Sunday, January 29, 2017

MorningbyMorning : 2 Cor. 4:18

"The things which are not seen."—2 Corinthians 4:18.

In our Christian pilgrimage it is well, for the most part, to be looking forward. Forward lies the crown, and onward is the goal. Whether it be for hope, for joy, for consolation, or for the inspiring of our love, the future must, after all, be the grand object of the eye of faith. Looking into the future we see sin cast out, the body of sin and death destroyed, the soul made perfect, and fit to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light. 

Looking further yet, the believer's enlightened eye can see death's river passed, the gloomy stream forded, and the hills of light attained on which standeth the celestial city; he seeth himself enter within the pearly gates, hailed as more than conqueror, crowned by the hand of Christ, embraced in the arms of Jesus, glorified with Him, and made to sit together with Him on His throne, even as He has overcome and has sat down with the Father on His throne. The thought of this future may well relieve the darkness of the past and the gloom of the present. The joys of heaven will surely compensate for the sorrows of earth. Hush, hush, my doubts! death is but a narrow stream, and thou shalt soon have forded it. Time, how short—eternity, how long! Death, how brief—immortality, how endless! Methinks I even now eat of Eshcol's clusters, and sip of the well which is within the gate. The road is so, so short! I shall soon be there.

"When the world my heart is rending
With its heaviest storm of care,
My glad thoughts to heaven ascending,
Find a refuge from despair.
Faith's bright vision shall sustain me
Till life's pilgrimage is past;
Fears may vex and troubles pain me,

I shall reach my home at last."

***

Spurgeon has done it again! What an incredible devotional! As a true Servant of the LORD, he has, with machete in hand, cleared the brush for us to see a glimpse of the Majesty that awaits us - this immensely wonderful promise-filled Hope of Eternity that is more than within our grasp!

When the gloom of life looms ever nearer, sometimes the only thing to do is bow in despair, it seems. Yet, our Saviour lifts our drooping soul in such wonderful words of His grace. Did you read and believe these words :  

'...hailed as more than conqueror, crowned by the hand of Christ, embraced in the arms of Jesus, glorified with Him, and made to sit together with Him on His throne, even as He has overcome and has sat down with the Father on His throne.' (italics, mine)

Look at each of these actions bestowed on us - crowned, embraced, glorified, made to sit - none that we have earned, but all for His glory. And what a wonderful word, 'together with Him on His throne'. Together. With Him. Such great eternity awaits us! And what is our response? We are so often filled with doubts, despair and gloom. What ever shall we do? Listen to great counsel:

'Hush, hush, my doubts! death is but a narrow stream, and thou shalt soon have forded it. Time, how short—eternity, how long! Death, how brief—immortality, how endless! Methinks I even now eat of Eshcol's clusters, and sip of the well which is within the gate. The road is so, so short! I shall soon be there.'

I love how Spurgeon concludes this devotional for today. As the Apostle Paul, he draws a contrast from what we experience today, here and now, with the immense blessing of what is awaiting us: Short vs. Eternity. Brief vs. Endless. Such wonderful words! And in a way only he can, Spurgeon paints a picture of us plucking from the fruit found in the Promise Land (see Numbers 13:23, 24), with more and more awaiting us for all eternity. 

And yet, I am struck with this comparison. As we know, there was a clan who went to 'spy out the land' and came back with an overabundance of clusters, large and small, with a report for the people to respond. How did they respond? With doubt, despair and gloom. And so 40 years of wandering became their epitaph. 

What are you and I writing as our epitaph? The Clusters of Eshcol are extended to us by our Saviour's nail-scarred hands. Dare to take them and taste and see what the LORD has done for you and for me.

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