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Morning and Evening: 7/14

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Morning:“If thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.” – Exodus 20:25

The Lord alone must be exalted in the work of atonement, and not a single mark of man’s chisel or hammer will be endured.

This is Spurgeon’s exhortation to us this morning, asking that we not add to the finished work of Christ on the cross, in the same way that the Father exhorts us not to try to chisel, or dress, the stones on the alter to the Lord.

Would we try to take Christ, the chief cornerstone, and chisel Him to our own designs? We, the clay, would we try to fashion the potter into some concept of our own making?

you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” Therefore, to you who believe, [He is] precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. – [1 Peter 2:5-8 NKJV]

Christ was scourged already for us during His earthly life – Let us not attempt to scourge Him again to make an easier or more convenient doctrine.

This is the saddest of strivings, when we attempt to fashion our own little gods.

Isaiah warns us against this in Isaiah 44:

Who would form a god or mold an image that profits him nothing? – [Isaiah 44:10 NKJV]

This section of Isaiah tells the story of a blacksmith that strives to make a god of his own imagining.

The blacksmith with the tongs works one in the coals, Fashions it with hammers, And works it with the strength of his arms. Even so, he is hungry, and his strength fails; He drinks no water and is faint. – [Isaiah 44:12 NKJV]

When we strive in our own vain labors, we are striving against God’s Holy Spirit. Even if our strivings produce some fruit, it is not the fruit that comes from abiding in Christ:

Those who make an image, all of them [are] useless, And their precious things shall not profit; They [are] their own witnesses; They neither see nor know, that they may be ashamed. – [Isaiah 44:9 NKJV]

Our only witness is of ourselves! How terrible to be successful in this endeavor! Far better for us to fail at any enterprise in which we are striving in our own strength.

This is in direct contrast to the encouraging exhortation at the beginning of Isaiah 44:

For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, And floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, And My blessing on your offspring; … One will say, ‘I [am] the LORD’s’; Another will call [himself] by the name of Jacob; Another will write [with] his hand, ‘The LORD’s,’ And name [himself] by the name of Israel. – [Isaiah 44:3-5 NKJV]

Let all our fruit be fashioned through abiding in Christ, and none of our own making.

We labor not in vain in the Lord!

Evening:“As it began to dawn, came Magdalene, to see the sepulchre.” – Matthew 28:1

A good exhortation from the life of Mary Magdalene: seek Him patiently, eagerly, hungrily, boldly, faithfully, earnestly. And seek Him only!

Mary Magdalene sought thus because she loved much. Let us arouse ourselves to the same intensity of affection; let our heart, like Mary’s, be full of Christ, and our love, like hers, will be satisfied with nothing short of Himself. O Lord, reveal Thyself to us this evening!

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