Shine as Many Stars “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).
Here is something to wake me up. This is worth living for. To be wise is a noble thing in itself: in this place it refers to a divine wisdom which only the LORD Himself can bestow. Oh, to know myself, my God, my Savior! May I be so divinely taught that l may carry into practice heavenly truth and live in the light of it! Is my life a wise one? Am I seeking that which I ought to seek? Am I living as I shall wish I had lived when I come to die? Only such wisdom can secure for me eternal brightness as of yonder sunlit skies.
To be a winner of souls is a glorious attainment. I had need to be wise if I am to turn even one to righteousness; much more if I am to turn many, Oh, for the knowledge of God, of men, of the Word, and of Christ, which will enable me to convert my fellowmen and to convert large numbers of them! I would give myself to this, and never rest till I accomplish it. This will be better than winning stars at court. This will make me a star, a shining star, a star shining forever and ever; yea, more, it will make roe shine as many stars. My soul, arouse thyself. LORD, quicken me!
Looking for Him “Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28).
This is our hope. He to whom we have already looked as coming once to bear the sins of many will have another manifestation to the sons of men; this is a happy prospect in itself. But that second appearing has certain peculiar marks which glorify it exceedingly.
Our LORD will have ended the business of sin. He has so taken it away from His people and so effectually borne its penalty that He will have nothing to do with it at His second coming. He will present no sin offering, for He will have utterly put sin away.
Our LORD will then complete the salvation of His people. They will be finally and perfectly saved and will in every respect enjoy the fullness of that salvation. He comes not to bear the result of our transgressions but to bring the result of His obedience; not to remove our condemnation but to perfect our salvation.
Our LORD thus appears only to those who look for Him. He will not be seen in this character by men whose eyes are blinded with self and sin. To them He will be a terrible Judge and nothing more. We must first look to Him and then look for Him; and in both cases our look shall be life.
Heavy-Duty Shoes “Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25).
Here are two things provided for the pilgrim: shoes and strength.
As for the shoes: they are very needful for traveling along rough ways and for trampling upon deadly foes. We shall not go barefoot — this would not be suitable for princes of the blood royal. Our shoes shall not be at all of the common sort, for they shall have soles of durable metal, which will not wear out even if the journey be long and difficult. We shall have protection proportionate to the necessities of the road and the battle. Wherefore let us march boldly on, fearing no harm even though we tread on serpents or set our foot upon the dragon himself.
As for the strength: it shall be continued as long as our days shall continue, and it shall be proportioned to the stress and burden of those days. The words are few, “as thy days thy strength,” but the meaning is full. This day we may look for trial, and for work which will require energy, but we may just as confidently look for equal strength. This word given to Asher is given to us also who have faith wherewith to appropriate it. Let us rise to the holy boldness which it is calculated to create within the believing heart.
“I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her” (Hosea 2:14).
The goodness of God sees us allured by sin, and it resolves to try upon us the more powerful allurements of love. Do we not remember when the Lover of our souls first cast a spell upon us and charmed us away from the fascinations of the world! He will do this again and again whenever He sees us likely to be ensnared by evil.
He promises to draw us apart, for there He can best deal with us, and this separated place is not to be a paradise, but a wilderness, since in such a place there will be nothing to take of our attention from our God. In the deserts of affliction the presence of the LORD becomes everything to us, and we prize His company beyond any value which we set upon it when we sat under our own vine and fig tree in the society of our fellows. Solitude and affliction bring more to themselves and to their heavenly Father than any other means.
When thus allured and secluded the LORD has choice things to say to us for our comfort. He “speaks to our heart,” as the original has it. Oh, that at this we may have this promise explained in our experience! Allured by love, separated by trial, and comforted by the Spirit of truth, may we know the LORD and sing for joy!
Valiant for Truth “The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” (Daniel 11:32).
The LORD is a man of war, Jehovah is his name.” Those who enlist under His banner shall have a Commander who will train them for the conflict and give them both vigor and valor. The times of which Daniel wrote were of the very worst kind, and then it was promised that the people of God would come out in their best colors: they would be strong and stout to confront the powerful adversary.
Oh, that we may know our God: His power, His faithfulness, His immutable love, and so may be ready to risk everything in His behalf. He is One whose character excites our enthusiasm and makes us willing to live and to die for Him. Oh, that we may know our God by familiar fellowship with Him; for then we shall become like Him and shall be prepared to stand up for truth and righteousness. He who comes forth fresh from beholding the face of God will never fear the face of man. If we dwell with Him, we shall catch the heroic spirit, and to us a world of enemies will be but as the drop of a bucket. A countless array of men, or even of devils, will seem as little to us as the nations are to God, and He counts them only as grasshoppers. Oh, to be valiant for truth in this day of falsehood.
C. H. Spurgeon
Word to Him Who Halts “I will save her that halteth” (Zephaniah 3:19).
