Evening and Morning
By Charles Haddon Spurgeon
made ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir
for gold: but they went not; for the ships were broken at Ezion-geber."—1 Kings 22:48.
SolomonŐs ships had
returned in safety, but Jehoshaphat's vessels never reached the land of gold.
Providence prospers one, and frustrates the desires of another, in the same
business and at the same spot, yet the Great Ruler is as good and wise at one
time as another. May we have grace to-day, in the remembrance of this text, to
bless the Lord for ships broken at Ezion-geber, as
well as for vessels freighted with temporal blessings; let us not envy the more
successful, nor murmur at our losses as though we were singularly and specially
tried. Like Jehoshaphat, we may be precious in the Lord's sight, although our
schemes end in disappointment.
The secret cause of
Jehoshaphat's loss is well worthy of notice, for it is the root of very much of
the suffering of the Lord's people; it was his alliance with a sinful family,
his fellowship with sinners. In 2 Chron. 20:37, we are told that the Lord sent
a prophet to declare, "Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the Lord hath broken thy works." This was a
fatherly chastisement, which appears to have been blest to him; for in the
verse which succeeds our morning's text we find him refusing to allow his
servants to sail in the same vessels with those of the wicked king. Would to
God that Jehoshaphat's experience might be a warning to the rest of the Lord's
people, to avoid being unequally yoked together with unbelievers! A life of
misery is usually the lot of those who are united in marriage, or in any other
way of their own choosing, with the men of the world. O for such love to Jesus
that, like Him, we may be holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners;
for if it be not so with us, we may expect to hear it often said, "The
Lord hath broken thy works."
iron did swim."—2 Kings 6:9.
The axe-head seemed
hopelessly lost, and as it was borrowed, the honour
of the prophetic band was likely to be imperilled,
and so the name of their God to be compromised. Contrary to all expectation,
the iron was made to mount from the depth of the stream and to swim; for things impossible with man are possible with God. I
knew a man in Christ but a few years ago who was called to undertake a work far
exceeding his strength. It appeared so difficult as to involve absurdity in the
bare idea of attempting it. Yet he was called thereto, and his faith rose with
the occasion; God honoured his faith, unlooked-for
aid was sent, and the iron did swim. Another of the Lord's family was in
grievous financial straits, he was able to meet all claims, and much more if he
could have realized a certain portion of his estate, but he was overtaken with
a sudden pressure; he sought for friends in vain, but faith led him to the
unfailing Helper, and lo, the trouble was averted, his footsteps were enlarged,
and the iron did swim. A third had a sorrowful case of depravity to deal with.
He had taught, reproved, warned, invited, and interceded, but all in vain. Old
Adam was too strong for young Melancthon, the stubborn spirit would not relent. Then came an agony
of prayer, and before long a blessed answer was sent from heaven. The hard
heart was broken, the iron did swim.
Beloved reader, what is thy
desperate case? What heavy matter hast thou in hand this evening? Bring it
hither. The God of the prophets lives, and lives to help His saints. He will
not suffer thee to lack any good thing. Believe thou in the Lord of hosts!
Approach Him pleading the name of Jesus, and the iron shall swim; thou too
shalt see the finger of God working marvels for His people. According to thy
faith be it unto thee, and yet again the iron shall swim.