CHARGING GOD WITH WRONGDOING

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“It is the Lord’s will. Let Him do what He thinks best.” 1 Samuel 3:18

One who genuinely loves God, interprets all His dealings in the best sense. Though He afflicts sharply—the soul takes all well. This is the language of a gracious spirit:
“My God sees what a hard heart I have, therefore He drives in one wedge of affliction after another—to break my heart. He knows how full I am of the cancer of covetousness, or the swelling of pride, or the fever of lust—therefore He gives me bitter remedies, to save my
life. This severe dispensation is either to mortify some corruption—or to exercise some grace. How good is God, who will not let me alone in my sins—but smites my body to save my soul!” Thus genuine piety puts a good gloss upon all God’s afflictive dealings. It is Satan who makes us have high thoughts of ourselves, and hard thoughts of God. “Take away everything he has—and he will surely curse You to Your face!” Job 1:11

“Then Job fell to the ground in worship and said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’ In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” Job 1:20-22

SPIRITUAL JOYS

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“What are the differences between worldly joys and spiritual joys? The gleanings of spiritual joys, are better than the vintage of the worldly joys.

Spiritual joys help to make us BETTER; worldly joys often make us worse. “I spoke unto you in your prosperity; but you said — I will not hear.” Pride and luxury are the two worms which are bred from worldly pleasures.

But spiritual joy is cordial medicine, which not only comforts, but purifies — it makes a Christian more holy; it causes an antipathy against sin; it infuses strength to live and suffer for Christ. Some colors not only delight the eye — but strengthen the sight. Just so, the joys of God not only refresh the soul — but strengthen it.”The joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Spiritual joys are INWARD, they are heart joys. “Your heart shall rejoice.” True joy is hidden within; worldly joy lies on the outside, like the dew which wets the leaf. “Laughter can conceal a heavy heart; when the laughter ends, the grief remains.” Like a house which has a gilded frontispiece — but all the rooms within are in shambles. But spiritual joy lies most within. “Your heart shall rejoice.” Divine joy is like a spring of water, which runs underground. Others can see the sufferings of a Christian — but they cannot see his joy. His joy is hidden manna — hidden from the eye of the world; he has joyful music which others cannot hear. The marrow lies within — the best joy is within the heart.

Spiritual joys are SWEETER than worldly joys. “Your love is sweeter than wine!” Spiritual joys are a Christian’s festival; they are the golden pot, and the sweet manna. They are so sweet, that they make everything else sweet! Spiritual joys sweeten health and estate, as sweet water poured on flowers makes them more fragrant and aromatic. Divine joys are so delicious and ravishing, that they put our mouth out of taste for earthly delights; just as he who has been drinking cordials, tastes little sweetness in water. Paul had so tasted these divine joys, that his mouth was out of taste for worldly things. The world was crucified to him — it was like a dead thing, he could find no sweetness in it.

Spiritual joys are more PURE; they are not tempered with any bitter ingredients. A sinner’s joy is mixed with dregs — it is embittered with fear and guilt — he drinks wormwood wine. But spiritual joy is not muddied with guilt — but like a crystal stream, it runs pure. Spiritual joy is a rose without prickles; it is honey without wax.

Spiritual joys are SATISFYING joys. “Ask, that your joy may be full.” Worldly joys can no more fill the heart, than a drop can fill an ocean! They may please the palate or imagination — but cannot satisfy the soul. “No matter how much we see — we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear — we are not content.” Eccles. 1:8. But the joys of God satisfy. “Your comforts delight my soul.” Psalm 94:19. There is as much difference between spiritual joys and earthly joys — as between a banquet which is eaten — and one which is painted on the wall!

Spiritual joys are STRONGER joys than worldly joys. “Strong consolation.” Heb 6:18. They are strong joys indeed, which can bear up a Christian’s heart in trials and afflictions. “Having received the word in much affliction — with joy.” These joys are roses which grow in winter! These joys can sweeten the bitter waters of Marah! He who has these joys — can gather grapes from thorns, and fetch honey out of the carcass of a lion! At the end of the rod — a Christian tastes honey! “As sorrowing — yet always rejoicing.”

