From”Streams In The Desert”…

“God Is Not Unobservant

For so the LORD said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.  – Isa 18:4

Assyria was marching against Ethiopia, the people of which are described as tall and smooth. And as the armies advance, God makes no effort to arrest them; it seems as though they will be allowed to work their will. He is still watching them from His dwelling place, the sun still shines on them; but before the harvest, the whole of the proud army of Assyria is smitten as easily as when sprigs are cut off by the pruning hook of the husbandman.

Is not this a marvelous conception of God—being still and watching? His stillness is not acquiescence. His silence is not consent. He is only biding His time, and will arise, in the most opportune moment, and when the designs of the wicked seem on the point of success, to overwhelm them with disaster. As we look out on the evil of the world; as we think of the apparent success of wrong-doing; as we wince beneath the oppression of those that hate us, let us remember these marvelous words about God being still and beholding.

There is another side to this. Jesus beheld His disciples toiling at the oars through the stormy night; and watched though unseen, the successive steps of the anguish of Bethany, when Lazarus slowly passed through the stages of mortal sickness, until he succumbed and was borne to the rocky tomb. But He was only waiting the moment when He could interpose most effectually. Is He still to thee? He is not unobservant; He is beholding all things; He has His finger on thy pulse, keenly sensitive to all its fluctuations. He will come to save thee when the precise moment has arrived. —Daily Devotional Commentary

Whatever His questions or His reticences, we may be absolutely sure of an unperplexed and undismayed Saviour.

“O troubled soul, beneath the rod,

Thy Father speaks, be still, be still;

Learn to be silent unto God,

And let Him mould thee to His will.


“O praying soul, be still, be still,

He cannot break His plighted Word;

Sink down into His blessed will,

And wait in patience on the Lord.


“O waiting soul, be still, be strong,

And though He tarry, trust and wait;

Doubt not, He will not wait too long,

Fear not, He will not come too late.”


From “Streams In The Desert”…

“Let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece – Judg 6:39

There are degrees to faith. At one stage of Christian experience we cannot believe unless we have some sign or some great manifestation of feeling. We feel our fleece, like Gideon, and if it is wet we are willing to trust God. This may be true faith, but it is imperfect. It always looks for feeling or some token besides the Word of God. It marks quite an advance in faith when we trust God without feelings. It is blessed to believe without having any emotion.

There is a third stage of faith which even transcends that of Gideon and his fleece. The first phase of faith believes when there are favorable emotions, the second believes when there is the absence of feeling, but this third form of faith believes God and His Word when circumstances, emotions, appearances, people, and human reason all urge to the contrary. Paul exercised this faith in Acts 27:20, 25, “And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.” Notwithstanding all this Paul said, “Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer; for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.”

May God give us faith to fully trust His Word though everything else witness the other way. —C. H. P.

When is the time to trust?

Is it when all is calm,

When waves the victor’s palm,

And life is one glad psalm

Of joy and praise?

Nay! but the time to trust

Is when the waves beat high,

When storm clouds fill the sky,

And prayer is one long cry,

O help and save!


When is the time to trust?

Is it when friends are true?

Is it when comforts woo,

And in all we say and do

We meet but praise?

Nay! but the time to trust

Is when we stand alone,

And summer birds have flown,

And every prop is gone,

All else but God.


What is the time to trust?

Is it some future day,

When you have tried your way,

And learned to trust and pray

By bitter woe?

Nay! but the time to trust

Is in this moment’s need,

Poor, broken, bruised reed!

Poor, troubled soul, make speed

To trust thy God.


What is the time to trust?

Is it when hopes beat high,

When sunshine gilds the sky,

And joy and ecstasy

Fill all the heart?

Nay! but the time to trust

Is when our joy is fled,

When sorrow bows the head,

And all is cold and dead,

All else but God.



John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Matthew Henry:  While we have God’s favourable presence, we are happy, and ought to be easy, though all the world forsake us.

Barnes:  In the world – Among the men to whom you are going. You must expect to be persecuted, afflicted, tormented.

JFB:  In the world ye shall have tribulation—specially arising from its deadly opposition to those who “are not of the world.”

Poole:  In the world ye meet with troubles, which you will certainly do, because the world hateth you.

Gill:  It is in him, and in him only, in his person, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, which speak peace, pardon, and atonement, that a soul finds any true, solid peace, rest, comfort, and joy;

There is a peace by Christ, which he has made for his people by the blood of his cross;

and there is a peace in him, which is enjoyed through faith’s looking…

to his blood for pardon,

to his righteousness for justification,

to his sacrifice for atonement and satisfaction;

and by having communion with him,

and discoveries of his love,

and by seeing safety and security in him.

