Handfuls on Purpose Book E By James Smith


Handfuls on Purpose
Book E
By
James Smith
For
Christian Workers and Bible Students
Outlines, Readings, Studies, Thoughts,
Illustrations, Hints.
Book E.
INDEX OF SUBJECTS
EXPOSITORY OUTLINES.
OLD TESTAMENT.
THE STORY OF RUTH. Page
Ruth, the Pilgrim, 9
Ruth, the Seeker, . , :: 14
Ruth, the Gleaner, . . 18
Ruth, the Believer. . . 22
Ruth, the Redeemed, . . 25
Hannah, or the Triumph of
a Sorrowful Spirit . . 29
Call of Samuel, The, . . 32
Loss of Ark of God, The,. . 35
Ark of God in the hands of
the Philistines, ., 37
Ebenezer, . .
Saul, the Choice Yonha Mah:
40
42
Alas I My Brother I. . . .
Praying in Disguise, . .
Elijah, the Separated One,
Elijah, the Hidden One, . .
Elijah, the Faithful, . .
Elijah, the Reviver, . .
Elijah, the Witness, . .
Elijah, the Intercessor, . ;
Elijah, the Downcast, . .
Elijah Rebuked, . . . .
Elisha, The Call of, . .
Elijah, the Reprover, . .
Ben-hadad’ s Fall and Res-toration,
. . . .
Micaiah, the Faithful, . .
Page
116
118
121
124
126
129
132
135
138
141
145
148
151
153
Saul, the Anointed, – ,. 44
Saul, the Courageous, . . 47 I EXPOSITORY OUTLINES.
Saul, the Disobedient, . . 50 NEW TESTAMENT.
Saul, the Castaway, . . 53 Great Failure, A, . . . . 157
Saul, the Enemy, . . . 56 Lessons from a Bankrupt, 160
Saul, the Suicide, . . . . 60 He is Coming, . . . . 163
David’ s Call, . . . . 63 Barren Fig-Tree, The, . . 165
David’ s Victory, . . . . 65 Made Straight, . . . . 169
David and Jonathan, . . 68 Great Supper, The, . . 171
David in Adullam, . . 71 Lost Sheep, The, . . . . 174
David and Abigail,
David Among the Philistinks,
74 Lost Silver, The, . . . . 177
78 Lost Son, The, . . . . 179
David Recovering All, . . 80 Lost Sympathy, . . . . 182
DavidCrowned King Over All, 83 Lost Soul, A, . . . . 185
David Restoring the Ark, 85 Ten Lepers Cleansed, . . 187
David and Mephibosheth, 88 Christ’ s Second Advent, . .- 190
David’ s Fall and Forgiveness, 91 Successful Prayer, . . 192
David and Absalom, . . 94 Pharisee and Publican at
David’ s Song of Deliverance, 98 Worship, The . . 195
David’ s Offering, . . . . 100 One Thing Lacking, . . 198
David’ s Choice, . . . . 102 Bartimeus, . . . . . . 200
Adonijah, the Conquered Zacchaeus, . . . . . . 202
Rebel, . . . . . . 104 Parable of Pounds, The, . . 205
Solomon’ s Choice, . . 107 Christ Weeping Over Jeru-Royal
Inquirer, A, . . 109 salem, , . . . . . 207
Man-Made Religion, A, . . 113 Parable of the Husbandmen, 210.Vi INDEX OF SUBJECTS .-Continued.
Christ and the Sceptics, . .
Christ’ s Last Passover, . . Gethsemane, , . . .
Peter’ s Denial, . . . .
Pilate and Christ, . . . . Calvary, . , . . . .
Resurrection Wonders, . .
BIBLE READINGS.
Joshua-1.
Called and Equipped,
2. Tried and Triumphant
Consecration, or Hands
Filled, . . . .
Christian’ s Threefold Rs-lationship,
The, . .
212
215
216
218
220
222
224
221
230
234
236
God’ s Ability in and through
His People, . . . . 240
God’ s Questions- . . 243
1. In Relation to Sin, . . 244
2. In Relation to Salva- tion, . . . . 245
3. In Relation to Service, 247
Encouragement to Prayer, 249
Implicit Trust, . . . . 288
GOSPEL OUTLINES.
Christ Near, but Outride, 156
Wonders of Grace, . . 226
Way of Cain, The, . . 250
What Have I Done 7 . . 252
Free Salvation, . . . . 254
Aliemted from the Life of
God, . . . . . . 254
Regeneration, . . . . 256
Remember Lot’ s Wife, . . 259
Rich Fool, The, . . . . 260
Prayer, a Necessity and
Privilege, . . . . 263
Believe and See, . . . . 265
Powerless Staff, The, . . 267
Barabbas or Jesus,. . . . 269
How to be Blessed, :. 271
Bartered Birthright, The, 272
Seven Fools, . . . . 273
Call to Awake, The, . . 275
Why God sent His Son, . . 277
Not I, but Christ, . . 278
Christ, the True Manna, . . 280
Noah, A Type of Christ, . . 281
Christ Transfigured, . . 283
Shut Out Through Unbelief, 285
AreYouReady? . . . . 287
SEED THOUGHTS.
Power of His Presence,
The, . . . . . .
Salvation, . . . . . .
Lord will Provide, The, . .
Hope that Maketh Not
Ashamed, . . . .
Christ Near, but Outside,
Wonderful People, A, . .
God’ s Promise to Inquirers,
How to be Taught of God,
Privileged People, A, . .
Warning to Boasters, A, . .
Love, as Fruit of the Spirit,
Attitude Toward Christ, . .
Fruitful in Affliction, . .
Prayer of a Man of God, The
Behold He Cometh, . .
Asking, Seeking, Knocking,
Jesus as King, . . . . Heart Direction, . . . .
Great Salvation, . . . . Prayer of Jabez, The, . .
Love Superlative, . . . .
Wholesome Fear, . . . . God Our Saviour, . . . .
Gospel of Jehovah, The, . .
Unselfish Blessing, . .
Victory, The, . . . . Servant’ s Requirements, A,
Mercies of God, The, . .
289
289
290
290
290
291
291
292
292
292
293
293
293
294
294
294
295
295
296
296
296
297
297
297
298
298
298
298.INDEX OF SUBJECTS.-Continued. vii
Page
Sonship, . . . . . . 299
Throne of Grace, The, . . 299
Salvation Now, . . . . 299
Resist the Devil, . . . . 299
ILLUSTRATIONS.
Curse Cured by a Curse, A, 300
Carpet Christians,. . . . 309
Page
Temper, . . . . . . 300
Evangelistic Steam, . . 300
Discipline, . . . . . . 301
Jib Christians, . . . . 301
New Birth, The, . . . . 301
Beautiful Incarnation, The, 302
provision for the Flesh, . . 302
Religious Boggles, . . 302
GENESIS Page
8.
4:
Yi 1 3,
s-i3,
. . . . 244 244
4. 6, :: ;:s 4. 9, . . 248
2? 21: 14’ 17: . . . . 281 290 . . 245
3;. . ~2-34, , . . . . 272 293
EXODUS 4. 2, . . 248 6. 6-8, *. 297 10. 3, . . 244
NUMBERS 6. 1-13. . . 234 14. 11, . . 245
DIWTERONOMY
33. 3, . . 292
J OSRUA 1, . . . . 227
? 16,’ . . 230 . . 248
RUTH :: :: :: 13 9
;. :::; >. 14
2: 13-23 . . 17 . . 18 2. 13-23, . . 21 3. . . . . 22 . . 24 . . 25
INDEX OF TEXTS
1 SAMUEL
2 **
. . ‘B
4: I-ii,
. . 32
. . 35
5. 6, . . 37
; :: 10: . .
:: a;
Z l-ii, :: :; . . 50
Z l-ii, :: ::
17, . . . . 65
ii. ;B”, . . 68
22: I-i,
. . 56 . . 71
f;, .* . . 71
27’ 29,’ * ,. 74 . . 78
% 1: 31: . . .:: ::
., 60
1 KINGS Pagr 3. l-16, . . 107 10. l-13, 12. 26-33, :: :::
13, 14. l-ii, :: 2: 17. 1, . . 121 17. 2-6, 17. 7-16, :: ::: 17. 17-24, 18. l-39, . ,, 129
f;. :!846, :: ;::
19: g-16, . . 138 . . 141 19. 16-21, . . 145 20. 30-34, . . 151
21. 15-29, . . 148 22, . . . . 153
2 :*r . . 267
2 SAMUBL
1. 26, . . 68 5. 1-5, . . 83 6. l-16, . . 85 7. 23, . . 291
1; l-ii, .* 88
13118, . . 91 . . 94
22. 17-20, . . 98 ~~. :”;:7, :: :~ . -,
1 KINGS. 1. s-9, . . 104 1. 41-53, . . 104
I yIgyLE
. I . . 296
I“* 40. 8, ,. 245
PSALMS
14. 1, . . 273 25. 12, . . 292 40. 1-4, . . 271 50. 15, . , 249 90. 12-17, . . 294
t;;. . ; , . . . . 297 300
pR3”“ E . , ., 288.. . vu1
P ROVERBS
14. 9, 10. 22,
27. 1,
ISAIAH
1. 11,
2;. : 40: 26 42. 19, 52. 1-3, 55. 1,
55. 2,
JEREMIAH
1. 13,
;: :b,
;. ;
12: 5: .18. 6, 23. 24, 23. 29, 32. 27,
EZEK~SL 36. 37, 37. 3,
HOSEA
11. 0, 37. 3,
bfATTHEW
7. 7-8, 7. 26, 25. 13,
27. 17,
LUKE 9. 28-36, 12. 13-21, 12. 16-21, 12. 20, 12. 22-34,
INDEX OF TEXTS .-Continued.
Page
. . 274
. . 300
. . 292
. . 246
1: :::
:: X‘ z
:: ;il:
. . 246
. . 247 . . 247
:: ;:t
*. 252
. . 267
:: x::
:: ;::
:: fZ
. . 247 . . 249
. .
::
:z
294 . . 269
. . 283 ,. 157 . . 260
:: 5::
LUKE Page 12. 35-48, . . 163
13. 6-9. . . 165
13. lo-is. . . 169
14. 16-24; . . 171
15. 1-7, 15. s-10. :: ::: 15. 11-24, . . 179 15. 25-32, . . 182 16. 19-31, . . 185 17. 11-19, . . 187 17. 20-37, . . 190 17. 32, 16. 1, :: 22s”:
16. l-14, 16. e-14.. :: :9”5”
19: $. ;;U, l-10,’
. . 198
:: % 19. 1 l-27, . . 205
19. 28-48, . . 207
20. 9-19, :: 210 20. 20-40, 212
22. l-23, 22. 39-54, :: %;: 22. 54-62, . . 218 23. l-25, 23. 24-48, :: fZ 24. l-27, . . 224
JOHN 3. 3-7, . . 256 3. 17-M. . . 277 6. 47-51, 280 11. 40. -:: 265 15. :. . . 236
ROYANS
1. 21, 22, . . 274
:: f;, :: x::
1 CORINTHIANS 4. 10,
15. 35, 36, ::
274
274 15. 58, . . 297
26CO;IINTIIIANS P~J;
Ii. id,’ : : 240
GALATIANS
2. 20, 226, 273
5. 22, . . 293
EPHESIANS
4: :. ii-21, 18. . :: . 289 254 240
COLOSSIANS
1. 29, . . 240
1 THESSALONIANS
5. 6, . . 300
2 THESSALONIANS
3. 5,
1 TIMOTHY
6. 17,
TITUS
2. 10,
HEBREWS
i4: %,
t* h
12: 17:
JAMES
4. 7,
1 JOHN
3. 2,
4. 10,
IUD=
11. . .
. . 295
. . 299
. . 297
:: 296 285 . . 297 . . 299 . . 272
. . 299
:: 296 299
. . 250
REVELATION 3. 20, 156, 290.Old Testament Outlines
RUTH, THE DECIDED PILGRIM
CHAPTER 1 .- “Choose ye this day. ”
THE BOOK OF RUTH, like the Song of Solomon, is
A full of grace and truth. It evidently belongs to the
times of the Judges, perhaps to the early days of Gideon,
when the Midianites prevailed and “destroyed the increase
of the earth,” thereby causing a “famine in the land”
(Judges 6. l-6), which constrained this “certain man” to
sojourn-in Moab (v. 1).
The book contains the history of a Jew who went into a
far country, and through that Jew’s backsliding a Gentile
woman is brought out of the far country into the land of
blessing. Then, through the Gentile woman’s faithfulness
the blessing is restored to the Jew. Just a picture of how
Jew and Gentile are complementary the one to the other
in the divine plan whereby all receive “the blessing from
the Lord, and righteousness from the God of their
salvation. ”
Verse 2, “And they came into the country of Moab,
and continued there.” Famine drove them there, and
Moabitish connection kept them there. “In the days
of adversity consider”-for adversity will either drive
a Christian nearer his God or nearer the world. If faith
does not cling to Him the flesh will drag from Him. Did
ever any believer make anything of going to Egypt for
help? What did Lot make? or the Prodigal, or Elimelech?
Naomi lost both her husband and sons through her journey
to Moab. It was all right to go to Egypt for help when
Joseph was there, because there was corn in Egypt; but
now the true Joseph has been exalted to Heaven, and woe
B Vol. 5.10 Handfuls on Purpose.
must come upon them that seek help apart from Him.
Those who go to the world for help instead of to Him are
likely to come back like Naomi a weeping widow bereft of
all, or like the Prodigal, repentant in shameful rags.
“Then she arose” (v. 6). The Prodigal also remem-bered
his father’s house in the far country, and said,
“I will arise. ” “Naomi heard that the Lord had visited
His people, and given them bread, ” and this was gospel
to the afflicted wanderer. She believed the tidings, and
her faith brought her back. She heard, she believed, she
acted. “Faith cometh by hearing. ” The Gospel of God
is good news from a far country. Man has wandered far
from God. The good news has reached the world, that
God has visited the people in the person of His Son, and
given them bread-“The Bread of Life. ” Oh ! that the
weary, famished, broken-hearted wanderers who have
heard the good .tidings would, like Naomi, “Arise. ”
Many have heard this blessed Gospel in the far country of
alienation, but how few have believed the report; the
majority seem content to dwell in Moab, and feed on the
husks that the swine do eat.
“She went forth OUT of the place” (v. 7). There
cannot be a retwning without a separatiort. “Come out
from among them, and be ye separate” (2 Cor. 6. 17). If
Heaven would be gained the world must be shunned; if you
would eat at the Father’s table the swine-troughs must be
forsaken. “Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke
16. 13). Choose whom ye will serve. “If any man love the
world, the love of the Father is not in Him” (1 John 2. 15).
“SureIy we will return with thee unto thy people”
(v. 10). This is the language of Ruth and Orpah, and
seemingly both alike earnest. But those who would follow
the religion of Jesus Christ must endure trial, and to
stand must be decided. There are many Orpahs who,.Old Testament Outlines. 11
through adversity or excitement, run well for a time, but
by and by they forsake, like Demas, because they love
the world, and not unfrequently do such sever themselves,
like Orpah, with the kiss of pretended friendship. Rest,
in the Moab of this present evil world, is what rebel man
would like ; but Matthew 11. 28 is God’s way.
“And Naomi said, Why will ye go with me I” (v. 11).
The motives of every professed disciple must be tested.
No earthly inducement is offered. No worldly preferment
can be gained. “I am too old to have an husbatzd. ” Un-dying
love alone to the Person of Jesus will spurn every
worldly temptation and go forward.
“Behold thy sister has gone back” (v. 15). Why?
Was not Bethlehem in her eye ? Ah, yes ! but Moab was
in her heart. “Remember Lot’s wife. ” There is no
neutral standing ; it must be either back to your people and
your gods, or “thy people shall be my people, and thy God
my God. ” It becomes those who name the Name of Jesus
to depart from all iniquity. There may be mouth pro-fession
where there is heart division, and to trust in
profession is to lean on a shadow.
In verse 7 Orpah went out; in verse 15 we see her gone
back. The going back of one will always prove an addi-tional
trial to another; but see how Ruth overcomes the
temptation. She said : “Entreat me not to leave thee. ”
What decision there is in the words and tone of her reply,
and why so decided, and why did Naomi cease to try
her? Because she was “steadfastly-minded” (v. 18).
The double-minded are unstable. Her heart was fixed.
Would that all the disciples of Jesus were like-minded.
She could truly say: “One thing I do, forgetting the things
that are behind, I press toward the mark for the’ prize
of the high calling” (Phil. 3. 14). And did she not
gain the prize of the high calling when she was made.12 Handfuls on Purpose .
the wife of the wealthy Boaz 1 “Let no man take thy
crown ” (Rev. 3. 11).
Every true believer in Jesus can use the language of
Ruth in a deeper spiritual sense. They can say : “Whither
Thou goest I will go, where Thou lodgest I will lodge;
Thy people shall be my people, Thy God my God. ” They
can also add: “Where Thou diest I have died, and there
have I been buried (but now risen again, and nothing shall
part Thee and me. Neither life not death, nor any other
creature shall be able. ” Every Gospel hearer makes their
choice either to go “out” or “to go back. ” What is your
choice ? “Wilt thou go with this man?” was asked of I
Rebekah. Her reply was, “1 will go. ” In Luke 14 they
began to make excuse; in 2 Chronicles 30. 10, “they
laughed them to scorn. ”
“So they two went until they came to Bethlehem”
(v. 19). Can two walk together except they be agreed ?
Here we are reminded of the two on their way to Emmaus.
Naomi and Ruth walking together is a beautiful picture of
our fellowship one with another on our way to the heavenly
Bethlehem (house of bread) with the mutual understanding
that naught but death can part us; but our walk with the
Lord Jesus death cannot even interrupt. “Because I live,
ye shall live also” (John 14. 19).
Bethlehem may represent the Church ; so we read, when
they came to Bethlehem all the city was moved about
them. There was joy in the house when the Prodigal
came back : there is joy among the angels when one sinner
repenteth. This joy is real, because the Church is a family
in matzlre as well as in name.
But they say in astonishment: “Is this Naomi ? ”
(v. 19). What a change, few perhaps can recognise her. Ah !
the far country experience is generally a sad one, the I
pleasant is turned into bitterness, plenty transformed.Old Testament Outlines. 13
into poverty, fullness gives place to emptiness. She has
to confess, “I went out full, and the Lord hath brought
me home again empty” (v. 21). So with the Prodigal.
He gathered all together, but he came home empty, and if
the servants did not know him, the father, did, and that too
a long way off. You remember how the man came back
that went down to Jericho and fell among thieves.
If a Christian backslides down into the world, how can
he escape being robbed of all he possesses, robbed of his
peace, his joy, and his testimony, and when the Lord
brings him back (for the Lord will bring him back), it
, will be in sorrow, shame, and in bitterness of soul, but
yet Ruth may be with him, a child of the far country, an
experience that will be a blessing to him in the future.
Now, Naomi in reviewing her wilful wanderings, has to
acknowledge that “the Lord hath testified against me”
(v. 21). He testifies against every backslider. Are you
as near the Lord as you used to be ? Is He testifying against
you? Return, 0 wanderer, to thy home I ”
OUTLINE OF CHAPTER I.
I. A God-Dishonouring Choice (w. 1, 2). Elimelech
means, “My God is King. ” Why, then, should he go to
Moab, and come under Chemosh, the fire-god of the
heathen ? When we fail to trust the true God we come
under the power of the god of this world.
IL A Miserable Experience (w. 3-5). Naomi lost
her husband and two sons in the far country. Forsaking
God for worldly advantages and material prosperity will
surely bring soul misery.
III. A Soul-Moving Story (v. 6). “The Lord had
visited, and given them bread. ” Such is the Gospel, the
story of Divine supply for the needy.
IV. A Testing Time (w. 7-13). “She went forth. ”.14 Handfuls on Purpose.
Faith leads to definite action. Her action powerfully in-fluences
others. Ruth and Orpah are both deeply moved.
“They, seeing your good works” (Matt. 5. 16).
V. A Final Decision (w. 14-18). The one follows no
more, the other clings as for very life. The u&able kiss
and go back. The steadfastly minded leave all and press on.
VI. A Humbling Confession (v. 21). “I went out
full, but come back empty. ” Yes, we need to be emptied
that we might be restored to faith in God. But, thank
God, the way back is still open.
VII. A Hearty Welcome (v. 19). “All the city was
moved. ” To come back to a life of simple trust in God is
to come into the warmth of a home. Such a backcoming is
always seasonable (v. 22)-the beginning of harvest.
RUTH, THE HUMBLE SEEKER.
CHAPTER 2. l-12.-“Seek and ye shall find. ”
“Naomi had a kinsman, a mighty man of wealth”
(v. 1). Then why did she go to Moab instead of coming to
her wealthy kinsman? Why do many in the time of trial
forsake the Fountain of living water and go to broken
cisterns? Boaz means strength. What foolishness it is
then in the hour of weakness to forget the frie& that is
strong. Our kinsman Redeemer is a mighty man of wealth,
and if I speak of strength, lo ! He is strong.
Perhaps the spirit of independence and self-will re-strained
Elimelech and his wife from asking help from
Boaz. They would shift for themselves rather than bow
to beg; but what disappointment it brought, what a sorrow-ful
failure it proved. It is always so if we are too proud to
let our requests be made known unto God. He may allow
us to follow our own stubborn way until we have spent all
the strength and energy we had. Then shall we be glad to.Old Testament Outlines. 15
come back in our emptiness, and be thankful for the
gleanings from the fields of our rich kinsman. “Ye have
not, because ye ask not” (James 4. 2).
Ruth said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean”
(v. 2). Ruth may here represent an anxious soul in search
of the truth. She has forsaken her old companions and her
gods. “Left all, ” but she has not yet found rest to her
soul ; but like an earnest seeker, she is not ashamed to gird
herself with the gleaner’ s apron. Those who are ashamed
of the truth of God’ s Word are those who don’ t know its
sacred worth. Many would be glad to get the corn of the
heavenly Bethlehem for their souls, but they are ashamed
to confess their anxiety by appearing as a gleaner or a
seeker. Rather than seek they starve. They deem it
prudent that no one should know their need. Ruth did
not need to be driven to it, or even persuaded; she went
because she desired to go. When any one is really anxious
about their souls they will not need to be compelled to
search the Scriptures.
Notice also that Ruth knew wIreye to go to glean.
“Among the reapers” (v. 3). This is the most likely
place to find. Where is a troubled honest seeker most likely to find the needed blessing ? Is it not by following
after the ministry of those who are “reapers, ” those who
know what to bring irt, and what to leave o&. As in
Leviticus 19. 19 some, heedless of this command, gather
in all, they don’ t rightly divide the Word.
“Her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging
toBoaz;… and behold Boaz came” (v. 3, 4). “The steps
of a good man are ordered of the Lord ” (Psa. 37. 23).
Many a seeker has been constrained to use language like
this. “They happened just to light on a part of Scripture
that talked about Jesus, and as they went on, wondrous
revelations were made. ” Behold the Master comes and.16 Handfuls on Purpose.
talks with them. While Ruth was gleaning Boaz
appeared, and after saluting his servants (for there is mutual
love and confidence between Boaz and his workers ; he
comes with grace in his heart and a blessing on his lips, and
his servants bless him; so is it with the willing servants of
Jesus, mutual confidence and mutual blessing) he inquires,
“Whose damsel is this ?” (v. 5) “The Master is come and
calleth for thee” (John 11. 28). His compassionate eye
rests kindly on the anxious stranger. He draws near, he
speaks, “Hearest thou not, my daughter” (v. 8). It is
quite possible for one to be so busy see&g that they do not
at first hear the voice of the Master. His words to the
seeker are full of grace. “Go not to glean in another
field, but abide here. ”
The law allowed her to glean (Lev. 19. 9)’ but only
grace would say, “Abide here. ” Here the Master has
found the seeking one. The Good Shepherd seeks till
He finds. When a seeking sinner is earnestly following
the “reapers” and searching the field of revelation the
Master is sure to meet him, and bless him with that grace
that fills His heart, and constantly flows from His lips. His
grace is gaod news to the weary gleaner. Grace came to Ruth
by Boaz. He knows how to speak a word to the weary.
“Go not to glean in another field” (v. 8). The field
of carnal reason will offer you only chaff and stubble.
If ye abide in Me, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be
done unto you. Grace brought to Ruth far above what she
could ask or think. Not only “liberty, ” but “protection. ”
“He charged them not to touch her” (v. 9). Such is the
privilege of all those who share this grace “wherein we
stand. ”
Now, what effect had this manifestation of grace upon
Ruth, did it make her self -confident and boastful ? Oh, no !
“She fell on her face, and bowed herself to the.Old Testament Outlines. 17
ground” (v. 10). When a weary, heavy laden soul sees
the exceeding riches of His grace self is bowed to the ground.
When Saul met the Lord he fell to the earth. It is not the
wrath of God that leads us to repentance, but His goodness.
The hammer of the law may break the icy heart in pieces,
only grace can melt it, but it is easiest melted when broken.
After being bowed down with a mighty sense of un-worthiness,
she asks, “Why have I found grace in thine
eye, I a poor stranger, thou a mighty man of wealth”
(v. 10). “Grace, ” and oh, such grace ! “Why ? ” Just
because He is gracious. It is a sure sign that grace is re-ceived
and enjoyed when this question is so spontaneousIy
asked, “Why have I ? ” There is astonishment that such
unworthiness should be so highly favoured. These are the
first feelings of the new born soul. “Herein is love”
(1 John 3. 1).
And Boaz said, “It hath been fully showed me all that
thou hast done unto thy mother” (v. 11). “I know thy
works’ ’ (Rev. 2. 2). It hath been fully showed Him
(Jesus) all we have done, whether good or bad. “Inasmuch,
as ye did it unto these, ye did it unto Me” (Matt. 25. 40).
Naomi was the friend of Boaz. Is it not comforting to
remember that He knows all the little deeds of kindness
we do, no matter how much the blinded world may mis-judge
our acts ?
“Where He may lead -1’ 11 follow,
My trust in Him repose;
And every hour in perfect peace,
I’ 11 sing He knows, He knows. ”
OUTLINE OF CHAPTER 2. 1-12
I. Her Great Humility (v. 2). In desiring to become
a gleaner she shows her willingness to take the place of a
poor oute. But she would rather do that than go back to.18 Handfuls on Purpose.
Moab. Her separation from her old life was complete.
She is not ashamed to take the place of a seeker.
II. Her Good Fortune. “Her hap was” (v. 3). She
may have gone out trembling, but the guiding Spirit of God
was with her, as He is ever with those who have turned
their backs upon the far country and its gods. It was while
she was see&g that she met the mighty man of wealth.
III. Her Character Searched Out (w. 5-7). The
master considers her case. Nothing is hid from him. “It
has been fully showed me, ” he said. “1 know thy works,
and labour of love. ”
IV. Her Path Made Plain (v. 8). “Go not, abide
here. ” All fear is now dispelled by the assurance of his
grace. Truth-seekers in the field of His Word will find
grace upon grace.
V. Her Grateful Acknowledgment. “She fell, and
bowed, and said, ” etc. (v, 10) “Why have I ? ” Just be-cause
he is gracious. She could not plead that she kessrved
such grace, but she thankfully acknowledged it.
VI. Her Heart Comforted. (1) Comforted with the
assurance that he Knouls all abo& her (v. 1 1 ). (2) Com-forted
with the assurance that he is is full sympathy with
her (v. 12). He desired for her refuge and rest under the
wings of Jehovah. All this our heavenly Boaz (Jesus)
gives to them that t~%st Him (Matt. 23. 37).
RUTH, THE SUCCESSFUL GLEANER
CHAPTER 2. 13-23.-‘“Grace reigns. ”
IT now becomes the subject of grace to acknowledge the
blessing received. Ruth said, “Thou hast comforted me,
Thou hast spoken friendly (to the heart–margi~) unto
thine handmaid” (v. 13). When the Master speaks He
speaks home to the heart. He well knows the trouble is.OId Testament Outlines. 19 
there; Ke came to bind up the broken-hearted. Ruth’s
confession of grace received just opened the channel wider
for the outflow of grace, for Boaz said unto her, “At meal-time
come thou hither, and eat of the bread” (v. 14),
the bread provided by Him for His servants. She now
enjoys the privilege of the servant sitting at the Master’s
table, eating the Master’s bread in fellowship with the
Master’s servants.
“She sat beside the reapers” (v. 14). No doubt these
were seasons of rest and times of refreshing (Isa. 28. 12) to
this weary labourer ; and, moreover, “He reached her
parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed” (v. 14)
How sweet to get the bread fresh from the Master’s hand.
This is, indeed, soul-satisfying grace. Many get their
bread at second-hand, and are rarely satisfied. Ruth’s
was a hand-tomouth existence, but it was from His hand
to her mouth, the hand of the mighty man of wealth.
What a Iovely little picture is here of those memorable
times of blessing wherein our Lord and Master refreshes
the hearts of His servants whiIe they are bearing the burden
and heat of the day. When He invites them to “Come
and dine” (John 21. 12), and they sit down with Him,
and receive from His own hand those things which He hath
provided for them, “My God shall supply al1 your need”
(Phil. 4. 19). Yet although Ruth had experienced great
grace, there is still more to follow, for it is a11 of grace from
beginning to end. Salvation by grace, and the life of faith,
are beautifully manifested in this touching story. Ruth
offers no excuse, but thankfully receives a11 He gives.
She does not dishonour Him by thinking He is giving too
much. Many Christians dishonour the mighty Son of God
by living more like paupers than princes.
“All things work together for good” (Rom. 8. 28). mile
Ruth is busy gleaning, Boaz is busy planning for her com-.26 Handfuls on Purpose.
fort and success. “He goeth before” (Matt. 28. 7).
Boaz commanded the young men, saying, “Let her glean
even among the sheaves, and let fall also handfuls on
purpose for her. ” What words of grace are these. Gleaning
among the sheaves is the privilege of those who have found
favour in the sight of the Master; and what rich sheaves of
promise we have in the field of His Word ! But only be-lievers
have the liberty to glean here (Eph. 2. 12), and
according to your faith be it unto you. Those also who have
found grace in His sight find many an unexpected handful
that has been dropped on purpose for them. And notice,
these handfuls did not fall by chance, they were each a
gift of his grace. So our blessed Master does not leave His
servants to the caprice of blind chance, or to pick up what
joy and comfort they may ; but many a rich handful He
drops on purpose to comfort and cheer them in their work.
