“Lord, Give Us Undivided Hearts”, from Precept Austin (Spiritual Integrity, Blessed in Believing, Unified)

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LORD, GIVE US UNDIVIDED HEARTS, from Precept Austin

(Psalm 86:11)

Integrity is derived from “integer” (a whole number as opposed to a fraction) and speaks of the quality of being undivided. O, to be men and women of integrity, lights shining in the midst of the darkness in such a way that the world might see our undivided hearts and this would bring glory to our Father Who is in heaven. (Mt 5:16note, cf Php 2:15note).

A great prayer to pray (daily) would be David’s words…

“Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth.
UNITE MY HEART to fear Your Name.”

(Ps 86:11note)

The NIV has “Give me an UNDIVIDED HEART.” Pastor Ray Pritchard paraphrases Ps 86:11b “Put me together, Lord, because right now my life is scattered in a thousand directions!” (from The Undivided Heart)

An UNDIVIDED HEART, O Lord,
Is what we need each day,
For we are prone to compromise
And wander from Your way.
-D De Haan

The men of the tribe of Zebulon “helped David with an UNDIVIDED HEART” (literally “without a double heart” = undivided loyalty) (1Chr 12:33note) They were “all in,” of one heart, all the time, nothing held back.

Spurgeon commenting on Ps 86:11note said “Having taught me ONE WAY, give me ONE HEART to walk therein, for too often I feel ‘a heart and a heart’ (In Ps 12:2note “double heart” in Hebrew literally = “a heart and a heart”), two natures contending, two principles struggling for sovereignty (Gal 5:17note). Our minds are apt to be divided between a variety of objects, like trickling streamlets which waste their force in a hundred rivulets. Our great desire should be to have all our life floods poured into one channel and to have that channel directed towards the Lord Alone. A man of DIVIDED HEART is weak (cf Jas 1:6-8note), the man of one object is the man. God Who created the bands of our nature can draw them together, tighten, strengthen, and fasten them, and so braced and inwardly knit by His uniting grace, we shall be powerful for good, but not otherwise. To fear God is both the beginning, the growth, and the maturity of wisdom (Pr 9:10noteJob 28:28note), therefore should we be undividedly given up to it, heart, and soul (cf Mk 12:29-31Spurgeon’s sermon).”

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
(Listen to Fernando Ortega’s vocal)

May we all be motivated and enabled by the Spirit (Php 2:13NLTnote) to imitate men like Paul (1Cor 11:1noteHeb 6:11-12note) who said “this ONE THING I DO. forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Php 3:13-14note)

And remember that “the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” (2Chr 16:9Spurgeon’s sermon)

Lord, by Your amazing grace and enabled by the power of Your Spirit, give us undivided hearts to fear Your Name, in the Name of Jesus, the Name above all names (Php 2:9-11note). Amen

Listen to Rich Mullins‘ great song “MY ONE THING” that speaks of an UNDIVIDED HEART.

JESUS’ DESCRIPTION OF AN UNDIVIDED HEART

Jesus describes an undivided heart in the Sermon on the Mount

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. ” (Matthew 5:8note)

In Mt 5:8note the Greek word for pure is katharos which describes a heart that is pure in motive and which exhibits single mindednessundivided devotion and spiritual integrity. The idea is “This one thing I do” (as Paul said in Php 3:13 [note]). So although, “pure in heart” includes the ideas of moral purity or freedom from sensuality, that is not the primary idea in the word katharosPure (katharos) has to do with attitudes, integrity, and singleness of heart as opposed to duplicity and double mindedness (cf Jas 4:8note). Thus, one might paraphrase Jesus’ words in this beatitude as…”I desire a heart that is unmixed in its devotion and motivation.”

SPIRITUAL “TUNNEL VISION”

The word undivided means not divided, separated, or broken into parts, not mixed with other feelings or intentions. The idea in Matthew 5:8note is that it is a heart that is concentrated on or devoted completely to one object, specifically the true and living eternal God not the idols of this fallen, temporal world. To use an medical term from my days in medical school, it is a heart with “tunnel vision” which is literally a defect of one’s vision, but which has a spiritual application. Wikipedia writes that tunnel vision “is the loss of peripheral vision with retention of central vision, resulting in a constricted circular tunnel-like field of vision.” Look at this depiction of literal tunnel vision which helps understand that while physical “tunnel vision” is a bad thing, spiritual “tunnel vision” is a good thing because it describes a heart fully fixed on the object of its devotion, specifically on God Himself!

See also the description of “Vertical Vision” which is the type of vision associated with an undivided heart.

Another description for an undivided heart is a single-minded heart, one having but one aim, a heart that is dedicated to God, a heart having one driving purpose which is to live pleasing to God, a heart whose attention is fixed on God alone and does not allow itself to be distracted or influenced by the passing pleasures of sin.

MacArthur adds (commenting on Mt 5:8 “pure in heart”) explains that in secular Greek usage katharos “was often used of metals that had been refined until all impurities were removed, leaving only the pure metal. In that sense, purity means unmixed, unalloyed, unadulterated. Applied to the heart, the idea is that of pure motive-of single-mindedness, undivided devotion, spiritual integrity, and true righteousness. (MacArthur, J: Matthew 1-7 Chicago: Moody Press)

SPIRITUAL “DOUBLE-VISION”

In a similar sense Jesus said that “double vision” will radically impact your inner spiritual man, especially your heart (cf Mt 6:21) teaching that…

The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You (ABSOLUTELY) cannot serve God and mammon. (Mt 6:22-23noteMt 6:24note)

The phrase “if your eye is clear” is translated variously as – “if therefore thine eye is single” (KJV), ” If then your eye is healthy” (NET, ESV), ” If your eye is good” (CSB), ” if, therefore, thine eye may be perfect” (Young’s Literal). The key word Jesus used is the adjective “clear” (NAS) which is the Greek word haplous which strictly speaking means single (as rendered in the KJV) or without folds which came to mean simple, sincere, innocent, healthy, clear (“clear vision” – cp spiritual vision discussed above) and finally conveying the sense of generous.

BDAG says haplous “pertains to being motivated by singleness of purpose so as to be open and aboveboard, single, without guile, sincere, straightforward i.e. without a hidden agenda.” Marvin Vincent a respected Greek scholar says “The picture underlying this adjective (haplous) is that of a piece of cloth or other material, neatly folded once, and without a variety of complicated folds. Hence the idea of simplicity or singleness (compare simplicity from the Latin simplex; semel, once; plicare, to fold). So, in a moral sense, artless, plain, pure. Here sound, as opposed to evil or diseased. Possibly with reference to the double-mindedness and indecision condemned in Mt 6:24note.”