In the world ye shall have tribulation;

from the instance and example of Christ, who was all his life a man of sorrows;

from the conformity of the members to the head;

from the divine appointment that has so determined it;

from the natural enmity of the world to the saints;

from the experience of the people of God in all ages.

Pulpit:  Peace – adequate support amid the crushing force and vehement hostility of the world.

Luther:  “That is the last word given, and struck into their hand by way of good-night. But He concludes very forcibly with this, and therefore has He finished the entire discourse.”

Luther:  “He does not say: Be comforted, you have overcome the world, but this is your consolation, that I, I have overcome the world; my victory is your salvation.”

Meyer:  And upon this victor rests the imperishability of the church.



Matthew 10:23 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.


For the battle is about a Name


Ye shall be hated of all men – That is, of all kinds of people. The human heart would be opposed to them, because it is opposed to Christ.

John 15:25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.


Jesus had broken no law, he had done no injury to his country or to any individual. …

He injures no one, but, amid all their hatred, he seeks their welfare; and, while they reject him in a manner for which they “can give no reason in the day of judgment,” he still follows them with mercies and entreats them to return to him.

Who has ever had any reason to hate the Lord Jesus?

What injury has he ever done to any one of the human race?

What evil has he ever said or thought of any one of them?

What cause or reason had the Jews for putting him to death?

What reason has the sinner for hating him now?

What reason for neglecting him?

No one can give a reason for it that will satisfy his own conscience, none that has the least show of plausibility. Yet no being on earth has ever been more hated, despised, or neglected, and in every instance it has been “without a cause.”

Reader, do you hate him?

If so, I ask you why?

Wherein has he injured you? or why should you think or speak reproachfully of the benevolent and pure Redeemer?

John 15:18-19 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.


The Church and ‘the World’; and the antagonism between these is deep, fundamental, and perpetual.

‘The world’ will be in antagonism to the Church until the world ceases to be a world, because it obeys the King; and then, and not till then, will it cease to be hostile to His subjects.

If we share Christ’s life, we must, necessarily, in some measure, share His fate. It is the typical example of what the world thinks of, and does to, goodness.

And all who have ‘the Spirit of life which was in Jesus Christ’ for the animating principle of their lives, will, just in the measure in which they possess it, come under the same influences which carried Him to the Cross.

In a world like this, it is impossible for a man to ‘love righteousness and hate iniquity,’ and to order his life accordingly, without treading on somebody’s corns; being a rebuke to the opposite course of conduct, either interfering with men’s self-complacency or with their interests.

In the measure in which you and I are Christians we are in direct opposition to all the maxims which rule the world and make it a world.

What we believe to be precious it regards as of no account.

What we believe to be fundamental truth it passes by as of little importance.

Much which we feel to be wrong it regards as good.

Our jewels are its tinsel, and its jewels are our tinsel.

We and it stand in diametrical opposition of thought about God, about self, about duty, about life, about death, about the future; and that opposition goes right down to the bottom of things.

‘If ye were of the world, the world would love its own.’ If it loves you, it is because ye are of it.

Of course, in the bad old slavery days, a Christianity that had not a word to say about the sin of slave-holding ran no risk of being tarred and feathered.

Of course a Christianity in Manchester that winks hard at commercial immoralities is very welcome on the Exchange.

Of course a Christianity that lets beer barrels alone may reckon upon having publicans for its adherents.

Of course a Christianity that blesses flags and sings Te Deums over victories will get its share of the spoil.

Why should the world hate, or persecute, or do anything but despise a Christianity like that, any more than a man need to care for a tame tiger that has had its claws pared? …

It was out-and-out Christians that He said the world would hate; the world likes Christians that are like itself.

Christian men and women! be you sure that you deserve the hostility which my text predicts.

Dear brethren, to which army do you belong?

Which community is yours?

Are you in Christ’s ranks, or are you in the world’s?

Do you love Him back again, or do you meet His open heart with a closed one, and His hand, laden with blessings, with hands clenched in refusal?

To which class do I belong?

It is the question of questions for us all; and I pray that you and I, won from our hatred by His love, and wooed out of our death by His life, and made partakers of His life by His death, may yield our hearts to Him, and so pass from out of the hostility and mistrust of a godless world into the friendships and peace of the sheltering Vine.

And then we ‘shall esteem the reproach of Christ’ if it fall upon our heads, in however modified and mild a form, ‘greater riches than the treasures of Egypt,’ and ‘have respect unto the recompense of the reward.’