Gleaning among the greedy and the selfish is most
arduous, miserable work, and such is the worldling, seeking
satisfaction in other fields. But how different in the field
where grace reigns ! There the handfuls are dropped on
purpose. If you go to glean on other fields be sure the
handfuls will cease. Jesus says, “Follow Me. ”
Now we read that she “beat out that she had gleaned,
‘ and took it up” iv. 17). While gleaning in the field of
Revelation, among the thoughts of God, how apt we are to
gather also the chaff and straw of the foolish thoughts of
our own evil hearts. The chaff and straw may increase the
bulk, but they will not increase the value of what we may
have gleaned. The wheat is precious in proportion as it is
pure. So there is much need for the beating ozlt, and this
can be best done where Ruth did it;in the field. If, like
her, we are more anxious for quality than quantity, then
by comparing Scripture with Scripture the truth of God
will be clearly beaten out. This is the fine wheat, take
it up, and let the chaff go to the wind and the straw to the.Old Testament Outlines. 21
fire. Preach the Word ; if you can’t eat the chaff yourself,
don’t give it to another.
It is also worthy of notice that “she brought forth, and
gave her mother” (v. 18) not only what she had gleaned,
but also the prepared corn which she had received direct
from the hand of Boas (v. 14). She had received it all
through grace, and she kept nothing back. If Naomi re-presents
“pure religion, ” why does it lack so much ? Is it
not because many of the gleaners keep back part of the
price, laying up for themselves while the kindred of Jesus
are in need ?
Then Naomi said, “Where hast thou gleaned to-day?”
(v. 19). Ah I she had been with the “mighty man
of wealth, ” and in the fat pastures where the handfuls are
dropped on purpose. Ruth answered, “The man’ s name
is Boaz. ” (v. 19). That was enough. When servants
come out from the presence of Jesus. to speak of His Name
they come as those bearing much precious seed; there is a
heavenly *beauty and freshness about them, so that some
may be constrained to ask: Where hast thou gleaned to-day?
But the answer immediately follows: We have been
with Jesus, the mighty God, the Prince of Peace.
Ruth went home and told her friend what great things
Boaz had done for her and promised to her. Those who
value the grace and fellowship of Jesus will also value the
privilege of telling others what His grace has done for them.
“Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare
what He hath done for my soul” (Psa. 66. 16).
OUTLINE OF CHAPTER 2. 13-23
RUTH went out empty, but she came back laden with
blessing and beaming with joy. So much so that Naomi
was constrained to say, “Where hast thou gleaned to-day ? ”
(v. 19). The secret of her success lay in this-.22 Handfuls on Purpose.
I. She had been with a mighty man of wealth (w.
1-19). Like Christ, Boaz had (1) a wealth of ~ossessiolzs;
(2) a wealth of infltience; (3) a wealth of grace.
II. She had been with a near kinsman (v. 20). She
knew not of the near relationship, but he did. The kins-man
had the right to avenge or redeem. Our Kinsman
Redeemer came not to condemn, but to give His life a
ransom for us.
III. She had been with one who understood her
need. He spoke to her heart (v. 13, margin). This is
always the manner of our Redeemer, for He knows what
is in man.
IV. She had been with one who was not ashamed
to acknowledge her publicly (v. 14). “She sat beside
his reapers: and he reached her parched corn. ” He gave
her a time of refreshing from his own presence. Ruth
never says “No” to the gifts of his grace.
V. She had been with one who planned for her
good. His eye was over all the field, and all were
ready to do his bidding. So handfuls were dropped
on purpose for her, “according to His will” (Rom.
8. 28). They are blessed indeed who come into touch
with the unsearchable riches of Christ.
RUTH, THE RESTFUL BELIEVER
CHAPTER 3. – “Rest in the Lord. ”
THEN Naomi said, “My daughter, shall I not seek rest
for thee ? ” (v, 1). Ruth had found favour in the sight of
Boaz, and had tasted the exceeding riches of his grace, but
she had not yet found the rest of unbroken fellowship. She
was not yet in the yoke with Boaz by the marriage tie.
“Take my yoke upon you, and ye shall f&d rest unto your
souls” (Matt. 11. 29). This was the rest that now re-.Old Testament Outlines. 23
mained for Ruth. Union to the mighty man of wealth is
the almighty remedy for her poverty. Are there not many
timid believers who have rejoiced in the grace of Jesus but
cannot yet call Him My Lord, My Shepherd ?
The only way to abiding communion and uninterrupted
fellowship is Ruth’s way, “faith and obedience. ” She
believed all that Boaz told her, and did all he bade her (v. 5).
“Behold he winnoweth’ barley to-night” (v. 2).
This is not the reapers’ work, they have gone to their rest.
Now He comes whose fan is in His hand, He will thoroughly
purge His floor. Every day’s work has to be winnowed by
the Master, and to the servants of Christ this is a source of
comfort, for with the barley, if much labour, there is also
much chaff. So they are glad to have this work purged
ere it reaches the garner, knowing that they are rewarded
for the wheat, and not for the chaff, whose end is the fire
because there is no 2ifc in it.
And Naomi said, “Wash thyself” (v. 3), and get thee
down to the floor. This advice given to Ruth was practical
and common sense, for although she had experienced great
grace at the hand of Boaz, yet in approaching him for
higher favours still she must use every means possible to
secure the blessing desired. And so should we in making \
our requests known unto Him. If we regard iniquity in
our heart the Lord will not hear. First, be reconciled to
thy brother, “wash thyself, ” put away and incline your
heart (Joshua. 24. 23).
Naomi also said, “Mark the place where he shall
lie” (v. 4), and lay thee down at his feet, and he will.tell
thee what thou shalt do. If we want to learn the will of
our Master toward us we too must be willing to lie at His
feet. Mark the promise He has given, for this is where
the Master lies, and lay thyself down there and pull the
skirt of His Word over thee, and wait patiently for Him,.24 Handfuls on Purpose.
for He will tell thee what thou shalt do. Notice the three
steps of Ruth to the feet of Boaz: (1) WASHING. (2) WATCHING. (3) WAITING.
“When Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart
was merry, he went to lie down” (v. 7). The master
had sown the seed and carefully watched it from the blade
to the earing. Now the harvest is past, the winnowing is
over. His soul is satisfied, and he rests. Shall not our
Divine Master also see of the travail of his soul, and be
satisfied. when He shall with the fan of judgment winnow
the mixed mass on the floor of the world ? Shall there not
be enough to satisfy His longing soul and make glad the
heart of Him who went out from the home of His glory,
bearing precious seed, and who sowed in tears ? (Luke
19. 41). Shall He be sorry that the chaff has been blown
away? He shall rejoice over His people with singing
(Zeph. 3. 17):
“And it came to pass that at midnigk;t he said, Who
art thou?” (v. 8). Though He tarry, wait for Him. His
voice is often heard at midnight by the waiting one, while
others, it may be, are all insensible to His presence. The
special blessing is often received through special waiting.
OUTLINE OF CHAPTER 3
NAOMI had great faith in their Kinsman Redeemer, Now
that Ruth had put her case into his hands, she is told
to “Sit still, for the man will not be in rest till he have
finished the thing” (v. 18). See how Ruth entered into
that blessed rest.
I. She casts herself at his feet (w. 4-6). She had
offered a request before (chap. 2. 7), but now she offers
herself. It was in the darkest ,hour of the night that his
voice was heard.
II. She claimed him as her kinsman (v. 9). She.Old Testament Outliner. 25
claims the fulfilment of his office as redeemer in her behalf.
It was a great demand for a poor stranger to make, but the
mighty man of grace looked upon it as an act of kindness
showed Him (v. 10).
III. She received his promise (v. 10-13). There was
no reluctance in Boaz to perform the part of a kinsman
redeemer. She asks, and at once the promise is given. He
is faithful who hath promised. Ruth does not’make him a
liar by guilty doubt.
IV. She rests in his work. She sits still now,
leaving him to do the redeeming work. What else could
she do? The work was not hers, but his. She had his
promise that he would finish the thing. So she rests
ila f&h. Rest in the Lord. Trust also in Him, and
He will bring it to pass. (Lev. 16. 30, 31):
RUTH, REDEEMED AND CLAIMED
CHAPTER 4.
“Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat down there” (v. 1). What to do? To irttercede for Ruth. And
success is sure with such an intercessor, being “a mighty
man of wealth. ” He is a man of mighty influence, and
must prevail. Are we not reminded here of Him who has
ascended up on high, and is set down at the Father’s right
hand to make intercession for us who have been found of
Him ? He that delighteth in mercy, and who is able to
save to the uttermost (to the end) all that come unto God
through Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession
for them.
And Boaz said to his kinsman, “Redeem, for there is none to redeem beside thee; and I am after thee”
(v.. 4). This kinsman, like the law, had the first claim,
but not the ability to redeem. The law is our k&man
cortdemner ; but Jesus, like Boaz, is our Kinsman Redremer.
c Vol. 5.26 Handfuls on Purpose.
By the law is the knowledge of sin, not the jorgivelzess of sin.
This we can have through the precious Blood alone, the
great redemption price. By the deeds of the law shall no
flesh be justified. The answer this kinsman gave was, “I
cannot redeem. ” But Boaz, the mighty man of wealth, is
well able to redeem, therefore what the law could not do
“in that it was weak” (Rom.. 8. 3), abounding grace hath
accomplished, for “He hath redeemed” (Gal. 3. 13).
Boaz said, “What day thou buyest the field, buy (it) also of Ruth” (v. 5). Ruth, as emblematic of the Church,
is the real treasure in the field. The field is the world;
the treasure is the Church, as in Matthew 13. 44. And our
heavenly Boaz, who was rich, for our sakes became poor,
because He sold all that He had and bought the field, that
He might secure the hidden treasure.
“And Boaz said unto the elders and all the people, Ye
are my witnesses that Ruth, the Moabitess, have I purchased to be my wife” (v. 10). A few points are
worthy of notice in connection with
This Redemption.
I. He only could redeem. He had the rig+2 as kinsman ;
he had the power as a mighty man of wealth; he was
also in the right condition to redeem, being alone ; and now
the redemption itself brings joy and satisfaction to his own
soul. And shall not the redeemed Church be to the heart
of her Redeemer a new source of eternal joy and satisfac-tion?
He shall be satisfied. Christ only can redeem. His
incarnation made Him our Kinsman, and gave Him the
tight to redeem. His divinity made Him mighty, and gave
Him the power to redeem. We have redemption through
His Blood (1 Peter 1. 18, 19).
II. This was a Willing Redemption. Boaz did not
grudge the redemption money. How could he when his
heart was set on the purchase of Ruth ? He willingly.Old Testament Outlines. n
offered the full price, although that price included the gift
of kimself. So was it with Jesus, our princely Kinsman,
who loved us and gave Himself for us, that He might give
Himself to us. Nor did He hesitate to pay the awful price
of sorrow, suffering, and blood, that He might redeem us
from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.
III. This was a Gracious Redemption. Boar, was not
ashamed to redeem Ruth, the poor stranger. The prince
of wealth stoops to lift the poor helpless one, who cannot
redeem herself, He hath regarded the low estate of his
handmaiden ; he hath shown strength with his arm ; he hath
exalted them of low degree, he hath filled the hungry soul
with good things, and now the soul of Ruth shall magnify
her lord.
The wealthy Prince of Heaven is ashamed of none who
look to Him for redemption. He says, “Look unto Me,
and be ye saved. ” He irtvites the wretched, the miserable,
the poor, the blind, and the naked to look to Him and
trust in Him. Yea; He stoops in His redemption work to
lift the helpless from the horrible pit on to the Rock
of Strength, to lift the poor and the polluted from the
dunghill, to rank among princes, and to be co-heirs with
Himself. He is not ashamed to call them brethren. So
the gleaner, through grace, becomes an heir of His glory.
IV. This was a Public Redemption. There were
many witnesses to the fact that the price was paid; this
thing was not done in a comer, but in the presence of the
elders of all the people. When Moses smote the rock, it was
in the presence of the elders. The Rock Christ was also
publicly smitten, they put Him to an open shame. He
suffered without the gate. As Boaz went up to the gate to
finish the work in behalf of Ruth, in the sight of many
witnesses, so Jesus went up to Calvary and finished the
work the Father gave Him to do in behalf of His people..28 Handfuls on Purpose.
Afterwards, when the price was paid, He rose from the
dead ; and as Boaz, when the bargain was settled, “plucked
off his shoe, ” Jesus plucked off the grave-clothes as a
token that the covenant was sealed and the inheritance
redeemed; and the apostles say, “We are witnesses. ”
He was seen of many.
V. The Purpose of this Redemption. “That the name
of the dead be not cut off” (v. 10). In Adam all have
died unto God; but in Christ, through His redemption, all
that believe are made alive unto God. Thus spiritual
seed is raised, according to the gracious purpose of God.
“Boaz did not redeem Ruth to be his slave. ” He says,
“Ruth have I purchased to be my wife, ” to be part of
himself. What more could he do for her than that he had
done ? Communion has now’ culminated in union.. Her
service henceforth shall be that loving, ready service which
is the glad outflow from unity of heart, and purpose, and
interest, and in the self-sacrificing spirit of those who abide
in the Master’s presence, and who know that He hates
putting away. Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a
price ; therefore glorify God in your bodies and spirits,
which are His. It was the grace alone of Boaz that trans-formed
the life and relationship of Ruth, and by faith she
got access into this grace wherein she now stands and
rejoices in hope.
VI, This was a Perfect Redemption. “Boaz took
Ruth, and she became his wife” (v. 13). The prophecy of
Naomi has now been fulfilled. “The man will not be at
rest until he hath finished the thing” (chap. 3. 18). Our
Kinsman Redeemer shall likewise come and finish the thing
_ by taking His purchased Bride home to be with Himself,
for where He is there shall we be also. The day that Boaz
redeemed Ruth that same day he took her. The present .
dispensation is the day of salvation (redemption) to the.Old Testament Outlines. 29
Gentiles. At the close of this same day our Divine
Kinsman shall appear, and take His redeemed Church
to Himself. So shall she be for ever with her Lord
and Saviour.
When Ruth knew that Boaz had purchased her to be his
wife, would she not be anxiously looking for him every
moment to come and take her to be with himself ? Is not
this the present position of the Church? Working, waiting,
watching, till He come who hath redeemed us by His own
Blood, for the Lord Himself shall descend, and when He
shall appear we shall be like Him, we shall see Him as He
is, and dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
May the Lord direct your heart into the love of God, .
and into the patient waiting for Christ!
HANNAH; OR, THE TRIUMPH OF A
SORROWFUL SPIRIT
1 Samuel 1.
“Why comes temptation, but for man to meet And master, and make crouch beneath his feet, And so be pedestall’ d in triumph. ”
-BROWNING.
IT is refreshing to find such a gracious spirit as Hannah in
the midst of the moral ruin that followed the priestly rule
of the kind-hearted but weak-willed Eli. The man who is
more concerned about the honour of his sons than the
honour of God is sure to bring the holy cause into ridicule
(chap. 2. 29). Hannah means grace, and she is true to her
name; so the grace of God is made sufficient for her.
There is much we might learn from her.
I. She was Sorrowful. “A woman of a sorrowful
spirit” (v. 15).
1. BECAUSE SHE WAS CHILDLESS (v. 5). Believing that
“Children are a heritage of the Lord” (Psa. 127. 3), zi’ t.30 Handfuls on Purpose.
vexed her soul that this heritage was not hers. She
counted it a shame to be fruitless. Has your fruitlessness
for God ever vexed your soul ? It is a shame for any
Christian to be barren in the work of God (2 Peter 1. 8).
2. BECAUSE SHE WAS MOCKED. “Peninnah, her ad-versary,
provoked her sore, to make her fret” (v. 6). Her
childless condition brought upon her the sneer of the un-godly.
It is a heart-searching and deeply humbling ex-perience
for any child of grace, as Hannah was, to have the
finger of derision and ridicule pointed at them by one who
loves not the Lord and yet seems to enjoy more of His
favour than the other. Is God ungracious ? No; but those
fiery shafts of the enemy may be permitted by God to con-vict
us deeply of the barrenness of our lives, that we may
cast ourselves the more unreservedly upon the Divine all-sufficiency.
3. BECAUSE SHE HAD A VERY S ENSITIVE N ATURE. If
she had had more brass in her heart she would have had
fewer tears in her eyes (v. 7). There is great hope for any
Christian worker who can weep over the fruitlessness of
their lives. It is good that we should feel this “bitterness
of soul before the Lord” (v. 10). Woe unto them that are
at ease in Zion.
II. She was Prayerful.
1. SHE PRAYED. “She prayed unto the Lord, and wept
sore” (v. 16). She did not return railing for railing;
being reviled, she threatened not. We may thank God for
the trials that send us into His presence, to plead, with
full purpose of heart. The scourges of the enemy only
serve to drive her into the place of blessing.
2. SHE VOWED. “0 Lord, if Thou wilt give unto Thine
handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord”
(v. 11). She purposes in her heart that if the Lord will,
in mercy, roll away her reproach, she will consecrate His.Old Testament Outlines. 31
gift entirely to His service. This is a mighty argument
with God. What will He withhold from those who seek
not great things for themselves, but who desire to honour
Him with His every gift.
3. SHE BELIEVED. “So the woman went her way, and
her countenance was no more sad” (v. 18). The Lord had
spoken to her heart, as Boaz did to Ruth (Ruth 2. 13,
margill). She brought her burden to the Lord, and she
went away withod it. It is one thing to tell the Lord
about our burdens ; it is quite another thing to cast them
on the Lord (1 Peter 4. 7). The countenance is sure to be
changed when the heart has found rest in the will of God.
III. She was Joyful (chap. 2. 1).
1. HER PRAYER WAS ANSWERED. “She called his
name Samuel, saying, Because I asked Him of the Lord”
(v. 20). She asked a son, and the Lord did not give her a
daughter. Whatsoever ye ask, believe that ye receive, and
ye shall have. He who can make the barren woman to
be a joyful mother of children (Psa. 113. 9) can also make
the fruitless Christian worker a happy winner of souls.
2. HER TESTIMONY WAS GIVEN. “I am the woman that
stood by thee here, praying; and the Lord hath given me
my petition” (w. 26, 27). What a simple, yet powerful,
testimony this is. She knew that He heard her, now she
has the petition that she desired of Him (1 John 5. 15).
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss” (Jas. 4. 3).
3. HER Vow WAS PERFORMED. “As long as he liveth he
shall be lent to the Lord” (v. 28). She paid her vow unto
the Lord (Psa. 116. 18). In the giving back of Samuel
she was forming a powerful link of connection between
herself and the Lord that must have enriched her whole
life with blessing. Every sacrifice we make for the honour
of our Lord will certainly increase our interest in Him..32 Handfuls on Purpose.
Be not like the wicked and slothfirl servant who hid his lord’s
money (Luke 19.22), but use fcr His glory every gift received,
and every victory won, through the prayer of faith.
THE GALL OF SAMUEL
1 Samuel 3.
“Often through my heart is pealing
Many another voice than Thine;
Many an unwilling echo stealing
From the walls of this Thy shrine.
Let Thy longed-for accents fall :
MASTER, speak, and silence all.”
-F. R. HAVERGAL.
“THE Word of the Lord was precious (rare) in those days ;
there was no open vision. ” Why ? The spiritual heavens
were shut up, because of the unbelief and unrighteousness
of God’s professing people (chap. 2. 12-17). In these
degenerate days God takes the child Samuel and sets him
in the midst, that out of the mouth of this babe He might
ordain strength (Psa. 8. 2). God hath chosen the weak
things to confound the mighty (1 Cor. 1. 27). Samuel was
“lent unto the Lord” (chap. 1. 28). Now the Lord takes the
loan of him that He might through.him speak to all Israel.
We may learn here-I.
That the Call of God may Come very Early in Life.
Samuel must have been quite a child when the Lord spoke
to him, perhaps about six years of age. Is it not wonder-ful
that the Almighty, the “Ancient of Days, ” can make
His will known to a child?’ “They that seek Me early
shall find Me ” (Prov. 8. 17). “The High and Lofty One
that inhabiteth eternity” dwells with the humble spirit
(Isa. 57. 15).
II. That the Call of God may come, although we
may have had no Personal Experience of God. “Now
Samuel did not yet know the Lord” (v. 7). He believed in.Old Testament Outlines. 33
Him, but as yet he had had no personal dealings with Him.
The existence of God was known to him, but the Word
of the Lord had not yet been revealed unto him. He
earnestly worshipped the Lord, according to the traditional
faith (chap. 1. 28), but as yet he had received no definite
message from Him. What a difference it makes in one’ s
religious life when His Word has been heard, and His will
concerning us as individuals has been clearly revealed.
This is eternal life, to know Him and Jesus Christ whom
He hath sent. Those who honestly seek like Samuel shall
surely find.
III. That the Call of God Comes at an Opportune
Time. “Ere the lamp of God went out” (v. 3). There is
something melancholy in the very idea of the lamp of God
going ozct. Had He not expressly commanded that the light
of the holy lamp-stand was to burn continually (Lev. 24. 2).
Does it not reveal the backslrdden condition of the priesthood,
that the lam+ of God was allowed to go out ? It is suggestive
of the watchful grace of God that He spoke to Samuel ere
the sacred light had died away into midnight darkness.
How fares it with the lamp of God in our own hearts ? Is
our testimony dying down for the lack of fresh oil?
IV. That the Call of God may Come in a very Natural
Way. “The Lord called Samuel, and he ran unto Eli”
4 (w. 4, 5). The voice was so humanlike that he thought
it was the voice of Eli. Let us take care that those calls or
rebukes that come to us in familiar forms may not be the
very voice of God to our own souls. The Lord had a pur- pose in speaking to Samuel as He did. He wished Eli, the
priest, to know at the lips of the child that the Lord had
spoken. Samuel’ s instantaneous obedience to the call re-veals
what manner of spirit he was of.
V. That the Call of God Demands an Answer to God
“Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth” (v. 10). Eli.34 Handfuls on Purpose.
could give Samuel no answer to the 15~11 of God. Those
called of Him must respond to Him for themselves. It is
so in the matter of salvation. Every one who has gone
astray from God must turn back to Him, and with a
willing ear hear what God the Lord will speak. It is SO
in the matter of consecration and service. No man can
do this for us. We must yield ourselves unto God (Rom. 6.
13). It is with Him we have to do. The mighty God, the
Lord hath spoken. Hear Him.
VI. That the Call of God may Involve Painful Testi-mony.
“Samuel feared to show Eli the vision” (v. 15).
It was a solemn and humiliating message that he had
received for Eli. He and his house were to be set aside
as unworthy of the priesthood. But the truth must be
told, and let it be said to the credit of the old weak-kneed
priest that he was prepared to hear all that God had s#oketz,
and to acquiesce in His will (vv. 17, 18). There be many
who say, “Prophesy unto us smooth things, ” and who
would be sorely offended if the whole counsel of God was
told out. in their ears. But the Lord will fulfil all His
purposes, whether men will bear or forbear. When the
learned and honoured Eli prove unfaithful, then the Lord
will speak to some consecrated boy and make him a preacher
of righteousness.
VII. That the Call of God Insures .Fellowship and -victory.
“The Lord was with him, and did let none of
his words fall to the ground” (v. 19). He never sends
us a warfare on our own charges. When the Word of God
is brought home to our hearts by the power of the Holy
Spirit it is that it might be fulfilled in our own experience.
His presence with us, in the preaching of His Word, is the
guarantee that He will bring it to pass. “If the thing
follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the
Lord hath not spoken” (Deut. 18. 22). The word was.Old Testament Outlines.
not Samuel’s, but the Lord’s, so it will not return unto
Him void. The secret of success in the Lord’s work always
lies in the doing of His will. “Whatsoever He saith unto
you, do it” (John 2. 5). “Take My yoke upbn you, and
learn of Me, and ye shall find rest unto your souls, ”
THE LOSS OF THE ARK OF GOD
1 Samuel 4. 1-11.
“Yet the Power appears to-morrow
That to-day seems wholly lost,
And the reproductive sorrow
Is a treasure worth the cost.“-HOUGHTON.
THE capture of the Ark of God by the Philistines was the
sorest blow that had ever fallen upon the nation of Israel.
The corrupt state of the priesthood was to blame for this
national failure and disgrace. There is a closer connection
between holy living and national prosperity than many in
these days seem to think. The Philistine% as the enemies
of the Lord’s people, are always aggressive when Israel is in
a backsliding condition. The lusts of the flesh are sure to
prevail when the soul gets out of communion with God.
I. What the Ark signifies. It was the symbol of the
presence of God. It was the throne on which the Lord sat,
and from which He ruled and taught His people (Exod. 25.
22). It was also the mercy-seat, the medium through
which He communed with Israel. What the Ark was to
them Christ is to us, the’resting-place, the medium of
communion, and the channel of revelation and blessing.
II. When the Ark was brought out. After they had
been smitten before their enemies they said, “Let us fetch
the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord out : it may save us”
(v. 3). It is good to fall back on God in the day of defeat,
but is the favour and help of God only to be sought after
we have done our best to succeed without Him ? “Man’s.36 Handfuls on Purpose.
extremity may be God s opportunity, ” but why should
God’s opportunity only come after we have persistently
ignored Him till we are dead beat ?
III. The Dread of the Philistines at the Ark. “When
they understood that the Ark of the Lord was come into
the camp they were afraid” (vv. 6-S). So well they might,
if that Ark represents the presence of that Almighty God
who smote the Egyptians with plagues, and wrought such
miracles in the wilderness on their behalf (v. 8). If this
is so, then in battling against the people of God they will
be found fighting against God Himself. Alas ! how often
we Christians forget what the men of the world remember,
that if Christ is with us mighty works should show them-selves,
and that the more closely we are identified with Him
in our work and warfare the more difficult and desperate
does their own condition appear. The ungodly still dread
a man full of the Holy Ghost. Well do they know that to
oppose such they need to screw up their courage and “quit
themselves like men” (v. 9; Luke 16. 8).
IV. The Faith of Israel in the Ark. “It may save
us out of the hands of our enemies” (v. 3). It is quite clear
that their faith in the invisible God had withered up into a
superstitious reverence for the material Ark. They
worshipped the form, but denied the power. The God-deserted
Ark (Psa. 78. 66) was everything, while He who
inhabiteth eternity had no place in their hearts. Instead
of saying, “ Let us fetch the Ark, ” had they said, “Let US
confess our sins and return to the Lord, ” He would doubt-less
have saved them. Multiplying forms in religious
services will afford no security against the inroads of the
enemy. The Gospel that is not in the power of the Spirit of
God is only the Ark with the glory departed. The Philis-tines
of to-day are in great force against the people of God.
Let us fetch out the Gospel of God, but let us see that our.Old Testament Outlines 37
faith is not in the mere form of words, but in the God of
.
the Gospel. “The kingdom of God is not in word, but in
power” (1 Cor. 4. 20).
V. The Capture of the ‘ Ark. “The Ark of God was
. taken” (v. 11). The object of their confidence was taken
from them, that their faith might be in God only. Let US
learn from this-1.
THAT UNGODLY MEN CANNOT PRESERVE THE POWER OF
RELIGION. The dissolute and licentious sons of Eli had
charge of the Ark of the Covenant (v. 4). What a God-dishonouring
association. Is it any wonder that the cause
of God is turned into ridicule when self-seeking and un-principled
men have charge of the holy things ? They must
be clean that bare the vessels of the Lord.
2. T HAT THE L ORD WILL NOT PROTECT FORMS WHEN THE
SPIRIT IS GONE. There is nothing in an empty dish to
satisfy either God or man. The Pharisaic spirit is always
ready to contend for the outward and the formal, because
it is blind to the spiritual and the eternal.
3. T HAT SIN ALWAYS BRINGS DEFEAT. If we r e g a rd
iniquity in our heart the Lord will not hear. The secret
sin of Achan brought open shame in Israel. The dis-obedience
of Saul led to the departure of God from Him.
“The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6. 23).
THE ARK OF GOD IN THE HANDS OF THE
PHILISTINES
1 Samuel 5. 6.
“Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.“-cOWPER.
WHILE the jubilant Philistines were bearing away the Ark
as a trophy, little did they think that they were bringing.38 Handfuls un Purpose.
the judgment of God down among themselves. The Ark,
like the Bible, may be a dead letter to some, but in the
hands of the Holy Spirit it is a two-edged sword. It is
always a solemn and critical thing to be brought into con-tact
with that $resence and power of which the Ark was
the visible symbol, that power which killeth and maketh
alive, that bringeth low and lifteth up (chap. 2. 6-3). The
experiences of the Philistines, with the Ark of the Cove-nant,
are very much the same as those of the ungodly
now under the power of the Gospel of Christ.
I. Their Religion was Completely Upset. “Dagon
fell upon his face before the Ark of the Lord, and his head
and his hands were cut off” (w. 3, 4). They put the Ark
in the temple of their god, thinking to keep both. But
God and Dagon cannot both rule in the same house. “Ye
cannot serve God and mammon.” When Christ comes in
the false theories and opinions of men must fall. The
Dagon of self may stand erect, and claim all the homage
and worship till the Ark of the Truth of God comes into the
temple of the heart, then he must fall on his face before
the Lord, and part with both his head and his hands. Until
self is completely broken he will be set z@ again and again.
Men still think that they have to do many and great
things to merit the salvation of God; but when they come
into the presence of Christ the Ark, their lofty thoughts
tnd imaginations must fall down before Him.
II. They were Severely Smitten. “The hand of the
Lord was heavy upon them, and destroyed and smote
them” (w. 6, 12). Not only was their god destroyed,
but they themselves afflicted with painful tumours. The
Ark of His presence brings no comfort or encouragement to
those who are His enemies, nothing but the wounding and
bruising of conviction and humiliation. “When He, the
Spirit of Truth, is come, He will reprove the world of sin,.Old Testament Outlines. 39
because they believe not in Me” (John 16. 8, 9). The
Gospel will be the savour of death where it is not the
savour of life. The Ark of the Lord is a dreadful posses-sion
to the unsaved.
III. They were Utterly Perplexed. “What shall we
do to the Ark of the Lord? ” (chap. 6. 2). They had sent it
from city to city, seeking to get it peacefully disposed of,
but this only increased their suffering and alarm. We are
solemnly reminded here of how others, in after years,
sought to get quit of Jesus Christ, the true Ark of God, until Pilate, almost in the exact words of the Philistines, ’
said, “What shall I then do with Jesus ? ” Paul was playing the part of these troubled enemies of God when
he kicked against the goadings of the Word of Truth (Acts
9. 5). There is a tremendously important question that
still presses with perplexing urgency upon ungodly men to
whom the Gospel has come. How are you going to dispose
of the claims of God and of His Christ? Submission or
rejection ?
IV. They Sent it Away. They made a new cart, put
the Ark on it, and withza trespass offering they sent it
away (w. 7, 8). Suppose we read it thus: “They made a new cross, put Him on it, and as a trespass offering they
sent Him away ! “ The Philistines would not have this Ark to rule over them. Away with it. Christ, like the Ark,
was delivered up at the instigation of the chief priests (chap.