Wiersbe suggests that we “Compare Abraham and Lot in Ge 13:5-18 for an illustration of the “single eye.” The eye here speaks of the outlook of the heart. A single eye means one that is fixed on the spiritual (Ed: cp an “undivided heart”). It is the opposite of the double-minded person in James 1:8noteJas 4:4noteJas 4:8note. (Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament)

Zodhiates adds that “Haploús stands in contrast to diploús (double or many). Even though we have two eyes, they are designed to pick up a single object, preferably the Lord Himself, as David counseled. Jesus connected the purity of the body with the holy character of an eye that does not vacillate between treasures on earth and treasures in heaven. Similarly, in James 1:8note we read that the “double minded [dipsuchos] man is unstable [akatastatos from a = without, not; and kathistemi = to settle] in all his ways” (cf. James 4:8note). A circularity of “unsettling” effects exists between the soul and the physical eye. Just as double-minded (“two-souled”) persons can direct their physical eyes between good and bad objects, so physical eyes can transmit good and bad signals into the soul (Ed: And I would add into our heart). If we think about the blurred and conflicting (double vision) messages our brains attempt to process when we merely cross our eyes, we can understand how our physical eyes can destabilize our souls (Ed: hearts) when they receive and transmit conflicting data. The “eyes of [our] understanding” (Eph. 1:18note)-our spiritual eyes-work in conjunction with our physical eyes to our good or to our detriment. (Exegetical Commentary on Matthew)

William MacDonald  applies the truth about haplous – “The good eye belongs to the person whose motives are pure, who has a single desire for God’s interests, and who is willing to accept Christ’s teachings literally. His whole life is flooded with light. He believes Jesus’ words, he forsakes earthly riches, he lays up treasures in heaven, and he knows that this is the only true security. On the other hand, the bad eye belongs to the person who is trying to live for two worlds. He doesn’t want to let go of his earthly treasures, yet he wants treasures in heaven too. The teachings of Jesus seem impractical and impossible to him. He lacks clear guidance since he is full of darkness.” (Believer’s Bible Commentary-excellent).

It follows that a single eye is necessary for an undivided heart. Do you need to schedule an appointment with the “Divine Optometrist” for a checkup of you spiritual eyesight. Perhaps you’ve been having “double vision” and are in need of a new “prescription” from the Spirit of Jesus Christ! He and He Alone can give you the desire and the power (Php 2:13NLTnote) to obey Paul’s command to “Set your mind (your heart) (present imperative = command to make this your daily delight!) on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Col 3:2note) Truth be told we all still have fallen flesh and therefore daily wrestle with “spiritual diplopia” and thus are continually in need of casting off our natural tendency to rely on self (e.g, in a vain attempt to obey Paul’s command in Col 3:2note) and instead to wholly lean on Jesus’ blood and righteousness, trusting wholly in His Holy Spirit to correct our daily “diplopia!” Are you arising each morning firmly convinced that YOU by yourself cannot continually set your mind on the things above throughout the day? If you think for a second you can succeed, you are already deceived and will soon be defeated! If you think you are immune to “spiritual diplopia” then here is a little test – take a look at this picture – how many watches do you see? If you see more than one watch than you are afflicted with spiritual diplopia and must daily depend on the Great Physician to enable you to see with single vision (Mt 6:22-23)! Brethren the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick (Jer 17:9) and the same can be said of our spiritual vision! So it follows, dear fellow follower of Jesus, if we desire an undivided heart, we need to resolve to arise each morning with the words of David’s prayer on our lips “Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth. UNITE MY HEART to fear Your Name.” (Ps 86:11note)

SINGLE HEART PURE HEART

Two songs for your heart

Take a moment to listen to this song, one of my favorites from Craig Smith, entitled Single Heart...

He had only one aim
In placing us here
This is His domain
And His message is clear.

Single heart, Single mind.
My eyes forward all the time.
Single heart, purified.
Undivided, unified.
Single heart, Single mind.

May You find in us,
Solitary trust
May you find a single heart!

Here is another song Pure Heart — take a moment to ponder your life in light the words sung by Craig Smith and make it your prayer to the Father today:

Over and over I hear it again
That the Father desires pure heart
Not to seek earthly treasure or the favor of man
But to be found with pureness of heart

Chorus
Pure heart is what the Father desires
Holy heart purified by God’s holy fire
Broken heart, proven to be faithful and true
Fashion in me a heart that’s thirsting for You

Search ever chamber, expose them to me
Create motives of honor and simplicity
May you find faithfulness, integrity
A heart which is worthy for Your eyes to see
Chorus

My only ambition is to stand before You
And find I was pleasing in Your sight
An obedient child of God, faithful and true
Found with pureness of heart
Chorus

THE NEW COVENANT AND AN UNDIVIDED HEART

In Ezekiel 11:19note in a prophetic promise to Israel which speaks of the New Covenant

“And I shall give them one heart, and shall put a new spirit within them. And I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,

The NIV translates it

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.

This description of one heart, an undivided heart, is the miracle that occurs at conversion when a spiritual and moral transformation takes place which enables God’s people to follow Him wholeheartedly. So an undivided heart is describes as it were our “position” but may not always describe our “practice.” That is where we must learn to relinquish all vestiges of self-reliance (“I will grit my teeth and follow God with an undivided heart.“) and instead learn daily (and even moment by moment) to rely wholly on the Holy Spirit Ezekiel describes in Ezekiel 36:26-27note

“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

This is clearly a promise of the New Covenant and in that covenant we do well to carefully note “the spiritual cooperation” between God and man. So in Ezekiel 36:27 first God’s Spirit will cause those in the New Covenant to walk in His statues The New Testament parallel is described by Paul who teaches that the Spirit is in us continually giving us the desire and the power to be pleasing to our Father (to walk with an undivided heart) (Php 2:13NLTnote). The second part of Ezekiel 36:27 describes our responsibility to act on the provided “desire and power.” While we are 100% dependent on God’s Spirit, we are (somewhat enigmatically or mysteriously) 100% responsible to be careful to observe God’s ordinances. As we learn to walk by the Spirit’s enabling power, we will not carry out the desire of the flesh (a manifestation of a divided heart!) (See Galatians 5:16note).

