From Spurgeon … MOAB IS MY WASHPOT
C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
“Moab is my washpot.”—Psalm 60:8.
“An extreme case of the way in which evil treatment may tend to our sanctification, may be found in the life of one of the old ministers in the north of Scotland …
‘A cold, unfeeling, bold, unheeding, worldly woman was the wife of Mr. Fraser, one of the ministers of Ross-shire,’ writes my beloved friend, Mr. John Kennedy, in his interesting book, entitled, ‘The Days of the Fathers in Ross-shire.’ ‘Never did her godly husband sit down to a comfortable meal in his own home, and often would he have fainted but for the considerate kindness of some of his parishioners. She was too insensate to try to hide her treatment of him, and well was it for him, on one account, that she was. His friends thus knew of his ill-treatment, and were moved to do what they could for his comfort. A godly acquaintance arranged with him to leave a supply of food in a certain place, beside his usual walk, of which he might avail himself when starved at home. Even light and fire in his study were denied to him on the long, cold winter evenings; and as his study was his only place of refuge from the cruel scourge of his wife’s tongue and temper, there, shivering and in the dark, he used to spend his winter evenings at home. Compelled to walk in order to keep himself warm, and accustomed to do so when preparing for the pulpit, he always kept his hands before him as feelers in the dark, to warn him of his approaching the wall at either side of the room. In this way he actually wore a hole through the plaster at each end of his accustomed beat, on which some eyes have looked that glistened with light from other fire than that of love, at the remembrance of his cruel wife.
But the godly husband had learned to thank the Lord for the discipline of this trial.
Being once at a Presbytery dinner, alone, amidst a group of moderates, one of them proposed, as a toast, the health of their wives, and turning to Mr. Fraser, said, as he winked at his companions, ‘You, of course, will cordially join in drinking to this toast.’—’So I will, and so I ought,’ Mr. Fraser said, ‘for mine has been a better wife to me than any of yours has been to you.’ ‘How so?’ they all exclaimed.—’She has sent me,’ was his reply, ‘seven times a day to my knees, when I would not otherwise have gone, and that is more than any of you can say of yours.’
Ah, this is the way to make Moab our washpot, that is to say, to make those who grieve us most, act but as rough waves to hurry us on to the rock, or as biting winds that drift as the faster into port. If the birds of paradise will keep to the nest, their ungodly relatives or neighbors shall be a thorn therein to make them mount into their native element—the heaven of God.
The attacks of the ungodly upon the church have been overruled by God to make his people leave the camp and foresake ungodly associations, so as to be separate. I know a beloved sister in Christ who was baptised; she had moved in high circles, but they told me that after her baptism she received the cold shoulder. When I heard it, I said, ‘Thank God for it,’ for half her temptations are gone. If the world has turned its back upon her, she will be all the more sure to turn her back on the world and live near to her Lord. The friendship of the world is enmity to God—why should we seek it? ‘If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.’ If any man will follow Christ he must expect persecution, and one of the cardinal precepts of the Christian faith runs thus: ‘Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters.’ ‘Let us go forth, therefore, unto him, without the camp, bearing his reproach.’
IV. Lastly, IN REFERENCE TO THE WORLD TO COME, the terrible doom of the ungodly is a most solemn warning to us. My heart fails me to speak concerning the destiny of the ungodly in another world. Dying without hope, without a Savior, they go before the throne uncleansed, unforgiven, to hear that awful sentence, ‘Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.’ Pursue them for a moment in your thoughts, down to the deeps of wrath, whither God’s judgment shall pursue them. My Lord, I pray thee of thy grace, save me from the sin which brings such a result at the end of it. If the wages of sin be such a death as this, Lord save me from so accursed a service. Will not the sight of their destruction drive us to watchfulness, and cause us to make our calling and election sure? Will it not make us anxious lest we also come into this place of torment? O the wrath to come! The wrath to come whereof this Book speaks in so many terrible tones and dreadful images! Remember Lot’s wife ‘I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.’
In this way Moab becomes our washpot, by showing us what sin grows to when it has developed itself. This consideration will surely cause us more heartily to love the Savior, who can deliver us from it.
Dear friends, if you are not in Christ, much of what I have said bears upon you. Bethink yourself, and pray to escape from the wrath to come. I would not have you be made a mere washpot to be used and broken as a potter’s vessel. Neither should you wish to be a vessel without honor, a thing of no esteem; but may you have faith in Jesus—life in him, and then you shall be a royal diadem, a crown of glory in the hand of our God. May you have a heritage among those who fear the Lord, and are reconciled to him by faith in the total sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.