6. 2). The presence of the holy Ark of God’ s covenant
testified against them, but there was no repentance of sin,
no pleading for mercy, but a growing desire to get back to
their former Arkless condition. They felt that they could
not keep it and continue as they were. They must either .
send IT away, or be reconciled to God. HOW shall we
escape if we neglect so great salvation ?
V. They had Clear Evidence of its Divine Character..40 Handfuls on Purpose.
:‘ See if it go&h up by the way of His own coast, then the
Lord hath done this: if not, then it was a chance that
happened to us. And the kine took the straight way
to Beth-shemesh” (w. 9-12). Thus they had another
proof, in the manner of its home-coming, that the Lord God
of Israel was with it, and had been dealing with them
through it. Well might they have said, as the centurion
did, when he saw the matzner of the home-going of the
rejected Saviour of men, “Truly this was the Son (Ark) of
God” (Mark 15. 39). The Gospel of God is still as the
“Ark of the Covenant” among men. Mighty deeds are
still being wrought through it, false systems of religion fall
down before it, and the enemies of the Lord are smitten
with terror in its presence. By its’works it asserts its own
divinity. Yet many, though fully convinced that it is
of God, treat it as the Philistines did the Ark, they refuse
to yield to its claims, and politely send it away with an
offering, and remain the enemies of God.
EBENEZER
1 Samuel 7.
IF in the past we have been faithful, we will now have
much cause to be thankful. Before Ebenezer comes-I.
Contrition-‘“Israel lamented after the Lord” (v. 2).
2. Confession-“We have sinned against the Lord” (v. 6).
After this there had to be-,
3. Conversiolz-“Return unto the Lord” (v. 3).
4. Se;baration-“Put away the strange gods” (v. 3).
5. Consecration-‘“Prepare your heart unto the Lord,
and serve Him only” (v. 3). These steps are always sure
to lead up to Ebenezer: “Hitherto hath the Lord helped
us. ” This “Stone of help” has many tongues.
I. Ebenezer Speaks of Redemption. “Hitherto. ”.Old Testament Outlines. 41
This points us back to the bondage of Egypt-to the slavery
of sin-to the hole of the pit whence we have been dug
(Exod. 12. 12, 13;Eph. 2. 12, 13).
II. Ebenezer Speaks of Preservation. “Hitherto
h&h. ” The Lord thee keeps. He kept them by His mighty
power, and guided them by the skilfulness of His hands
(Psa. 78. 72). While walking through the dark shadows
in the valley of life we need fear no evil (Psa. 23. 4). He
keepeth the feed of His saints, and their way too (Prov.
2. 8). May the prayer of Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5. 23
be fulfilled in us 1
III. Ebenezer Speaks of Answered Prayer. “Hither _
to hath the Lord helped. ” “Samuel cried unto the Lord,
and the Lord heard him” (v. 9). The rain comes down
according to the vapour that ascends (Job 36. 27). The
incense was put upon burning coals. Prayer must ascend
from a burning heart. “Whatsoever ye ask believing. ”
Every believing prayer will yet have its store of testimony.
IV. Ebenezer Speaks of Victory. While Samuel
offered the Lamb, the Lord discomfited the enemy (v. 10).
This was indeed victory through the Lamb. We, too, must
overcome through the Blood of the Lamb (Rev. 12. 11). It
is when the Lamb of God is lifted up in presence of
the ungodly that the Lord thunders with the voice of
conviction.
V. Ebenezer Speaks of Divine FaithfuIness. “Hitherto
hath the Lord helped us”-helped us all the way. Not
one good thing hath failed (Joshua 13. 14). He is faithful
that hath promised. His promises, like the barrel of meal,
waste not (1 Kings 17. 10). He that hath begun the good
work will perform it (Phil. 1. 6).
VI. Ebenezer Speaks of Testimony. “Hitherto hath
the Lord helped us. ” This is a noble, God-honouring con-fession.
They give Him all the praise. What have we
D Vol. 5.42 Handfuls on Purpose. \
that we have not received? Yet not I, but Christ in me
(Gal. 2. 20). What have we done worth doing that He
hath not wrought in us? (Phil. 2. 13). “To God be the
glory, great things He hath done. ”
VII. Ebenezer Speaks gf Encouragement for the
Future. The Lord who hath blessed us “hitherto” will
also bless us henceforth and for ever. He who hath delivered,
and doth deliver, WILL YET deliver (2 Cor. 1. 10). “Be of
good cheer” and “have faith in God. ”
SAUL, THE CHOICE YOUNG MAN
1 Samuel 9.
“Life is the day of grace,
Up I Strive to win the race:
Lo ! Grace and Truth have come;
Turn, listen, be not dumb.“-GROSART.
.
THE morning of Saul’s life was calm and bright, and full of
promise ; the midday was cloudy and threatening; the
afternoon was cold, and dark, and stormy ; the evening was
terrific with the thunderstorm of despair, and suicidal
blackness. His life began with a day of grace, and ended
with the “wages of sin. ” In this chapter we have Saul
brought before us as a “choice young man, and goodly. ”
Let us take a look at him. He was so in his-I.
Personal Appearance. “There was not among
the children of Israel a goodlier person than he” (v. 2).
He had what almost every young man covets to have-an
attractive and commanding persona. God. had richly
blessed him with a finely-formed and superior physical
body. This is an inheritance that is not to be lightly
esteemed, although many, both young men and young
women, use this gift of God only for their own selfish ends.
A healthy and well-formed body makes a beautiful temple
for the Holy Spirit, and may be a mighty weapon in His
hands to the pulling down of the strongholds of Satan..Old Testament Outlines. 43
II. Child-like Obedience. He went at once at his
father’s bidding to “seek the asses” (w. 3, 4). Although
Saul was “head and shoulders higher than any of the
people, ” he was not too big to obey his father. This is
a lovely trait in the character of a handsome young man.
When the disciples strove about who should be greatest in
the kingdom of God, Jesus took a little child and set him in
the midst as an example of the true spirit of greatness,
and said, “He that will be chiefest among you, let him be
the servant of all” (Mark 10. 44). He loved us, and gave
Himself for us.
III. Filial Thoughtfulness. “Come, let us return,
lest my father leave caring for the asses, and take thought
for us” (v. 5). He was not so anxious about the objects
of his pursuit as to forget the anxious thoughts of a loving
father. There be many young men who leave home in
the pursuit of business who, in their new surroundings,
forget the yearnings of a father’s heart, so that their
letters home are long in coming. They are wise fathers
who are more concerned about the safety of their sons
than the success of their worldly business.
IV. Generous Disposition. When his servant sug-gested
that they should consult the prophet about the
lost asses, he at once reminded him that he had “not a
present to bring to the man of God” (w. 6, 7). This is
quite an incidental revelation of the kindliness of his
nature. He could not think of asking a favour, even from
“the man of God, ” without recompensing him in some way
(Judges 6. 18). It is said that “generous natures go most
readily astray. ” The very depth and force of their generous
affections may be their greatest temptation. But the
shallow inconsiderate and selfish young man is already far
astray. Look not every man on his own things (interests),
but on the things (interests) of others (1 John 2. 15)..44 Handfuls on Purpose.
V. Relationship to God. “When Samuel saw Saul,
the Lord said unto Him, Behold the man ! . . . this same man
shall reign over My people” (v. 17). Not only was he
“a choice young man’, in the sight of men, but he was
,,a choice young man” in the sight of God. The highest
honour any young man can have on earth is to be a chosen
one of God ; it is worth sacrificing all the world for such a
favour. And this honour have all the saints in Christ
Jesus. A young man may have many lovely features in
his character, many rich moral qualities, yet if this link of
Divine apfwobatiole is awanting he is like a beautiful ship
laden with valuable goods, but drifting aimlessly on the
ocean of life. He is out of harmony with the purpose
of God. Saul did not find the asses, but he found a king-dom.
His disappointment was God’s appointment. The
Gospel of Christ is God’s call to every man to inherit the
kingdom of Heaven. Ho ! weary seekers in the world of
business or pleasure, turn aside and seek the Prophet of
Nazareth, He will give you a kingdom.
SAUL, THE ANOINTED
1 Samuel 10.
“Take my life and let it be.
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee :
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.“-HA~RGAL.
ARNOLD has said, “While life is good to give, I give. ”
This is beautiful. Why should we wait till our youthful
strength and vigour are shrivelled up before we yield our-selves
to God? Samuel, Saul, and David were all chosen
of God while they were young. Surely the best of
masters deserves the best of servants. We have seen Saul
as “a choice young man. ,’ Let us look at him now as the
“chosen of God. ” See how he was-I.
Separated by Anointing. “Samuel took a vial.Old Testament Outlines. 45
of oil, and poured it upon his head” (v. I), as a sign
that the Lord had anointed him. Priests and kings were
usually called out in this fashion (Exod. 29. 7; 2 Kings
9. 3). All God’s chosen ones still are to be separated unto
Himself by an holy anointing (1 John 2. 27). There was
but a very short interval between the revelation of the
Divine purpose to Saul and the outpouring of the oil of
consecration upon his head. As soon as we know the will
of God we should be separated unto Him. “After that ye
believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Ghost” (Eph. 1. 13).
II. Encouraged by Promises. The prophet gave him
a threefold word of assurance. There was a promise-1.
CONCERNING HIS BUSINESS. “Two men shall say
unto thee, The asses are found” (v. 2).
2. COMXRNING HIS BODILY WANTS. Three men would
give him two loaves of bread (w. 3, 4).
3. CONCERNIWG HIS SPIRITUAL NEED. “The Spirit of
the Lord will come upon thee” (v. 6). Thus he was assured
that as the chosen of God all things would work together
for his good, and that God would make all grace abound
toward him. This threefold assurance have all those who
have received the anointing of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8.
32). The Lord never sends any one a warfare on his own
charges.
III. Changed by Grace. “God gave him another
heart” (v. 9). We may not reckon this change as equal
to regeneration, but by the grace of God new motives and
desires were begotten in the bosom of Saul. This sudden
and unexpected revelation of the purpose of God concerning
him had, morally, made him another man than what he
was before he knew this great transforming truth. When
“the grace of God that bringeth salvation” is revealed
to us and received by us, it will certainly make new
creatures of us. No man can be the same after receiving.46 Handfuls on Purpose.
the kingdom of God. If the Gospel has not brought to us
another heart we surely have not believed it.
IV. Assured by Circumstances. “All those signs
came to pass” (v. 9). It is a blessed experience to find
that our outward circumstances are made to conform
and confirm the thoughts and intents of the inner life.
when the purpose of God has been revealed, and our hearts
and lives willingly yielded to the fulfilment of that purpose,
we shall certainly see, in the providence of God, many
confirming tokens. The outer wheels of our circumstances
never move contrary to the inner workings of the Spirit
of God. There may be wheels within wheels, but they are
“full of eyes, ” and so cannot err (Ezek. 1. 18).
V. Moved by the Spirit. “The Spirit of God came
upon him, and he prophesied” (vv. 10, 11). When the
Spirit of God comes upon any one there are sure to be
signs following. It is but natural for Saul to join in
the song of the prophetic band when he was possessed
by the same Spirit. Thus the word of Samuel ‘was fuElled
(v. 6). Man at his best, apart from the power of the
Holy Ghost, is but a poor weakling in the service of God;
but the gift of the Spirit is the assurance of God to US,
that all the resources of His grace and wisdom are within
our reach for the honour of His Name (John 16. 13, 14).
This was a priceless privilege conferred upon Saul, an
astonishzng favour. “Is Saul also among the prophets ? ”
VI. Humbled by the Prospect. “Saul was taken,
and when they sought him he could not be found. Be-hold,
he hath hid himself among the stuff” (w. 21, 22).
While he was little in his own eyes, all things kept working
together for his good. It is not the grace of God that puffs
up, but the wind of self-conceit. The kingdom had come
to him, not because he had sought it, or wrought for it.
It was to him the gift of God. He was deeply conscious of.Old Testament Outlines. 47
the insignificance of the tribe to which he belonged, and the
smallness and poverty of his family (chap. 9. 21). But
grace delights to lavish its wealth and honour upon the
weak and unworthy (2 Cor. 12. 9, 10). They that be whole
need not a physician.
VII. Despised by the Worthless. “The children
of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they
despised him, ” etc (v. 27). These sons of worthless
men had perhaps known Saul from his boyhood, and like
the modem sons of Belial they make no allowance what-ever
for the call of God and the anoircting of .His Spirit. It
is no new thing to be despised and sneered at because
we have had a new and soul-uplifting revelation of the
goodness of God. The more God honours us the more
will the lewd and self-deceived despise us in their hearts.
But in this we are made partakers of the fellowship of the
sUjjcYiY%gs of Christ. The carnal mind is enmity against
God. But here Saul, like our Lord and Master, was
patient in suffering. “He held his peace. ” It is an un-mistakable
proof of a young man’s moral strength when he
can treat his enemies with magnanimous silence.
SAUL, THE COURAGEOUS
1 Samuel II.
“Blessed are those who die for God,
And earn the martyr’ s crown of light;
Yet he who lives for God may be
A greater conqueror in His sight.’ ‘-PROCTOR.
ALTHOUGH Saul had been already declared king (chap. IO.
24), he had seemingly gone back to his old occupation,
and was tending the herd (v. 5). This in itself was a
notable proof of the dignity and strength of Saul’s moral
character. Had he been a small, shallow, fussy soul he
would have reckoned that his promotion to the kingdom had
lifted him above the menial task of a herdman. Those who.48 Handfuls on Purpose.
are conscious that God is with them can well afford to wait.
“He that believeth shall not make haste. ” In this chapter
we have brought before us a-I.
Sorrowful Message. Messengers came to Gibeah,
and told how the city of Jabesh was besieged, and that
Nahash the Ammonite would make a covenant with them,
only on condition that he may thrust out all their right
eyes for a reproach upon all Israel (w. 1-4). No wonder
the people wept at such humility and barbarous tidings.
But will ever the people of God be able to make a covenant
of peace with the enemies of God without suffering loss?
Such compromising was contrary to the Word of the Lord
(Exod. 23. 32). The enemy of our souls, the world, is
still ready to make a covenant with us if we are willing
to part with our spiritual eyesight.
II. bivine Call. “The Spirit of God came upon Saul
when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled
greatly” (w. 5, 6). A man may be as much under the
power of the Holy Spirit when his soul is hot with burning
indignation as when it is melted with tender compassion.
There are different manifestations, but the same spirit. The
source of his anger was doubtless the reproach threatened
to all Israel (v. 2). Does the call of God not frequently
come by the awakening in the soul of some overmastering
desire ? Look at the case of Gideon (Judges 6. 34), of
Jephthah (Judges 11. 29), and of Samson (Judges 14. 6).
If the Holy Spirit has kindled in the heart any burning
desire, we may take it as the call of God to go in and
possess that thing so desired.
III. Fearless Challenge. The hewing of the yoke
of oxen, and the sending of the gory pieces throughout all
Israel (v. 7) was like the blast of a trumpet from Heaven
to a drowsy nation. “The fear of the Lord fell on the
people. ” When a man is acting under the powerful in-.Old Testament Outlines. 49
fluence of the Holy Spirit there are sure to be signs
following. God’s man is never awanting when the national
crisis comes. It was so in the days of Luther and of Knox.
It has always been God’s way to single out men through
whom He might reveal His will and power. Fearlessness
will ever characterise that one who is being borne along by
the mighty rushing wind of the Holy Ghost (Acts 4. 13).
IV. Great Deliverance. The summons of Saul met
with a willing and general response-“they came out with
one consent”-for God always works through the Spirit-inspired
message. The relief of Jabesh was both timely
and merciful (vv. 8-11). These besieged citizens were on
the brink of becoming a life-long reproach to all Israel
(v. 2) by being disabled for war and bearing on. their
bodies the marks of a shameful defeat. This Spirit-moved
leader was able to roll away the reproach. What a mighty
power for Christ and His cause a Spirit-filled life may be !
Are there not many to-day who, like the men of Jabesh-gilead,
are in jeopardy of losing their testimony for Christ,
and bringing reproach upon the whole Church of God ?
0 that that sacrifice, which was, as it were, “hewed in
pieces” on Calvary’s Cross, might be preached with such
freshness and power throughout all the land that the
people of God would “come out with one consent” to the
rescue of the oppressed and the salvation of the perishing.
V. Magnanimous Intervention. When the people
proposed that all those opposed to the reign of Saul should
be put to death (chap. 10. 27), Saul said, “There shall not
a man be put to death this day” (w. 12, 13). It well be-comes
those who enjoy great privileges at the hands of God
to extend great forbearance to those who may trespass
against us (see 2 Sam. 19. 22). It ill becomes the servants
of Christ to use their spiritual authority or ecclesiastical
position for the purpose of avenging personal insult..50 Handfuls on Purpose.
Remember Him, who though He was reviled, reviled not
again. The time is coming when Jesus Christ will deal
with those who have opposed His rule (Luke 19. 37).
VI. Happy Result. “They made Saul king before
thk Lord in Gilgal, and there Saul and all the people
rejoiced greatly” (w. 14, 15). This was the #ublic con-firmation
of the secret call of God. Every secret blessing
will have its open coronation (Matt. 6. 6). The place,
made memorable for suffering and humiliation (Joshua5. Z),
has now become the place of exuberant joy. Weeping may
endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Those
who have received the special anointing must ultimately
rise to special honour. The kingdom did not come to Saul
because he wrought for it. It was the gift of God, and
being obedient, he is now crowned with honour and glory.
Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.
SAUL, THE DISOBEDIENT
1 Samuel 13. 1-14.
“None
Could trace God’ s will so plain as you, while yours
Remained implied in it, but now you fail,
And we, who prate about that will, are fools:
In short, God’ s service is established here
As He determines fit, and not your way-And
this you cannot brook. ’ ‘-BROWNING.
SAMUEL, in the love of his heart, and in faithfulness to the
Lord, had just sounded a note of warning to Saul and
the people, accompanied with a gracious word of encourage-ment
(chap. 12. 20-25). But in the day of prosperity we
often fail to consider. “Saul reigned one year. ” This
might be rendered: Saul was like a child of one year when
he began to reign. All that we know of Saul up till this
time bears this out. Like Uzziah, he was marvellously
helped till he was strong (2 Chron. 26. 15-16). The pride.Old Testamen’t Outlines. 51
that lifteth up the heart into self-confidence will surely
end in destruction. God will never fail or forsake those
who trust Him and are little in their own eyes.
I. His Duty was Plain. To get the explanation of
verse 8 we have to go back to chapter 10. 8. The word
of the prophet was both urgent and explicit. “Seven days
shall thou tarry, till I come to thee, and show thee what thou
shalt do. ” Although the time may have been about three
years after, still Saul’s way was perfectly plain ; he was
to do as occasion served him (chap. 10. 7) till this present
crisis should come, then he was to wait for the ministry
and guidance of the man of God. Our responsibility will be
according to the light we have. If, like Saul, we are
conscious of being chosen of God, and of being made par-takers
of the holy anointing (chap. 10. l), then surely the
revealed will of God must become the absolute and un-conditional
law of our life. This is the way, walk ye in it.
II. His Faith was Tried. The Philistines had gathered
in great force to fight with Israel (v. 5). Saul had blown
the trumpet thoughout the land, and summoned the ,
Hebrews to meet him at Gilgal. While he tarried there
for seven days, according to the set time of Samuel, “the
people were scattered from him” (v. 8). His waiting
may have appeared to the already distressed army of Israel
as a sign of weakness and fear, so many of them took
advantage of the delay and hid themselves (v. 6). Day by day, as he waited for the prophet, he saw the strength
of Israel melting away: Every hour he tarried seemed to
make his case all the more hopeless. What a test to his
faith and patience ! What a struggle there must have been
in his soul; what a conflict between faith and sightl It is
always a sore trial to part with the Isaac of our hopes
while we are following the bidding of God (1 Peter 1. 7).
“He must increase, I must decrease.”.52 Handfuls on Purpose.
III. His Failure was Great. “Saul said, Bring
hither a burnt-offering to me; and as soon as he had made an
end of offering Samuel came” (vv. 9, 10). Saul had waited
till almost the close of the seventh day, as Samuel had ap-pointed
; but ere the full time had come, through pressure
of circumstances, his patience with the will of God had
broken down. He had chosen his own way, and stepped
out of the purpose and favour of God. Every Spirit-anointed
one will have their testing time. As soon as
Jesus Christ was baptised of the Spirit He was led into
the wilderness to be tried (Mark 1 .lO-13). If Abraham
had failed when the great testing crisis came he never
would have become the “Father of the faithful. ” But he
staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief (Rom.
4. 20). The way to abiding honour and usefulness in the
service of God is by “enduring as seeing Him who is
invisible. ” To fail when we are brought face to face with
the circumstances planned by God for the testing and
developing of our faith is to be a life-long cripple in the
work of the Lord. Whenever, as Christian workers, we
choose our own way rather than wait on the fulfilment
of God’s Word, we become as bones out of joint in the body
of Christ. Such can only live a #sinful life.
IV. His Excuse was Vain. “Samuel said, What hast
thou done ? Saul said, Because I saw that the people
were scattered from me ; . . . I forced myself therefore,
and offered a burnt-offering” (vv. 11, 12). His army was
dwindling away, the Philistine host was increasing, Samuel
was long in coming, and his own patience was exhausted.
Yet in taking the place of the priestly prophet he acted
foolishly, and in direct rebellion against the commandment
of the Lord (v. 13). For unbelief and disobedience there
can be no excuse. No argument or reasoning can ex-tenuate
the guilt of doing what we know to be contrary to the
mind of God. He that heareth the sayings of Christ, and.Old Testament Oullines.
believeth them not, is the foolish man that goes on building
his life on the ruinous sand (Matt. 7. 26). The most
melancholy feature of Saul’s attempt to justify himself is
that there are no signs of reperttance. After Samuel’s
solemn warning he proceeds to number the people (v. 15).
When we have discovered that we have blundered and
failed, and disobeyed, genuine repentance and confession
is the only way back to God’s favour and fellowship.
V. His Loss was Deplorable. “Now thy kingdom
shall not continue: the Lord hath sought Him a man after
His own heart, because thou hast not kept that which the
Lord commanded thee” (v. 14). Saul has turned away
from the Lord, now the Lord seeks another man after His
own heart, as an instrument more willing to abide in His
hand, for the working out of His purposes concerning
Israel. All Saul’s trumpeting and planning now can no
more hmder the kingdom from settling down in David than
he could hinder the sun from setting in the west. He may
shake himself like Samson, but the power is gone. It is a
solemn thought that we may be earnestly keeping up the
form of our service for God in the energy of the flesh when the
Spirit of power has departed from us. Let us never forget that
to choose our own way is to choose loss and defeat. May God
work in us both to z&l and to do of His good pleasure!
SAUL, THE CASTAWAY
1 Samuel 15.
“Presume not to serve God apart from such
Appointed channel as He wills . . .
. . He seeks not that His altars
Blaze-careless how, so that they do but blaze.”
-BROWNING.
THERE is a zeal that is not according to knowledge, but
which is a defiance of knowledge, a violation of the Word
of God and of conscience. In seeking to serve God with our.54 Handfuls on Purpose.
own will, while we reject His, we are as it were offering
swines’ flesh upon His altar. The Lord will have His altar
blaze, but the sacrifice must be blameless. It would seem
from these words, “Now therafore hearken thou unto the
voice of the words of the Lord” (v. l), that God was loath
to withdraw His favour from Saul. Such is His lingering
grace which gives room for repentance. Saul is to have
another chance to show himselffakthful to God. Notice his-I.
Commission. “Now go and smite Amalek and
utterly destroy all” (v. 3). His orders were plain and
explicit. Amalek, like Jericho, was to be entirely de-voted
to destruction (Joshua 6. 17, marg.). Neither his
feelings nor reason must stand in the way of the fultilment
of the divine purpose. When we have the Lord’s bidding
to go, even though it should be 0% the water, it is ours
confidently to obey.
II. Disobedience. “But Saul spared Agag, and the
best of the sheep, . . . and all that was good” (v. 9).
The command was spare not, but he spared. He allowed
his eye to govern his actions, so he walked not by faith but
by sight. His natural instincts, as a judge of and dealer
in cattle, overruled the direct Word of God; so he spared
the best, and utterly destroyed the vile and the refuse. It is
always easy to devote to God that which we do not wan’t.
Will He be pleased with the vile and the refuse while we
spare the best for our own purposes ? Whenever self -interest
is allowed a place in our service for the Lord it is
sure to be at the cost of faithfulness to Him.
III. Self-Justification. This is a very sad and melan-choly
episode in the life of Saul. May we take it as a
trumpet-warning against self-deception. The Lord said
to Samuel, “Saul hath not performed my commandments”
(v. 11). And when Samuel met Saul, after he had been
triumphantly setting up a monument of his victory, he.Old Testament Outlines. 55
said with the utmost complacency, “I have performed the
commandment of the Lord” (vv. 12, 13). At the same
time the bleating of the sheep and the lowing of the oxen
that he had spared as spoil were a solemn mockery in the
sight of God. Like the crowing of the cock to Peter, they
might have reminded Saul of his sin. But this was not all.
When Samuel charged him with “not obeying the voice of
the Lord, ” he answered, “Yea, I have obeyed” (v. 20).
It is pitiful in the extreme to be seeking at any time to
persuade ourselves that we are right with God when He
had emphatically declared that we have “turned back. ”
“Be not deceived, God is not mocked” (Gal. 6. 7). The
eyes of the Lord are upon us, as they were on Saul, watching
whether we are faithful to Him and His Word. Every
act of hisobedience is an act of rebellion against God.
IV. Confession. Samuel had to be faithful with Saul,
although he was deeply grieved at his failure, and had
spent the whole night in “Crying unto the Lord” (v. 11).
“To obey is better than sacrifice, ” he said, and “rebellion
is as the sin of witchcraft” (vv. 22, 23). Saul discovered
that the secret, selfish motives of his heart had blossomed
and brought forth fruit that was sure to grow fearfully
bitter, so he confessed, “I have sinned : I have transgressed
the commandment of the Lord: because I femed the #eople
and obeyed their voice” (v. 24). Ah! the secret is out.
He feared the people, and the fear of man ensnared his
soul (Prov. 29. 25). Are there not multitudes of young,
vigorous, gifted lives around us that are wrecked and mined
for the service of God through the very same reason -the
fear of man. “Who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid
of aman that shalt die?” (Isa. 51. 12). Any backboneless
soul can be a coward. Put on the armour of God, and ye
shall be able to stand in the evil day (Eph. 6. 13).
V. Rejection. “Samuel said unto Saul, Thou hast.56 Handfuls on Purpose.
rejected the Word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected
thee from being king” (v. 26). To reject God’s Word is
to be rejected of God (Luke 9. 26). He that believeth not
God hath made Him a liar. Saul’s seeming repentance
and confession had come too late. The moorings of God’s
guiding presence was cut; Saul’s life was now a drifting wreck.
“There is a line by us unseen,
That crosses every path;
The hidden boundary between
God’ s patience and His wrath.”
“The Strength of Israel will not lie” (v. 29). He abideth
faithful. He cannot deny Himself. What a vain show our
life must be if it is not lived for the gIory of God. SauI
may still retain the favour of the people, but, alas, the
Spirit of God had departed from him (chap. 16. 14). It is
possible to be a Christian, and, like Saul, a “partaker of
the Holy Ghost, ” yet t?te life, through being disobedient
to the heavenly vision, may become a wilderness waste to
itself, a stumbling-block to others, and an offence to God.
SAUL, THE ENEMY
1 Samuel 18. 29.
“Fool that I was1 I will rehearse my fault:
I, wingless, thought ixyself on high to lift
Among the winged I I set these feet that halt
To run against the swift. ’ ‘-INGIZLOW.
LOWELL hath said that “Best things perish of their own
excess, and quality overdriven becomes defect. ” Who
would have thought that the beautiful and childlike life
of Saul would so soon be transformed and degraded into
a purely selfish and God-dishonouring career He began in
the Spirit and ended in the flesh. They that are in the
flesh cannot please God. Like every other case of back-sliding,
it had its source in tawzing aside from the revealed
will of God (chap. 15. 11-26). One step out of the path of.Old Testament Outlines. 57
faith is enough to put us on the way to a self-ruined life.
Saul now becomes the open and avowed enemy of David,
the Lord’s anointed. A man possessed by an evil spirit
will rush his head against the thick bosses of Jehovah’s
buckler. Saul in becoming the enemy of David became-I.
A Sinner against his own Family. See his das-tardly
conduct with Michal, his own daughter, who loved
David ; how he presses and schemes for their union in
marriage, in the hope that she might speedily be made a
widow (chap. 18. 20, 21). Think how often the tender
heart of Jonathan was grieved-for he too loved David-at
his father’s heartless and cowardly behaviour. When
any father takes up an attitude of opposition to Jesus ’
Christ, who is the Lord’s anointed, he is always fighting
against the best interests of his own household. Godliness is
profitable for the life that now is as well as for the life which
is to come. The love of Christ is meant to sweeten the home
life by enabling us joyfulIy to bear one another’s burdens.
II. A Sinner against the Testimony of the Holy
Spirit. The scene at Naioth must have been an exciting
one (chap. 19. 19-24). Saul hears that David is there and
sends messengers to apprehend him, but as soon as they -come
within the hoIy atmosphere of the prophetic band
they are influenced by the Spirit and begin to prophesy.
A second, and even a third company were sent, with the
same result. Then Saul himself went thither, “and the
Spirit of God was upon him also. ” Surely if ever a man
had evidence that the Spirit of God was opposed to his
present actions that man was Saul, and the time was now.
It would seem as if the Holy Ghost lingered over Saul, as
the Shekinah glory hovered near Jerusalem ere it finally
departed (Ezek. 11.23). Oh, how loath our God is to give
us up! But this last manifestation of the Spirit of
prophecy fails to turn him from the error of his way.
E Vol. 5.58 Handfuls on Purpose.
The effect was only like the morning cloud. Grieve
not the Holy Spirit.
III. A Sinner against the Servants of God. Saul
commanded that the priests of the Lord be slain, “because
their hand also is z&h David (chap 22. 17, 18). Saul, in
refusing to give David his God-appointed place, is com-pelled
tr! become the enemv of all who favour him. It is so
still. Our relationships to Christ determine our attitude
toward our fellowmen. The interests of Jesus Christ and
His people are so vitally connected that they cannot be
divided. “He that touched you touched the apple of Mine
eye. *’ The priestly house of Ahimelech are the first to
suffer martyrdom for the cause of David. But the blood of
the holy is never spilt in vain ; the cause for which it is
shed will surely prosper.
