Comfort

One dead fly makes the perfumer’s ointment give off a rancid stench, so a little folly can outweigh much wisdom.

[Eccl 10:1 NET]

It is sad to see how some holy and noble characters are marred by little–yet grievous, faults and blemishes!

One man is generous–but he desires always to have his charity praised.

Another is disposed to be kind and helpful–but by his manner, he hurts or humiliates the one he befriends.

Another is unselfish and devout–but is careless of promises and engagements. He makes appointments, and never thinks of them again. He borrows money, and does not repay it. His friends say, “He is so forgetful!” Yes; but how his forgetfulness mars his character and hurts his influence! Forgetfulness is worse than an acceptable weakness; it is a sin!

Untruthfulness is a blot in all eyes.

Whenever SELF leaks out in conduct or disposition–it is a dead fly in the perfume!

It makes little difference, that a person is not intentionally at fault in the things which so mar his life. Carelessness and thoughtlessness are themselves such serious moral blemishes–that they make impossible, any excuse for delinquencies resulting from them. We need to look to “the littles” which either make or mar godly character. No fault is too small to be worth curing, and no fragment of beauty is too small to be worth setting in the mosaic of character.

Comfort

Then you are to clothe Aaron with the holy garments and anoint him and sanctify him so that he may minister as my priest.

[Exod 40:13 NET]

One feature of the high priest’s dress was very suggestive. On each shoulder, in the golden clasp that fastened together the two parts of the ephod, was an onyx stone, on which were engraved the names of six of the tribes of Israel. Thus, in an emblematic way, the high priest bore the people on his shoulder, the place of strength. He was a type of Christ; who thus Christ carries His people on His shoulder–bearing them and their burdens.

Another feature of this dress, was the breastplate which was worn by the high priest. It had in it twelve precious stones, with the names of the twelve tribes engraved on them. This the priest wore over his heart. When he went in before God, he thus represented all the people. He not only carried them on his shoulder, for support and upholding–but near his heart, for affection.

Just so does Christ carries His people in His heart–in deep, tender, unchanging love. Thus we are sure of both the strength and the love of Christ, are engaged for His people!

Today With God

while he went a day’s journey into the desert. He went and sat down under a shrub and asked the Lord to take his life: “I’ve had enough! Now, O Lord, take my life. After all, I’m no better than my ancestors.”

[1 Kgs 19:4 NET]

Elijah was in a state of despondency when he uttered this unworthy prayer. It was not fright that produced this condition of mind – it was discouragement. It seemed to him that all the struggle on Carmel had amounted to nothing.

It is a sad picture – this great prophet lying there under a little bush in the wilderness, begging that he might die. This is one of the unanswered prayers of the Bible, and it is well for Elijah it was not answered. If he had died then, what an inglorious ending would it have been to his life! As it was, however, he lived to do further glorious work, and instead of dying in the wilderness, he missed death altogether.

It is never right to wish ourselves dead. Life is God’s gift to us, a sacred trust for which we shall have to give account. As long as God keeps us living He has something for us to do. Our prayers should be for grace to bear our burden and do our duty bravely unto the end.

Comfort

They came, men and women alike, all who had willing hearts. They brought brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments, all kinds of gold jewelry, and everyone came who waved a wave offering of gold to the Lord.

[Exod 35:22 NET]

When the ancient Hebrews were preparing to make a tabernacle for God, they brought the richest and best things they had. They looked on their heirlooms and their most prized possessions, and brought the things which were dearest and most sacred, to God.

WE should follow the same rule when we are giving to God. When we make presents to those whom we love tenderly, we are at great pains to get the best and loveliest gifts we can find.

But do we always bring Christ the best?

Do we give Him the best of our heart’s affections?

Do we bring Him the best of our life, our time, our energy?

Do we do our best work in His service?

Are our gifts for Him–the most precious things we possess?

These Israelites brought their gold jewelry of all kinds: medallions, earrings, rings from their fingers, and necklaces. They had nothing that was too good or too precious to be offered to God.

Is it thus with, us? Do we not sometimes bring to God–the very smallest gifts we can find? We keep the bright gold and the large bills for ourselves–and give Him the dimes and nickels!

Just so of our time, of our thoughts, our skills, our energies. We put Him off too often with what is left over–after we have served ourselves!

Mornings With God

When Solomon became old, his wives shifted his allegiance to other gods; he was not wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God, as his father David had been.

[1 Kgs 11:4 NET]

The trouble was all in Solomon’s heart. It is the heart that needs watching and keeping with all diligence. A “perfect” heart does not mean a sinless heart, but a heart wholly devoted in its aim and motive to God and His service.

Solomon had a corner in his heart for the Lord, and then other corners for the gods of all the other nations. The Saviour’s words are: “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

We need to be on our guard against Solomonian religion. There is plenty of it. It abhors the preaching of the stern truths of god’s word about sin and penalty, and about holiness. It sends well–nigh everybody to heaven, and regards hell as a mere fable. It calls strict Christians “puritanic” or “strait–laced.” It calls great sins “escapades,” and finds no use for such psalms as the fifty–first.

It is not hard to see in this verse, however, which of the two kinds of religion pleases God best, and which leads to the best end.

Comfort

The Israelites are unable to stand before their enemies; they retreat because they have become subject to annihilation. I will no longer be with you, unless you destroy what has contaminated you.

[Josh 7:12 NET]

This is the only record in the Book of Joshua, of a lost battle. The word “therefore” tells us that it was a sin that caused this defeat, a secret sin, and the sin, too, of but one individual. How little do we know of the real causes of the failures we see about us!

All of us have our Ais, too, our defeats in battle; and very often they come just after our Jericho, our victories. It was only a little town, too, at which this disaster occurred, so small that it was thought unnecessary to send more than a handful of soldiers to take it.

Is it not often just so in our spiritual warfare? One writes, “Our greatest failures often happen in the little things of life. We miscalculate the strength of the foe; we fail to spy out the reserved forces. Indeed, we mistake, when we think it an easy matter to subdue any enemy. How often has it happened that he who has won his most signal victory in some great crisis of the church, who has rescued the truth from the teachers of false doctrine, or stormed the entrenchments of vice–has forthwith failed in some petty domestic disturbance, in some social duty, or in a trifling claim of common charity? If there is a time in life when we need more than ever to watch and pray lest we enter into temptation, it is in the hour of success.”

Comfort

The Lord spoke to Gideon again, “There are still too many men. Bring them down to the water and I will thin the ranks some more. When I say, ‘This one should go with you,’ pick him to go; when I say, ‘This one should not go with you,’ do not take him.”

[Judg 7:4 NET]

The way the men drank water from the brook, was the test of their fitness for the work of conquering the Midianites. It seemed to make the smallest difference in the world whether a soldier drank by bowing down with his face in the water, or by lapping up the water with his hand as he knelt; yet it was a difference that settled the question of fitness or unfitness for the great work before the army.

It is in just such little ways, and in such matters of everyday and commonplace action, conduct, and manner–that God is always testing us and deciding whether we are fit or unfit for the greater work for which he is seeking men. By the way a boy lives at home, by the way he treats his parents, by the way he performs his duties at school, by the spirit he shows on the play-ground, by the diligence which he displays in the store or office in which he is first employed–by the way he acts in all these relations and duties, the question is being settled to what greater responsibilities the Lord will call him in after-days. Every young girl, by the way she deports herself in her girlhood, at home, at school, at play, and in all the days of youth–is settling the place in life she shall fill in full womanhood and strength. We cannot know what future honor, may depend on the way we do the simplest, most commonplace thing today.