Oh that we may have grace this day to keep our hearts in sacred chasity for our Beloved alone, with sacred jealousy shutting our eyes to all the fascinations of the world.
From an entry in Old Truth blog from April 10th, 2008
The post is called:
Our Jealous God-
by Jim Bublitz
Here is the link:
Our Jealous God
by Jim Bublitz
I know what you are thinking, “what were you doing reading a Charles Spurgeon devotional marked for the morning of September 12th here in the middle April?” I’m not exactly sure why myself. Never the less, I was reading it, and this was one of those that almost seemed to have my name on it. It centers around a verse that you would probably never hear preached about in most of today’s churches. It’s just too, ‘negative’, not very loving sounding, and hardly the kind of verse you’d expect to read in the Purpose Driven Life book; not even if the author of that book chopped the verse in half, and used the most user-friendly sounding of the 11 bible versions that he had available to him. The verse the devotional was based on was “God is jealous.” Nahum 1:2.
Last night I’m fairly certain that I fractured a rib for the 3rd time in 12 months; those of you who have read Old Truth for a while know that I have a knack for doing this, and that the last year has brought a fair share of physical trials my way (it can always be worse however; we pray for some folks at our weekly church prayer service that literally bring tears to your eyes when you think of the hardship they endure). I’ll paste for you the words of Spurgeon, and highlight the lines that really hit home with me:
Your Lord is very jealous of your love, O believer. Didn’t he choose you? He cannot bear that you should choose another. Did he buy you with his own blood? He cannot endure that you should think that you are your own, or that you belong to this world. He loved you with such a love that he would not stop in heaven without you; he would sooner die than you should perish, and he cannot endure that anything should stand between your heart’s love and himself. He is very jealous of your trust. He will not permit you to trust in an arm of flesh. He cannot bear that you should hew out broken cisterns, when the overflowing fountain is always free to you. When we lean upon him, he is glad, but when we transfer our dependence to another, when we rely upon our own wisdom, or the wisdom of a friend–worst of all, when we trust in any works of our own, he is displeased, and will chasten us that he may bring us to himself. He is also very jealous of our company. There should be no one with whom we converse so much as with Jesus. To abide in him only, this is true love; but to commune with the world, to find sufficient solace in our carnal comforts, to prefer even the society of our fellow Christians to secret interaction with him, this is grievous to our jealous Lord. He would fain have us abide in him, and enjoy constant fellowship with himself; and many of the trials which he sends us are for the purpose of weaning our hearts from the creature, and fixing them more closely upon himself. Let this jealousy which would keep us near to Christ be also a comfort to us, for if he loves us so much as to care thus about our love we may be sure that he will suffer nothing to harm us, and will protect us from all our enemies. Oh that we may have grace this day to keep our hearts in sacred chastity for our Beloved alone, with sacred jealousy shutting our eyes to all the fascinations of the world!
For me this too often includes the stupid things that I sometimes prioritize above God; somethings as simple as a TV show that I would rather watch than spend an hour reading God’s word. Or, sometimes I’ll opt for reading a webpage over the bible; a while ago I caught myself watching an inordinate amount of time watching a YouTube of a Japanese game show of a contest between several cats (unwilling participants) to see which one could drag the heaviest fish into the forest of all things! I could show it to you, you’d laugh, and then some of you too would spend a big chunk of your time doing something as stupid as I did with my time!
Admittedly, I mean some of this in funny way, but you get my drift, and you too have probably scratched your head noticing at hospitals the heart surgeon outside on break – “chain-smoking”. Does that make sense? So doing “the right thing” is more than just KNOWING what to do, we actually have to do it.
Thankfully God rarely treats Christians how we deserve. And our thankfulness towards God’s gracious forgiveness makes us love him all the more; a very wise man preached an entire sermon on that recently, which I highly recommend. Even my daughter, who is taking part in the Puritan Reading Challenge has a recommendation. After I read to her what Spurgeon had to say, she told me “You know what Dad, you should read the classic book The Mystery of Providence“; she’s right – it talks about something I had never heard about for the first 17 years of my being a Christian, in the type of churches that I used to attend. The book deals with how God guides us and instructs us through the things that he brings into our lives. I’ve never read the book, so I’ll take her up on the suggestion.
Sometimes however, and though this is not always the reason for hardships, God does bring hardship into our lives to do what Spurgeon said above, “to close our eyes to the fascination of the world“, and to do what the Huguenot Galley slave said of his many afflictions “God made use of these means to wean my heart from the world, and to teach me to persevere in a faithful resignation to his will“. I’ve never been a strong person, either physically, mentally, and even spiritually, but I pray that with God’s grace I could be a fraction as strong as that 18th century Galley Slave or the Spurgeon who who was broken in two by the hammer of pain for so many of his final years.