IV. A Sinner against the Best Interests of the
Nation. It is worthy of special note that while Saul was
pursuing after David, “the Philistines invaded the land”
(chap. 23. 27, 28). While he was resisting and opposing
the clearly revealed purpose of God the enemy came in like
a flood. The will of the Lord was to bless the nation of
Israel through David, whom He had chosen. To despise
and dishonour him was to obstruct the divinely-appointed
channel of blessing and rob the people of the grace of God.
Is it otherwise now? God hath sent His Son to bless us,
nationally as well as individually. Infidelity and indiffer-ence
to Christ and His cause will always be a menace and a
hindrance to a nation’s highest good. Men are slow to
acknowledge this, but God is not mocked. In our pride
and self-will we may despise and set aside the Lord’s
anointed, but God knows no other channel through which
we can be blessed (1 Tim. 2. 5).
V. A Sinner against his own Conscience. Now when
David had shown the kindness of God to his would-be.Old Testament Outlines. 59
murderer, Saul wept, and said, “Thou are more righteous
than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have
rewarded thee evil” (chap. 24. 16, 17). Yet for all this the
bitterness of his heart against David constrained him to
play the fool yet again (chap. 26. 21). A man is always
playing the fool when he is warring against the revealed
will of God, because he is also fighting against the deeper
and truer instincts of his own nature. He that sinneth
against the light sinneth against his own soul. In sub-mitting
to Christ as our King we justify our own conscience,
and there is peace.
VI. A Sinner against the Providence of God. To be
out of sympathy with God and His Christ (anointed)
is to be out of harmony with the gracious providence of
God. In chapter 26 we see the) powerful Saul falling
once more into the hands of the poor despised David.
Oh, the solemn irony of such circumstances ! Philip II. of
Spain said, after the destruction of the Armada, “I was
prepared to conquer England, but not the elements. ” But
the elemerzts in the hands of an overruling God have to be
reckoned with. Those who are at enm&y with the Son
of David and His kingdom will certainly find out some
time that the unerring providence of the.Eternal One has
ruled them outside His saving grace (Rom. 8. 23).
VII. A Sinner against the Purpose of God. If the
mind was not blinded by the Devil, and maddened by
the force of a rebellious self-will, no one would ever expect
to succeed who was striving against the “determinate
counsel of God” (Acts 2, 23). “Why do the heathen
rage, and imagine a vain thing?” (Psa. 2. 1). It was
the fixed purpose of God to exalt David to the throne of
Israel, so it is his settled determination that Jesus shall
yet become the “Blessed and olzly Potentate, King of kings,
and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6. 15). Those that fall on.60 Handfuls on Purpose.
this stone shall be broken, and those on whom it shall
fall it shall grind them to powder. “Kiss the Son,
lest He be angry, and ye shall perish” (Psa. 2. 12).
Fall in line with the revealed purpose of God in
Christ Jesus, and you will save your soul from death
and your life from failure and everlasting shame.
SAUL, THE SUICIDE
1 Samuel 28, 31.
“‘ Went away,’ and not sent away:
Lord1 I would lay this word to heart.
‘ Went away,’ and not sent away;
Lord ! give me grace to see my part.
‘ Went away,’ and not sent away,
Making himself a castaway.
0 heart of mine! this one thing do-At
all costs, to THE CHRIST be true.“-GROSART.
THE above lines were suggested to the author by reading
what is said of the rich young man : “He went away sorrow-ful”
(Matt. 19. 22). Like Saul, he was not sent away;
his turning aside from following the Lord was his own
deliberate choicti In turning away from Him who is the
Light, where else can we go but into the darkness ? The
way of transgressors is hard. The thirty-seven years that
intervened between Saul’s first failure through sinful im-patience
at Gilgal, and his tragic end on Mount Gilboa
were most eventful, chiefly because of their extreme sadness
and restlessness. It is an awful thing to be out of harmony
with the holy and merciful God. Let us-I.
Mark his Trembling Heart. “When Saul saw the
host of the Philistines he was afraid, and his heart greatly
trembled” (chap. 28. 5). Samuel was dead, the Spirit of
power and of comfort had forsaken him; David was still a
fugitive; and the Philistines were growing in numbers and
in hopefulness. Saul’s poor, desolate, and self-confident.Old Testament Outlines. 61
heart began to give way. What is there in us, apart from
the grace of God, to sustain when the dark and cloudy day
comes ? In me, that is, in my flesh, there dwelleth no good
thing. There is nothing resident in us that will ever in
any way compensate the grieving of the Holy Spirit of
God. Our own wisdom and strength and youthful vigour
are poor substitutes for the “armour of God.” “Without
Me ye can do nothing” (John 15. 5).
II. Behold his Vain Inquiry. “When Saul inquired
of the Lord, the Lord answered him not” (v. 6). A fearful
heart and a silent Heaven1 What a sorrowful plight
for a man to be in who was once a partaker of the Holy
Ghost and a companion of prophets ! There are times
and circumstances when God will certainly close His
ears to our entreaties (Prov. 1. 28). If we regard iniquity
in our heart, the Lord will not hear. Nothing will more
effectually bar our communion with our Lord than uu1z-colzfessed
sin. Let us take heed lest there be in any of us
an evil heart of unbelief in de$arting from the living God.
Not to be obedient to His light is to wander into the
blackness of darkness.
III. Hear his Despairing Cry. Saul, finding the door
of Heaven shut, turns in his desperation to the terrible and
useless expedient of witchcraft. “None can bless whom God
hath cursed. ” To the woman of Endor he said, “BRING ME
UP SAMUEL” (v. 11). These words are very emphatic
in the Hebrew, and betoken tremendous anxiety and de-termination.
In the bitterness of his soul he longs for one
short interview with him who had power with God. Oh, for
one word more from him who poured the anointing oil upon
my head ! What value are we now setting upon our God-given
privileges ? “While ye have the light, walk in the
light” (chap. 16. 2). Those who turn away from the truth
of God will assuredly be deceived’throngh believing a lie
(2 Thess. 2. 11, 12). Take heed to thyself..62 Handfuls on Purpose.
IV. Witneea his Ruined Prospects.’ The reappear-ance
of Sa.muel brought no relief or comfort to the dis-anointed
king : it was hut the breaking asunder of the last
cord of hope. Samuel’ s message proved to be only Saul’ s
death-knell. “The Lord will also deliver Israel with thee
into the hands of the Philistines” (v. 19). Saul’ s sun of
prosperity set when he disobeyed the “Word of the Lord”
(chaps. 13. 14). Since that time he was living only in the
twilight. Now the darkness of midnight is settling down
thick and fast. Such is the course of the backslider. The
fruits of disobedience, an act of inward rebellion against
the “commandment of the Lord,” may not appear in all
their fearfulness for years ; and meanwhile we may be
living with comparative ease upon a past experience, but
all the while our Christian life is but in the Christ-dis-honouring
energy of the flesh, which can only bring forth
corruption (Gal. 6.8). “Search me, 0 God” (Psa. 139. 23).
V. Take Warning from his Tragic End. “The battle
went sore against Saul, the archers hit him ; and he was
sore wounded. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon
it” (chap. 31. 3, 4). The “last battle” will always go sore
against the man who has “rejected the Word of God.”
The archers, visible and invisible, will be sure to hit him,
he will be sore wounded, and the end will be defeat and
death. 0 Saul, thou hast destroyed thyself. Saul sought
to save his life by taking matters into his own hand, and he
lost it (Matt. 16. 25). To forsake the Fountain of living
water is to perish of thirst, beside our self-made broken
cisterns. The life that is lived in union with Christ will
be a saved and victorious life, but the life that is not
governed and guided by the Spirit of the Lord is already
into the cotirse of this world and drifting on to the doom of
eternal loss. As Christian workers let us give heed to this
solemn lesson. To fall out of line with the purposes of God
as they march along is to make shipwreck of our usefulness..Old Testament Outlines.
It was as king that Saul was rejected; it is as servands
that we may become castaways.
DAVID ’ S CALL
1 Samuel 16. 1-13.
“God has other words for other worlds,
But for this world the Word of God is CHRIST.”
-HAMILTON KING.
SAUL’S utter rejection and failure through turning aside
from the Word of God is a beacon of warning to every * servant of Jesus Christ. It is in vain we build if we are
not doing the sayings of our Lord (Matt. 7. 26). The
wisdom of this world will always be foolishness with God.
Let us note-I.
The Choice. “I have provided Me a king” (v. 1).
Samuel was forbidden to prolong his mourning for Saul.
The will of the Lord ought to be moie precious to us than
the prosperity of our friends. Another king had been
prepared and provided for His people. David was being
prepared for the throne of Israel by his faithfully tending
and defending his father’s sheep (chap. 17. 34-36). As a
well-known preacher has said, “God always begins a long
way back.” God may choose the foolish things of this
world, but He does not choose the lazy things. What we
should aim at is not promotion, but faithfulness to God.
Personal acquaintance with Him, and devotion to His will
and work, is the highway to success and open reward.
Don’t be afraid of your gifts and capabilities being over-looked
because you live and move in an obscure sphere
of life ; the Lord knows where the instrument is lying
that is fit for that special work needed to be done. Make
thyself a polished shaft, and God will surely hide thee in
His quiver.
II. The Commission, “The Lord said unto Samuel,
Fill thine horn with oil and go” (v. 1). Since David, the.64 Handfuls on Purpose.
son of Jesse, has become His chosen one, so He also chooses
the means by which this end may be gained. God’s pro-vidences
will never contradict His purposes. He that hath
begun the good work in our behalf will carry it on. The
anointing oil for the head of David is put in Samuel’s horn
at the bidding of God, so it will not be put there in vain.
Neither is it in vain when the Holy Spirit fills the heart of
any servant of God, as many as are ordained to eternal
life through them will believe. Samuel went, as every
ambassador for Christ should go, in God’s Name, with God’s
message, carrying with them the holy anointilzgpower. Do
we wonder that “the elders of the town trembled at his
coming” (v. 4). The true man of God will always be a
man of authority.
III. The Search. “Send and fetch him” (v. 11).
Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel; but the
/ Lord cannot be deceived with a man’s countenance or the
height of his stature. It is with the heart man believeth,
so “the Lord looketh on the heart” (v. 7). “As a man
thinketh in his heart so is he.” Because David was the
least among them, he was the last they thought of; but
the last shall be first, for nothing could be done till David
came. “Not he that commendeth himself is approved, but
whom the Lord commendeth” (2 Cor. 10. 18). He who
made himself of no reputation was exalted “far above all. ”
Self-defence is often a confession of weakness and self-conceit.
In the judgment of men intellectual gifts and
outward appearances are of great weight ; but in the balance
of God the scale goes down in favour of the humble and
J contrite heart. Eliab and Abinadab may pad their chests
and stretch themselves to the full, but they cannot take the
place of the herd laddie, whose heart is right with God. “Be
not deceived, God is not mocked.” No amount of pretence
or bribery will ever gain that which can only come through
being CALLED OF GOD. Make your calling and election sure..Old Testament Outlines . . 65
IV. The Anointing. As soon as David came the Lord
said, “Arise, anoint him: for this is he. ” So Samuel
“anointed him in the midst of his brethren” (v. 13).
Perhaps because of envy his brethren show no signs of
gladness at their brother’s high promotion. This wretched
joy-choking feeling is utterly unworthy of any son of God.
But the chosen one becomes the anointed one. This is God’s
order; this is our privilege. “The Spirit of the Lord
came upon David from that day forward. ” It was a definite
and memorable experience in the life of David. IS not
every truly consecrated life accompanied by the anointing
of the Spirit of Power? (Acts 4. 31). We are not sent
a warfaring on our own charges. For every special task to
which we are called there is a special supply of the Spirit
of grace given. David was “a man after God’s own heart”
(1 Sam. 13. 14) before he was anointed, but just because
he was such a man the sacred symbolic oil of power was
“I thank thee, 0 Father, Lord of Heaven
and earth., that Thou didst hide these things from the
wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes”
(Matt. 11. 25, R.V.). “To them that have no might He
increaseth strength” (Isa. 40. 29).
DAVID’S VICTORY
1 Samuel 17.
“Faith alone is the master-key
To the strait gate and narrow road:
The others but skeleton pick-locks be,
And you never shall pick the locks of GOD.”
-WALTER S MITH.
FAITJI is a sword “that smites with more than mortal
blow. ” David learned to .use this sword when but a lad
tending his father’s sheep among the uplands of Bethlehem.
Those who win open and public victories for God are those
who have triumphed in the lowly sphere of life and in the.66 Handfuls on Purpose.
hidden kingdom of the heart. Goliath is a fit type of the
god of this world, who blatantly defies the Lord’s people.
Tradition credits him as being the one who took the Ark of
God. “Choose you out a man, and let him come down
to me I ” cried this giant prince of boasters. But lhey were
utterly unable to choose such a man. The overcomer of
Israel’s enemy must be the ckosen of God, the man after His
own heart, a true type of Him who came to destroy the
works of the Devil, and to bruise the head of the adversary.
We shall view David here in this light. Notice his-I.
Gracious Mission. “He went as Jesse had com-manded
him, and came and saluted his brethren” (w.
17-22). David, like Christ, came out from his father,
rejoicing to do his will, and bringing the love and gifts of
the father to his brethren. Grace and truth came by Jesus
Christ. As the bright ruddy youth went forth with the
ten loaves for his brethren, and the ten cheeses for the
captain of their thousand, who would have thought that this
(child) was set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel ?
II. Motives Misjudged. “And Eliab’s anger was
kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down
hither? I know thy pride” (v. 28). This eldest brother,
like the kinsmen of Christ, betrays the grossest ignorance
of the real character of the pure and generous-minded
David. David’s motives were so unselfish that the proud
self-seeking Eliab could not understand him ; besides, it was a
gratuitous insult to his father who sent him. It is not easy
for a man to judge what is white when he persists in looking
through coloured glasses. David’s sufferings here were akin
to the sufferings of Christ, and an example of how we, too,
must suffer if we are faithful to the Father’s word and will.
David’s calm reply to this libellous charge is worthy of note.
“What have I now done ? Is there not a cause ? ” Yes,
there is a cause-deep, far-reaching, and God-glorifying..Old Testament Outlines. 67
III. Solemn Determination. “David said to Saul,
Let no man’s heart fail because of him ; thy servant will go
and fight this Philistine” (v. 32). God’s special @v~osc
in bringing him into the camp at this time has come upon
David as a rapidly-growing revelation. The Spirit of God
has convinced him that his mission is to overthrow the
defier of Israel, and, like his Lord, “he set his face like
a flint” to do it. If you feel moved by the Spirit to do
even some qz5recedertted thing for the glory of God be not
deterred by the worldly wisdom which says, like Saul,
“Thou art not able” (v. 33). As David, the stripling,
stands before the tall armour-clad king of Israel, with a
sling and a staff in his hands, despised and rejected by his
own brethren, he looks altogether unfit for such a conflict.
But God hath chosen the weak things to confound the mighty.
IV. Unwavering Confidence. “Thy servant slew
both the lion and the bear; and this Philistine shall be as
one of them, seeing he hath defied , . . the living God”
(w. 34-37). David’s past and secret experiences of the
power of faith in the living God nerves his soul now with
fearlessness. Was it not so also with the “Greater than
David ? ” Are there not always secret victories in the life
before we openly triumph in the sight of doubting and
fearful men. Those who defr the living God are not to
be feared by those who t~tist Him. Windbags are not of
much account with Him who is a consuming fire. Perhaps
Saul looked upon David as one whose spirit was willing, but
whose flesh was weak when Ize put Lois armour on him (v. 38).
But the armour that suits a man who fights in the energy of the
flesh will never suit a man who wars in the power of the Spirit.
So he put them off, “for he had not firoved them.” The Lord’s
anointed must meet the enemy not as a soldier, but as a
shepherd (John 10. IO, 11). As an armour against the sting
of pain they gave Jesus wine mingled with myrrh. But He
received it not. He met the enemy m the strength of faith..68 Handfuls on Purpose.
V. Invisible Armour. David said, “I come to thee
irr the Name of the LORD of Hosts, the God whom thou hast
defied” (v. 45). Goliath could only see the stripling and
his staff; he could not see the mighty NAME in which
David was encased as a tower of strength (Prov. 18. 10).
His NAME means all that He is in our behalf, and this is
“the whole armour of God. ” Put it on (Eph. 6. 10, 11).
Our weapons are not carnal, but mighty through the Spirit.
Our help is in the Name of the Lord (Psa. 124. 8). “If ye
ask anything in My Name, I will do it” (see Acts 3. 16).
VI. Decided Victory. “So David prevailed over the
Philistine with a sling and a stone” (w. 50,51). It was with
the sling of faith and the stone of truth that David’s Lord pre-vailed
over the enemy of souls in the wilderness (Luke 4. I-13).
As David slew Goliath with his own sword, so Christ conquered
death by dying and him that had the power of death, that is,
the devil (Heb. 2. 14,15). David went forth to the fight, as
Christ went to the Cross, in the presence of those who doubt-less
thought that they would see him again no more alive.
But he came back again, triumphant over the foe, and became
the chiefest among the thousands. This great battle was
between the refwesetitatives of two different kingdoms; each
nation conquers or falls in their champion. So was it with
God’s anointed Son. “Thanks be unto God, who giveth zcs
the victory tkough ow Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15. 57).
We are “more than conquerors” throtigk Him.
DAVID AND JONATHAN
1 Samuel 18. 1-4; 2 Samuel 1. 26.
“All through life there are wayside inns,
Where man may refresh his soul with love;
Even the lowest may quench his thirst
At rivulets fed by springs from above.”
-LONGFELLOW .
“BELOVED, let us love one another, for love is of God”
(1 John 4. 7). In this little portion of Scripture we.Old Testament Outllines . 69
have “apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Prov. 25. 11).
The love of Jonathan for David seems a pure unclouded
reflection of that love of God which i.s shed abroad in the
heart by the Holy Ghost. It was wonderful.
I. His Love was Real. “He loved him as his own
soul” (v. 1). It was no mere formal business connection.
Jonathan had taken David and all his interests home to the
secrets and carefulness of his own soul. The love that fails
to do this is shallow and selfish. How can we say that we
love’christ if His interests do not appeal as powerfully to
us as our own. Paul had done this when he said, “To me
to live is Christ” (Phil. 1. 21).
II. His Love was Surpassing. It passed the love of
women (2 Sam. 1. 26). To say this suggests that it was
su$ematuval. The highest form of human love is found in
the true motherly heart. The love that excels this is that
“greater love” manifested in the only begotten Son of God
(1 John 4. 9)) and begotten in our hearts by the Holy
Spirit (1 John 4. 19). The believer’s love to Christ is more
than mere natural love, for the carnal mind is enmity
against God. The natural heart is an alien to the Holy One.
III. His Love was Inseparable. “Jonathan and David
made a covena&, because he loved him” (v. 3) True love
will always constrain to a closer bond of union; mutual
affection culminates in the marriage tie. The love of
Christ constrains us. What to do ? Why, like Jonathan,
to yield our life’s concerns into the hands of Him whom
God hath exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour (Chap. 20.
14-16). Hear the whisperings of Christ’s dying love in
those never-to-be-forgotten words, “Do this in remem-branceof
Me” (1 Cor. 11. 24).
IV, His Love was Self-Sacrificing. “Jonathan
stripped himself . . , and gave to David“ (v. 4). Love
will not hide; “It doth not behave itself unseemly: it.70 Handfuls on Purpose.
sceketh lzot her 07m” (1 Cor. 13. 5). Love gives till the
giving is felt as a sacrifice. It was so with the love of
Christ, who for our sakes stripped Himself and became
of no reputation, that we through His poverty might be
made rich (2 Cor. 8. 9). The love of Christ was manifested
in that poor woman who, when overtaken by a snowstorm,
stripped herself to save her child. In stripping ourselves
for the honour and glory of the Christ of God we are proving
the reality of our confidence in Him. If He is to triumph for
us, let us give Him “even to our sword and our bow. ” ‘Self-aggrandisement
is always inconsistent with the glory of God.
V. His Love was Well Deserved. No doubt there were
many personal attractions about David to draw out the
full flow of Jonathan’s affections, for David “behaved
himself wisely” (v. 5), and was to Jonathan the fairest and
chiefest among ten thousand. But the secret of the strength
of his love lay in the fact that he knew David as the Lord’s
anointed and the coming king of Israel (chap. 20. 15).
Surely the tenderest affections of his pure soul were well
spent when lavished unreservedly on the beloved of God.
A greater than David is here ! One who spake as never man
spake, and whose behaviour has beetl such that neither
God, man, nor devil could find fault in Him. And He
says, “Lovest thou Me ? ”
VI. His Love was Reciprocated. “The soul of
Jonathan was k&t with the soul of David” (v. 1). These
two souls were knit together in their desires and motives,
as the warp and woof of a web. The kdtilzg together
shows that the affections of David responded in full mea-sure
to the love of Jonathan, so that the vital interests of
the one were intertwined with the vital interests of the
other. This is something deeper than mere belief in out-ward
conformity; it is the very ,essence of “the unity of the
Spirit. ” Jesus Christ was moved by that yearning fathom-.Old Testament Outlines. 71
less LOVE when he prayed that “they all may be one, as
Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in them. ” Thisdeepspiritual
union can only be brought about where there is the entire
surrender of all on both sides for mutual advantage
through the constraining power of love. This is what
Christ has done for us. What response are we making to
Him ? “He that loveth not knoweth not God: for God is
love” (1 John 4. 8). Our Lord is abundantly willing
that His life should be knit with our life. Are we equally
willing that our life should be knit together with His life,
and so become one in heart and purpose for the glory of God 1
DAVID IN ADULLAM
1 Samuel 22. 1, 2; 23.
“When God afflicts thee, think HE hews a rugged stone,
Which must be .shapcd, or else aside as useless thrown I”
-TRBNCII.
IN the closing verses of the previous chapter we have
recorded what was perhaps the darkest passage in the
experience of David. What a melancholy sight-the Lord’s
anointed one feigning himself mad through the fear of man.
Even anointed ones will be constrained to play the fool
when they put their trust in the arm of flesh instead of in
the living God (chap. 21. 10). As soon as David lost faith
in God he changed his behaviouv, *and took to “scribbling on
the doors of the gate” like a lunatic. There is a very vital
connection between our creed and our conduct ; a change of
faith will certainly lead to a change of behaviour. Through
fear of King Achish David fled to the cave of Adullam.
Solitude with God is better than the friendship of the
world. This act of separation was richly rewarded, for
“his brethren and all his father’s house went down thither
to him” (see chap. 17’. 28). There came also many others.
I. The Character of those who came to David..72 Handfuls on Purpose.
1. THE DISTRESSED. It was one thing to hear about
David, and perhaps to sympathise with him in his cause;
it was quite another thing to be driven to him by the force
of sheer necessity. We are not told what they were dis-tressed
about. The cause may have been the sufferings of
David or the unsettled condition of the country, or some
personal aflliction and loss. In any case, it is a blessed
distress that constrains us to seek the help and share the
fortunes of the Lord’s anointed. The self-satisfied heed not
the claims of the rejected One (Rev. 3. 20). It was distress
that brought the prodigal home to his father (Luke 15. 18).
2. THE DEBTORS. “Every one that was in debt. ” In
fleeing to David, and espousing his cause, those bankrupts
found a way of escape out of all their liabilities under the
rule of a God-rejected Saul. Under the law we are in-solvent
debtors, but Christ rescues such sinners, and is
willing to bear their blame for ever (Luke 7. 42).
3. THE DISCONTENTED . Those whose souls were em-bittered
through disappointment and harassing circum-stances-
thirsty, restless, and unsatisfied lives. Oh, how
many are smitten with this plague ! Yet how few seek
refuge in the presence of Him who alone can satisfy (Psa.
23. 5). Around the world’s self-made broken cisterns
there are great multitudes of such wretched folk who are
more inclined to talk of their complaints than to go to the
heavenly David, who is the Fountain of Life (Jer. 2. 13).
Contentment is learned here (Phil. 4. 11).
II. Why they came to David.
1. THEY CAME BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED IN HIM. They
believed that David was God’s appointed king, and his
was the right to reign over them. They had in fact got con-verted
to David. Faith cometh by hearing. Have we so
believed in Jesus Christ as the divinely-appointed and
highly exalted King over all ?.Old Testament Outlines. 73
2. TREY CAME BECAUSE THEY WERE DECIDED FOR HIM.
Their belief led them to take definite action. They not
only heard the sayings, but did them, according to the
ways of the wise (Matt. 7. 24). It is one thing to believe
about Christ, as the anointed Saviour and King; it is quite
another to take our stand with Him and for Him (John 9.
27). In deciding for David, they, like us, had to go forth
unto him, without the camp, bearing his reproach (Heb.
13. 13). Decision for Christ means separation from the
world.
3 . TH E Y CAME BECAUSE THEY WERE PREPARED TO
SUBMIT TO HIM. Having claimed him as their king, they
yielded themselves into his hands, for the honour of his
name and the advancement of his kingdom. How can we
claim to have acknowledged Christ as our King if.we have
not surrendered ourselves to Him? Is not this our reason-able
service ? (Rom. 12. 1).
III. What David became to Them. “He became a
captain over them. ” As soon as they took their place as
followers David assumed his right and power to lead. They
would thus therefore look to him-1.
FOR GUIDANCE. Their attitude .to David now is,
“Not my will, but thine be done;” what wilt thou have me
to do? Is this the attitude of our heart to Him who hath
received us in our dire need, having redeemed us with His
Blood ? One is your Master, even Christ. He guides by
the unerring eye of His Word (Psa. 32. 8). “Lead thou
me on. ”
2. FOR PROTECTION. Having become the disciples of
David, they exposed themselves to the wrath and enmity
of the followers of Saul. They who obey the god of this
world will always be at war in their heart with the
followers of the Lord’s anointed. But greater is He that is
with usthan he that is with them. God is for us, therefore
F Vol. 5.74 Handfuls on Purpose.
we shall not be moved. David said, “Abide with me, fear
not; for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: but with
me thou shalt be in safeguard” (v. 23). “He is able to
keep that which I have committed unto Him.”
3. FOR REWARD. The cause of David was no forlorn
hope. It was the cause of God, therefore its ultimate
triumph was sure. They who suffered with him in the
days of his national rejection would, no doubt, be honoured
with him in the day of his exaltation. “If we suffer with
Him, we shall also be glorified togethel” (Rom. 8. 17). The
day is coming when this despised One shall be crowned
LORD OF ALL, and those who have followed Him in the
rejection will be abundantly rewarded when they enter
into the “Joy of the Lord” (Matt. 25. 21). He shall
divide the spoil with the strong (Isa. 53. 12).
DAVID AND ABIGAIL
1 Samuel 25.
“Take love away, and life would be defaced,
A ghastly vision on a howling waste.“-NEWMAN. ,
“ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profit-able
for doctrilze” (2 Tim. 3. 16). So that “profitable
doctrine” may be found in this chapter if we consider the
three prominent persons mentioned as having a typical
character-David, as the Lord’s anointed, representing
Christ and His claims upon men ; Nabal in his pride and
foolishness is a fit type of the Christ-rejecting men of this
world ; Abigail is a beautiful example of those who believe,
in obedience to the deeper and truer instincts of our nature.
Let us note-I.
The Request of David. “Give, I pray thee, whatso-ever
cometh to thine hand” (v. 8).
1. THE REASON FOR IT. David and his men had been as a
wall of protection unto Nabal’s herdmen, both by night and.Old Testament Outlines. 75
day (v. 16), while they were keeping their sheep among
the hills of Carmel. His presence had saved them from the
thievish bands of marauders, therefore his request was
reasonable. Surely He who has saved us by the power of
His presence has a claim upon us.
2. THE MANNER OF IT. These ten young men, like the
ambassadors of Christ, were sent out in the name of their
lord and master (v. 5). To despise them was to despise him
that sent them (Luke 10. 16). They came with a message of
peace (v. 6), and this peace, like that proclaimed by the
messengers of the Gospel, was threefold. “Peace to thee,
peace to thine house, peace to all thou had. ” Suggestive of
peace with God, the peace of God in the home of the heart,
and the peace that passeth all understanding, touching all
that we have. Truly such a message coming to us, as it
came to Nabal, through the servants of God’s appointed
King, shall constrain us to a thalzkjd trust.
II. The Foolishness of Nabal. He is described as a
man who was “very great” (v. 2), but great men are not
always wise. The wisdom of folly of a man will become
very apparent when he is brought face to face with the
claims of God (I Cor. 2. 14). The balance of the sanctuary
is unerring. His folly is seen-1.
IN REJECTING THE CLAIMS OF DAVID. “Nabal an-swered,
Who is David ? and who is the son of Jesse ? ” (v. 10)
Like Pharaoh, he makes a boast of his ignorance (Exod.
5. 2). Like a backslider Peter, he says, “I know not the
Man. ” The servants of Christ often meet with the same
ungracious reception in presenting the claims of their Lord.
Quibbling questions are asked in such a self-important manner
that the messenger is smitten dumb with sorrow of heart.
Argument is out of the question, as it is not with the servant
they have to do, but with Him who sent them. So they turned
backandtoldDavidallthosethings(v.12). (SeeMatt.14.12.).76 Handfuls on Purpose.
2. IN LIVING FOR SELF-GRATIFICATION. “Nabal made a
feast like a king, and was drunken” (v. 36). The folly of
Nabal is further seen in his making a god of his belly, and
seeking the honour and praise of the ungodly rather than
that of the Lord’s anointed. He had nothing for David, but
he had plenty to spend on that which ministered to gluttony
and the pride of his own heart. There are many modern
Nabals who think all is lost or wasted that’s given for
Christ while they gorge themselves with surfeiting and
drunkenness. Nabal was a fool, and so is he that layeth up
for himself, and is not rich toward God (Luke 12. 20, 21).
III. The Wisdom of Abigail. “She was a woman of
good understand&g” (v. 3). Surely this was a case of being
unequally yoked with an unbeliever. Abigail’s wisdom is
self-evident when we consider her attitude toward David.
“She made haste, and took . . . and fell before David on
her face” (w. 18-23). Thus we see that-1.
SHE YIELDED INSTANTLY . “She made haste” to meet
all the demands made by David through his servants. This
was to her a work of faith, as well as a labour of love. She
believed in David, that the Lord would certainly establish
his cause (v. 23), and although she saw not the messengers
sent by him (v. 25)) her “good understanding ” constrained
her to yield a hearty obedience to his will. She knew
that this God-appointed king was not to be trifled with,
and that there was danger in delay. Have we so believed
and yielded to the claims of Jesus Christ our Lord ? Or
do we rather make haste to excuse ourselves ?
2. SHE P LEADED E ARNESTLY. She pleaded for her
foolish husband, whose way was right in his own eyes (Prov.