Spiritual joys are UNWEARIED joys. Other joys, when in excess, often cause loathing; too much honey nauseates. One may be tired of pleasure — as well as labor. King Xerxes offered a reward to him who could find out a new pleasure. But the joys of God, though they satisfy — yet they never glut. A drop of joy is sweet — but the more of this wine the better! Such as drink of the joys of heaven — are never glutted. Their satiety is without loathing, because they still desire more of the joy with which they are satiated.

Spiritual joys are ABIDING joys. Worldly joys are soon gone. Such as bathe in the perfumed waters of pleasure — may have joys which seem to be sweet — but they are swift. They are like meteors — which give a bright and sudden flash, and then disappear. But the joys which believers have are abiding; they are a blossom of eternity — a pledge of those rivers of pleasure which run at God’s right hand! “In Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures!” Psalm 16:11

If God gives His people such joy in this life, oh! then, what glorious joy will He give them in heaven! “Enter into the joy of your Lord!” God keeps His best wine until last. What joy will that be — when the soul shall forever bathe itself in the pure and pleasant fountain of God’s love! What joy will that be — to see the orient brightness of Christ’s face, and have the kisses of those lips which drop sweet-smelling myrrh! How may this set us all longing for that place where sorrow cannot live — and where joy cannot die!”

— Thomas Watson

GOD SHOOTS MANY KINDS OF ARROWS

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“May Your will be done.” Matthew 6:10

We pray here, that we may have grace to submit to God’s will patiently — in whatever He inflicts.

Patient submission to God’s will, is a gracious frame of soul, whereby a Christian is content to be at God’s disposal, and acquiesces in His wisdom. “It is the Lord’s will — let Him do what He thinks best.” 1 Samuel 3:18

Patient submission to the will of God, lies in seeing His hand in the affliction. “Affliction does not spring from the soil, and trouble does not sprout from the earth.” Job 5:6. Affliction does not come by chance! Job eyed God in all that befell him. “The Lord gave me everything I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” Job 1:21. Job looks beyond second causes— he sees God in the affliction! “The Lord has taken it
away.” There can be no submission to God’s will — until there is an acknowledging of God’s hand in the affliction.

Patient submission to God’s will, lies in justifying God. God is holy and just, not only when He punishes the wicked — but when He afflicts the righteous. “Now we are being punished because of our wickedness and our great guilt. But we have actually been punished far
less than we deserve.” Ezra 9:13

While we live here in this valley of tears, patient submission to God’s will is much needed. The Lord sometimes lays heavy afflictions upon us. “Your arrows have struck deep, and Your blows are crushing me!” Psalm 38:2. God sometimes lays many afflictions upon us. “He multiplies my wounds.” Job 9:17. God shoots many kinds of arrows.

God sometimes afflicts with POVERTY — which is a great affliction. To have an estate reduced almost to nothing, is hard to flesh and blood. “The Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty.” Ruth 1:20, 21

God sometimes afflicts with REPROACH. Dirt may be cast upon a pearl; and those names may be blotted,which are written in the book of life. Piety shields from hell — but not from slander.

God sometimes afflicts with the DEATH of loved ones. “Son of man, I am going to take away your dearest treasure. Suddenly she will die!” Ezekiel 24:16

God sometimes afflicts with INFIRMITY of body. Sickness takes away the comfort of life. Sometimes God lets the infirmity continue long. Some diseases are chronic, and linger and hang about the body for many years. The Lord is pleased to exercise many of His precious ones with chronic affliction.

God tries His people with various afflictions — so that they have need of patient submission to His will.

Murmuring is not consistent with submission to God’s will. Murmuring is the height of impatience, it is a kind of mutiny in the soul against God. “They began to murmur against God.” Numbers 21:5

When water is hot — then the scum boils up; when the heart is heated with anger against God — then murmuring boils up!

