrows, to have so near and dear a friend as the partner of our lives speak a good word in due season? but on the contrary, when such an one is used as an instrument, by the adversary, it heightens distress, and adds a double weight to the pressure of afflictions. Such was the case of patient Job. Flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone, taunts at him for his integrity, and urges advice, which was as a dagger to his very heart. Verily, believer, thou also art "born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards." Thou hast therefore need of faith and patience as well as Job. These thou also art a partaker of, though not to so eminent a degree. Thou also hast a peevish, fretful, repining partner for life; which will ever be urging upon thee reproaches, and giving thee such advice, which is at the peril of thy soul to hearken to. Here is the exercise of thy graces. Be then on thy guard against this dear partner, rather near enemy, even thy carnal sinful nature, the flesh, with its affections and lusts. Know assuredly, when it would reason with thee, it is to beguile thee-when it demands an audience, it is to instill the venom of poison. Its nature is enmity; its workings rebellion; its reasonings treason against thy God. If thou give place to the flesh it will wound thy soul. If thou suffer it to gain ascendency, it will darken thy mind, and bring distress upon thy conscience. "If thou livest after the flesh thou shalt die." If therefore at any time, through the pride and perverseness of the flesh, thou art tempted to entertain hard thoughts of thy God; to be impatient under his chastisements, and murmur against his allotments; to call in question the truths of his word, the stability of his covenant, the freeness of his promises, and the security of thy soul’s salvation through the faith of Jesus; resist its suggestions in the faith of the word of grace; turn from its reasonings as from a bitter foe; and silence it with this humble, submissive language of faith; "Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" Job’s wife was mortal: so is thy flesh. His sorest afflictions were soon at an end. The Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning. Lo, thus shall it be with thee. Here is our joy of faith. Our time is short. Our light afflictions are but for a moment: "they work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."- 2 Corinthians 4:17.
Thro’ seas and storms of deep distress
We sail by faith, and not by sight;
Christ guides us in the wilderness
Thro’ all the briers of the night.
Dear Father, if thy lifted rod
Resolv’d to scourge us here below,
Still we must lean upon our God,
Thine arm shall bear us safely thro’.
I will call upon GOD, and the LORD shall save me. Psalms 55:16.
I have often been struck with the conduct of blind Bartimeus. When “Many charged him to hold his peace, he cried the more a great deal, thou son of David have mercy upon me.” (Mark 10:48.) Why was this? Truly he had a feeling sense of his loss of sight, and by faith he saw Jesus able to restore it. See the consequence of this importunate cry. Did the sun stand still at the word of Joshua? Behold, at the cry of Bartimeus, the Lord and Creator of all the host of heaven, stood still. Jesus knows the cry of his own Spirit. He will hear it, and help the soul who utters it. “His ears are open to our prayers.” (1 Peter 3:12.) Look, (1st.) At David’s circumstances. Was he now on the mount of joy, basking in the sunbeams of comfort? No, he is sighing out a doleful complaint, in the vale of distress. Says he, “I mourn because of the voice of the enemy, and the oppressions of the wicked. My heart is sore pained within me, and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling art come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.” (Verse 3, etc.) (2d.) What is his resolution? Does he give up his hope in God? Does he flee his presence, and seek for comfort in the world: from its vain pleasures, sensual delights, and from the men of it? No, but says he, “I will call upon God.” Here is a lesson of instruction for us. The more fears, terrors, pains, and oppressions beset us, the more should they excite calls upon God from us. Seek to no object, to be eased from them, but God. Remember, not one of them, but is by his appointment or permission. They are calls from God, to call upon him. When they bring us to God, his loving will is answered. He will not suffer his dear people, to live at a distance from him, without calling upon him. He loves their souls. He delights in their prayers. And the “Lord’s comforts delight their souls.” (Psalms 94:19.) Can you say so? Then (3d.) You may confidently take up David’s conclusion, “The Lord shall save me.” Is not this too bold? Yes, if founded upon any thing in yourself, as the cause, why God should save you, it is daring presumption. But, from the Lord’s absolute declarations, full and free promises given us in Christ, we are divinely warranted thus to conclude. O then take and prize the Lord’s word, as your blessed Charter of salvation. Plead it before him. Expect all salvation from him: even victory over all sin, deliverance from every trouble, the comfort of holiness here, and the joys of glory in eternity. “All are yours, and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” 1 Corinthians 3:23.
How bold is faith to challenge thus,
A claim upon the Lord:
O ‘tis because the Lord claims us
His portion, in his word.
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