12. 15), but was utter madness in her’s (v. 25). She
prayed for herself (v. 28), knowing that the power of life
and death was in David’s hands. Knowing therefore the
terror of the Lord, we persuade men. It is when we believe.Old Testament Outlines. 77
in Christ for ourselves, and yield to Him, that we truly see
the terrible folly and danger of those who reject Him, and
are constrained through pity and compassion to fall down
before Him in earnest intercession for them.
3. SHE TESTIFIED COURAGEOUSLY. “In the morning,
when she told Nabal these things, his heart died within
him” (v. 37). She was wise enough to wait until the wine
had gone out of him; she knew the uselessness of reasoning
with a drunken man. The night before he could have faced
anything under the influence of that wine which is a
“mocker. ” But now, when the stem and solemn truth
stares him in the face, the shock of death steals over his
heart. Brave Abigail, she acknowledged David as king,
and confessed him, fearless of the indifference and spite of
her husband against him. Let no wife be hindered from
trusting in Christ, and confessing Him, through the folly
of her husband.
IV. The Results that Followed.
1. NABAL, THE R EJECTER, WAS S M I T T EN. “The Lord
smote Nabal, that he died” (v. 33). Perhaps Jesus Christ
had Nabal before His mind when He gave that parable in
Luke 12, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required
of thee.” The plans and purposes made by the ungodly to
escape the claims of Jesus Christ are weapons formed
against Him that shall not prosper. The man who
refuses to believe in Christ is setting the eternal
God at defiance.
2. ABIGAIL, THE BELIEVER, IS EXALTED. “David sent
for her, and she became his wife” (w. 40-42). Assuredly
this was a full reward for her faith, and an abundant
answer to the desire of her heart (v. 31). Separated from
the foolish worldly Nabal, she was now free to be married to
another, even to the Lord’s anointed. She is now, in the
time of David’s rejection, as closely related to him as she.78 Handfuls on Purpose.
was when he sat upon the throne. As she was, so
are we now, in Christ Jesus. “Be ye separate, saith
the Lord, and I will receive you.”
DAVID AMONG THE PHILISTINES
2 Samuel 37-29.
“In the natural desert of rocks and sands, or in the populous
moral desert of selfishness and baseness, to such temptation are we
all called.“-CARLYLE.
OF all the moral deserts or quagmires into which a Christian
may be driven by the force of temptation none is more
horrible than that of selfishltess. Such self-centred lives
are scandals on earth and heart-griefs in Heaven. But
let him that is without sin cast the first stone. Have we
not all at times, in our own hearts’ affections, played the
prodigal in taking a journey into the far country? Or have
we never, like David, while in a fit of cowardliness, sought
the comfort and help of the uncircumcised? David finding
rest among the Philistines is a greater marvel to us than
Saul among the prophets. It is a melancholy spectacle to
see the Lord’s anointed one depending on a heathen king
for protection, or a child of God turning aside to the
pleasures of this world for refreshing. Let us note-I.
Why He Went. He was tempted to take this false
step because-1.
HE FEARED MAN. “He said in his heart, I shall
perish one day by the hand of Saul” (chap. 27. 1). “The
fear of man bringeth a snare. ” When David said this in his
heart he was denying the holy anointing (1 John 2. 24).
This is dangerous ground. It was here where Saul was
when he fell from the favour of God (1 Sam. 15. 24).
2. HE FORGOT GOD. If this had not been so, how could
he ever have said, “There is ~zott%g better for me than
that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philis-.Old Testament Outlines. 79
tines. ” Is there ~zot&%g better for a child of God in the
day of distress than to seek the help of the ungodly? Hath
not he said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee, so
that we may boldly say, The Lord is my Helper, and I
will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Heb. 13. 5, 6).
Is that not much better? In Psalm 109. 4 we see David
on his better behaviour.
II. How He Succeeds. He-1.
ESCAPED PERSECUTION . “Saul sought no more again
for him” (chap. 27. 4). This is not always an unmixed
blessing (1 Peter 4. 13). There are always two ways by
which we may escape persecution. The one is by the inter-position
of God on our behalf (Acts 5. 19; 12. 7), the other
is by our backsliding into the ways of the world. The
world loves its own.
2. GOT YOKED WITH AN UNBELIEVER. How this came
about is very clear, and was very natural. He tist of all
“found grace in the eyes” of the king of Gath (chap. 27. 5).
Then he acknowledged himself as “thy servant,” and
so was promoted as “the keeper of the king’s head” (chap.
23. 2). In this way, by denying his true character as the
servant of God, and submitting himself to another master,
did David become unequally yoked with an unbeliever.
It was when the prodigal had forsaken his father, and sought
relief in the “far country, ” that he was constrained to
‘join hGn.self” to a citizen of that country. The back-sliding
in heart will soon be found backsliding in conduct.
It is an infallible evidence that we are “living after the
flesh” when we are more ready to consider what would be
“better for me” (chap. 27. 1) than what would be better
for Christ and His kingdom.
3. WAS COMPELLED TO ACT IN A DECEITFUL MANNER.
He and his men had invaded some of the nomadic tribes
up about the borders of Egypt; and when Achish asked.80 Handfuls on Purpose.
him, “Whither have ye made a road to-day?” David said,
“Against the south of Judah.” This was a deliberate
falsehood (chap. 27. 8-12). Was he not again playing the
deceiver when he pretended to the king of Gath that he
desired to go and fight with the Philistines against the
Israelites ? (chap. 29. 8). Was he not, in his heart, glad of
this providential way of escape out of the desperate dilemma
into which he had brought himself through fear and faith-lessness
? This is the wretched, double-dealing kind of
life that a man is compelled to live who has experienced the
saving grace of God, and been made a partaker of the Holy
Ghost, when he backslides into the ways of the world and
seeks to avoid all suffering for Christ. If he would $ease
men he must act the hypocrite, for down in the deeper
depths of his being the true light hath shined, although he
is inwardly conscious that he is not walking in the light.
No man, after receiving the holy anointing, as David did,
can ever be the same as he was before the anointing, no
matter how far he may fall from the enjoyment and power
of it. Even salt without its savour is still savourless salt.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that
ye be able to withstand in the evil day” (Eph. 6. 13).
DAVID RECOVERING ALL
1 Samuel 30.
“Is God less God, that thou art left undone ?
Rise, worship, bless HIM, in this sackcloth spun,
As in the purple!“-E. B. BROWNING.
IT is not so easy for us to praise God when our circum-stances
are to us as a covering of sackcloth and ashes as
when they are as the royal robe of unbroken favour and
success. Yet the discipline of the one may be as fruitful of
blessing as the other if we are found abiding in the will
of God. But the wilful prodigal will certainly suffer loss.
David’s alliance with the Philistines brought him into sore.Old Testament Outlines. 81
trouble, as all such unholy connections are sure to do.
See here-I.
A Crushing Disappointment. “David and his men
came to the city, and behold it was burned with fire”
(w. 3,5). While seeking to help the ungodly he suffers the
loss of all that he had. It is the old story in another form
of the prodigal son in the far country beginning to be
in want. “They lifted up their voice and wept,” and
David was “greatly distressed” (v. 6). In attempting to
watch the vineyard of others David failed to keep his own.
The enemy’ s fire is often needed to waken us up to a true
sense of our position in the sight of God.
II. A Work of Faith. “But David encouraged himself
in the Lord his God” (w. 6-8). Wives, sons, daughters,
cattle, houses, all gone; and the people “spake of stoning
him. ” David now comes to himself, and turns to the Lord
as unto a friend in the time of need, for who in such circum-stances
could etico%rage himself in a stranger. The spirit of
faith again sits on the throne of David’ s heart, as when
he faced Goliath, and he is at once another man. Having
remembered the Lord his God in aflliction, he rises up, like
a giant refreshed with new wine, to the dignity of his high calling. Yes. “What time I am afraid I will trust in
Thee” (Psa. 56. 3, 4). “He inquired at the Lord,, (v. 8).
We cannot encourage ourselves much in Him unless we are
prepared to submit our way to Him (1 Sam. 28.6).
III. An Assuring Promise. “Pursue, for thou shalt
without fail recover all” (v. 8). This precious word of
the Lord sets every fear at rest. Although as yet there
is no change in the calamitous circumstances, his heart
finds peace. All will be well, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. It is no vain thing, in the day of distress,
to encourage yourself in God. Be of good courage, and He
shall strengthen thine heart..82 Handfuls on Purpose.
IV. A Providential Hap. “They found an Egyptian
in the field” (vv. 11, 16). David had the promise of
God that all would be recovered. But how was it to
be done ? Where were now those invading Amalekites ?
Who will guide them to their rendezvous ? This poor un-fortunate
youth, who had to drop out of the ranks of the
Amalekites because of sickness, and was left by his heartless
master to perish by the roadside, is the divinely-appointed
tneuns to the fulfilment of the God-given promise. The
means are in His hand as well as the end ; and the things
that God chooses are “weak and despised” in the eyes of
the ungodly, like this dying Egyptian, but mighty to the
pulling down of the strongholds of Satan (1 Cor. 1. 27, 28).
This little episode, by the way, has a halo of glory about it.
Our heavenly David is not ashamed to pick up the world’s
sick and half-dead castaways, to nourish them into life and
health, to engage them as His servants, and to use them for
the furtherance of His cause and kingdom, having slain the
enmity by the power of His kindness (w. 11, 12). Such
were some of us.
V. A Complete Victory. “David recovered all”
(w. 16-20). Who else could? He had yielded himself to
God for this purpose, and having His promise he went in His
Name, and proved the faithfulness of His Word. What a
prefiguring of Him who was David’s Lord, and who en-couraged
Himself in His God, and came forth to recover ali
that was lost through the sinful failure of the first Adam.
His journey was short and the struggle was severe, but the
victory was glorious, for Jehovah had laid help upon one
that was mighty-mighty in sympathy and compassion,
mighty in patience and in wisdom, mighty in meekness and
in power, mighty in dying and in rising again, mighty to
forgive and to save, mighty to burst the gates of death and
to open the gates of glory, mighty to RECOVER ALL and to
keep and guard all that is recoverd.Old Testament Outlines. 83
VI. A Gracious Offer. “Behold a present for you”
(v. 26). The word “present” is rendered blessing in the
margin. He who “recovered all” now offers a blessing to
all his friends. Those who were not able to go down to the
battle, but who faithfully tarried by the stuff, shall in no way
lose their reward (v. 24). He who hath redeemed (bought
back) the lost inheritance has the alone right to give such
gifts to others (Eph. 1. 7). He shall divide the spoil of His
unsearchable riches with the strong in faith (Isa. 53. 12).
Yes, there is a blessing for youin this glorious victory if you claim Him as your Friend and Deliverer, and are faithfully,
though feebly, striving to serve Him (Heb. 2. 14, 16).
DAVID CROWNED KING OVER ALL
2 Samuel 5. 1-5.
“In full and gIad surrender we give ourselves to Thee,
Thine utterly, and only, and evermore to be !
0 Son of God, who lovest us, we will be Thine alone,
And all we are, and all we have, shall henceforth be Thine own.”
-HAVERGAL.
IT was a great day in Israel when all the tribes gathered
together in Hebron to make David king over a united
people. Perhaps the wisdom and advocacy of Abner had
much to do with the bringing about of this happy event
(chap. 3. 17-19). The man who had been anointed with
the holy oil (Spirit), and who lives by faith in God, will
have a path that shineth more and more with the light of
His favour. We are reminded here of the time when
all the tribes of earth shall confess Jesus Christ as King,
and crown Him Lord of all. The turning of the kingdom
to David, like the turning of the kingdoms of the world to
our God and to Christ, was “according to the Word of the Lord” (1 Chron. 12. 23). We shall note here-I.
The Confession. They came to David, as we may
come to Christ, making confession of-.84 Handfuls on Purpose.
1. KINSHIP. “Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh”
(v. I). To have a “flesh and bone” relationship with
a king is surely a great privilege, and a mighty plea in
’ urging a request. Such is the honourable position of every
Christian. “For we are members of His body, of His flesh,
and of His bones” (Eph. 5. 30). Did not the first Adam
say of Eve-a type of the Church-“This is now bone of
my bone, and flesh of my ilesh” (Gen. 2. 23). This close
and living union with Him brings us as members into vital
connection one with another (Ram. 12. 5).
2. FAILURE. “In time past, Saul was king over us”
(v. 2). There is a ring of sorrowful disappointment in
these words. In time past we had an untrustworthy ruler
over us, one who broke away from the command of the
Lord, and who sought to destroy the influence of His
anointed, and to lead us to war against the purposes of
God. What a faithful type of the prince of this world,
and of the woeful conductor of all those whose minds are
blinded by Him. Let the time past suffice for the will of
the flesh and the work of the Devil.
3. GRACE. “Thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest
in Israel” (v. 2). This is a confession of the wisdom
and goodness of David’s work among them. David,
like the Lord Jesus Christ, dealt with them “according to
the integrity of his heart and the skilfulness of his hands”
(Psa. 70. 72). It is wonderful, in looking back over even
our past sinful life, how much of the wisdom and grace of
our Lord we now see. What we then thought was opposed
to our highest interests we can now trace to the skilfumess
of His hands.
4. FAITH. “The Lord said unto thee, Thou shalt
feed My people. * By these words the elders made con-fession
of their faith in David as the one appointed by
Jehovah to lead them and feed them as a shepherd. He.Old Testament Outliner. 85
whom God hath set up shall not be easily overthrown.
Hath not Christ, the Shepherd of our souls, been com-missioned
of the Father to feed His sheep? And shall not
we, like these elders, acknowledge our King as He who
spreadeth a tabIe for us in the wilderness, and as He who is
in Himself the “Living Bread. ”
5. SURRENDER . “Thou shalt be prince (or ruler) over
Israel” (v. 2, R .v .). This language is expressive of
perfect subjection to His word and will. Thou shalt rule
over us, and our lives are at thy disposal for the carrying
out of all the purposes of thy heart. Are we prepared SO
to yield.ourselves as instruments of righteousness to Him
who is our Redeemer and King ? Can we pray in truth,
“Thy will be done in tis, as it is done iti Heaven ! ”
II. The Covenant. “King David made a covenant with
them” (v. 3, R.v.). This offer was accepted, and an ever-lasting
bond of union formed. David’s league with them
was the pledge and promise that his wisdom and power
would be exercised for their personal and national well-being.
So they anointed David king over Israel. So may ’
it be with us. All who are prepared to crown Jesus King
over all will have the benefit of His covenant of promise
and power. The crowning of Jesus over our lives means
for us a life of victory and blessing.
“CROWN HIM LORD OF ALL. ”
DAVID RESTORING THE ARK
2 Samuel 6. 1-16.
“0 heart I Weak follower of the weak,
That thou should’ & travel land and sea,
In this far plack that God to seek
Who long ago had come to thee.“-HOUGHTON.
THE Ark was the symbol of the presence of the invisible
God among them, and a type of Jesus Christ, God manifest.86 Handfuls on Purpose. .h
in the flesh, but Israel had Iost it (1 Sam. 4). Sin and iniquity
will always separate between you and your God (Isa. 59. 2).
The same PRESENCE which was the joy and comfort of the
Lord’s people was a terror to the ungodly (1 Sam. 5.8). Separ-ated
from Him, “1chabod”may be written on all we do (1 Sam.
4.21; John 15.4,5). In this chapter we have men taking
up various attitudes towards the Ark, reminding us of the
different positions some take up toward Christ. Notice the-I.
Zealous Formalists. “They set the Ark of God
upon a new cart” (v. 3). The descendants of those carters
are still with us. There is a show of sanctity about
their actions, but they have more pleasure in putting their
religion in new carts-new churches-than carrying it
personally (1 Chron. 15. 15). The Ark had staves, but no
wheels (Exod. 25. 14, 15). The religion of Jesus Christ can
not be driven in a mechanical fashion. ‘We may invent
new machinery a.nd organisations and put our faith in them,
but if the “burden of the Lord” does not rest on our own
hearts the cause of Christ will make no progress through US.
II. Self-Confident Professor. “Uzzah put forth his
hand to the Ark and took hold of it, and God smote him
for his error” (w. 6, 7). Familiarity with holy things,
without the heart to appreciate, leads to presumption
(Levit. 10. l-3). The Ark of God does not need the hand of
man to steady it any more than did the Pillar of Cloud. It is
possible to perish in the place of privilege through putting
forth the hand instead of the heart (Rom. 10. 3). There be
many like Uzzah, who would defend the faith, and yet show
by their actions that they have no faith. They would save the
Bible from falling, and they themselves fall and die unsaved.
III. Timid Seeker. “David was afraid, and said,
How shall the Ark of the Lord come to me ? ” (v. 9).
David was anxious to have the Ark, as many are anxious
to have salvation, but the holiness and power associated.Old Testament Outlines. 87
with it, and a sense of his own unworthiness, made him
afraid. How shall this holy, sin-smiting One come to me ?
How will I ever be able to live in fellowship with such
purity and might ? Ah, this “how ? ” has troubled many a
seeker after God. The answer is found in the Cross of
Christ, for we are reconciled to God by the death of His
Son, and our hearts made the habitation of God through
the Spirit. Who is able to stand before the holy Lord God ?
(1 Sam. 6. 20). He who has access b~~faitlt (Rom. 5. 1, 2).
IV. Humble Believer. “David carried it into the
house of Obed-edom, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and
all his house” (w. 10, 11). Obed-edom’s name occurs
among theporfers (1 Chron. 15. 18), but though humble of
occupation, he evidently received the Ark joyfully, for
from that day salvation came to his house (Luke 19. 5, 6).
David was afraid to take the Ark home himself, but he
seemingly thought that it would do no harm in the humble
house of the doorkeeper. The Ark seemed to say, “If any
man open the door I will come in, and sup with him, and
he with Me. ‘ I There are many who are afraid to let Christ,
the Ark of God, into the home of the heart, lest something
else should need to go (Matt. 21. 12).
V. Fearless Witness-Bearers. “They bare the Ark of
the Lord” (v. 13). They did not invent another “new cart.”
with elaborate decorations, to help it in its progress, neither
did they pay others to do the carrying for them. They boldly
took “the burden of the Lord, ” and bare it. The cause of
Christ is not to be advanced by those who know no more
about the personal Saviour than the oxen knew about the Ark.
Christ, like the Ark, must be borne by those who have been
separated unto Him (1 Chron. 15. 14, 15; Acts9. 15). We
need at times to have the Ark on our shoulder, in the street
as well as in the house. In the eyes of some the Ark is
always out of its place, unless when it is out of sight. -.88 Handfuls on Purpoae.
VI. Joyful Confessor. “David danced before the
Lord with all his might” (v. 14). His mourning is now
turned into dancing, his sackcloth has been exchanged
for the girdle of gladness (Psa. 30. 11). Obed-edom’s
blessing has brought the blessing of a strengthened faith to
him. Perfect love casts out fear. The presence of God
is here triumphing through sacrifice (v. 13). So we joy
in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have
now received the reconciliation (Rom. 5. 11, R.V.).
VII. Sneering Fault-Finder. “Nichal saw King
. David dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in
her heart” (v. 16). The things of the Spirit of God are
foolishness to the natural man (1 Cor. 2. 14). In their
ignorance and self-conceit they mistake glad men for mad
men (Acts 2. 13), Any fool can be a fault-finder, but it
takes more than the world can give to make a man “dance
before the Lord.” The giddy worldlings dance before one
another and become fools before the Lord. Those who
stare through their windows with the eyes of a Michal can
see no beauty or glory in the Ark (Christ) of God, no cause
for joy in its (His) coming. They hide, as it were, their
faces from Him. When Christ comes will He find you among
the formalists, the fearful, the faithful, or the fault-finding?
DAVID AND MEPHIBOSHETH,; OR, SAVED
BY GRACE
2. Samuel 9.
“Man’ s forgiveness may be true and sweet,
But yet he stoops to give it. More complete
Is love that lays forgiveness at thy feet,
And pleads with thee to raise it I Only Heaven
Means Cro~~cd, not Vaanquishcd, when it says Fot’ giffrn I”
-A . PROCTRR.
MUCH food for reflection might be found in comparing this
chapter with Romans 9-l 1. The purposes of God concerning.Old Testament Outlines. 89
Israel, as revealed in these chapters, ought to be better
known than they are among believers everywhere. We
might observe here-I.
Mephibosheth’s Condition ; or, The Sinner’s
Need.
1. FEARFULNESS. From the fact that such inquiry had
to be made, we may learn that Mephibosheth was hiding
from the king. They dread -God who know not His love
(v. 1). Hiding from his best friend. So like the sinner
(Gen. 3. 8).
2. DESTITUTION. “In the house of Machir (sold) in
Lodebar” (without pasture) (v. 4). How true1 The
rebellious dwell in a dry land (Psa. 63. 6). Away from
God the sinner is but lodging in the house of poverty
(Isa. 44. 20; Luke 15. 16).
3. HELrr.~ssNEss. “Lame on both feet” (v. 13). At
that time ye were without strength (Rom. 5. 6). With re-gard
to the things of God the unregeneratqd are heartless,
handless, footless. Any ability we have is God-given
(1 Peter 4. 11).
II. David’s Purpose ; ok, The Love of God. He
wished to show kindness to the house of Saul (his enemy)
for Jomzthua ‘ s sake (the gift of God). What an illustration
of 2 Corinthians 5. 19, This-1.
LOVE WAS S PONTANEOUS . It was the voluntary
impulse of a kind and merciful heart. “God is Love. ”
God takes the first step towards man’s redemption (Eph. 1.
4 ; 1 Peter 1. 2). He so loved the world that He gave His
Son. “We love Him because He first loved us. ”
2. LOVE WAS GRACIOUS. It sought out the undeserving.
It offered favour to an enemy. While we were yet enemies
Christ died for us. It was, indeed, the “Gospel of Grace”
thatGDa;vifd;” servant carried to the poor cripple. What.90 Handfuls on Purpose.
a privilege to belong to such “sent ones” (v. 5). This is
a beautiful illustration of Romans 10. 14, 15. What is
the meaning of John 20. 21?
3. LOVE WAS SELF-SACRIFICING. “I have given all that
pertained to Saul” (v. 9). This was a great gift, but it was
for Jonathan’s sake. In John 3. 16 we see a greater gift,
and with this gift comes the pledge of all things (Rom.
8. 32; 2 Peter 1. 3).
III. Mephibosheth ‘ 8 Faith ; or, Salvation Enjoyed.
H e-1.
BELIEVED THE MESSAGE. So proved his faith by
obeying the call. “He came unto David” (v. 6). See
2 Chron. 30. 10, 11). The Master is come, and calleth
for thee. We test the truth of the Gospel when
we believe it.
2. HUMBLED HIMSELF. “He fell on his face.” So well
he may. He confesses himself to be as a “dead dog” (v. 8).
You hath he quickened who were dead in s&z-worse
than a dead dog. The goodtiiss of God leads to repentance
(2 Cor. 5. 14).
3. WAS ACCEPTED. “David said, Fear not, I will show
thee kindness” (v. 7). The God who invites will surely
receive (John 7. 37). Think of His kindness towards us
through Christ Jesus (Eph. 2. 7).
4. WAS ADOPTED. “He shall eat at my table as
one of the king’s sons” (v. 11). Although he was
lame on both his feet he sat continually at the king’s
table. His table of mercy covers many an infirmity
(1 John 3. 1, 2).
5. WAS MADE AN HEIR. “David said, I will restore thee
all the land of Saul thy father” (v. 7). From poverty to
plenty through the grace of the king (1 Peter 1. 3, 4).
By grace are ye saved through faith (Eph. 2. 8)..Old Testament Outlines. 91
DAVID’S’ FALL AND FORGIVENESS
2 Samuel 12. l-14.
W&h,
“The spark, self-kindled from within,
blown upon, will blind thee with its glare,
Or smothered, stifle thee with noisome ~~~.”–COLERIDGB.
“LET him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall”
(1 Cor. 10-12). Backsliding never begins with an overt
act of guilt, but in the secret tlzought of the heart. “Thou
hast left thy first love, therefore thou art fallen” (Rev.
2. 4-6). Christians may fall out of fellowship with God,
although they may not fall out of their relationship as
&iLdren, any more than the prodigal in Luke 15 could fall
from his sonshi?. There was a vast difference in results
between the fall of Saul and that of David, or between the
denial of Peter and that of Judas.
I. The Nature of it. David was guilty of adultery
and murder (chap. 11). The killing of Uriah was a subtle
device to cover the shame of his sin with Bathsheba.
Oh, into what depths a child of God may fall in one
unguarded moment! Here note the faithfulness of the
Bible in exposing the faults and failings of its heroes.
David is not the only holy man that has been dragged
into the mire of sin through the influence of a look (chap.
11. 2). Eve saw before she took the forbidden fruit. Lot’s
backsliding began when he “looked toward Sodom,” and a
look was the ruin of his wife. The first step that led to the
destruction of the old world was taken when the “Sons of
God looked on the daughters of men” (Gen. 6). The
words of Christ are very searching in this connection (see
Matt. 5. 28). As we stand in the glarf: of this searchlight
from Heaven, who will be the first to cast a stone at David ?
II. The Fruit of it. “By this deed thou hast given
great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme ;
the child also shall surely die” (v. 14). The marrying of.92 Handfuls on Purpose.
Bathsheba before the child was born did not cover the
guilt of his sin in the sight of God (chap. 11. 27). How sad
when the behaviour of a professed servant of God fills the
mouths of His enemies with arguments against Him and
His cause! The misdeeds of Christians gives the enemy
occasion to say things that blaspheme His Holy Name.
Has He not said that “the heathen shall know that I am the
Lord, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes”
(Ezek. 36. 23; see also Rom. 2. 24).
III. The Conviction of it. “Thou art the man” (v. 7).
This arrow was not shot at random. Those who are living
in sin are not to be convicted with a mere hint, they have
to be “pierced in the heart” (Acts 2. 37). As Christ was
pierced for our sins, so must we be pierced with conviction.
David’s secret sin was naked before God. Like the sin of
Cain and A&an, no human device could cover it. The
message sent by Nathan was singularly apt, as God’s
messages always are; and like Latimer and Knox, he feared
not the royal wrath. When L man has a message from
God his manner will be bold and his speech unequivocal.
Was it not thus with Jesus Christ 1
IV. The Confession of it. “David said, I have sinned
against the Lord” (v. 13). He makes no excuse, he
mentions no extenuating circumstances, he blames no one
for betraying his secret to the prophet. He is too deeply
wounded to offer any resistance. He does not say, I have
sinned against Uriah, but I have sinned against the Lord.
When a man has discovered that he has “sinned against
Heaven ” (Luke 15. 18), he will cease justifying himself
(Psa. 51. 4). When the wife of John Brown, the martyr,
&ked the murderer Claverhouse how he would answer
for this day’s work, he sneeringly replied, “As for
man, I will answer to him; as for God, I will take
Him into my own hands. ” A dead conscience makes.Old Testament Outlines. 93
a man as arrogant as Satan himself. Job said,
“Because I am vile, what shall I answer Thee 1”
(chap.40. 4 ). “God be merciful to me a sinner” is
the incense that rises from the live coals of a burning
conviction (Luke 18. 13).
V. The Forgiveness of it. “Nathan said, The Lord
hath put away thy sin” (v. 13). It is still true that “If
we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive
us” (1 John 1. 9). How sweetly David sings of this
abounding mercy of God in the thirty-second Psalm.
The prophet Micah exults in the same joyful note.
“Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth
iniquity” (Micah 7. 18).
1. IT WAS IMMEDIATE. AS soon as confession was made,
so soon was his pardon declared. Behold in this the
readiness of God to bless, as soon as the heart of man is in
a righi state to receive it.
2 . IT wAs COMPLETE. “The Lord hath pwt away
thy sin.” Who shall ever tid what God hath p ut
away ? God never upbraids, where there is honest
confession, but by the power of His omnipotent grace,
He sweeps the hell-born thing for ever from before
His face. “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh
away the sin of the world.” (John 1. 29).
3. IT WAS ACCOMPANIED WITH PROMISE. “Thou shalt
not die.” The forgiveness of God is associated with the
promise of life (Acts 13. 38, 39; Eph. 1. 6, 7; John 5. 24).
He forgives, then He assures the forgiven one with
His Word. Although we should never hear a voice,
as it were from Heaven, saying to us as it said to
John Bunyan, “Will you have your sins and go to
Hell, or forsake them and go to Heaven.” Yet are
we not justified until we confess our sins and believe
on the Lord Jesus Christ..94 Handfuls on Purpose.
DAVID AND ABSALOM
2 Samuel 13-18,
“Seek to be pleasant, seek to be winning,
Rudeness and sourness are kin to sinning;
Seek to bring sunshine wherever you go,
Have faith in a bright word more than a blow.
Seek to be ‘ curt full’ for nothing at all,
Receiving buoyant whatever befall ;
Seek still to show that He healeth your scars,
That trials bring joy as night bringeth stars.”
-GROSART.
DAVID’ S terrible fall through sin may have had much to
do with the fostering of pride and self-confidence in the
formation of the character of Absalom. No man liveth
unto himself. The fruit of a parent’s iniquity may have a
resurrection and a judgment in his offspring. The story of
Absalom is the story of a prodigal perishing in the far
country; it is a beacon of warning to all young men in
danger of being lured to ruin through the lust of the eye
and the pride of life. Let us take a survey of this young
man ‘s career and note his-I.
Natural Advantages. These were exceptionally
great and favourable. Not only was he the son of a king,
but in his personal appearance ‘There was none to be so
much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of
his foot even to the crown of his head there was SO blewzish
in him” (chap. 14. 25). But what a terrible contrast there
was in his moral and spiritual nature, “From the sole of the
foot even unto the head there was 120 sozllzdness in it” (Isa.
1. 6). Hereditary advantages or disadvantages are not
sufficient in themselves to make or mar true nobility of
character, but a favourable start may count for much in the
race of life. Absalom had a wide door of glorious
possibilities opened for him in that he was able to
command the affections of the men of Israel (chap. 15. 6)..Old Testament Outlines.
But outward appearance counts for nothing in the sight
of God (1 Sam. 16. 7).
II. Revengeful Spirit. Absalom’s cold-blooded murder
of his brother Amnon “two full years” after Amnon’s
vile and cruel deed had been done reveals a dogged and
remorseless spirit (chap. 14. 23-28). Time and circum-stances
had no power to cool the fire of his unforgiving
temper. His words were like honey and butter, while
deceit lurked in his heart (chap. 15. 4). Outward beauty
and inward deformity are for ever characteristic of the
hypocrite “whited sepulchres.” See the whiting process
described in Romans 10. 3.
III. Renewed Opportunity. Absalom who had fled
to Geshur to escape the wrath of his father is now after
the lapse of several years restored to the favour of the
king through the influence of his cousin Joab (chap. 14. 33).