In summary to manifest an undivided heart toward God and His law is our divinely given potential, and yet we must daily work out our salvation in fear and trembling (Php 2:12note), learning to depend on the Spirit Who will enable us to walk with an undivided heart. And this is a process of progressive sanctification that will continue all the days of our life on earth. And realizing our continual need for supernatural power and grace, we cry out to our Father as did David…

Teach me Thy way, O LORD; I will walk in Thy truth; Unite my heart to fear Thy name. I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And will glorify Thy name forever. (Psalm 86:1112)

Have you prayed this way beloved? It would be good for us to daily humble ourselves at the Throne of God beseeching Him to have mercy on us in the time of need and bestowing upon us by His enabling Spirit an undivided heart, a whole heart that gives thanks to Him and seeks to glorify His Name forever. Amen


“BAD FAITH”

Wikipedia has an interesting article on “bad faith” that essentially describes the opposite of an undivided heart:

Bad faith (Latinmala fides) is double mindedness or double heartedness in duplicityfraud, or deception.It may involve intentional deceit of others, or self-deception. The expression “bad faith” is associated with “double heartedness”, which is also translated as “double mindedness”. A bad faith belief may be formed through self-deception, being double minded, or “of two minds”, which is associated with faith, belief, attitude, and loyalty. In the 1913 Webster’s Dictionary, bad faith was equated with being double hearted, “of two hearts”, or “a sustained form of deception which consists in entertaining or pretending to entertain one set of feelings, and acting as if influenced by another” The concept is similar to perfidy, or being “without faith”, in which deception is achieved when one side in a conflict promises to act in good faith (e.g. by raising a flag of surrender) with the intention of breaking that promise once the enemy has exposed himself. (See full article)


AN UNDIVIDED HEART 

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8note)

The apostle Paul said, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead …” (Philippians 3:13). Now there is a person who had an undivided heart. Many of us today could say, “These eight things I do …” or “These four things I do …” instead of saying, “This one thing I do. …” It’s the problem of a divided heart.
The word, “pure,” in Matthew 5:8 means “undivided.” In other words, blessed, or happy, is the person who has an undivided heart. Happy is the man or woman with a pure heart. Happy is the person who knows where he or she is going in life, who has priorities and lives by them. Happy is the person who isn’t trying to live in two worlds. We live in such a wicked time in which we are exposed to so many things that could be spiritually harmful. It seems that we are lacking purity today. But according to Romans 16:19, we as believers are “to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.” Another translation reads, “I would have you well versed and wise as to what is good and innocent and guileless as to what is evil” (AMPLIFIED). God is offering you true happiness, which is not contingent on how much you have, but who you know. If you don’t get your life properly aligned with God, you will always be chasing an elusive dream. But if you get your life aligned with God and start seeking Him, you will find purpose in life. You will find the happiness you are seeking. (Greg Laurie – For Every Season: Daily Devotions)


In Deut 18:13 God says “You shall be blameless before the LORD your God.” The NAS marginal note reads “Lit complete, perfect; or having integrity.” Wiersbe explains that “It speaks of integrity and an undivided heart, what David meant when he wrote, “I will walk within my house with a perfect heart” (Ps. 101:2NKJV). The Jewish “Shema” declared, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deut. 6:5NIV).”

Blameless (without defect or blemish, perfect, integrity) (08549)(tamim) from the verb tamam = to be complete, entire or whole (literal sense in Lev 3:9Ezek 15:5), refers to a action which is completed) has both physical (without defect) and spiritual (blameless, devout, upright) significance. Tamim has the fundamental idea of completeness or wholeness. In Deut 18:13 tamim is translated in the Septuagint with  teleios means complete, mature, fully developed, full grown, brought to its end, finished, wanting nothing necessary to completeness, in good working order. In the Septuagint (Lxx) teleios is used several times to describe a heart that is wholly devoted (Heb = shalem). This begs the question beloved “Is my heart teleios? Would God describe me as wholly devoted to Him? Or have become like Solomon, who began “wholly devoted” but ended his race not “wholly devoted?” David had a whole heart but Solomon a divided heart! And as a result God divided the 12 tribes into 10 northern and 2 southern! There are serious consequences for not seeking to maintain an undivided heart!


The antithesis of an undivided heart is a “Divided Heart” – Herbert Vander Lugt has a devotional on THE DIVIDED HEART – Hosea describes this heart

Ephraim mixes himself with the nations; Ephraim has become a cake not turned. 9  Strangers devour his strength, Yet he does not know it; Gray hairs also are sprinkled on him, Yet he does not know it. 10  Though the pride of Israel testifies against him, Yet they have neither returned to the LORD their God, Nor have they sought Him, for all this. 11  So Ephraim has become like a silly dove, without sense; They call to Egypt, they go to Assyria. 12  When they go, I will spread My net over them; I will bring them down like the birds of the sky. I will chastise them in accordance with the proclamation to their assembly. (Hosea 7:8-12)

The Israelites of Hosea’s day were trying to worship both pagan idols and the one true and living God. So the prophet Hosea used three colorful figures of speech to describe their divided hearts. First, they were like a half-baked cake—palatable neither to God nor the pagans (7:8). Second, they were like a proud man who can’t see the signs of his aging—they were unaware of their spiritual decline (Hosea 7:9-10). Third, they were like a senseless dove—flying from one pagan nation to another in a vain quest for help (Hosea 7:11). Today, we as Christians are often afflicted with the same divided-heart syndrome. We believe on Jesus but are reluctant to commit every area of our lives to Him. We go to church but don’t want to live out our faith each day if it deprives us of worldly success or pleasure. A divided heart, though, results in some serious consequences. First, we don’t please God or attract nonbelievers to Christ. Second, it may take a crisis to show us our true spiritual decline. And third, we live unfulfilled lives, even though we flit from one worldly pleasure to another. Let’s pray each day, “Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name” (Psalm 86:11). —Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

An undivided heart, O Lord,
Is what we need each day,
For we are prone to compromise
And wander from Your way.

—D. De Haan

A divided heart multiplies our problems.

Beloved, yes, we need an undivided heart each day, but the only way possible to humanly maintain an undivided heart is by continually relying on the superhuman power of the indwelling Spirit. When we wander (which we will) we need to quickly confess and repent, and even those actions are enabled by the Spirit, Who gives us the desire and the power to walk in a manner pleasing to our Father (Php 2:13NLT).


UNDIVIDED –  Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.

Ps 86:11)

IN WORD – A divided heart. It’s a Christian’s greatest enemy, and it should be our greatest fear. It wreaks havoc on our contentment and undermines our devotion. It corrupts our worship because one side of our heart competes with the other. The competition causes us to tell God we want to love and honor Him, while simultaneously telling ourselves we can pursue our own agenda at will. A divided heart has multiple loves, and multiple loves are always weak. That’s what Jesus said too. He told His disciples they couldn’t serve two masters because they would end up loving one and hating the other (Matthew 6:24). That’s what divided hearts do; they are eventually compelled to choose one of their loves over the other. They have too many choices to start with, so they compromise. David prays in this psalm that God might give him an undivided heart so that he might fear God’s name. He knows that when a person tolerates other loves, it’s because that person has grown casual with God. An undivided heart solves the problem; single-mindedness toward God makes a person free to serve and love Him with everything at his or her disposal. It reintroduces respect and awe. It puts things in the proper perspective.