Murmuring springs from pride! Men think they have deserved better at God’s hand; and, when they begin to swell with pride — they spit poison!”

— Thomas Watson

WHAT A COMFORT IS THIS!

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“I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep.” John 10:14

Christ knows all His sheep. His knowing His sheep — is His loving them. This is a great consolation.

He knows every one of their names. John 10:3, “He calls His own sheep by name.”

He knows all the sighs and groans they make. Psalm 38:9, “My groaning is not hidden from You.”

Christ knows every tear they shed. “I have seen your tears!” 2 Kings 20:5. He bottles their tears as precious wine. Psalm 56:8, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.”

He knows all their sufferings. “I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.” Ex. 3:9.The Lord saw the bitter suffering of everyone in Israel.” 2 Kings 14:26

Christ knows all their good works — all their works of piety and charity. “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance.” Revelation 2:2

“I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep.” What a comfort is this!

“He will place the sheep at His right hand and the goats at His left. Then the King will say to thoseon the right — Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!” Matthew 25:33-34.

— Thomas Watson

AN EASY HELL

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“I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.” Philippians 4:11-12

Whatever affliction or trouble a child of God meets with—it is all the hell he shall ever have! Whatever eclipse may be upon his name or estate—it is but a little cloud which will soon be blown over—and then his hell is past!

Death begins a wicked man’s hell. Death ends a godly man’s hell.

Think with yourself, “What is my affliction? It is but a temporary hell. Indeed, if all my hell is here on earth—it is but an easy hell. What is the cup of affliction—compared to the cup of damnation!”

Lazarus could not get a crumb; he was so diseased that the dogs took pity on him; and as if they had been his physicians, licked his sores. But this was an easy hell—the angels quickly fetched him out of it!

If all our hell is in this life—and in the midst of this hell, we have the love of God—then it is no more hell, but paradise! If all our hell is here on earth, we may see to the end of it; it is but skin-deep, it cannot touch the soul. It is a short-lived hell. After a dreary night of affliction, comes the bright morning of glory!

Since our lives are short—our trials cannot be long!

As our riches take wings and fly away—so do our sufferings!

Let us learn then, to be content, whatever our circumstances.

— Thomas Watson

THE HIGHEST KIND OF CHARITY

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“Charity to the souls of others, is the highest kind of charity. The soul is the most precious thing. It is a rich diamond, set in a ring of clay.

This is charity to souls—when we see others in the bondage of sin—and we labor by counsel, admonition or reproof to pull them out of their dreadful estate, as the angels did to Lot in Sodom. “Hurry! Get out of here right now, or you will be caught in the destruction of the city! When Lot still hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city!” Genesis 19.

God made a law (Exodus 23:5) “If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help him with it.” On these words Chrysostom said, “We will help a beast which is fallen under its load—and shall we not extend relief to those who are fallen under a worse load of sin!”

To let others go on in sin securely—is not charity, but cruelty!

If a man’s house were on fire, and another should see it and not tell him of it for fear of waking him—would not this be cruelty! And when we see the souls of others sleeping the sleep of death, and the fire of God’s wrath ready to burn about their ears—and we are silent—is not this to be accessory to their death!

If men wish to go to hell—and we do not attempt to stop them—is this love to their souls?”

— Thomas Watson

James 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

HUMILITY

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“Humility is one of the strongest evidences of the indwelling of the Spirit of God. We know nothing of humility by nature — for we are all born proud.

To convince us of sin,
to show us our own vileness and corruption,
to put us in our right place,
to make us humble and self-abased
— these are among the principal works which the Holy Spirit works in the soul of man.

Few of our Lord’s sayings are so often repeated as the one which closes the parable of the Pharisee and Tax-collector, “Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled — and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14) To have great gifts, and do great works for God, is not given to all believers. But all believers ought to strive to be clothed with humility.”