In the providence of God he has another chance of making
a fresh and more honourable start in life. How momentous
are the consequences that hang on this renewed day of
grace ! Will he choose the narrow path that leads to life,
or the broad self-made way that leads to destruction? Are
there not many young men in our towns and cities to-day
who are lightly esteeming a re$eated privilege that is
heavily laden with eternal issues. “Behold, now is the
accepted time” (2 Cor. 6. 2).
IV. Self-Aggrandisement. “After this Absalom
prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run
before him” (chap. 15. 1-6). The forgiving grace of the
father, instead of mellowing his heart into thankful sub-mission,
seemed only to give greater license to his un-bridled
will and presumption. An unregenerate sinner will
turn the grace of God into lasciviousness by taking all the
favour and blessing God can give him, that these might
minister to his own pride and self-glory. In after years.96 Handfuls on Purpose.
Adonijah played the same proud, ruinous game (1
Kings 1. 5). He that exalteth himself shall be abased
(2 Cor. 10. 18).
V. Open Rebellion. “Then ye shall say, Absalom
reigneth” (chap. 15. lo)., The hypocritical mask is
thrown off, and the secret purposes of his h e a rt
are revealed. He declares himself an enemy to the
government of David his father, and an aspirant for
the position and authority of the king. It is most
suggestive that the two hundred men whom he had
called, and who went in their simplicity, “KWW not
anything” (chap. 15. 11). Open rebellion against the
will and ways of God is the ripened fruit of a
secret, self-centred life. As long as ungodly’ men
can gain some worldly advantages by their false
pretensions they will refrain from manifesting their
true inward dislike to the rule of God. But the
day is coming when every hidden thing will b)
revealed.
VI. Untimely Death. “Behold ‘ 1 saw Absalom
hanged in an oak” (chap. 18. 9-14). In riding
into the wood to escape “the servants of David” he
rode into the jaws of death, for that head of pride
and beauty was caught between two branches of an
oak, and the mule in whom he trusted “went from
under him. ” Those who fight against God have
forces to reckon with that they know not of; their
mule, whatever that may be, will one day go j?om
mder them, leaving them helpless “betwees Heaven and
earth, ” as utterly unfit for either. The man who
built his house on the sand had the object of his
confidence taken from under him too. It is very
different with the redeemed of the Lord (Psa. 40. 2).
Joab’s treatment of the unfortunate pretender was
cruel and ghastly. “Vengeance is Mine, saith the.Old Testament Outlines. 97
Lord, I will repay.” Surely the triumph of t he
wicked is short.
VII. Ironical Monument. “Now Absalom had reared
up for himself a pillar, and called it after his own name”
(chap. 18. 18). He had set up this pillar, perhaps to mark
his last resting-place and to perpetuate his name, but
instead they “cast him into a great pit in the wood, and
laid a very great hea+ of stones upon him” (chap. 18. 17).
His utter disregard for parental and divine authority
prepared for him the burial of a dog. His pillar, like the
pillar of salt on the plain of Sodom, became a monument of
the judgment of God against disobedience. It was another
tower of Babel on a small scale. In Luke 18. 11 we see
another man busy rearing up his pillar, but their name is
legion (Rom. 10. 3).
VIIL Sorrowful Father. “0 my son Absalom !
would God I had died for thee, 0 Absalom, my son, my
son !” (chap. 18.33). The only one that was able seemingly
to shed tears for Absalom was that one who was most
grievously insulted by him. What a revelation is
here of the depth and tenderness of the love that
was sinned against. There were doubtless several
elements that went to add pungency to David’s grief,
viz., his own aggravating fall, the painful circum-stances
of the death, and Joab ‘ s disregard for the
king’s command (v. 5). But what shall we say of
the love of God, who, while we were yet sinners,
rebels, sent His only begotten Son to die for us ? Herein is
love, a love that willeth not the death of any, a love that
has wept over the erring (Luke 19. 41). A love that is
ready to forgive. A love that has already suffered the
sharp pangs of death in our stead; but, alas, a love that is
as lightly esteemed by many to-day as David’s was by
Absalom..98 ‘Handfuls on Purpose.
DAVID’S SONG OF DELIVERANCE
2 Samuel 22. 17-20.
“0 strengthen me, tha.t while I stand
Firm on the Rock, and strong in Thee,
I may stretch out a loving hand
To wrestlers with a troubled sea.” -F. R. HAVERGAL.
THIS Song of Deliverance is in itself one of the most mar-vellous
deliverances that has ever been achieved by mortal
lips. It is the singing of one whose heart has been attuned
to the harmony of Heaven. What depth of rich personal
experience is revealed in these glowing exultant words
(v. l-7). A full sense of the greatness of God’s salvation
is enough to make the dumb to sing with a sweetness that
even the eloquent worldling cannot approach. ,Confiding
our attention to the few verses indicated above, we remark
about this deliverance that it was-I.
Needed. Concerning his enemies, David says,
“They were too strong for me” (v, 18). Too strong for
him, but not too strong for the God that was with him.
The world, the flesh, and the Devil are all too strong for
us, but greater is He that is in us than all who can be
against us. Those who fight in their own strength will
find out to their sorrowful loss that the enemy is too
strong for them.
II. Divine. “He sent from above” (v. 17). The
need was so very great that saving help could only come
from above. Help came from above when God sent Samuel
to David with the divine call and the holy oil. He laid
help upon One that is mighty when He sent His Son to
seek and to save the lost (John 3. 16). “Except a man
be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God
(John 3. 3, margin).
III. Personal. “He took me” (v. 17). This is a sweet.Old Testament Outlines. 99
little testimony. He might have taken others and left me,
but “He took me. ” The hand of God’s mighty redeeming
power was stretched out to grip me and to take me from
the “horrible pit” (Psa. 40. 2), and out of the “deep mire”
(Psa. 69. 1, 2). The salvation of Christ is a very personal
matter, and, blessed be His Name, all who trust Him will
be taken by Him.
IV. Great. “He drew me out of many waters” (v. 17).
The Lord drew David out of the waters of danger when
He saved him again and again out of the murderous hand
of Saul. He drew him out of the waters of affliction
when the crown was put on his head. He was drawn
out of the waters of gzrilt when Nathan pronounced the
forgiveness of his sin (2 Sam. 12. 13). The salvation of
God is a drawing out of the kingdom of darkness into the
kingdom of His dear Son. The waters of affliction and
persecution may still flow in upon us, but out of them all
our God can draw us. HE drew me, or I would certainly
have been overwhelmed like the Egyptians. “Salvation is
of the Lord.”
V. Hearty. “Because He delighted in me” (v. 20).
His salvation was not only a matter of power, but of
love. “God so loved the world that He gave.” This a
sweet note in the song of the saved, “He delighted in me. ”
We often find this out only after we have ‘had our feet
established on the rock of His eternal truth. This delight
does not spring from anything in us by nature, but has
its source in the fathomless generosity of His own character.
He delighteth in mercy. Herein is love.
VI. Satisfying. “He brought me forth into a Large
place” (v. 20). Some are afraid to be drawn out of the
many waters of their sins lest they should be brought
into such a narrow place that all the joy of their life would
be crushed out of them. Those who, by the grace of God,.100 Handfuls on Purpose.
have been brought into the kingdom of God have been
brought into a very large place, for this kingdom is
bounded by eternity. They have been brought into
the family of God, and are the heirs of eternal life. This
“large place” may surely be taken as referring also to the
enlarged possibilities that open up for us in Christ Jesus
as “kings and priests unto God. ”
DAVID’S OFFERING
2 Samuel 23. 15-17.
“What Thou has given me, Lord, here I bring Thee,
Odour and light, and the magic of gold ;
Feet which must follow Thee, lips which must sing Thee,
Limbs which must ache for Thee ere they grow old. ” -C. KINGSLBY.
As Herbert hath said, “My God must have my best. ”
There is something sublimely pathetic about this simple
act of David in pouring out a drink of water as an offering
unto the Lord. It was very natural for the thirsty warrior,
while lodging in the hold of Adullam, to long for some
water from that crystal spring at Bethlehem, where in
earlier days he had so often quenched his burning thirst.
First impressions are not easily effaced. The privileges of
youth may be eagerly longed for in after days, and a higher
value set upon them when they can scarcely be had. See
then what David offered. It was a-I.
Common Thing. “Water” (v. 15). We may find
sacrifices for God in the smallest details of life. We need
not be always looking for some great thing to do in order
to show our hearts’ devotion to our Lord and Master.
With every daily mercy there comes the opportunity of
glorifying God. Little quiet moments of time may be
turned into acceptable sacrifices unto God.
II. Costly Thing. It was water secured at the
“jeopardy of their lives” (v. 17). A common thing made.Old Testament Outlines. 101
precious, because purchased with a great price. Such were
all of us who have been redeemed with the precious Blood
of Christ. David was sufficiently large-hearted not to offer
to God as a sacrifice that which cost him nothing (chap.
24. 24). There are those who reserve for God the torn
reputation, the Zame life, and the sick days (Mal. 1. 13).
They give to God that which they no longer want-a
diseased body and a sin-smitten soul. “Honour the Lord
with thy substance” (Prov. 3. 9).
III. Desirable Thing. “David longed for the water of
Bethlehem” (v. 15). In making this offering David was
not giving that for which he felt he had no need, for his
whole soul longed to have it. It is easy for us to offer God
that for which we have no longer any cafacity to enjoy.
Many readily part with their goods for charitable purposes
when death is looking them in the face, who while healthy
and vigorous held them greedily with an iron hand. There
is no sacrifice in this. In pouring out the water the royal
shepherd was giving to the Lord that which was, at that
moment, the best he had. Present yourself unto God.
Perhaps this may be your most da&able thing.
IV. Consecrated Thing. He “poured it out uscfo
UC Lovd. ” He refused to use it for the gratification of
his own longings. Even water spilt on the ground after
this holy fashion is not lost; it brings forth the peaceable
fruits of righteousness. It is a making deep the ditches
within our own natures for a mightier filling with the
“water of life” that comes from the very throne of God.
Everything becomes holy that is given to the Lord. “What
shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits 3 ’ ’
V. Thing that could not be taken back. “Water
spilt: that could not be gathered again.” Who ever
thought of taking back for their own use the sacrifice that
was laid on the altar? What was given to God was His,.102 Handfuls on Purpose.
and His for ever. David was perfectly conscious that in
pouring otit the water mto the Lord it could never more
be his own. Do we realise what this means ? If we have
given ourselves unto the Lord, then we are “not our OWS, ”
and it is the grossest sacrilege to take back for our own
self-gratification that which belongs only to God. “Ye
are not your own, for ye are bought with a price : therefore
glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are
God’s” (1 Cor. 6. 19, 20; see also 2 Cor. 5. 14, 15).
DAVID ‘S CHOICE
2 Samuel 24. 1-14.
“God loves to work in wax-not marble. Let Him find
When He would mould thine heart, material to His mind.”
-T R E N C H.
“WEAK and feeble hands may touch God’s great hand
while groping blindly in the dark.” These are not the
exact words of Longfellow, but the suggestive substance.
In numbering the people David was groping blindly for
the hand of human strength when he touched the divine
hand of judgment. In this chapter we have before us a-I.
Subtle Temptation. “He moved David to say,
Go, number Israel” (v. 1). This move evidently came
from the Devil, for the author of the Chronicles tells us
that “Satan stood up against Isvacl, and provoked David
to number Israel” (1 Chron. 21. 1). It was to Israel’s
own hurt and defect that their number and strength was
depended on. It is ever the cunning device of Satan to get
us to trust in our own strength, for well he knows that if
we do that he will succeed in “standing up against us”
(Eph. 6. 11). “It is not by might (numbers), nor by power
(human influence), but by My Spirit, saith the Lord” (Zech.
4. 6). We may safely “count our blessings, ” and count
on His promises, but to count on our own wisdom and
strength is to lean on a broken reed..Old Testament Outlines. 103
II. Full Confession. “David’s heart smote him after
he had numbered the people, and he said unto the Lord, I
have sinned greatly” (v. 10). Joab’s glowing report that
there were in David’s united kingdom “thirteen hundred
thousand valiant men that drew sword” (v. 9) brought
no feeling of relief to the sin-smitten heart of the king.
What were these if God was not for him ? All our natural
gifts and powers of intellect however great, all our
experiences however rich and varied, will avail US
nothing in the work of God if the power of the Holy
Spirit is awanting. Perhaps much of our failure in
the past has been due to the numbering of our own
capabilities, to an ignoring of the Holy Ghost. We
number our organisations, our meetings, our people,
and our pounds, but say, How much do we count
on the POWER OF GOD ? Might we not pray with David,
“0 Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant, for I have
done very foolishly ? ”
III. Terrible Offer. “Thus saith the Lord, I offer
thee three things, choose thee one of them” (vv. 12, 13).
The three things were all equally fearful, although the
length of duration was very different. “Seven years’
famine, ” “three months’ fleeing before the enemy,” or
“three days’ pestilence. ” Yielding to the tempter has
brought to David a sorrowful alternative. The wages of
sin is death in the believer as well as in the ungodly. It
would seem that all three judgments were due owing to
David’s sin; but God, who “delighteth in mercy,” gave
Him his choice of ooze. The three judgments are most sug-gestive
of the fruits of disobedience and dishonouring God.
Soul hmgey, soul defect, and soul disease. God does not
promise to give us our choice as to how He will chastise
us for our pride and unbelief, but let us take heed
lest there be in any of us such an evil heart, for sila
will surely find us out..104 Handfuls on Purpoee.
IV. God-honouring Choice. “David said, Let us fall
into the hands of the Lord, for His mercies are great”
(v. 14). David had sinned against God in choosing to number
the people, now he would honour God in allowing Him to
choose for him. God’s mighty hand was uplifted to smite,
and the penitent king saw it coming down with terrible
force, but he looked beyond the awful sword-girt arm, into
Jehovah’s gracious heart, and took refuge in His mercy.
He would rather anchor his soul in the mercies of a
righteous, sin-hating God than “fall into the hand of man. ”
He knew that the mercies of the wicked are cruel. The
wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of a traitor.
Although God’s arm is strong to smite, His love is strong to
save. The choice God offers now in grace is between life
and death, between retribution and salvation, Heaven and
Hell. Why should any one now say, ‘:I am in a great
strait, ” when the only open way of escape from the
vengeance of God against sin is in “His mercies which are
great, ” in Christ Jesus, who bore our sins in His own body
on the tree. “I flee to Thee to hide me” (Psa. 143. 9).
ADONIJAH; or, THE CONQUERED REBEL
1 Kings 1. 5-9, 41-53.
“On the verge of never-ending woe
Man doubting stands. Yet plum’ d with pride the while,
Folding his arms in self-admired repose,
Cased in self-confidence.“-WILLIAMS.
ADONIJAR was a man with a beautiful name, “My Lord is
Jehovah,” but with a heart stuffed with grace-withering
pride. David’s stormy life was about to close. The
winsome Absalom had been suddenly cut off in the midst
of his vain-glorious career. Now the handsome-looking
Adonijah aspires to the throne of his father. Like many
another child of beauty, he had evidently been half spoiled
through a father’s indulgence (v. 6; Prov. 29. 15)..Old Testament Outlines. 105
I. See him Exalted. “He exalted himself, saying, I
will be king” (v. 5). “He that exalteth himself shall be
abased” (Luke IS. 14). Satan’s lie, “Ye shall be as
gods” (Gen. 3. 5), is ever a tempting bait to the proud
heart. He prepared him chariots and horsemen, and spread
his great bribery feast, but “Solomon he called not. ” Yet
he who was allowed no part in all his plans and purposes was
the one chosen of God to prevail. It is ever the sinner’s
way to exalt himself, to the exclusion of Him whom God
hath sent to bless (Acts 3. 26). “Pride goeth before a fall. ”
II. See him Ignored. David said, “Assuredly Solo-mon
shall reign after me” (v. 30). “And they blew the
trumpets and said, God save King Solomon” (v. 39).
While Adonijah was exalting himself, Solomon, the de-spised
and rejected, was being exalted, and anointed by
both priest and prophet (v. 45). There is another King, one
Jesus, whose right it is to reign, and whom God hath
exalted Lord over all, blessed for ever. All who exalt
themselves against Him will find that their claims and
pretentions will be as utterly disregarded by God as were
those of Adonijah by David. Those who, in the pride and
self-confidence, exalt themselves against the Christ of God
will assuredly waken up in the end to find themselves rebels
and liars, deceived and defeated. Let the wotfld-be in-dependent
remember that there is Another who is quite
independent of their independence.
III. See him Awakened. It must have been a terrible
shock to Adonijah when Jonathan came hastily with the
news that, “Verily our lord King David hath made
Solomon king, and that he sitteth on the throne of the king- ~
dom” (w. 42-46). Jonathan was a faithful messenger.
He told the whole truth, keeping back nothing. And if his
message cut the young Pretender to the heart, proving him
to be a self-deceived rebel, he was not to blame for that. H Vol. 5.106 Handfuls on Purpose.
The Gospel that was a savour of life to the followers of
Solomon was a savour of death to Adonijah and his ad-herents
(v. 49). The moral is plain. Jesus sitteth on the
Throne of His Father. All who exalt themselves against
Him are rebels. The message is, “He that believeth not
is condemned already. ” Saul, on the way to Damascus,
had quite as sudden an awakening as Adonijah (Acts 9.3-5).
IV. See him Saved. Here we might note-I.
THE CONSTRAINING CAUSE. “Adonijah feared because
of Solomon ” (v. 50). Why should he not fear ? The man
who has been made to see himself an alien to the good
purposes of God has surely great cause for fear. There is
no living creature under Heaven that will not seek safety
through the feeling of fear. Those who sneer at the
thought of being saved through fear have usually no
objections to put up their umbrellas through fear of getting
wet when overtaken by a shower. Where there is a true
sense of danger there will be fear. “Noah, moved with
fear, built the Ark” (Heb. 11. 7).
2. THE PLACE OF REFUGE. “He caught hold on the horns
of the altar” (v. 50). Neither the altar not its horns
would have much attraction for him before the fear of
death laid hold on him. It requires a sense of sin and
guilt to make the place of atonement desirable and precious.
“The preaching of the Cross is, to them that perish,
foolishness, but to the sin-convicted soul it is the
saving “power of God.” In laying hold of the horns
of the altar he was b i n d i n g himself, as it were, a
sacrifice unto God (Psa. 118. 27).
“Other Refuge have I none, Hangs my helpless soul on Thee. ”
3. THE CHANGED LIFE. “He came and bowed himself to
King Solomon” (v. 53). In verse 5 we see him “exalting
himself, ” but now he “bowed himself. ” The rebel is.Old Testament Outlines. 107
suddenly transformed into a servant. Solomon, the king of
peace, bids him go in peace. He has found peace with the
king through the altar of sacrifice. The life that was for-feited
because of sin has now been saved by grace, that it
might become the servant of righteousness (Luke 1.74,75).
SOLOMON’ S CHOICE; or, FULLNESS OF
BLESSING
1 Kings 3. 1-16.
“Truer wisdom is not gotten, but is given; *I
Not dug out of the earth, but dropped from Heaven:
Heavenly, not earthly, is the brightness of it.“-LYTTO~.
IT was said of Solomon that “the Lord loved him” (2 Sam.
12. 24). How fitting it is to find it stated now that “Solo-mon
loved the Lord” (v. 3). Surely the love of God for
us should awaken in our hearts love to Him. It was a
very exceptional opportunity that came to Solomon when
God said to him, “Ask what I shall give thee.” Such
special privileges, laden with Almighty and eternal possi-bilities,
don’t usually come within the reach of any of
God’s servants without some unusually solemn preparation.
It was certainly so with Solomon.
He had gone to Gibeon, a journey of seven &I&, and
had a long and solemn time of great sacrificing. “One
thousand burnt-offerings” he has seen laid on the altar.
His whole mind and heart were filled with thoughts of the
holiness of God, the horribleness of sin, and the great holo-caust
atonement. As Solomon lay down that night to
sleep, with a deep sense of his own weakness and unworthi-ness,
God appeared to him in a dream, with such an offer
of grace as was sufficient for all his needs. If we would be
honoured of God, then our souls and in our substance
we must honour him. We shall consider-I.
The Divine Offer. “God said, Ask what I shall give
thee” (v. 5). Let us pause and think of who it is that.108 Handfuls on Purpose.
makes this offer. This “I” is the I that filleth eternity.
It is the offer of Him who is the Creator and Possessor of
all, whose Name is Holy, and whose nature is Love.
Think again of the abounding generosity of the offer.
“What I shall give thee.” Only one chance like this is
needed to enrich a soul for time and eternity. In making
this offer God was as it were laying all the wealth of His
Divine Character and Kingdom at the feet of Solomon,
that he might be filled out of all the fullness of God.
But does the Lord come to us with an offer like this ?
Yea, He has done more, for in the gift of His Son the
whole wealth of “His unsearchable riches” lie continually
before ~1s for our daily appropriation. Even without
our asking, yea, while we were yet sinners, He gives
His all in dying for us.
II. The Wise Choice. “Give Thy servant an under-standing
heart” (v. 9). It was not enough that he should
have the opportunity of choosing ; he must make up his
mind and speak out his request. Every Gospel hearer
has the opportunity of making such a choice, but. how few
like Solomon seek the kearilzg heart (margin). It was a
wise choice, because it-1.
COVERED ALL HIS NEED (vv. 7, 8). A heart quick to
hear the guiding, comforting words of God would strengthen
and sustain him, as a “little child” set by the grace of
God “in the midst of a great people.” If any man lack
wisdom, let him ask of God (James 1. 5). “Christ is made
of God unto us wisdom, ” etc. In choosing Him we choose
that which covers all our need.
2. PLEASED G OD (v. 10). It pleased God, because
what he asked was not for any mere selfish advantage,
but for His honour and the good of His people.
We always ask amiss when we would consume it
on our own pleasures (James 4. 3, margin). Are not.Old Testament Outlines, 109
our prayers often choked with the cares and anxieties
of self-interest ?
III. The Abundant Answer.
1. HE GOT WHAT HE ASKED. “I have given thee a wise
and an understanding heart” (v. 12). God alone can work
in us such a gift as this. This is eternal life to know Him.
The promises of God are meant to be claimed and definitely
fulfilled in the experience of the believer. Ask and ye
shall receive.
2. HE GOT MORE THAN HE ASKED. “I have also given
thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches and
honour” (v. 13). He sought first the Kingdom of
God, and all other thmgs were added, and added in such
plentitude that Solomon exceeded all the kings of the
earth for riches (1 Kings 10. 23). He that fmdeth
Christ findeth wisdom, and happy is that man, for riches
and honour, and length of days are his (Prov. 3.
13, 16). “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in
you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be
done unto you. ” Lord, give me the “hearing heart, ”
that Thy will may be done in me, and that the
people may be blessed .%o~gh me.
A ROYAL INQUIRER
1 Kings 10. 1-13.
“You are not guilty because you are ignorant, but you are
guilty when you resign yourself to ignorance. “-MAZZINI.
THE coming of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon may be
a fore-glimmering of that time when a “Greater than
Solomon” shall reign, and when kings shall come to the
brightlzess of His rising (Isa. 60. l-3). The wisdom of
Solomon was the wisdom of God, from whom every good
and perfect gift cometh (chap. 3. 12). There would be.1 10 Handfuls on Purpose.
more anxious inquirers everywhere if there were more
of God’ s servants in possession of this rare gift-a
“Aearing heart” (chap. 3. 9, margin). The Queen
of Sheba is mentioned by our Lord and Saviour,
as a warning and example to those who, after, should
hear of the wisdom of Him who is the wisdom of
God (Matt. 12. 42).
I. She Heard. “The Queen of Sheba heard of the
fame of Solomon” (v. 1). It should be specially noted
that this fame was “concerning the Name of the Lord.”
In the report which came to the ears of the “Queen of the
South” the wisdom of Solomon was vitally connected with
the Name of Jehovah. Is it not so also with the Gospel
which has been brought to our ears ? There is a oneness between the wisdom and power of Jesus Christ, and the
NAME or character of the Eternal God and Father. The
secret of His fame was concerning the Name of His Father.
Blessed are the ears that so hear (Matt. 13. 16).
II. She Inquired. “She came to prove him with hard
questions” (v. 1). She did not make light of it (Matt.
22.5). She felt that this Heaven-born wisdom of Solomon’ s
might bring light and comfort to her own beclouded mind ;
and although she hardly believed all that she heard she
would satisfy herself with a personal inquiry. So she came
just as she was, with a “very great train” of camels and
servants, and “communed with him of all that zvas ilz her
heart” (v. 2 ). She was both an anxious and an honest
inquirer. Go thou and do likewise. You have heard of
the saving fame of Jesus. Go and prove Him by telling
Him all that is in thine heart. You have more encourage-ment
than this queen had, for you have a pressing invi-tation
(Matt. 11. 28).
III. She Received. “Solomon told her all her ques-tions”
(v. 3). There was nothing hid from the king that.Old Testament Outlines. 111
she required to know. We cannot believe that her
questions were in the nature of puzzles. Such trifles
would be entirely beneath the dignity of the wisdom
of God. We believe that her riddles contained real
intellectual difficulties, and that the darkness in her
mind was dispelled by the light of Heaven. Oh,
how she would marvel as her difficulties one after
another disappeared in the dawning of the truth of
God as revealed by the Lord’s anointed! So shall it
be when a troubled soul communes with Jesus. He is
the Truth. He knows what is in man, and all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in Him.
IV. She was Humbled. “When the Queen of Sheba
had seen all there was no more spirit in her” (w. 4, 5).
When she contrasted Solomon’s wisdom, his house, his
table, his servants, and his way up with her own, all her
pride and self-esteem withered up within her. There was
no room for boasting left; it was excluded by the law of
heavenly grace and wisdom. When the self-righteous Saul
of Tarsus met the Lord of Life on the way to Damascus,
and was made to see His power and glory, there was no
more spirit in him to think of himself more highly than
he ought to think. It will ever be a humbling to us when
our own wisdom and righteousness is brought into contrast
with His.
V. She Confessed. “She said to the king, It was a
true report that I heard. . . Howbeit I believed not the
words, u&Y I ca+ne, and mine eyes had seen it; and,
behold, the half was not told me” (vv. 6, 7). Who hath
believed our report ? The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ,
concerning His wisdom, power, and glory, is true, whether
men believe it or not. Like the Queen of Sheba, we cannot
understand or share personally in this heavenly wisdom
until we come. But if we have come and got our own eyes.112 Handfuls on Purpose,
opened, let us not be ashamed or afraid to make full
confession to the honour of His glorious Name.
VI. She Tekified. “Happy are these thy servants,
which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom”
(v. 8). The enlightened soul covets earnestly the best
gifts. The servants of Solomon had a privilege that none
others had on the face of the earth. So also has the
servants of King Jesus. They see and hear things which
many prophets and righteous men desire to see, but did
not (Matt. 13. 16, 17). But are there not many to whom
this high honour is conferred who are not happy in their
close relationship to the King of kings ? Worldly Chris-tians
who have but a poor appreciation of the written
Word, which is the wisdom of our God. The happy servant
hears the words of wisdom from the King’s own lips.
VII. She Praised. “Blessed be the Lord thy God,
which delighted in thee” (v. 9). It is a comely thing for
those who have tasted that the Lord is gracious to render
praise and thanks unto His holy Name. Yes, blessed be
the Lord our God, who delighted in Jesus Christ as our
Atoning Sacrifice, and set Him on the throne, “because He
loved us for ever. ” Every manifestation of His grace and
wisdom should awaken every faculty within us to praise
and adoration.
gift.
Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable
VIII. Sha WPS Abundantly Satisried. “Solomon gave
her all her desire, whatsoever she asked” (v. 13). He
supplied all her need. But the grace of the “Greater than
Solomon” is greater, for He is able to do exceeding abun-dantly
above all that we ask. No seeking soul will ever go
hungry away from Him. He satisfies with good. “Ho,
every one, Hearkendiligently unto ME, and eat ye that
which is good, and let your soul delight itself in His
fullness” (Isa. 55. 2)..Old Testament Outlines. 113
A MAN-MADE RELIGION
1 Kings 12. 26-33 .
“Hope of every sort-whatever sect,
Esteem them, sow them, rear them, ancl protect,
If wild in nature and not duly found,
Gethsemane I in thy dear, hallowed ground-That
cannot bear the blaze of Scripture light,
Nor cheer the spirit, nor refresh the sight,
Nor animate the soul to Christ-like deeds,
(Oh, cast them from thee I) are weeds, arrant weeds.”
–GOWPER.
J EROBOAM, the son of Nebat, although of the race of
Joshua, he became a ringleader in sin. Seeds of thought
sprang up in his heart and mind rank and wild, but instead
of treating them as “arrant weeds” he nurtured and pro-tected
them, as if they belonged to the Garden of the Lord.
So the seeds of evil spread like thistle down. This religion
of Jeroboam is like every other Christless religion.
I. It had its Origin in the Human Heart. “ Jeroboam
said in his heart” (v. 26). There are only, virtually,
two religions in the world-the one has its origin in the
“I WILL” of God, the other has its source in the “I think”
of man. “My thoughts are not your thoughts” (Isa. 55. S),
saith the Lord. The heart of man is deceitful and
wicked, out of it there can never come a system of worship
that meets the claims of God and the needs of the soul. A
revelation is needed; a revelation has been given. Any-thing
opposed to this, or a substitute for it, is gross pre-sumption
and rebellion.
II. It wao for his own Selfish Ends. He set up his
golden calves-one in Beth-e1 and the other in Dan-lest
the people should go to Jerusalem to worship and the hearts
of the people be turned from himself (w. 27-29). It was
a religion that centred on his own personal honour and
aggrandicement. SELF is for ever the centre of every god-.114 Handfuls on Purpose.
less religion. The pride of life lies at the root of
all mere human schemes. The religion of the scribes
and Pharisees was just another form of the sin of
Jeroboam (Rom. 10. 3).
III. It was Ostensibly for the Good of Others.
“It is too much for you to go to Jerusalem” (v. 28).
He pretended that it was for their convenience and
advantage that these golden gods were set up. The
religion that is born in the carnal heart can only
make hypocrites. The great scheme of godless socialists
are not one whit better than the devices of Jeroboam,
they set up calves of gold, saying, “These be thy
gods, 0 people. ” It was a religion of selfish expediency
and not of sacrifice. The thought of &f-de&al was
carefully excluded.
IV. It was Contrary tq the Word of God. “The
king said unto them, Behold thy gods, 0 Israel,
which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt”
(v. 23). “Thus they changed their glory into the
similitude of an ox” (Psa. 106. 20). The command of
God was plain, “Thou shall not make unto them any
graven image” (Exod. 20. 4). The desire of the
carnal mind is to walk by sight, and not by f a i t h.