IN DEED – Pursue an undivided heart. Ask God for it. A divided heart will ruin your spiritual life, introducing apathy, removing godly fear, and tempting you with other loves. Worship cannot exist under such conditions. A divided love is hardly love at all. David’s remedy isn’t within himself. He knows that his heart is God’s domain, and only God can change it. He resolves to praise God with all his heart and glorify God’s name forever (Ps 86:12), but pure resolve isn’t the answer. So David asked God for His resources, His strength, and His work within him. We can too. We can trust Him with the greatest enemy to our worship and ask Him to give us a single, focused love. (The One Year Worship the King Devotional: 365 Daily Bible Readings to Inspire Praise – Chris Tiegreen)

Blessed are the single-hearted; for they shall enjoy much peace. 
—THOMAS À KEMPIS


Blessed in Believing –  “She who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled!”(Luke 1:45) In the kingdom of God, believing is a prerequisite to receiving. God spoke to Mary and gave the assurances He always gives when He assigns the impossible to His people. Everything was in place for God to act. Everything waited on Mary to believe Him. Once she believed, it was done! It takes an undivided heart to believe under such circumstances and a pure heart to see God (Matt. 5:8Heb. 12:14). This has always been God’s way with His people. Mary could not see all that had been arranged and assembled in the courts of heaven. She could not see the legions of angels prepared to protect her and her baby. She was unaware of the future and all that she and her child would face. All she knew was that God had spoken to her, and that was enough. So she responded: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). When God speaks about His plans, He does so with everything already in place to fulfill His word.

God never speaks hypothetically. He knows exactly what will come to pass. He simply asks you to believe Him. You will experience great blessing when you place your absolute trust in Him. Mary could not have dreamed all that would result from her faithful obedience. Likewise, you cannot possibly imagine all that God has in store for you when you trust Him. He knows exactly what He will do to bring salvation to someone you have prayed for or to heal your friend or to provide for your needs. God has everything in place. Will you believe Him? (Henry Blackaby – Experiencing God Day by Day)


AN UNDIVIDED HEART (Lutheran devotional published in 1799) – THE heart should not be divided. I say to the hypocrite, God has given you two eyes, that you may look both above and beneath you; that you may contemplate both heaven and hell. He has given you two ears, that you may hearken both to the accuser and the accused, when you have to judge between them; two hands, that you may raise one upwards to God, and receive, and stretch forth the other towards your neighbour, and give; two feet, that you may serve yourself and your master; but you have only one head, and one heart. God approves not of those who are double-minded, or double-tongued; from whose lips comes forth at the same time that which is cold and hot; and who speak not the same when they sit as when they stand; who divide their heart between Him and the devil. A double-hearted man is a monster, which God will not accept as an offering. God demands an undivided heart. Such, also, is the demand of Satan; for though he may not immediately persuade you that you should give him your heart, and seems to be satisfied with a part of it, yet he aims at the whole. He knows full well that God will not receive a divided heart, and that therefore the whole shall yet be his own, being rejected of God. The heart is but of small capacity; but if it were greater, it would be your duty to make it the undivided dwelling-place of Him from whom you have received it, and who alone can make it better. Who has given you authority to dispose of that which was not yours, but God’s? To Him the whole belongs, and not merely a portion. How is it possible that you can unite God and Satan within you? How can they both take a part of one heart? Satan tempts to that which is evil; God moves you to that which is good. God destroys the work of Satan; Satan, on the other hand, would throw down the work of God. Where God dwells is heaven, where Satan dwells is hell. How can your heart, at the same time, be in heaven and in hell? Where God dwells, he is served and obeyed; where Satan dwells, he also is obeyed. Can you serve two masters so opposite in every respect? God has given me my whole heart, not to use it at its uncontrolled possessor, but as a steward, answerable to Him. I will, by his grace, not abuse my trust; but restore him his own. My heart is His, not mine! (Henry Muller – Hours of Spiritual Refreshment)


Horatius Bonar writes that “God’s desire that we should be clean. He desireth truth in the inward parts. He is faithful to us, and he wishes us to be faithful to him. God is not indifferent to our unfaithfulness, as if it mattered not to him. Nor does he treat it as a mere affront, or only as a sin, with which he is angry and which he condemns and will avenge. He wants our heart, our whole undivided heart; he wants it all for himself; he wants to fill it. He is a jealous God. Moreover he pities us because of the misery which our unfaithfulness brings on us. He sees us gaining nothing, but losing everything by it; and he pities us; he yearns over us; for our own sakes he desires to see us faithful to himself. Such is the God with whom we have to do. He is one who takes a deep and loving interest in our welfare, and who pities us even when he judges us. (Light and Truth)

Ruth 1:14note  “And they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung ( dabaq) to her.”  Bonar comments on Ruth and her cleaving. “Orpah kissed, but Ruth clave. Orpah kissed that she might not cleave. Ruth cleaves silently, and without show or demonstration. She lingers not nor halts. Moab is behind her, Israel is before her, Naomi is at her side. Her choice is made. She falters not either in heart or in step. Yonder are Judah’s hills; behind them lies Bethlehem; she presses forward. Jehovah must be her God, and Jehovah’s land her heritage. Nothing shall come between. She forgets her kindred and her father’s house. What are Moab’s hills, or cities, or temples, or gods? Jehovah, God of Israel, is now her God for ever…

Here is cleaving; here is decision; here are faith and love; here is the undivided heart.

Source: Precept Austin (issue 1.4.2020)

“The Weaned Child, A Quieted Soul”, Charles H. Spurgeon, Psalm 131:2 (Contentment, Humility, Divine Will, Child-like Spirit)

The Weaned Child by Charles H. Spurgeon

“My soul is even as a weaned child.” — Psalm 131:2

I WAS once conversing with a very excellent aged minister, and while we were talking about our frames and feelings, he made the following confession: he said, “ When I read that passage in the psalm, ‘My soul is even as a weaned child,’ I wish it were true of me, but I think I should have to make an alteration of one syllable, and then it would exactly describe me at times; * My soul is even as a weaning rather than a weaned child ,’ for,” said he, “ with the infirmities of old age, I fear I get fretful and peevish, and anxious, and when the day is over I do not feel that I have been in so calm, resigned, and trustful a frame of mind as I could desire.”

I suppose, dear brethren, that frequently we have to make the same confession. We wish we were like a weaned child, but we find ourselves neglecting to walk by faith, and getting into the way of walking by the sight of our eyes, and then we get like the weaning child which is fretting and worrying, and unrestful, and who causes trouble to those round about it, and most of all, trouble to itself.

Weaning was one of the first real troubles that we met with after we came into this world, and it was at the time a very terrible one to our little hearts. We got over it somehow or other. We do not remember now what a trial it was to us, but we may take it as a type of all troubles; for if we have faith in him who was our God from our mother’s breasts, as we got over the weaning, and do not even recollect it, so we shall get over all the troubles that are to come, and shall scarcely remember them for the joy that will follow.

If, indeed, Dr. Watts be correct in saying that when we get to heaven we shall “recount the labours of our feet,” then, I am quite sure that we shall only do it, as he says, “with transporting joy.” There, at least, we shall each one be as a weaned child.

It is a very happy condition of heart which is here indicated, and I shall speak about it with a desire to promote the increase of such a state of heart among believers, with the hope that many of us may reach it, and that all of us who have reached it may continue to say still, “My soul is even as a weaned child.”

