Evening, August 5, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“Shall your brothers go to war while you yourselves sit here?” — Numbers 32:6
Family has its obligations. The Reubenites and Gadites would not have been brotherly if they had claimed the land which had been conquered, and had left the rest of the people to fight for their portions alone. We have received much by means of the efforts and sufferings of the saints in years gone by, and if we do not make some return to the church of Christ by giving her our best energies, we are unworthy to be enrolled in her ranks. Others are combating the errors of the age bravely, or uncovering perishing ones from amid the ruins of the fall, and if we fold our hands in idleness we need to be warned, unless the curse of Meroz fall upon us. The Master of the vineyard says, “Why do you stand here all day idle?” What is the slacker’s excuse? Personal service of Jesus becomes even more the duty of all because it is cheerfully and abundantly rendered by some. The toils of devoted missionaries and passionate ministers shame us if we sit still in lethargy. Shrinking from trial is the temptation of those who are at ease in Zion: they would would gladly escape the cross and yet wear the crown; to them the question for this evening’s meditation is very applicable. If the most precious are tried in the fire, are we to escape the crucible? If the diamond must be ground upon the wheel, are we to be made perfect without suffering? Who has commanded the wind to cease from blowing because our skiff is in the deep water? Why and how should we be treated better than our Lord? The firstborn felt the rod, and why not the younger brethren? It is a cowardly pride which would choose a downy pillow and a silken couch for a soldier of the cross. He is far wiser who, at first being resigned to the divine will, grows by the vibrancy of grace to be pleased with it, and so learns to gather lilies at the foot of the cross, and, like Samson, to find honey in the lion.