The inventions of the unrenewed heart are sure to
be in opposition to the revelation of the mind of God.
“I thought, ” said Naaman, but his thought was not
at all in harmony with the manner and purpose of
the man of God. Saul was quite ‘m earnest when he
thought that he should do many things contrary to
the Name of Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 26. 9) The ladder
’ to Heaven must come from Heaven (John 14. 6).
V. It Became a Snare to Others. “This thing
became a sin” (v. 30). The thing set up became
the object of worship instead of a ’ means to help the.Old Testament Outlines. 115
thoughts to God. Man is always prone to be more
taken up with his own works than the works of God.
The little ornamental cross or the prayer-book becomes
more precious than the things which are invisible and
eternal. The products of men’ s own imaginations are
exalted to the throne of the affections, and the presence
of God usurped. That thing, whatever it is, that takes
the place of God “becomes a sin.”
VI. It has no Regard for Purity. “He made
priests of the lowest of the people” (v. 31). This is
characteristic of all man-made religion ; there is no
value set on inward holiness of life. Outward con-formity
and parade are enough to meet all its
requirements. The consecrated sons of Aaron were
not the kind of ministers Jeroboam wanted (Num. 3. 6).
Their strict adherence to the Word of God would
not suit his purpose. It is so still with those who
are satisfied with the form of godliness and deny the
power. They wish their owwlt will and sways carried out,
so they prefer the “lowest” motives as their governing
principles; the pure light of God’ s Word would only
reprove and rebuke.
VII. It has the Appearance of Being Right. There
was the altar, the priests, and the ordained feast, “Like
U&J the feast that is in Judah” (w. 32, 33). But the
whole thing was a sham and a mockery, a lifeless
image of the real. There was all the outward semblance
of the true, but it had no foundation in the sight
of God. “No authority from Him,” no power to
bless its votaries with pardon, peace, or hope. It
was a thing destined to bring disappointment and
the curse of God (chap. 13. 2). Examine yourselves
whether ye be in the faith. “Without ME ye can do
nothing” (John 15. 5)..116 Handful9 on Purpose.
ALAS, MY BROTHER!
OR, THE DECEIVED PROPHET SLAIN
1 Kings 13.
“Mortal ! thou standest on a point of time,
With an eternity on either hand ;
Thou hast one duty, above a!1 sublime-Where
thou art placed serenely stand. ” -Ho UGHTON.
THIS is a melancholy story. It is always infinitely sad to
see those who were once mightily used of God tripped up in
the end through temptation, and falling a prey to him who
goeth about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
But although the lion slew this prophet of God he was not
permitted to deuolcr him (v. 25). There are seven things
about this unfortunate man that we would like to point out.
I. He yas a True Believer, He is called “A man of God”
(v. 1). He was not a mere “man of the world” whose portion
is in this life, but one who has personal dealings with God,
and who in heart and life belonge’d to Him. Not a mere
professor or time-server, but a true servant of the Most High.
II. He was a Man with a Measage. “He came by t/ze
Word of the Lord unto Beth-el” (v. 1). He was not a
commentator, but he was an ambassador. He had a ministry
committed to him by the Lord, a ministry of warning and
condemnation. No evangelist was ever more surely called
of God than this man. “A man of God” is one whom God
has lifted up and fitted as a vessel for His own use, com-mitting
to him His own precious treasure (2 Cor. 4. 7).
III. He was a Man of Courage. “He cried against the
altar in the Word of the Lord” (v. 2). He test.ified with a loud
voice against this altar built by Jeroboam as a rival of
Jehovah’s, even while the king “stood by.” The Word of
God burned in his bones, and he could not but speak the
things which he had heard from Him. It was so also with
Peter and John (Acts 4. 20)..Old Testament Outlines. 117
IV. He was a Man of Power. God bore witness to his
testimony by signs and wonders in the stiffening of the
king’s arm and hand which was stretched out to “lay hold
on him,” and also in the “rending of the altar” and the
spilling of the ashes. ‘Signs following” are always an
evidence that the man is not serving God in his own
strength. He had power for service because he spoke in
the Name of the Lord. When God works through His
servants it is as a won&-worker. We may well question
whether GOD is working through us if signs and wonders
are not being wrought (Mark 16. 17). I
V. He was a Man of Self-Denial. After praying for
the restoration of the king’s hand (for he had also power
in prayer), the king asked him to “come and refresh himself
and take a reward, “ but he would not (vv. 6-9). Like
Elijah, he would “receive none” (2 Kings 5. 16). He was
no Itirelitig in the work of the Lord. He knew what it was
to deny himself and take up his cross and follow Him who
had called him. Surely such a mighty man as this will
never fail ! But, alas !
VI. He Fell through a False Profesaor. This old liar
pretended that an angel had spoken to him, saying, “Bring
him back” (vv. 11-18). At first he refused, but being
tired and hungry (the Devil seemed to take advantage of
his physical weakness) he was finally persuaded to turn
aside from the revealed will of God and to obey the in-vention
of man. The temptation was sore, but his way was
perfectly clear. He had a revelation from God, and so
ought not to be turned aside by any private interpretation
of man. In obeying the false prophet he must have been
quite conscious that in his conduct he was contradicting the
deeper conviction of his soul. If our hearts corademn ~1s not
then have we confidence toward God. Hearken not to those
prophets who would “make you vain” by ministering.118 Handfuls on Purpose.
to the lusts of the flesh, “they speak a vision of their own
heart” (Jer. 23. 16). Beloved, believe not every spirit,
but try the spirits whether they are of God, because there
are many false prophets gone out into the world (1 John
4. 1). There is one mark by which you may know them,
and that is “Zightraess” (Jer. 23. 32). They have little
reverence for the “Word of God” or the atoning blood of
His Son ; they try if possible to “deceive the very elect”
(Matt. 24. 24). This man went back and, it cost him his
life, for a lion met him and slew him (v. 24). It was the
end of his testimony for God. The influence of false
tcachm makes men less faithful to God and His Word.
By their fruits ye shall know them.
VII. He was Mourned over by the One who Deceived
Him. “He laid his body in his own grave, saying,
“Alas, my brother” (v. 30). Yes, well may hemoum, after
tempting him into the net of destruction. Even being
buried in the same grave will not atone for the sin of de-ception.
How will he face him in the resurrection whom he
had lured from the will of God by the substituting of his
own thoughts for God’s ? How shall it fare with the false
teachers (higher critics) of our day when in the presence
of God they are face to face with the faith, withering fruits
of their self -created visions 2 “Alas, my brother,” take
heed how ye hear, stand fast in the truth.
PRAYING IN DISGUISE
1 Kings 14. I-17.
“Prayer against His absolute decree
No more avails than breath against the wind,
Blown stifling back on him that breathes it forth:
Therefore to His great bidding I submit.“-MILTON.
THE more deeply we are imbued with the spirit of prayer
the more simple and child-like shall we become. “Sub-limity
always is simple,” is how Longfellow puts it..Old Testament Outlines. 119
Eloquent prayers may only be the haughtiness of the
human heart in disguise. The wife of Jeroboam is not the
only one who has put on the mask while making their
requests known unto God. Purity of worship was at a
very low ebb while King Jeroboam made the “lowest of
the people priests” and consecrated “whosoever would”
(chap. 13. 33), “I want to” is by no means the only
qualification for the service of God. The Lord had sent a
warning cry against this unholy altar (chap. 13. 2). NOW
the jealous God of Israel visits the iniquity with judgment.
This attempt to outwit and delude the prophet of the Lord
has its lessons for us. There was a-I.
Knowledge of God. Jeroboam could not be a
stranger to the great things Jehovah had wrought for His
people Israel; and had not the prophet of the Lord foretold
him that he should be “king over this people ? ” (chap. 5.2).
But the revealed will of God had been set aside. His acts of
worship were now according to his own t/zozlg/zts and con-venience,
so he made Israel to sin by the substituting of his
own ways for the ways of the Lord (chap. 12. 33). There
may be a knowledge of the ways and will of God, while the
daily life is a presumptuous denial of the divine revelation.
II. Feeling a Need. “Abijah the son of Jeroboam
fell sick” (v. 1). They were very anxious to know “what
shall become of the child” (v. 3). Our dearest and our
best are never beyond the withering touch of God’s finger.
Every sorrow and disappointment may be to us as goads
to drive us nearer our God if our hearts are right with Him.
There is bitterness of heart that cannot be spoken into the
ears of ordinary mortals; that needs the touch of the
Eternal. The yearning of the soul at such times is to know
what the will of God is concerning us.
III. Disguising of Character. The wife of Jeroboam
changed her appearance and went to inquire of the man ‘ (.120 Handful6 on Purpose.
of God, ‘feigning herself to be another woman” (VV. 2-5).
Perhaps the king knew that the oid prophet Ahijah was
blind by reason of age, but both he and his wife seemed
to forget that God was not blind. It is utterly needless
for any one to come to God feigning themselves to be
different from what they are; and yet this disguising of
the true character, while making requests known unto God,
is a common pious fraud. On our knees we may pretend to
believe all that’ the Lord hath spoken, then among our
fellowmen we put on our self-magnifying glasses, and forget
the Lord that bought us. God looks on the heart, and as
a man thinketh in his heart so is he before Him.
IV. Complete Failure. As soon as she came to the
door of the prophet she heard these mask-scathing words,
“Come in thou wife of Jeroboam, why feignest thou thyself
to be another” (v. 6). The veil of her disguise was rent
from the top to the bottom, and the light of God’s presence
shone in upon her. Saul had his disguise torn off him
while on the way to Damascus. The Pharisee that went
up to the temple to pray feigned himself a righteous man,
but he went away as he came, with his mask untouched
and his soul unblessed (Luke 18. 14). Jeroboam and his
wife were desirous of knowing the mind of the Lord about
their child, but they were afraid to face the will of God
concerning thsmselues and their ungodly lives. The disguise
was evidently an attempt to avoid the dreaded prediction of
the “man of God” in the preceding chapter. Is there any-thing
in the background of our lives that we are afraid God
should deal with, things which make us put on a mask when
we venture to seek for divine light or guidance? It will not
improve matters to hide them, God will deal with us ac-cording
to our daily life before Him. Therefore come to the
light that the evil deeds may be reproved, confessed, and
cleansed (John 3.19-21), for be sure your sin will find you out..Old Testament Outlines. 121
ELIJAH, THE SEPARATED ONE
1 Kings 17. 1.
“If thou could’ st trust, poor soul,
In HIM who rules the whole,
Thou would’ st find peace and rest,
Wisdom and sight are well, but trust is best.” -A. P R O C T OR.
AHAB, the haughty king of Israel, had taken Jezebel, the
pretty but wicked Zidonian to wife. Through her influence
the prophets of God are slain, and the worship of Baa1 is
established in the land as the national religion. Only seven
thousand among all the thousands of Israel remain true in
heart to God, and these, through fear of the king, hid
themselves and their testimony. The whole nation seems
overwhelmed with this flood-tide of idolatry. But away in
the village of Tishbe, among the uplands of Gilead, there
is a man, perhaps a poor peasant, whose heart has be-come
hot with indignation, and whose jealousy for the
honour of Jehovah burns with holy zeal. We fancy we
hear him in secret pleading with God for His own Name’s
sake to rebuke the iniquity of His people and bring
Israel to its knees by sending some arresting judgment
upon the land (James 5. 17). God answers the earnest
cry of the Tishbite, and there and then chooses him
to be the instrument in His hand, to turn the nation
back to the worship of their Divine King. To accomplish
this great work he is invested with all authority.
“There shall not be dew nor rain these years but
according to my word. ” The interests and the power
of God are committed to this servant, because he is
wholly devoted to Him. Having been equipped with
power, he goes forth to Samaria to declare the message
of God in the ears of Ahab. No man will ever accomplish
much for God who has not had in some respects a
similar training. Note- I Vol. 5.122 Handfuls on Purpose.
His Standing. “The Lord God of Israel, before whom
I stand. ” He stood as one-1.
W HO B ELIEVED IN G OD. His faith gave him the
victory over all fear of Ahab. Those who have set God
before them will not play the coward in the presence of
any earthly monarch. It was this consciousness of the
presence of God that stiffened the moral backbone of
Luther and John Knox. After Pentecost Peter and John
were filled with the same holy boldness as Elijah (Acts
4. 19, 20).
2. ACCEPTED BY GOD. Elijah had yielded Himself
unto God that he might be a channel through which
His words might come to the hearts of the ungodly, and
through whom the power of God might be manifested.
The Lord accepted his offer, and filled him as an earthen
vessel with His divine treasure (2 Cor. 4. 6, 7). He had
got the victory with his God in secret, now he is rewarded
openly. Many of God’s notable servants have come sud-denly
out of unexpected places.
3. IN F ELLOWSHIP WITH G OD. The whole force of
Elijah’s moral and spiritual being was on the side of
the God of Israel. There was a oneness of purpose be-tween
them. All idea of self-seeking was withered up
by the fire of Jehovah’s presence. Those who would serve
the Lord will have very unpleasant work to do if they are
careful about their own personal interests and honour.
The secret of courage and power in the work of Christ lies
in knowing His will and delighting to do it.
4. WEO WAITED ON GOD. As the eye of the maid is
turned to her mistress, watching for the next indication
of her will, so stood the life of Elijah before the Lord God
of Israel. So may our souls wait on Him. The Moravian
motto is most suggestive with the ox standing between
an altar and a plough, “Ready for either.” Ready.Old Testament Outlines. 123
for either sacrifice or service, as the Lord may appoint.
But Elijah’s standing before God was not in idleness, but in
the fearless attitude of one whose life was a protest against
the popular sin of the natio&idolatry. “Let your light
so shine” (Matt. 5. 16).
5. WHO HAD THE AUTHORITY OF GOD. He speaks as
if the power of God and the resources of Heaven were at
his disposal. “There shall not be dew nor rain these years
but according to my word. ” The keys of Heaven had been
given to him, and the treasures of dew and rain would
only be poured out when he was pleased to open the door.
This was a terrible and most effective weapon which God
had put into the hand of His faithful servant. Those who
fight the battles of the Lord are never sent to warfare on
their own charges. Is not the gift of the Holy Spirit
equally effective now for the carrying out of God’s purposes
in the reclaiming of men to the fellowship of His Son ?
Elijah, like Jesus Christ, spoke as one having authority,
because he had the authority of God for that which he spoke.
Elijah was a man “subject to like passions as we are.”
But have we the faith of Elijah ? (Mark 9. 23).
Some Other Lessons.
1. That God can easily find the man He needs.
2. That the man chosen of God is often prepared in
secret.
3. That great men often come out of unexpected places.
4. That those sent by God have always a definite
mission.
5. That the secret of holy boldness is, “Standing before
God. ”
6. That judgment is sure to overtake those who defy
God.
..124 Handfuls on Purpose.
ELIJAH, THE HIDDEN ONE
1 Kings 17. 2-6.
“Yet not in solitude1 if Christ is near me,
Waketh Him workers for the great employ!
Oh, not in solitude! if souls that hear me
Catch from my joyance the surprise of joy.“-MYERS.
WHEN Elijah had delivered his God-given message to the
idolatrous king of Israel it would seem as if he did not
know which way to turn next. Perhaps it was in answer
to a prayer for guidance and protection that God said,
“Get thee hence, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith. ”
He who had slain so many of the Lord’s servants was not
likely to spare a man like Elijah. The servants of Christ
still find it a testing time after the delivery of some un-welcome
death or life message in the Name of God. How
sweet it is at such times to find the Lord Himself a refuge
and a hiding-place to the troubled soul1 We observe that
Elijah’s hiding-place was a place of-I.
Divine Appointment. The Lord said, “Hide
thyself by the brook Cherith.” How could he feel safe or
satisfied hiding in a place of his own choosing or making ?
What a sigh of relief would escape the heart of the obedient
prophet as he sought and found the God-appointed place of
rest, such a feeling of relief as the sinner knows, when in
obedience to God’s Word he flees for refuge to that ap-pointed
place called “Calvary. ” It matters not where the
man-slayer ran for safety, he could have no assurance of it
until he ran into the God-appointed city of refuge. Are
we resting where God has bid us rest, in Jesus Christ,
His beloved Son?
II. Perfect Seclusion. He was completely hid in
the secret of the Lord’s presence from the pride of Ahab
and the strife of Jezebel’s tongue (Psa. 31. 20). The place
of God’s salvation is a place of separation and seclusion..Old Testament Outlines. 125
Your life is hid with Christ in God. What an honour to
belong to “Thy hidden ones” (Psa. 83. 3). All such
hidden ones abide under the shadow of the Almighty (Psa.
91. 1). They are saved from the fear of man, from the
slavery of fashion, and from the harassing anxieties of
the ordinary worldly life. “Thou art my hiding-place”
(Psa. 32. 7).
III. Assuring Promise. “Thou shalt drink of the
brook: and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee
there” (v. 4). God never sends us a warfare on our own
charges. This promise could not be separated from that
hallowed place “Cherith. ” *All the promises of God are in
Christ Jesus Yea and Amen. To know that His’ Command
had gone forth was enough to allay every doubt and fear
as to all his needs being supplied. All things work together
for good to them that love God, to them that are the called
accord&g to His purpose. We are saved by His grace and
assured by His Word.
IV. Wonderful Experience, “The ravens brought
him bread and flesh in the morning and in the evening”
(v. 6). The prophet could not have such a manifestation
of the loving-kindness of God anywhere else ; being in
God’ s way He met him and blessed him. So is it at the
Cross of Christ. The provision was-1.
PLENTIFUL. Not only had he “bread and water, ”
but flesh also. The life of faith will always be met with His “exceeding abundance.” The young lions in the
full v&our of their own strength do suffer lack; but they
that trust the Lord shall not want any good. At that holy
place appointed by God, the Cross, there is sufficient for all.
2. REGULAR. “Morning and evening,” as long as
it was needed. He who hath begun the good work is
able to carry it on. He who gave you the first mouthful
of grace is able to make His grace sufficient for you all.126 Handfuls on Purpose..
the way (Exod. 16. 35). In the secret place of His presence
you may have “day by day your daily bread. ”
3. MIRACULOUS . Every morsel of Elijah’ s food while
here came to him in a supernatural fashion. “Man shall
not live by bread alone, but by every word that $roceedeth
out of the mouth of God. ” The life that has been begotten
by the Word of God must also grow thereby. Miracles
are an everyday occurrence to the man who lives by faith
in the Son of God. When Jesus asked those who had
gone out in His Name, “Lacked ye anything ? ” they said,
“Nothing” (Luke 22. 35). God’ s ravens are everywhere,
and His command is enough to make them the ministers of
mercy and blessing to any of His hidden ones.
ELIJAH, THE FAITHFUL
1 Kings 17. 7-16.
“Reason unstrung the harp to see
Wherein the music dwells;
Faith pours a hallelujah song,
And heavenly rapture swells.
While Reason strives to count the drops
That lave our narrow strand,
Faith launches o’ er the mighty deep
To seek a better land. ’ ‘-HAVERGAL.
WE walk by faith, not by sight. Elijah had a long rest
beside the secret brook-perhaps about twelve months.
This would serve as a test both to his faith and his eatience.
We must learn to wait on God if we would do exploits for
Him. Moses waited in the Midian desert forty years
before the divine call came. But what could he have done
to save Israel before that? The man who had to face the
testing ordeal of Carmel must be a man approved of God.
Precious faith, like precious gold, must needs pass
through the refining fires. The prophet now receives
another call..Old Testament Outlines. 127
I. The Time of this Call. “After the brook dried up”
(v. 7). \hre may be perfectly assured of this, that when
God in His providence closes one door against His
servants He will open another. It will be a trying
t‘ ime to witness in the channel of our present comforts
being gradually narrowed and the stream slowly
drying up. It may be the drying up of the brook
of worldly prosperity, but especially when the much-loved
brook of self-confidence has dried up do we
feel how utterly helpless we are. But man’ s extremity
is God’ s opportunity.
II. The Command Given. “Arise, get thee to Zare-phath”
(v. 9). When the brook became silent then God
spoke. When the mountains of our boasted strength shall
depart and the hills of our carnal hopes be removed the
kidlaess of the Lord shall not depart, neither shall the
covenant of His peace be removed (Isa. 54. 10). Zarephath
means a smelting-house, a place of fiery trials. It was
meet that the prophet of fire should pass through the
refining furnace. All who would live godly must suffer
persecution. Elijah ‘ s journey of one hundred miles through
a famine-stricken country would afford him ample opp~i-tunities
for faith. Away from the shady brook, this must
have been to him as a baptism of fire. Did not the New
Testament Elijah say of Christ that He will baptise you
with the Holy Ghost and with fire ?
III. The Promise Made. “I have commanded a widow
to sustain thee” (v. 9). Perhaps the prophet thought
that she must surely be a wealthy widow that was to supply
his need during the remaining time of the famine. In any
case, God’ s “commands to the ravens” had not failed him, *
neither would His Word to the widow. How the message
came to this poor widow we dpn’ t know, but doubtless this
Zidonian was prepared in some way ; it may have been.128 Handfuls on Purpose.
through earnest prayer, like Cornelius (Acts 10). He is
faithful that hath promised.
IV. The Test of Circumstances. This widow, as we
suppose, with some secret God-given premonition that all
her wants would be supplied, is now face to face with
starvation. As far as her reason could go there was only
“an handful of meal” between her and death. She went out with a hea? heart to gather fuel to cook her last meal
when the crisis came (vv. 10-12). Her circumstances
seemed to belie the “command of God.” Abraham was
similarly tried when commanded to offer up his son Isaac,
the child of promise. But see, Elijah comes, looking for
the wealthy widow with whom he was to lodge. He meets
her gathering sticks, and when he asks “a morsel of bread”
he is told that all she j?ossesses for her and her son is “an
handful of meal and a little oil.” Here, again, circum-stances
seem to make the Word of God of none effect. But,
like Abraham, “he staggered not at the promise of God, but
was strong in faith, giving glory to God, ‘ being fully per-suaded
that, what He had promised, He was able also to
perform” (Rom. 4. 20). He shows his faith in the divine promise by persisting in having the first share of the little store, and saying to the half-bewildered woman, “Fear
not. ” Did not our Lord ask a drink of the woman of
Samaria, knowing that He had something better to give
her, even that blessing which, like the widow’ s meal,
“shall not waste ? ”
V. The Obedience of Faith. “She went and did
according to the saying of Elijah” (vv. 14, 15). The
prophet gave her the promise of the Lord God of Israel, that
the meal in that barrel would not waste nor the cruse of oil
fail until the famine would cease. She believed the Word, and took what seemed her last handful of meal, and even
with a hungry soul prepare4 it for Elijah. she practically.Old Testament Outlines. lb
gave away, at God’s bidding, all that she had, and cast
herself entirely upon His promise. She had neither pre-cedent
nor example for such an act and for such a hope,
but she had faith in the Word and power of God. Blessed
are they who have not seen and yet have believed.
VI. The Fulfilment of Promise. “The barrel of meal
wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to
the Word of the Lord” (v. 16). Thus for a full year
(v. 15, margin) did they eat bread, day by day, that was
miraculously given them, Truly theirs was a life of faith
on the promise of God. If the meal was always at the
bottom of the barrel, yet was it never awanting. They who
trust Him wholly will find Him wholly true. “Said I not
unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see
the glory of God ?” (John 11. 40).
ELIJAH, THE REVIVER
1 Kings 17. 17-24.
“Whene’ er a noble deed is wrought,
Whene’ er is spoken a noble thought,
Our hearts, in glad surprise,
To higher levels rise.
The tidal wave of deeper souls
Into our inmost being rolls,
And lifts us unawares
Out of all meaner cares. ’ ‘ –LQNGFELL~~.
THERE were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah,
but unto none of them was he sent, but unto this widow in
a city of Sidon. Why did our Lord refer to this at the time
He did (Luke 4. 25) if it were not just to show them that
salvation is through the grace of God, delighting to lift UP
the despised among men, and the unworthy in the sight of
God. It was a marvellous work the God of Israel had
wrought for this poor lonely widow, not only in supplying
her daily need, but in raising her son from the dead. Truly.130 Handfuls on Purpose.
might‘she sing, “Oh ! to grace, how great a debtor ! ” What
hath the grace of God that bringeth salvation to all men
taught US? (Titus 2. 11, 12). Now we see in this highly
favoured home-I.
A Severe Trial. “The son of the woman fell sick,
and there was no breath left in him” (v. 17). The light of
her eyes, the joy of her heart, and the hope of her future
life has been suddenly cut off. She sits with the dead boy
“in her bosom” (v. 19), but the natural warmth even of a
mother’s heart is utterly unavailing to bring back to these
vacant eyes the light of a living soul. No more can we, by
the strength of natural affection, nurse back to life those
of our loved ones who are dead in their sins. “Without Me
ye can do nothing. ”
II. A Bitter Complaint. “She said, What have I to do
with thee, 0 thou man of God ? Art thou come to call my
sin to remembrance ? ” (v. 18). The death of the child had
awakened within her some sad memories of the past. What
this sin was we cannot positively say. It may have been
connected with the birth of the child. Anyway, her soul
was deeply moved. The presence of the “man of God, ”
the manifestation of the power and goodness of God in the
daily multiplying of the handful of meal, and this’ vivid
remembrance of her orplrt sin filled her soul with the deepest
anguish. It is an awful sight to see one’s sinfulness in the
light of the great goodness of God. When Simon Peter
saw it, he cried, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man,
0 Lord” (Luke 5. 8). It is infinitely worse to remember
one’s sins, like the rich man, where there is no “man of
God” to help, or message of hope for a self-ruined soul
(Luke 16. 25). \ III. A Gracious Request. He said unto her, “Give me
thy son” (v. 19). Although the sharp words of the afflicted
and sin-wounded woman must have deeply stung the.Old Testament Outlines. 131
sensitive heart of the “man of God,” yet he betrays no
impatience. He utters no complaint, but with the tender-ness
of a father, and with the faith of a Heaven-born giant,
he says, “Give me thy son, ” and he took the dead boy “out
of her bosom.” Oh, man of God, what canst thou do with
the dead? A MAN OF GOD will always act differently from
an ordinary mundane mortal, by facing difficulties that seem
unsurmountable and tasks that are impossible with men.
IV. A Place of Blessing, “He carried him up into a
loft where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed” (v. 19).
The loft must have been a very humble place in appearance,
but to this prophet, priest, and prince it was the “Holy of
holies, ” the audience chamber of the Prince of Life and
Glory. The little window of this “closet” looked right
into the throne-room of the Eternal. Blessed is that man
whose “closet” is filled with the warmth of the breath of
God. “When ye pray, enter into thy closet and shut the
door. Thy Father seeth in secret” (Matt. 6. 6). ,
V. A Prevailing Prayer. “The Lord heard the voice
of Elijah, and the soul of the child came into him again”
(w. 21, 22). In asking that the “child’s soul might come
into him again, ” he was surely asking a great thing. But
men who claim to “stand before God” must expect great
things from God. The life of faith cannot be limited to
the natural, and circumscribed by precedent. Above what
we ask or think, God is able to do. But not only did he
ask, he also “stretched himself upon the child three times. ”
With the faith of his heart he gave also the whole warmth
of his physical body. His body, soul, and spirit were all
consecrated to this great work of reviving. There are many
who $ray for reviving who would not stretch their little
finger to lift a soul out of the ditch of sin. In “stretching
himself” he gave himself wholly to the work. When Paul
wished to recover Eutychus he embraced him (Acts 20. IO)..132 Handfuls on Purpose.
9 There be many who stretch themselves without the prayer of
faith, but it is as vain as when Samson “shook himself”
without the power of the Holy Spirit (Judges 16. 20).
VI. A God-honouring Confession. When Elijah had
brought down the child and delivered him unto his mother,
she said, “Now by this I know that thou art a man of God,
and that the Word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth”
(v. 24). The miracle in the barrel did not convince her
like the miracle in her son. The overwhelming evidence
of the truthfulness of the “Word of the Lord” is, that by
it souls pass from death unto life, born again by the in-corruptible
seed of the Word. The death and reviving of
her son was the means in the hand of God of bringing her
into the knowledge and love of God ; so out of our deepest
trials there may come our highest blessings, and when
they do come let us honestly and joyfully confess them.
ELIJAH, THE FAITHFUL WITNESS
1 Kings 18. l-39.
“Could we but crush that ever-craving lust
For bless, which kills all bless, and lose our life-Our
barren unit-life-to find again
A thousand lives in those for whom we die,
So were we men and women I and should hold
Our rightful rank in God’ s great universe. „–KINGSLEY.
THE third year of the famine was now running its course.
All this time Elijah, as the mouthpiece of God, had no
message for the guilty nation. Jehovah Himself was speak-ing
through those barren fields and sealed-up heavens,
calling for confession and repentance. There are times
when God’s servants have to be silent, when He is speaking
loudly by some crushing providence. Elijah had a long
silence before he made that bold and tragic declaration on
Carmel. In this chapter we get a fuller view of the faith-fulness
of this prophet of fire in his-.Old Testament Outlines. 1283
I. Readiness to Obey. When the call came, “GO,
show thyself unto Ahab,” immediately “Elijah went to
show himself” (vv. 1, 2). He had been commanded to
Izide himself (chap. 17. 3). Now he is to SLOW himself. He
was equally ready for the one or the other. The man who
is set on witnessing for God, as Elijah was, and is willing
to hide himself, is sure to be lifted up, brought out, and set
before the people as one having authority. To show him-self
to Ahab was to show himself to one who had been
eagerly hunting for his life (v. 12). But the righteotis are
bold as a lion (Prov. 28. 1).
II. Boldness to Rebuke. When Ahab found Elijah
he seemed as if he had found a “pestilent fellow.” But
was there not a tremor of fear in that question so awkwardly
put, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel? ” How could
he trouble Israel by shutting up the heavens when the
K&g was utterly helpless ? The prophet’s answer was
straight and piercing as an arrow to his heart from the
quiver of the Almighty. “I have not troubled Israel,
but thou . . . in that ye have forsaken the command-ments
of the Lord” (v. 18). What constitutes a troubler?
“Forsaking the Word of the Lord. ” Every backslider is a
troubler in the Church of God. Achan’s secret sin brought
trouble into the whole camp of Israel. What should be
said of those infidel “critics” who pose as religious teachers
and are troubling the whole land with their soul-damning
heresies ? The need of the age is Elijahs.
III. Call for Decision. The prophet commands the
king, and his eight hundred and fifty false prophets are
summoned, with the nation, to meet Elijah on Mount
Carmel. It was a big order, but the man who “stands
before God” will go in for great things. “How long halt
ye between two opinions ? ” is the pointed question rung
out as soon as the people had gathered themselves together..134 Handfuls on Purpose.