I. First, let us think WHAT THE PSALMIST INTENDED BY THIS DESCRIPTION;

and we will begin by noticing the context, in order to understand him, and then we will consider the metaphor in order still further to see what he literally meant.

First, look at the context; and you will see that he intended that pride had been subdued in him, and driven out of him, for he commences the psalm with this, “Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty.” We are all proud by nature, though there is not one among us that has anything to be proud of.

It makes no difference what our condition is: we universally dream that we have something whereof to glory. The Lord Mayor is not a bit prouder in his gold chain than the beggar in his rags. Indeed, pride is a kind of weed that will grow on very poor soil quite as freely as in the best-cultivated garden. Every man thinks more of himself than God thinks of him, for when a man is in his highest estate and at his best, he is nothing but dust, and the Lord knoweth his frame, and remembereth that he is just that, and nothing better. Some poor creatures, however, indulge their pride, and let it run away with them as a wild horse with its rider.

They cannot be trusted with a little money but straightway they hold their heads so high that one might think the stars in danger. They cannot be trusted with a little talent but straightway their genius is omnipotent in their own opinion, and they themselves are to be treated like demi-gods. And if they are God’s servants, they cannot have a little success in the ministry or in the Sunday-school without becoming quite unpleasant to those round about them, through their boastful ways and eagerness to talk of self.

Scarcely can they have enjoyment, even of the presence of God, but what they begin to make an idol of their attainments and graces, and begin to say, “My mountain, my mountain, standeth firm. I, I shall never be moved.” Great I grows without any watering, for the soil of nature is muddy, and the rush of pride takes to it mightily. You need never be troubled about a man’s keeping up his opinion of himself, he will be pretty sure to do that, the force of nature usually runs in the direction of self-conceit.

This pride very often leads to haughtiness, domineering ways towards others, and contempt of them, as if they were not as good as we are; and if we see any errors and mistakes in them we conclude that they are very foolish, and that we should act much better if we were in their position.

If they act nobly and well, this same pride of ours leads us to pick holes in them, and to detract from their excellence; and if we cannot get up as high as they are, we try to pull them down to our own level. This is a base thing to do, but the proud man is always mean, loftiness of looks and meanness of heart run in a leash like a couple of hounds.

The humble man is the truly great man, and because God’s gentleness has made him great he is sure to be kept lowly before the Lord by the Holy Spirit. The proud man is really little; nay more, he is really nothing even in the things wherein he boasts himself.

David could say, “My heart is not haughty.” His brother, Eliab, said that he was proud when he went down to carry his father’s present to his soldier brothers, but it was not so.

His heart was content to be with the sheep: he was quite willing to follow the “ewes great with young.” When he was in Saul’s court they thought him ambitious, but he was not so, he was quite satisfied to be a servant there, to fight the battles of Israel.

The place of captain over a wandering band was forced upon him, he would sooner have dwelt at home. And when he was king he did not exalt himself. Absalom when he was aspiring to the kingdom was a far greater man to look at than his father David, for David walked in lowliness of spirit before the Lord. Whatever faults he had, he certainly had not the fault of vanity, or of being intoxicated in spirit with what God had done for him.

Now, it is a great blessing when the Spirit of God keeps us from being haughty and our looks from being lofty. We shall never be as a weaned child till it gets to that, for a weaned child thinks nothing of itself. It is but a little babe; whatever consciousness it has at all about the matter, it is not conscious of any strength or any wisdom, it is dependent entirely upon its mother’s care; and blessed is that man who is brought to lie very low in his own spirit before the Lord, resting on the bosom of infinite love.

After all, brethren, we are nobodies, and we have come of a line of nobodies. The proudest peer of the realm may trace his pedigree as far as ever he likes, but he ought to remember that if his blood is blue, it must be very unhealthy to have such blood in one’s veins. The common ruddy blood of the peasant is, after all, far healthier. Big as men may account themselves to be on account of their ancestors, we all trace our line up to a gardener, who lost his place through stealing his Master’s fruit, and that is the farthest we can possibly go.

Adam covers us all with disgrace, and under that disgrace we should all sit humbly down. Look into your own heart, and if you dare to be proud, you have never seen your heart at all. It is a mass of pollution: it is a den of filthiness.

Apart from divine grace, your heart is a seething mass of putrefaction, and if God’s eternal Spirit were not to hold it in check, but to let your nature have its way, envyings, tastings, murders, and every foul thing would come flying forth in your daily life. A sinner and yet proud! It is monstrous.

As for children of God, how can they be proud? I fear we are all too much so; but what have we to be proud of? What have we that we have not received? How then can we boast? Are we dressed in the robe of Christ’s righteousness? We did not put a thread into it; it was all given us by the charity of Jesus. Are our garments white? We have washed them in the blood of the Lamb. Are we new creatures? We have been created anew by omnipotent power, or we should still be as we were. Are we holding on our way?

It is God that enables us to persevere, or we should long ago have gone back. Have we been kept from the great transgression? Who has kept us? We certainly have not kept ourselves. There is nothing that we have of which we can say, “I did this and it is all my own,” except our faults and our sins, and over these we ought to blush. Yet, brethren, when the Lord favours us, especially in early life — though I do not know but what it is almost as much so with us who have got a little farther on — if you get a full sail and a favouring breeze, and the vessel scuds along before the wind, there is need of a great deal of ballast, or else there will soon be a tale to tell of a vessel that was upset and a sailor who was too venturesome, and was never heard of more. We have need continually to be kept lowly before God, for pride is the besetting sin of mankind.

Oh, that God would give us to be as David was — not haughty, neither our eyes lofty.

This is the first help towards being as a weaned child.

And next he tells us ‘ that he was not ambitious, — “Neither do I exercise myself in great matters.”

He was a shepherd; he did not want to go and fight Goliath, and when he did do it, it was because his nation needed him. He said, “Is there not a cause?” Else he had kept in the background still. When he went into the hold in the cave of Adullam, he never lifted a hand to become king. He might have smitten his enemy several times, and with one stroke have ended the warfare and seized the throne, but he would not lift a hand against the Lord’s anointed, for, like a weaned child, he was not ambitious. He was willing to go where God would put him, but he was not seeking after great things.

Now, dear brethren, we shall never be as a weaned child if we have got high notions of what we ought to be, and large desires for self. If we are great men in our own esteem, of course we ought to have great things for ourselves; but if we know ourselves, and are brought into a true condition of mind, we shall avoid those “vaulting ambitions which o’erleap themselves.”

For instance, we shall not be hankering after great possessions. “Having food and raiment” we shall be “therewith content.” If God adds to our store of the comforts of life, we shall be grateful. We shall be diligent in business, but we shall not be greedy and miserly. “While others stretch their arms, like seas, to grasp in all the shore,” we shall be content with far less things, for we know that greed after earthly riches brings with it slackness of desire as to true riches.

