March 17, 2008
From the Treasury: The Power of Prayer
Back in my IBLP days I can remember hearing somebody from that ministry (I don't remember if it was the "head honcho" or one of the staff) remark that the reason Moody's ministry had prospered to this day while Spurgeon's had not was because Spurgeon smoked.
Apparently in the eyes of that person the volumes of literature that Spurgeon left us do not count. But I would be willing to wager (in a figurative sense--I don't advocate either smoking OR betting) that many more people have been blessed, challenged, and edified by the works of Spurgeon than have ever walked the halls of Moody Bible Institute.
Which brings me to today's "From the Treasury" selection. One of the best features of the edition of "The Treasury of David" that I am reading is the inclusion of the comments of great theologians of the past on virtually every verse of the Psalms. This particular selection on the power of prayer is by 17th century cleric Edward Reynolds:
Satan hath three titles given in the Scriptures, setting forth his malignity against the church of God: a dragon, to note his malice; a serpent, to note his subtlety; and a lion, to note his strength. But none of all these can stand before prayer. The greatest malice of Haman sinks under the prayer of Esther; the deepest policy, the counsel of Ahithophel, withers before the prayer of David; the largest army, a host of a thousand Ethiopians, run away like cowards before the prayer of Asa.
Through readings like this, messages I have listened to, and experiences at our church, God has been impressing on my mind the importance of prayer. I long to see God work powerfully as he did through Esther, David, and Asa. I ache to see His name lifted up in unmistakable ways through the humble prayers of his servants.
May God grant it, for His glory.
February 21, 2008
From the Treasury: Salvation Belongeth to the Lord
When missionaries are tempted to think that they have something to do with people getting saved, we need to be reminded that salvation is "all of God". The following quote from Spurgeon--a commentary on Psalm 3:8, brings home that point:
Search Scripture through, and you must if you read it with a candid mind, be persuaded that the doctrine of salvation by grace alone is the great doctrine of the word of God: "Salvation belongeth unto the Lord." This is a point concerning which we are daily fighting. Our opponents say "Salvation belongeth to the free will of man; if not to man's merit, yet at least to man's will;" but we hold and teach that salvation from first to last, in every iota of it, belongs to the Most HIght God. It is God that choses his people. He calls them by his grace; he quickens them by his Spirit, and keeps them by his power. It is not of man, neither by man; "not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy." May we all learn this truth experimentally, for our proud flesh and blood will never permit us to learn it in any other way.
For more on the Sovereignty of God from the Psalms, check out Divine Satisfaction.
February 16, 2008
From the Treasury--Delighting in the Law
In what has been an ongoing attempt to familiarize myself more with the classics of Christian writing, I am now going through Spurgeon's "Treasury of David" (all seven volumes!). I have found it to be aptly named. There is a true gold mine to be found within its pages. From time to time I hope to share with you some of the more inspiring passages, with the hope that in so doing I will whet your appetite to treat yourself to this spiritual treasure trove.
Today, from Spurgeon's notes on Psalm One:
And now mark his positive character. "His delight is in the law of the Lord." He is not under the law as a curse and condemnation, but he is in it, and he delights to be in it as his rule of life; he delights, moreover, to meditate in it, to read it by day, and think upon it by night. He takes a text and carries it with him all day long; and in the night-watches, when sleep forsakes his eyelids, he museth upon the Word of God. In the day of his prosperity he sings psalms out of the Word of God, and in the night of his affliction he comforts himself with promises out of the same book. "The law of the Lord" is the daily bread of the true believer. And yet, in David's day, how small was the volume of inspiration, for they had scarcely anything save the first five books of Moses! How much more, then, should we prize the whole written Word which it is our privilege to have in all our houses! But alas, ill-treatment is given to this angel from heaven! We are not all Berean searchers of the Scriptures. How few among us can lay claim to the benediction of the text! Perhaps some of you can claim a sort of negative purity, because you do not walk in the way of the ungodly; but let me ask you--Is your delight in the law of God? Do you study God's Word? Do you make it the man of your right hand--your best companion and hourly guide? If not, this blessing belongeth not to you.
A couple things stood out to me in this commentary:
1) I thought the application Spurgeon makes to day and night, referring to them as seasons of prosperity and affliction, to be quite interesting. I don't know if that was the original intent of the psalmist, but there is certainly a lesson to be learned there.
2) Being in the law and not under it--that is profound.
3) Spurgeon makes an outstanding point as to how much of the Law was actually available to the psalmist--as compared to how much is available to us now. And yet how much more he seemed to long for it and treasure it than do we.