There are plenty of these lame ones, both male and female. You may meet “her that halteth” twenty times in an hour. They are in the right road and exceedingly anxious to run in it with diligence, but they are lame and make a sorry walk of it. On the heavenly road there are many cripples. It may be that they say in their hearts — What will become of us? Sin will overtake us; Satan will throw us down. Ready-to-halt is our name and our nature; the LORD can never make good soldiers of us, nor even nimble messengers to go on His errands. Well, well! He will save us, and that is no small thing. He says, “I will save her that halteth.” In saving us He will greatly glorify Himself. Everybody will ask — How came this lame woman to run the race and win the crown? And then the praise will all be given to almighty grace.
LORD, though I halt in faith, in prayer, in praise, in service, and in patience, save me, I beseech Thee! Only Thou canst save such a cripple as I am. LORD, let me not perish because I am among the hindmost, but gather up by Thy grace the slowest of Thy pilgrims — even me. Behold He hath said it shall be so, and therefore, like Jacob, prevailing in prayer, I go forward though my sinew be shrunk.
The Mourner Comforted “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
By the valley of weeping we come to Zion. One would have thought mourning and being blessed were in opposition, but the infinitely wise Savior puts them together in this Beatitude. What He has joined together let no man put asunder. Mourning for sin — our own sins, and the sins of others — is the LORD’s seal set upon His faithful ones. When the Spirit of grace is poured upon the house of David, or any other house, they shall mourn. By holy mourning we receive the best of our blessings, even as the rarest commodities come to us by water. Not only shall the mourner be blessed at some future day, but Christ pronounces him blessed even now.
The Holy Spirit will surely comfort those hearts which mourn for sin. They shall be comforted by the application of the blood of Jesus and by the cleansing power of the Holy Ghost. They shall be comforted as to the abounding sin of their city and of their age by the assurance that God will glorify Himself, however much men may rebel against Him. They shall be comforted with the expectation that they shall be wholly freed from sin before long and shall soon be taken up to dwell forever in the glorious presence of their LORD.
Thank Him; Dwell Acceptably “Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto Thy Name: the upright shall dwell in Thy presence” (Psalm 140:13).
Oh, that my heart may be upright, that I may always be able to bless the name of the LORD! He is so good to those that be good, that I would fain be among them and feel myself full of thankfulness every day. Perhaps, for a moment, the righteous are staggered when their integrity results in severe trial; but assuredly the day shall come when they shall bless their God that they did not yield to evil suggestions and adopt a shifty policy. In the long run true men will thank the God of the right for leading them by a right way. Oh, that I may be among them!
What a promise is implied in this second clause, “The upright shall dwell in thy presence!” They shall stand accepted where others appear only to be condemned. They shall be the courtiers of the great King, indulged with audience whensoever they desire it. They shall be favored ones upon whom Jehovah smiles and with whom He graciously communes. LORD, I covet this high honor, this precious privilege. It will be heaven on earth to me to enjoy it. Make me in all things upright, that I may today and tomorrow and every day stand in Thy heavenly presence. Then will I give thanks unto Thy name evermore. Amen.
It Will Not Be Long “Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the LORD draweth nigh” (James 5:8).
The last word in the Canticle of love is, “Make haste, my beloved,” and among the last words of the Apocalypse we read, “The Spirit and the Bride say, Come”; to which the heavenly Bridegroom answers, “Surely I come quickly.” Love longs for the glorious appearing of the LORD and enjoys this sweet promise – “The coming of the LORD draweth nigh.” This stays our minds as to the future. We look out with hope through this
http://www.biblesnet.com – Online Christian Library
This sacred “window of agate” lets in a flood of light upon the present and puts us into fine condition for immediate work or suffering. Are we tired? Then the nearness of our joy whispers patience. Are we growing weary because we do not see the harvest of our seed-sowing? Again this glorious truth cries to us, “Be patient.” Do our multiplied temptations cause us in the least to waver? Then the assurance that before long the LORD will be here preaches to us from this text, “Stablish your hearts.” Be firm, be stable, be constant, “stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the LORD.” Soon will you hear the silver trumpet which announces the coming of your King. Be not in the least afraid. Hold the fort, for He is coming; yea, He may appear this very day.
A Staircase to Heaven “And He saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man” (John 1:51).
Yes, to our faith this sight is plain even at this day. We do see heaven opened. Jesus Himself has opened that kingdom to all believers. We gaze into the place of mystery and glory, for He has revealed it to us. We shall enter it soon, for He is the way.
Now we see the explanation of Jacob’s ladder. Between earth and heaven there is a holy commerce; prayer ascends, and answers come down by the way of Jesus, the Mediator. We see this ladder when we see our LORD. In Him a stairway of light now furnishes a clear passage to the throne of the Most High. Let us use it and send up by it the messengers of our prayers. We shall live the angelic life ourselves if we run up to heaven in intercession, lay hold upon the blessings of the covenant, and then descend again to scatter those gifts among the sons of men.
This choice sight which Jacob only saw in a dream will turn into a bright reality. This very day we will be up and down the ladder each hour: climbing in communion and coming down in labor to save our fellowmen. This is Thy promise, O LORD Jesus; let us joyfully see it fulfilled.