The more hungry a man is after this world, the less he pines after the treasures of the world to come. We shall not be covetous, if we are like a weaned child neither shall we sigh for position and influence; whoever heard of a weaned child doing that? Let it lie in its parent’s bosom and it is content, and so shall we be in the bosom of our God. Yet some Christian men seem as if they could not pull unless they are the fore horses of the team.

They cannot work with others, but must have the chief place, contrary to the word of the apostle who says, “My brethren, be ye not many masters, lest ye receive the greater condemnation.”

Blessed is that servant who is quite content with that position which his master appoints him — glad to unloose the latchet of his Lord’s shoes — glad to wash the saints’ feet— glad to engage in sweeping a crossing for the king’s servants. Let us do anything for Jesus, counting it the highest honour even to be a door-mat inside the church of God, if we might be such a thing as that, for the saints even to remove the filthiness from themselves upon us, so long as we may but be of some use to them, and bring some glory to God.

You remember the word of Jeremiah to Baruch. Baruch had been writing the roll for the prophet, and straightway Baruch thought he was somebody. He had been writing the word of the Lord, had he not? But he prophet said to him, “Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not.” And so saith the mind of the Spirit to us all. Do not desire to occupy positions of eminence and prominence, but let your soul be as a weaned child — not exercising itself in great matters.

Very often we seek after great approbation. We want to do great deeds that people will talk about, and especially some famous work which everybody will admire. This is human nature, for the love of approbation is rooted in us. As the old rhyme puts it —

“The proud to gain it, toils on toils endure;
The modest shun it but to make it sure.”

But that man has arrived at the right position who has become “careless, himself a dying man, of dying man’s esteem,” who judges what is right before God, and does it caring neither for public nor private opinion in the matter, to whom it is no more concern what people may say of an action which his conscience commends than what tune the north wind whistles as it blows over the Alps.

He who is the slave of man’s opinions is a slave indeed. I would sooner go to some barbarous clime where yet the slave-whip would fall upon my shoulders, and the cruel fetter would chain me to the floor, than live in dread of such a thing as I myself, and tremble with fear of offending this man and the other by doing what I believe to be right. He who fears God needs fear no one else; but he who reaches that point has undergone a painful weaning, and had it not been for that he would not be able to say, “My soul is even as a weaned child.”

 Frequently, too, we exercise ourselves in great matters by having a high ambition to do something very wonderful in the church. This is why so very little is done. The great destroyer of good works is the ambition to do great works.

A little thing can be done by a Christian brother well; but if it strikes him, “I will have a society to do it, and a committee, and a secretary, and a president, and a vice-president,” (it being well known that nothing can be done till you get a committee, and a president, and all that kind of thing), the brother soon hampers himself, and his work ends in resolutions and reports, and nothing more.

But the brother who says “Here is a district which nobody visits; I will do what I can in it” — he is probably the man who will get another to help him, and another, and the work will be done The young man who is quite content to begin with preaching in a little room in a village to a dozen is the man who will win souls. The other brother, who does not mean preaching till he can preach to five thousand, never will do anything, he never can.

I read of a king who always wanted to take the second step first, but he was not a Solomon; there are many such about, not kings but common people, who do not’ want to do the first thing, the thing they can do, the thing which God calls them to do, the thing they ought to do, but they must do something great.

Oh, dear brother, if your soul ever gets to be as it ought, you will feel, “The least thing that I can do, I shall be glad to do. The very poorest and meanest form of Christian service, as men think it, is better than I deserve.” It is a great honour to be allowed to unloose the latchets of my Lord’s shoes. A young man who had a small charge once, and only about two hundred hearers, complained to an old minister that he wished he could move somewhere else; but the old one said, “Do not be in a hurry, brother. The responsibility of two hundred souls is quite heavy a load enough for most of us to carry.”

And so it is. We need not be so eager to load ourselves with more. He is the best draughtsman, not who draws the largest but the most perfect circle; if the circle is perfect nobody finds fault with it because it is not large. Fill your sphere, brother, and be content with it. If God shall move you to another, be glad to be moved; if he move you to a smaller, be as willing to go to a less prominent place as to one that is more so. Have no will about it. Be a weaned child that has given up fretting, and crying, and worrying, and leaves its mother to do just what seemeth good in her sight. When we are thoroughly weaned it is well with us — pride is gone, and ambition is gone too. We shall want much nursing by one who is wiser and gentler than the best mother before we shall be quite weaned of these two dearly beloved sins.

Next, David tells us he was not intrusive, — “Neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.” I have seen many men always vexed and troubled because they would exercise themselves in things too high for them. These things too high for them have been many; I will mention only a few. They have expected to comprehend everything, and have never been satisfied because many truths are far above and out of their reach: especially they have expected to know all the deep things of God — the doctrine of election, and how predestination coincides with the free agency of man, and how God orders everything, and yet man is responsible — just as responsible as if there had been no foreknowledge and no foreordination.

It is folly to hope to know these “things too high for us.” Here is a little child that has just come off its mother’s knee and it expects to understand a book on trigonometry, and cries because it cannot; and here is another little child that has been down to the sea, and it is fretting and kicking in its nurse’s arms because it cannot get the Atlantic into the hollow of its hand. Well, it will have to kick, that will be the end of it; but it is fretting itself for nothing, without any real use or need for its crying, because a little child’s palm cannot hold an ocean. Yet a child might sooner hold the Atlantic and Pacific in its two hands, without spilling a drop, than you and I will ever be able to hold all revealed truth within the compass of our narrow minds.

We cannot know everything, and we cannot understand even half what we know. I have given up wanting to understand. As far as I can, I am content with believing all that I see in God’s word. People say, “But he contradicts himself.” I dare say I do, but I never contradict God to my knowledge, nor yet the Bible. If I do, may my Lord forgive me. Do not believe me for a minute if I speak contrary to God’s word, in order to appear consistent. The sin of being inconsistent with my poor fallible self does not trouble me a tithe as much as the dread of being inconsistent with what I find in God’s word. Some want to shape the Scriptures to their creed, and they get a very nice square creed too, and trim the Bible most dexterously: it is wonderful how they do it, but I would rather have a crooked creed and a straight Bible than I would try to twist the Bible round to suit what I believe.

“Neither do I exercise myself,” says the psalmist, “with things too high for me,” and I think we do well to keep very much in that line. “Oh, but really one ought to be acquainted with all the phases of modern doubt.” Yes, and how many hours in a day ought a man to give to that kind of thing? Twenty-five out of the twenty-four would hardly be sufficient, for the phases of modern thought are innumerable, and every fool who sets up for a philosopher sets up a new scheme; and I am to spend my time in going about to knock his card-houses over. Not I! I have something else to do; and so has every Christian minister. He has real doubts to deal with, which vex true hearts; he has anxieties to relieve in converted souls, and in minds that are pining after the truth and the right; he has these to meet, without everlastingly tilting at windmills, and running all over the country to put down every scarecrow which learned simpletons may set up.