“All of you — clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5

— J C Ryle

“Humility is a lovely garment. Let a child of God look at his face every morning in the looking-glass of God’s Word, and see his sinful spots. This will make him walk humbly all the day after. God cannot endure to see his children grow proud. He allows them to fall into sin, as he did Peter, that their plumes of pride may fall off, and that they may walk humbly.”

— Thomas Watson

IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS!

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“We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

See what cause the saints have to be frequent in the work of thanksgiving! In this, Christians are defective; though they are much in supplication, yet they are little in thanksgiving. The apostle says. “In everything give thanks!” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Why so? Because God makes everything work together for our good. We thank the physician, though he gives us a bitter medicine which makes us nauseated — because it is to make us well. We thank any man who does us a good turn; and shall we not be thankful to God — who makes everything work for good to us?

God loves a thankful Christian! Job thanked God when He took all away: “The Lord has taken away — blessed be the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:21). Many will thank God when He gives; Job thanks Him when He takes away, because he knew that God would work good out of it.

We read of saints with harps in their hands — an emblem of praise (Revelation 14:2). Yet we meet many Christians who have tears in their eyes, and complaints in their mouths! But there are few with their harps in their hands — who praise God in affliction.

To be thankful in affliction — is a work peculiar to a saint.
Every bird can sing in spring — but few birds will sing in the dead of winter!
Everyone, almost, can be thankful in prosperity — but a true saint can be thankful in adversity!

Well may we, in the worst that befalls us — have a psalm of thankfulness, because God works all things for our good. Oh, be much in giving thanks to God!”

— Thomas Watson

A LOVE LETTER SENT TO YOU FROM GOD

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”  Colossians 3:16

STUDY the Scripture. It is a copy of God’s will. Be Scripture-men, Bible-Christians. Search the Scripture, as for a vein of silver. This blessed Book will fill your head with knowledge, and your heart with grace!

There is majesty sparkling in every line of Scripture.

There is a melody in Scripture. This is that blessed harp which drives away sadness of spirit. How sweetly does this harp of Scripture sound, what heavenly music does it make in the ears of a distressed sinner, especially when the finger of God’s Spirit touches this instrument!

There is divinity in Scripture. It contains the marrow and quintessence of true religion. It is a rock of diamonds, a mystery of piety. The lips of Scripture have grace poured into them. The Scripture speaks of faith, self-denial, and all the graces which, as a chain of pearls, adorns a Christian.

Oh, then, search the Scripture! Had I the tongue of angels, I could not sufficiently set forth the excellency of Scripture. It is a spiritual telescope, in which we behold God’s glory; it is the tree of life, the oracle of wisdom, the rule of manners, the heavenly seed of which the new creature is formed.

‘The two Testaments,’ says Austin, ‘are the two breasts which every Christian must suck, that he may get spiritual nourishment.’ These holy leaves of Scripture are for the healing of our souls.

The Scripture is profitable for all things. If we are deserted–here is spiced wine that cheers the heavy heart; if we are pursued by Satan–here is the sword of the Spirit to resist him; if we are diseased with sin’s leprosy–here are the waters of the sanctuary, both to cleanse and cure. Oh, then, search the Scriptures!

Read the Bible with reverence. Think, in every line you read–that God is speaking to you. The ark wherein the Word was put was overlaid with pure gold, and was carried on bars, that the Levites might not touch it. Exodus 25:14. Why was this–but to give reverence to the Word?

Read with seriousness. It is matter of life and death; by this Word you must be tried and judged.

Read the Word with affection. Get your hearts quickened with the Word. Labor that the Word may not only be a lamp to direct–but a fire to warm. Read the Scripture, not only as
a history–but as a love letter sent to you from God, which may affect your hearts. Pray that the same Spirit who wrote the Word may assist you in reading it; that God’s Spirit would show you the wonderful things of His law, so that the Word will become effectual.

— Thomas Watson