[popup url=”http://blb.org/devotionals/me/view.cfm?Date=02/10&body”]» Today’s reading at Blue Letter Bible[/popup]
Morning: “I know how to abound.” – Philippians 4:12
Paul encountered many trials, many stripes, in his walk with the Lord after meeting Him on the road to Damascus. But in this passage in Philippians, right before he exhorts us: “I can do all things through Him/Christ who strengthens me”, he shares:
I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Spurgeon would ask us to be careful in our walk, especially when ‘abounding’ – that is, when we find ourselves in a state of plenty, where we are in danger of forgetting the Lord, in the midst of physical comfort.
This is a wise exhortation. We learn that the persecuted Church in China, for instance, is praying for the body of Christ in America, that their love of Christ would not be choked out of their lives by the comforts of the world – God has given them wisdom to know how to pray for them/us!
Yet there is opportunity for a good witness to our brothers and sisters in afflicted regions as well – they know that we have much wealth, much comfort, many possessions, conveniences, gadgets, fancies, frippery, and gewgaws. Much to ‘give up’, even for a short time. Thus when we visit them, they see the love of Christ in us, that we would come to share that love with them, and they see the deed along with the Word, and they believe the truth of God.
So there is both a warning to us, and great promise of usefulness to the Lord in the midst of plenty – rest in Him!
It needs more than human skill to carry the brimming cup of mortal joy with a steady hand, yet Paul had learned that skill, for he declares, “In all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry.”
We are taught by Isaiah in 64:6 that our righteousness is but filthy rags. May we look at our possessions in the same way, compared to the treasure of Christ imparted to a lost world.
Evening: “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee.” – Isaiah 44:22
Spurgeon has the heart of a preacher, a man, like David, after the Lord’s own heart. Spurgeon desires that we recognize the devastation of unchecked sin in our lives, while we see the hope and promise of the Father, who blots out the sin of all who place their trust, their very lives, in the hands of His Messiah. And once more, to encourage us to draw near to the Lord, in faith, that He is able, and willing, through Christ’s propitiation of our sin, to open the floodgates of His love toward us, holding back no good from us, as the Holy Spirit has placed us in Christ.
I am reminded of Hosea 2:14
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Will bring her into the wilderness, And speak comfort to her.
And what was His people’s actions, that ‘deserved’ this ‘wooing’, this ‘alluring’, this ‘comfort’? Harlotry with other gods, even while the one true God gave her grain, new wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold! [Hosea 2:7].
How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure! He responds to the cloud of sin in us by drawing us to Him, through His Son, that He may blot out our sin.
Not “reluctantly due to my sin”. Not “in spite of my sin”. Just a loving “therefore, I will allure her”.