We shall soon defile ourselves if we work day after day in the common sewers of scepticism. Brethren, there is a certain highway of truth in which you and I, like wayfaring men, feel ourselves safe, let us travel thereon. There are some things that we do know, because we have experienced them, — some doctrines which nobody can beat out of us, because we have tasted them and handled them. Well, if we can go further, well and good; but to my mind, we are foolish to go further and fare worse. If a man has reached the Land’s End, and some great genius should tell him to walk on farther than Old England reaches and ridicule him because he will not go a step in advance into the fog which conceals an awful plunge, I think, upon the whole, he may be content to put up with the ridicule. Put your foot down, brother, and see whether there is anything under it— whether there is a good text or two underneath— whether there is a little personal experience underneath, and, if you do not find it, let the advanced thinkers go alone; you had better keep on the rock. “Prove all things” — do not run after their novelties till you have proved them; and what you have proved hold fast. Be conservative in God’s truth, and radical too, by keeping to the root of the matter. Hold fast what you know, and live mainly upon the simplicities of the gospel, for, after all, the food of the soul does not lie in controversial points: it lies in points which we will never have controverted, for “without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh.” There is the food of the soul where there is no controversy in any devout Christian spirit. Exercise yourself, then, in the plainer matters, and do not imbibe the notion that you must read all the quarterlies, and master “The Contemporary Review,” and the like, or else you will be a nobody; be content to be just such a nobody as a weaned child is, and say, “I exercise not myself in great matters or in things too high for me.”

 The same evil comes up in another form when we want to know all the reasons of divine Providence, — why this affliction was sent, and why that, — why father died, — why those two children that we loved so well were taken from us, — why we do not prosper in our various enterprises. Why? Why? Why? Ah, when we begin asking “Why? why? why?” what an endless task we have before us. If we become like a weaned child we shall not ask “why?” but just believe that in our heavenly Father’s dispensations there is a wisdom too deep for us to fathom, a goodness veiled but certain.

We exercise ourselves in things too high for us, too, when we begin considering the results of duty and hesitate to do it. A man’s course is quite clear in the word of God, but he says, “If I do that, how am I to provide for my family? If I do that, shall I not be throwing up a sphere of usefulness? I know it would be right to do it; my conscience tells me that I ought; but other people manage somehow to make notches in their conscience, and they are evidently very useful where they are.”

Ah, my dear brother, pray God to lead you in a plain path, and remember, you have nothing to do with results, except to receive them as tests of your faithfulness. Results must always be left with God; for if the result of doing right would be that you lost your life, your Master tells you that you must hate even your own life also, or else you cannot be his disciple.

You will get helped if you can trust, but if for the sake of this or that you do wrong, — I do not mind how you put it, — you are doing evil that good may come, and you are grieving the Spirit of God. Your mind will never get to be like a weaned child. It is not the child-like spirit to try to excuse yourself for maintaining a false position. The child-like spirit is to do what our heavenly Father tells us, because he tells us, and leave the consequences with him.

Thus I have said enough, perhaps too much, about the connection.

Now, from the simile itself we gather that the condition of heart of which David spoke was this— that he was like one who was able to give up his natural food, which seemed to him absolutely necessary, and which he greatly enjoyed. The weaned babe has given up what it loved.

By nature we hang on the breasts of this world, and only sovereign grace can wean us therefrom, but when we give up self-righteousness, self-confidence, the love of the world, the desire of self-aggrandisement, when we give up trusting in man, trusting in ceremonies, trusting in anything but God, then has our soul become like a weaned child. It has given up what nature feeds upon, that it may feed upon the bread of heaven.

It means, next, that he had at last conquered his desires, his longings, his pinings. The weaning child has his desires strong upon him, and he frets, but the child weaned is content, his desires lie still. And the child of God, when sufficient grace has come, feels no desires for that which once delighted him. He submits himself so completely to his Father’s will that, if he is to do without, he does without. Paul said he had learned in whatsoever state he was therewith to be content; there was another lesson which Paul had learned, but he does not tell us so: I have no doubt he had learned in whatsoever state therewithout to be content, which is a good deal more. To be content to be without as well as to be with is a high attainment. Not to have and to be as happy in not having as if one had all he desired is well. Oh, blessed state to be in! not merely taken away from the breasts of earth, but taught no longer to wish for them.

Now, a weaned child is dependent upon its mother entirely. It knows nothing about how it is to be fed. It could not feed itself, and it must die if deprived of the care of another; but it rests quietly, free from even a trace of anxiety.

I find that the Hebrew gives the idea of a child lying in its mother’s bosom, perfectly satisfied; and David puts it something like this, O my Lord, “my soul lies in thy bosom like a child that has done crying and fretting, and is weaned altogether.” Oh, happy man who so depends upon God that he leaves all his concerns with the God of love, and sings sweetly in confidence in God.

Thus I have tried to describe the state which the psalmist intended by being “as a weaned child.”

II. And now, secondly, WHAT IS THE EXCELLENCE OF THIS CONDITION?

Why is it desirable to be even as a weaned child? It is excellent every way. You will know it best by attaining to it, for when you are weaned your desires will no longer worry you.

Curb desire, and you have struck at the root of half your sorrow. He smarts not under poverty who has learned to be content, he frets not under affliction who is submissive to the Father’s will, and lays aside his own. When your desires are held within bounds your temptations to rebel are ended. You wanted this and you wanted that, and so you quarrelled with God, and your Lord and you were seldom on good terms. He did not choose to pamper you, and you wanted that he should, and so you fretted like a weaning child. Now you leave it to his will, and you have peace.

The strife is over; your soul is quieted, and behaves itself becomingly. Now, also, your resentments against those who injured you are gone; you were angry with a certain person, but your pettishness has ended with your weaning: you see that God sent him to do this which has troubled you, and you accept his hard words and cruel actions as from God, and you are angry no more.

You do not kick and struggle now against your condition and position, and you no longer murmur and complain from day to day as if you were hardly dealt with. No, if God chooses to better your circumstances you will be glad; if he does not, you just take it as you find it, for you could not blame his providence. You give your thoughts •to something better than the things of earth, for you now resolve as David did in the One Hundred and Thirty-second Psalm, which is very remarkable as following the psalm which contains our text, because there he goes on to declare that he will build for the Lord of hosts.

When your own business is all right, and you are weaned from all fretting, worrying, and self-seeking, then you are free to undertake the Lord’s business. He has done for you what you want, and now you want to do something for him. You have sought the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all other things have been added to you, so that you are as happy as the days are long in June. Look at the birds in the winter. When there is not a leaf on the boughs they sit and sing; and in the early spring, when still the winter’s cold is lingering, they pour out their very choicest songs; and yet there is not a lark or thrush among them that has an hour’s provision in store. Not one among them has house or barn, or gathers ought, and yet, according to Martin Luther’s interpretation of their song, they sing,

“Mortal, cease from toil and sorrow,
God provideth for the morrow.”

Happy is the man who comes to that condition! God bring us there.

When we are weaned we have got rid of the ground of future troubles and disappointments. We do not get weaned all at once from everything. One person here has been weaned from confidence in riches, but perhaps his heart, his affectionate heart, is clinging to some human love, some mortal joy. Well, brother, well, sister, remember that where your treasure is your heart will go, and if that treasure be taken away your heart must ache. If we trust in an arm of flesh, we make a rod for our own backs. You never lean upon a man or woman either, and steal away from simple trust in God, but what you are preparing for yourself a trial; it may be in the treachery of the one you trusted; it certainly will be, if you live long enough, in the death of that beloved one. “Dust to dust,” and “ashes to ashes,” will be the end of all earthly joy. If a building leans upon a buttress, if that buttress is taken away it must be weakened; but if it can stand alone, upon its own foundation, then it standeth firmly. The man who depends alone upon his God, and whose expectation is from him, has not half the occasions for trouble that he has who is leaning here and leaning there, and leaning in fifty places, for each earthly prop will be the cause or occasion of distress at some time or other.

III. I have very much to say on this point, but my time is gone. I will only close with the last enquiry, which is this: Is THIS STATE ATTAINABLE?

Certainly. David said, “My soul is even as a weaned child.” He did not say that he hoped it would be so. We can surely get where David got, for he was a man of like passions with ourselves. No attainment in grace is to be viewed as the monopoly of one man or one age; in fact, we have more advantages than the psalmist, for he lived under a much more poverty-stricken dispensation than we do.

Now the gates of heaven are set wide open, and the treasure-houses and the granaries of our heavenly Joseph are free to all Israel; and, if we are at all straightened, it certainly cannot be in the Lord. He does not stint us. Did David say, “My soul is even as a weaned child”? Then no believer here ought to be content till he can say, “By the grace of God I am brought into that same condition.” This sacred weanedness of heart is possible under any circumstances.

The poor have often attained it. I saw this week a poor woman, entirely dependent upon what was given to her by others, confined to her chamber, needing to be lifted from her bed, racked with rheumatic pain, and yet as happy as an angel. She was joying and rejoicing in the Lord, and one of her greatest pleasures was to sit on the side of the bed for an hour, when her pain was not so bad but what she could sit up, and get through a chapter or two; and then her heart took to itself wings, and soared up to heaven. Her soul was as a weaned child, she had no anxieties and no fretfulness. Those who attended her said that such a thing as a murmur never escaped her.

Hear this, ye poor ones! Well, and you who are better off may get there in the midst of riches, for David was a king, and yet he did not suffer his worldly wealth to canker his spirit. He was as a weaned child, though dwelling in a palace. He could get at the breast of worldly pleasures, and yet he was weaned from it. A man may be in this condition when he is tossed to and fro, and troubled. Business men are apt to say, “It is all very well for you ministers to talk about calm and peace of mind; but if you had to sell flour and bread, or measure out drapery, or look after a lot of clerks, or go into a large factory and see after a pack of work-girls, you would find it very difficult.”

My dear friends, look at David’s life. How tossed about he was! What cares, what trials, what changes, what singular alternations of condition, and yet for all that his soul was even as a weaned child. Do you think the religion of Jesus Christ was meant to be kept under a glass case, and that it would make good people of us if we were locked up in a cloister? No, it is a practical everyday religion, meant for you that have factories, and you that have bakeries, and you that have shops; the religion which cannot stand the wear and tear of everyday life is not worth twopence, and the sooner you are rid of such rubbish the better.

We want a religion which we may take with us wherever we go, that will keep us calm and quiet and self-possessed, because we are possessed of the Spirit of God. May we reach this happy state and never leave it.

What is the way to get it? The psalm tells us, “Let Israel hope in the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.”

Faith blossoming into hope is the way of sanctification, the road to a calm and quiet spirit.

You cannot say to yourself, “I will fret no longer,” and then expect never to fret. No, brother, you must expel one affection by another: one propensity must be vanquished by another. You are too ready to trust in man: trust in God will push out carnal confidence. You are expecting great things of the world, that is foolish: expect great things of God, and you will cease from carnal hopes. You are seeking from day to day for this world’s good, you feel an ambition to rise: seek after the eternal good, and feel an ambition to get nearer to God, and the other ambition will die. You are worried by fears and anxieties: come and rest your soul upon the faithful promise, and, resting there, your anxieties will cease.

I fear that many Christian people think that faith has nothing to do with every-day life; they do not expect to find that it relieves them of anxieties as to bread and cheese for themselves, and shoes and socks for the children, and all those little troubles and worries which concern a housewife and a father. But, oh, beloved, it is not so. The heathen had their household gods, and blessed be God he is our household God, the God of all the families of Israel. The Lord hears the young ravens when they cry, will he not hear his people? The ravens only cry for meat, a dead rabbit or a pigeon is all they want, yet the Lord sees that their wants are supplied, and I find that “not a sparrow falleth to the ground without your Father, and the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” These poor hairs? These little things! These trifling things!

You will never be as a weaned child till you leave these little things with God, for the child has no great things. A child’s matters are all little; though they are great to the babe they are little to us. Leave your little things with God: leave everything with God. Live in God; dwell in God; have no secrets between yourself and God. The troubles of life which fret us most are the little things. If a man goes on a long walk; it is not the climbing, and it is not the slipping down the steep hillside, it is that nasty little stone which has got into the shoe which troubles him. You can hardly see it, but there it is, and it blisters his foot and lames him. Ah, dear brother, take the little stone to God. Ask him to remove that little vexation from you, for as with God there is nothing great, so is there nothing little.

The greatest philosopher in the world, or the greatest king, if his little child had a thorn in his finger, would not think himself disgraced if he stooped to take it out with a needle; and the Lord who maketh all things, and calleth the stars by their names, does not dishonour himself when he binds up our broken hearts. Go, then, to your God, and let your soul leave everything with him, by faith being made as a weaned child.

“Easier said than done,” says somebody. Yes, brethren, except by faith, but to faith it is easy enough; and I boldly say here, I have sometimes found it easier to exercise faith than to talk about it. When I trust God — and I hope I do that habitually — I do not find that to give up anxiety and to trust in God is difficult now, though it used to be. Blessed be my Lord, I cannot help believing him, for he loads me down with evidences of his truth and fidelity. Once get really into the swim of faith and you do not need to struggle, the sacred current of grace will carry you along. Give yourself completely up to the Lord Jesus Christ and the mighty energy of the blessed Spirit, and you will find it sweet to lie passive in his hand, and know no will but his. God bring you there!

If there is any unconverted person here who cannot understand all this, I pray the Lord to make him a child first, and then make him a weaned child. Regeneration must come first, and sanctification will follow. Believe in Jesus for pardon, and then you will have grace given to resign yourself to the divine will. May the Lord wean you from earth and wed you to heaven. Amen.

 

Charles H. Spurgeon