This solitary man of God was intensely practical. Well he
knew that “no man can serve two masters,” and that in-decision
about the service of God was ruinous. Their
decision for God or Baa1 was to be, evidenced by their
“‘ follow&g Him. ” The outward life must declare the
inward purposes of the heart.
IV. Desire to put God to the Test. “Let them
choose one bullock, and I will dress the other, . . .and
the God that answereth by fire, let Him be God” (w.
23, 24). Better test our theories and principles in time
than to have them breaking down on the border of eternity.
The man of faith is never afraid to risk his all on the
honour of God (Heb. 11. 17). An “answer by fire” was
quite a reasonable test for them, as they worshipped Baal,
the god of fire. Surely the great “sun god” would not
fail such a multitude of prophets. At midday, when the
sun was at its hottest, they got frantic, and “leaped upon
the altar” as if they themselves were ready to be sacrificed
for their faith, but there was “neither voice, nor any to
answ8r. ” Their god was the voiceless myth of their own
imagination. The “two opinions” between which they
halted were MAN’S and GOD ‘ s. „My thoughts are not your
thoughts, saith the Lord. ” Prove your own selves.
V. Believing Prayer. There is no fuss, no excitement
betrayed by the man of God, as he calmly builds the
altar and drenches the sacrifice and the wood with “barrels”
of water from the sea (Jer. 46. IS). He does not seek
to make it easy for God to answer by fire, but to make
it sure that the fire is from God. His prayer is simple,
because it is the prayer of faith. “Let it be known this
day that Thou art God in Israel, ” etc. (w. 36, 37).
The prophet urges a fourfold reason for this special
miraculous manifestation of His power.
1. That it might be known that THOU ART GOD..Old Testament Outlines. 135
2. That I AM THY SERVANT.
3. That I have done all these things AT THY WORD.
4. That the HEART of the people might be TURNED BACK.
It was a cry for the vindication of God’s own honour, a
cry that was immediately answered, for “Them the fire of
the Lord fell” (v. 33). This was a Pentecostal day for
Israel. Those who are truly faithful to God must expect
great things from Him, that His own Name may be glori-fied
in them and by them. It is because of our unbelief
that signs and wonders are not still being wrought among
us. “Command ye me. ”
VI. Bringing Others to Confession. “When all
the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said,
The Lord, fie is God” (v. 39). It was such a revelation
as Thomas had when he said, “My Lord and my God.”
There is nothing like the down-coming of the fire of God-the
Holy Ghost-to burn off the masks from the faces of
self-deceived religionists. The “one man ministry” of
Elijah was au overwhelming force in the kingdom of Israel.
The man that “stands before God” has always God to
stand by Him. There is no other way to bring deluded
sinners to their knees but by the power of God in answer
to the daring faith of His believing servants.
ELIJAH, THE INTERCESSOR
1 Kings 18. 41-46.
“Surely, too, some way
He is the better of my love I 1’ 11 believe
His very eye would never sparkle thus,
Had I not prayed for him this long, long while. ”
-BROWNING.
THE falling of the fire of the Lord from Heaven, and the
cutting off of the prophets of Baal, had effectually arrested
the rising flood-tide of idolatry that threatened to over-.136 Handfuls on Purpose.
whelm the whole land. Now that the people were on
their faces confessing that “the Lord He is God” (v. 39)
showers of blessing are at hand. The quick ear of the
man of God is the first to hear the “sound of abundance
of rain. ” The heavens will soon be opened to pour out its
treasures upon thirsty souls when they bow in humble
confession before Him (Isa. 44. 3). It was a welcomed
Gospel that Elijah preached to Ahab when he said, “Get
thee up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of abundance
of rain. ” There are those to whom times of refreshing
from the presence of the Lord mean nothing more than
eating and drilzking-personal enjoyment. It was far other-wise
with Elijah. To him the sound of coming blessing
was an urgent call to prayer. He-I.
Prayed Believingly. He heard the “sound of abun-dance
of rain” (v. 41). The sound may have been that of
the assuring firomise of God ringing in his soul (v. 1). So
faith cometh by such hearing. The secret of a bold,
courageous life lies in the hearing of faith. When the ear
of faith is dull, the feet of service will be tardy and the
tongue of testimony will stammer. To prevail in prayer,
“hear ye the Word of the Lord. ”
II. Prayed Humbly. “He cast himself down upon the
earth, and put his face between his knees” (v. 42). The
believer who is the boldest before men will be the humblest
before God. To cast oztrselves down is the best way of
preparing ourselves for the fulfilment of the promise of
God. The greatest in the kingdom of Heaven may be the
littlest in the eyes of men (Matt. 18. 4). The greatest of
all masters was the humblest of all servants. It was the
man who could not lift up his face that received the bene-diction
of God (Luke 18. 13).
III, Prayed Perseveringly. “There is nothing. And
he said, Go again” (v. 43). Elijah had heard the sound of a.Old Testament Outlines. 137
coming abundance, but his servant could see nothing. It is
not easy see&g that which as yet can only be apprehended
by faith. But although nothing could be seen that did in
no way discourage the prophet, he said, “Go again, seven
times. ” He had the sure Word of God’s promise, and he
kept believing and pleading although ap@earawces were all
against him. Like Jacob, he will not let go till the
blessing come (Gen. 32. 26). Elijah walked by faith,
while his servant walked by sight. The importunate
pleadings of faith will never be sent empty away. (Luke 18).
IV. Prayed Definitely. He prayed for rain (James 5.
17, 18). This mighty man of God seemed never to have
more than one arrow in his quiver at a time. Prevailing
prayers have always been definite. David said, “In the
morning will I direct (set in order an arrow in the bow)
my prayer unto Thee, and will look up, ” confidently ex-pecting
the answer (Psa. 5. 3). The gctzeral prayer is
generally powerless. Who would come into the presence
of an earthly king with a string of generalities, not one of
which was immediately wanted or expected? Prayer
meetings are often strangled to death by the numberless
petitions offered which are never expected to be answered.
AS a rule the prayer that prevails with God and is answered
by floods of blessing springs out of some definite promise
of God, received by faith, and perseveringly pleaded
before His throne of grace (Ezek. 36. 37).
V. Prayed Successfully. “Behold there ariseth a
little cloud, . . . and there was a great rain” (v. 44, 45).
Let us take heed when the little cloud appears that we do
not despise the day of small things (Zech. 4. 10). God’s
“little cloud” can be made broad enough to cover the
whole sky and to meet all our need. The few loaves and
small fishes are sufficient in His hands to satisfy the
cravings of a multitude. Elijah asked, believing that he E Vol. 5.1.3 Handfuls on Purpose.
would receive, and he did have (Mark 11. 24), and God
~3s glorified in so answering. “Whatsoever ye shall ask
in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified
in the Son” (John 14. 13). Seeing that it is the chief
desire of the Son to glorify the Father in answering our
prayers, surely this is one of the most powerful of all
reasons why we should “ask in prayer, believing that we
shall receive” (Matt. 21. 22).
ELIJAH, THE DOWNCAST
I Kings 19. 1-8.
“Art thou alone ? and dost thy soul complain
It lives in vain ?
Not vainly does he live who can endure !
0, be thou sure
That he who hopes and suffers here can earn
A sure return. “-PROCTOR.
“GREAT men are not always wise.” Elijah failed just at
that point where we would have expected him to take an
unflinching stand. Yet it may be good for us to know that
God’s greatest servants were men of “like passions with
ourselves. ” As they, like our Lord and Saviour, were made
sharers of our infirmities, so we might be made partakers
of their virtues and glories. All things are possible to him
that believeth. We observe here a-I.
Cowardly Flight. “When he saw that, he arose,
and went for his life” (v. 3). When he saw that Jezebel’s
pride and hatred were unsubdued after all that he had
done-in proving his authority on Carmel by calling fire
from Heaven and praying floods of rain upon the parched
land, and showing his loyalty to King Ahab by running
as a herald before the royal chariot all those eighteen miles
through the drenching storm. As he waits outside the gate
all the reward he gets is a message that because he had
slam the prophets of Baa1 his life would be taken “by.Old Testament Outlines. 139
to-morrow about this time.” So he “went for his life.”
Exhausted and disappointed he forgets God and the present
1
need of Israel for a spiritual teacher, and takes to preserv-ing
his own life. By faith he boldly stood before Ahab
and all the prophets of Baa1 ; by fear he fled before the vain
hreats of an unprincipled woman. How are tfle mighty
fallen ! “Let him that standeth take heed. ”
II. Despairing Cry. “He requested for himself that
he might die” (v. 4). He found it a very unprofitable
business that of seeking merely to save his own life. A self-centred
life is sure to come to grief. When one steps out
of the current of God’s will and purpose concerning us our
chariot wheels are sure to “drive heavily. ” Jonah prayed
the same prayer while he was in a bad mood (chap. 4. 3).
Paul was animated by a different spirit when he wrote,
“Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you”
(Phil. 1, 24). At that moment the kingdom of Israel was
in desperate need of that very man who was counting his
life a worthless thing. Has the cause of Christ no need
of thee?
III. Gracious Touch. “As he lay and slept, behold,
an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat”
(v. 5). Elijah’s merciful Master did not send a messenger
to thrash him, or even to rebuke him for ,his fearfulness.
His loving heavenly Father knew best what his tired and
weary child needed. “Arise and eat. ” The terrible strain
of Carmel, the wearisome run before Ahab, the long journey
into the wilderness had no doubt brought upon him com-plete
physical and nervous prostration. The remedy pro-vided
by God was “a cake baken on the coals and a cruse of
water. ” He knows the frailty of our frame (John 21. 9-12).
How long he slept before the angel touched him we cannot
know, but perhaps he was, through utter weakness, in
danger of sleeping the sleep of death had not the angel.140 Handfuls on Purpose.
wakened him up to eat. Are we not reminded here of that
other angel of His presence, the Holy Spirit, whose gentle
touch awakens many of God‘s downcast ones, and whose
tender voice bids them arise and eat of Him who is the
Living Bread. That angel may be touching you even now.
IV. Wonderful Discovery. “He looked, and, behold,
there was cake baken 01z the coals ; . . . and he did eat and
drink, and laid him down again” (v. 6). It is not for
naught that the angel of God touches any one. For every
Spirit-awakened soul there is a much-needed miraculous
feast awaiting them. He was not disobedient to the
heavenly touch. “He looked, ” and seeing the divine
provision he appropriated it. It must have been a very
paIatabIe breakfast, cooked by an angel, and all for himself.
But God’s provision is always suitable to the needs of the
soul. It did not concern Elijah how the cake was formed
or the coals kindled. It was enough for him that this was
God’s gift to him, and that he needed it and was invited to
take it. So it is with the salvation that is in Christ Jesus.
V. Second Blessing. “The angel of the Lord came a
second time, and touched him” (v. 7). He had already
got as much of the gift of God as to save his life, but not
so much as would strengthen him for the journey that
lay before him. So in mercy he was called again to
“arise and eat, because the journey is too great for thee.”
Are there not many who have received of the Lord Jesus
Christ as the gift of God that which has saved their souls
from death, but who, like Elijah, have “lain down again”
in selfish ease, and who need a second awakening that they
might arise and so partake of Christ, that they may be able
to go 012 in a life of suffering and testimony? Some people
don’t believe in a secortd blessing, but Elijah did.
VI. Supernatural Power. “He went on the strength
of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb, the.Old Testament Outlines. 141
mount of God” (v. 8). Elijah’s first meal saved his soul,
but the second enabled him to witness for God. That forty
days’ journey was not accomplished in his own strength,
but in the strength of the gift of God. This grace ministered
to him was sufficient to bring him unto the mount of God
(a journey of about two hundred miles). All this is most
suggestive of what the gift of His grace is able to do for all
who will obey the call to “arise and eat” (2 Cor. 12. 9).
Who has ever yet found out the full “strength of that
meat” which is within the reach of every child of God in
His blessed Word? Downcast and discouraged soul, this
call is for you. “Arise and eat. ” “Thy words were found,
and I did eat them, ” etc. (Jer. 15. 16; Psa. 119. 111).
ELIJAH REBUKED
1 Kings 19. 9-16.
“Who can come near to God with a heart not on fire ?
Souls must tire upon earth who in Heaven would rest.
Is it hard to serve God, timid soul? Hast thou found
Gloomy forests, dark glens, mountain tops on thy way?
All the hard would be easy, the tangled unwound,
Would’ st Thou only desire as well as obey.“-FABER.
ON the strength of the Heaven-sent meat, Elijah reached
“Horeb, the mount of God.” “They that wait on the
Lord shall . . . walk and not faint” (Isa. 40. 31). Horeb
was pre-eminently the mount of the revelation of God,
because here the unconsumed bush was seen ablaze with a
divine fire ; here the law was given with its terrible accom-.
paniments, and perhaps it was in this very cave that Moses
stood while the glory of God’s goodness passed by (Exod.
33). It must have been with mingled and solemn feelings
that Elijah found himself in the midst of surroundings
crowded with such striking and holy memories. Will there
be any such manifestation of the divine presence to him?
Surely he has come here to meet with God ! Will those who.142 Handfuls on Purpose.
seek Him not find Him ? If men would go to the “house
of God” as Elijah went to the “mount of God” what signs
and wonders would be wrought’!
I. A Searching Question, “What doest thou here,
Elijah?” (v. 9). By this question was the Lord sternly
demanding of the prophet why he was Izeye, instead of en-couraging
the nation to stand firm for the God who had
I
answered by fire on Carmel, or was it a question full of grace
and tenderness seeking to call out the needs and fears of
his heart that He might in mercy satisfy and comfort?
In any case, it is always God’s method to go to the
root of the matter and deal with the mot&es of the life.
Throughout the Scriptures divine questions are frequently
accompanied by marvellous revelations (Gen. 32. 27;
Exod. 4. 2).
II. An Honest Answer. “I have been very jealous for
the Lord God of hosts ; . . . I only am left, and they seek
my life” (v. 10). All those who would faithfully serve
the Lord will have many heart-searching questions to
answer. As a defence, Elijah’s reply was a very poor one,
but as a con~essiolz it was simple and sincere. He had
been very jealous for the Lord, now he was afraid of
his own life. All Israel had gone astray, he only was
left. Pertied and despondent he had come here
partly through fear and partly to hear what God the
Lord would speak to his soul. Any one who truly loves
the Lord, but who, through unusual temptation and
bodily infirmities, has given way to fear, can easily
understand the feelings of this man of God at this
particular time.
III. A Wonderful Manifestation. There came now the
divine call to “Go forth and stand before the Lord” (v. 11).
Is he not reminded by this that through unbelief he had
lost his standing (chap. 17. I). Let us keep on the whole.Old Testament Outlines. 143
armour of God that we may be able to stand (Eph. 6. 13).
The prophet is now made a witness to the marvellous
power of the Lord in a fourfold manner. He sees it in the
wind, the earthquake, the fire, and the still small voice. Rut
in the rending wind, the shaking earthquake, or the meltilzg
fire there was no message from the Lord for the trembling
servant. “The Lord was not in them.” The Lord would
teach us as well as Elijah that there is something more
needed to bring men to Himself than a mere display of
natwal powers. The strong wind of words, the earthquake
of argument, and the fire of enthusiasm may do mighty
and terrible things, yet if the still small voice of’the Lord,
the Spirit, is not in them there is no message from God to
the souls of men. It is “not by might, nor by power,
but by My Spirit, saith the Lord” (Zech. 4. 6). The
mightiest of all the forces that are at work in this world
is that “still small voice” of the HoIy Spirit that
whispers God’s Word of truth and life into the listening
heart. A voice is something more than a sound or an
influence, it is an assurance of the presence of a living
PERSONALITY (Song of Sol. 2. 8). “My sheep hear My
voice” (John 10. 27).
IV. A Powerful Effect. “When Elijah heard it he
wrapped his face in his mantle and went out” (v. 13).
The terrific effects of the wind, the earthquake, or the fire
had evidently driven him back into the depths of the cave
(v. 11) ; but the sweet wooing voice lured him from his
dismal hiding-place, with his face hid in his mantle
because it was burning with shame. Men will be all
the more likely to be constrained by the sweet voice of
love after they have heard the thunderings and felt the
burnings of that law which is holy, just, and good.
The terrible trumpet of Sinai made men stand “afar off, ”
while the voice of Calvary constrains men to draw nigh
with a shame-mantled face..144 Handfuls on Purpose.
Here, but in very altered circumstances, the same
question is again put, “What doest thou here, Elijah ?”
And, alas, the very same answer is given. Has he profited
nothing by all those revelations of divine resources that he
adds no petition for grace or strength to go on overcoming in
the Name of Him who doeth wondrously ? It would seem
as if this r&~~~ted question was his last chance of getting
fully restored to the power and authority of the prophetic
office, but he failed to take advantage of it. He is not
allowed to become a castaway, but it would seem that from
this time the purposes of God concerning him are changed,
and another is chosen to take his place. Has he now
become a marred vessel in the hands of the Great
Potter? Let us take heed lest we should come short.
How shall we escape the same failure if we neglect the
great opportunities that God in His infinite mercy brings
within our reach ?
V. A Humbling Confession. “Go, return, . . . and
Elisha shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room”
(w. 15, 16). When Elijah persisted in saying, “I, even
I, only am left, ” it was an evidence that he had climbed
down from his walk of faith and was now walking by
sight. Was the Lord not rebuking his unbelief when he
said to him, “I have left Me seven thousand in Israel
which have not bowed unto Baal” (v. 18). God could
easily have made Elijah sufficient to do the work of the
three men whom he was now sent to anoint. Who
can tell all that the Lord is able to do through one
life that has been entirely and continuously yielded to
His will? It was sureIy a self-humbling work to go
and call a man to take his own place so soon after
accomplishing such a mighty work for God as was
witnessed on Mount Carmel. “Let him that standeth
take heed lest he fall. ” “Let no man take thy crown”
(Rev. 3. 11)..Old Testament Outlines. 145
THE CALL OF ELISHA
1 Kings 19. 16-21.
“Jesus calls us from the worship
Of the vain world’ s golden store;
From each idol that would keep us,
Saying, ‘ Christian, love ME more.“’
-C. F. ALEXANDER.
THERE is a self-evident vein of irony in these words of
C. Kingsley : “I was not good enough for man,
And so was given to God. ’ ’
Elow ready we are to think and act as if the prime of our
days was too valuable for 2~s to be given to God, and that
the fag end of our life is best suited for surrendering to the
will of God. Where in all the Bible do we find any one
called of God to do service for Him when infirm with age?
Were not the Levites disqualified for the work of God at the
age of fifty ? (Num. 8. 25). Are there not now compara-tively
few being saved beyond that age ? Elisha was
undoubtedly a young man, whom Elijah, at the bidding of
God, came without a murmur to anoint him as prophet
“in his own room.” Observe the-I.
Significance of his Name. Elisha means God
is Salvation. This was a name well suited for the man who
was to take the lead at this time of national crisis. While
in a despondent mood Elijah said, “I, even I, only am left, ”
but the Lord rebuked his pessimism by saying, “I have left
Me seven thousand, ” and Elisha was one of them. The
after life of Elisha shows him to be strong where Elijah was
inclined to be weak-in being faithful and careful down to
the smallest events in life. Elijah’s faith was mighty in
Mount Carmel, but it failed him under the juniper tree.
The man who knows that the presence of God is Salvation
will surely be steadfast and immovable in the work of the
Lord..146 Handfuls on Purpose.
II. Time of his Call. It was while he was “ploughing”
(v. 19). He was only a ploughman. Yes, but who can
tell what depth of soul exercise and heart agony he may
have had over backsliding Israel while following the oxen
across the fields. There was One who did know, and
who answered the secret longings of his heart by calling
him out as a witness for Himself. The Lord knows where
and when to lay “His hand on that hidden one who has in
secret been prepared for a more honoured place in His
service. ” The divine call came to Moses while he kept the
flock of Jethro (Exod. 3. I),; to Gideon while he thrashed
wheat (Judges 6. 11) ; to David when in the sheepfold
(Psa. 78.70) ; to Amos while a herdman (chap. 7. 14). All
Christ’s disciples were called from very common occupa-tions.
He found Bunyan among the pots and pans. “If
any man hear My voice” (Rev. 3. 20).
III. Manner of his Call. “Elijah passed by him, and
cast his mantle @on j%rn” (v. 19). It came szlddenly,
although Elisha’s preparation may have been going on for
several years. It came mmistakably. The mantle or
spirit of the prophet had now fallen UPON HIM. This was
to him an holy anointing from the Lord (v. 16). The mantle
of Elijah was the symbol of the Spirit of power. Elisha could
do no mighty works for God without this definite baptism.
No more can we. “Tarry until ye be endued with power
from on high” (Luke 24. 49). The sudden encircling
of the prophetic mantle about him was an experience he
could not possibly forget or ignore (Acts 19. I).
IV. Effects of this Call. It was followed by-1.
AN INSTANT RESPONSE. “He left his oxen and ran
after Elijah” (v. 20). He did not wait for as more con-venient
season, or he too might have been startled some day
with the question, “What doest thou here, Elisha ? ” His
call, like ours, is a passing one. The prophetic power will.Old Testament Outlines. 147
not abide with him unless he follows and keeps, as it were,
in touch with that mantle which, in grace, had fallen upon
him. So if we would abide in the power of His anointing
we must be willing and ready to be led by the Spirit, and to
walk in Him and with Him. An instant recognition of
God’s call, by the coming upon us of the Holy Spirit, *
should be made. “Set t/zirte heart upon all that I shall
show thee” (Ezek. 40. 4).
2. A REVELATION OF FILIAL TENDERNESS. “Let me, I
pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will
follow thee” (v. 20). These words, we think, do not in any
way betray the spirit of that man who said, “Suffer me
first to go and bury my father” (Matt. 8. 21). The call
came to Elisha in the form of an offer instead of a command.
An offer which he instantly accepted. Perhaps his love
for his father and mother was one of the chief evidences of
his righteousness with God and fitness for service. Those
who would feel it no sacrifice whatever to leave home, even
for the service of God, are not likely to be sent by Him
(Matt. 19. 27-29).
3. A WILLING AND DEFINITE TESTIMONY . “He took a
yoke of oxen and slew them . . . and gave unto the $eo$le”
(v. 21). What would the people think of such an act?
Killing the useful oxen and making a fire of the agricultural
instruments ! It was an indication to them that he was
now done with this business, as he had deliberately accepted
the gracious offer of the prophetic office at the hand of
Elijah. All that Elijah said to him was, “Go back again,
for what have I done to thee ? ” As much as to say, If
there is no correspondence in your heart to this outward call
then go back. But there was, and he fearlessly obeyed.
4. A PERSONAL SEPARATION AND SERVICE. “Then he
arose and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him”
(v. 21). As a vessel he has been cleansed, and made meet.148 . Handfuls on Purpose.
for the Master’s use. He forsook all and followed Him.
He began his great life’s work in a very humble fashion,
by “pouring water in the hands of Elijah” (2 Kings 3. 11).
He sought not great things for himself, but only to please
and help his Master. Oh, that the words of our gracious
‘ Master might be true in our lips when face to face with the
needs of men I “I am among you as he that serveth. “
“Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it” (John 2. 5).
ELIJAH, THE REPROVER
1 Kings 21. 15-29.
“Life is beautiful wholly, and could we eliminate only
This interfering, enslaving, o’ ermastering demon of craving,
This wicked tempter inside us, to ruin still eager to guide US.
Life were beatitude.“-CLOUGH.
IF spotless angels fell through the sin of ambition, how can
a sinful man hope to succeed by it ? The scheming Jezebel
had brought the honest Naboth to an untimely death, that
her weak but ambitious husband might get possession of
his inheritance. The greed of gaits has driven others than
Jezebel into terrible deeds of darkness. The love of the
world is as cruel as the grave. It is as the nursing of a
beautiful serpent that will one day send its poisonous
fang into the soul. There was a-I.
Seeming Success. “When Ahab heard that Naboth
was dead, he rose up to take possession of the vineyard”
(v. 16). It was nothing to him how Naboth had died
as long as he was now out of his way to the taking posses-sion
of his valuable garden. “Get, get, ” by hook or by
crook, is the creed of iron-heeled selfishness. What better
are those drink-dealers, who by their craft and cunning
have enticed multitudes to ruin and death that they might
get possession of their money, which was their only
vineyard ?.Old Testament Outlines. 149
II. Forgotten Factor. The Lord said unto Elijah,
“Behold, Ahab is gone down to possess the vineyard of
Naboth” (vv. 17.18). That secret chamber has never yet been
built where a plot can be formed without the eyewitnessing
of God. The forgotten factor in the schemes of worldly men
and women is GOD. God is not in all their thoughts. Such
may succeed for a time, like Ahab and the Babel builders,
but all man’s works, to be a final success, must pass muster
with a righteous God (Gen. 11. 5; 1 Cor. 3. 13).
III. Stern Command. “GO down to meet Ahab,
and speak unto him, saying, Hast thou killed, and also
taken possession ? In the place where dogs licked the blood
of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even 2hiGe” (w. 17.19).
This was a terrible message that Elijah got from the Lord
Almighty, who is so infinite in love and compassion. God is
love. Yes; but while he “keepeth mercy for thousands”
(Exod. 34.7) He will by no means clear the guilty impeni-tent.
The prophet might have preferred to have taken a
more gracious message to the king, but to tone down the
solemn warnings of Jehovah would be to prove himself a
traitor to God and a deceiver of souls (Acts 20. 20-27).
IV. Startling Question. “Ahab said to Elijah, Hast
thou found me, 0 mine enemy ? ” (v. 20). The messenger
of God found out Ahab, as the writing on the wall found
out the profane Belshazzar. Sudden surprises are sure to
overtake the secret sinner (Luke 12. 20). “Be sure your sin
will find you out” (Num. 32. 23). But why was the prophet
of God his enemy ? Just because he was living at enmity with
God. Was Elijah His enemy because he told Him the truth ?
(Gal. 4. 16). If the sinner is not found by the servant of God
he will one day be found by God Himself. Will it then be
as an enemy ? Light is always the enemy of darkness.
V. Straight Answer. “I have found thee ; because
thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the Lord”.150 Handfuls on Purpose.
(v. 20). When a man has sold himself to the work of the
Devil it is surely high time that he was “found out,” and
what a mercy it is to be arrested in such a fatal course.
Ahab, in selling himself, like every other such sinner, had
stifled his conscience and deliberately become the abject
slave of lust and pride. To sell one’s self “to work evil in
the sight of the Lord” is one of the most culpable and
dastardly transactions of which a human soul is capable.
Yet for greed of gain and love of the world how many there
be who are daily doing it.
VI. Terrible Prospect. “The dogs shall lick thy
blood; , . . evil upon thee and upon thy posterity; . . . the
dogs shall eat Jezebel” (vv. 21-24). What a dismal out-look
for wealthy royal sinners! The woe that slumbereth
not against the covetous has come (Hab. 2.9). “With what
measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again ”
(Matt . 7. 2). These judgments were of God’s appointment,
not the prophet’s. All workers of iniquity have a fearful
future, which sooner or later will reveal itself in awful
reality (Rev. 21. 8). “The hope of the wicked shall be
cut off” (Prov. 2. 22).
VII. Merciful Deliverance, “When Ahab heard those
words he rent his clothes, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth,
and went softly. Then when the Lord saw that Ahab
humbled himself before Him, He promised not to. bring the
evil in his days” (vv. 27-29). Repentance and humility
before God is the only way whereby the guilty may hope
to escape Holy and fiery indignation. There is nothing like
a discovery of our sinfulness before Him to make us go
softly. Here is another proof of God’s readiness to forgive
the penitent. He delighteth in mercy ; judgment is His
strange work. The great outstanding and unfailing testi-mony
to God’s willingness to save is the Cross of Christ
(Isa. 57. 7)..Old Testament Outlines. . 151
BEN-HADAD’ S FALL AND RESTORATION
1 Kings 20. 30-34.
“Jesus, who to Thy Father prayed
For those who all Thy love repaid
With this dread cup of woes,
Teach me to conquer, Lord, like Thee,
By patience and benignity,
The thwarting of my foes.“-FABER.
THE cause of the defeat of the great host of Syrians was a
denial of God. They did not believe that the God of Israel
had any power in the valleys (v. 28). An imperfect and
false idea of God has been, and is still, the source of ruin to
many. “They that Krtoze, their God shall be strong” (Dan.
11. 32). To the believer God is the God of every hill and
valley of their daily life. We do not attempt here an
exposition of the above Scripture, but wish to use it only
as an illustration or historicalpictzlre of the great salvation.
Notice then a-I.
Fearful Condition. “Ben-hadad fled into an inner
chamber” (v. 30). The marginal reading of the Revised
Version is “from chamber to chamber, ” as one convicted
of danger and seeking safety, but finding no place to rest.
How like this is to an awakened sinner, running as it were
from place to place, from sin to sin, and from pleasure to
pleasure, seeking rest and relief to his troubled soul, but
never getting any assurance of salvation. “Not by works
of righteousness which we have done.”
II. Hopeful Proclamation. “We have heard that the
kings of the house of Israel are merciftil kings” (v. 31).
These servants who had heard this good news did not hide
the tidings from the anxious Ben-hada,d, but carried them
at once to him. Have we not heard that the King of Heaven
is merciful, and that He “delighteth in mercy,” and is
“ready to pardon ? ” Are we hiding the good news, like the.IS? Handfuls on Purpose.
lepers of Samaria, from those timid and fearful souls who,
like Ben-hadad, have been crushed and defeated in the
battles of life, and who run to and fro secretly seeking a
place of rest?
III. Self-humbling Intercession. “They put sack-cloth
on their loins, and ropes on their heads, and came to
the king of Israel, and prayed for him” (v. 32). In praying
for Ben-hadad they were praying for one who had for-feited
his life through open rebellion. These intercessors
identified themselves with the guilty one for whom they
prayed. The sackcloth and the ropes spoke of repentance
and a readiness to die for his sake. The way to pray for
others is to put ourselves in their position and circum-stances.
Did our Lord Jesus Christ not do this ? Where is
our sackcloth and ropes when we make intercession for
transgressors before our merciful King? Is our sym$athy
manifested ?
IV. Heartening Revelation. “He is my brother”
(v. 32). When the king of Israel deigned to call him, who
had been his enemy, his “brother,” it was the throwing
open of the door of grace and mercy to the petitioners.
They were quick to catch it, and take advantage of it, by
saying, “Thy brother. ” What an encouragement we have in
praying for others when we know that He loves His enemies
and is prepared to receive them and treat them as brothers !
V. Peaceful Reconciliation. “He caused him to
come up into the chariot” (v. 33). A little while ago he
was fighting against the king of Israel, now he is reconciled
to him, and having fellowship with him in his own chariot.
Once we were enemies to the Son of God by our wicked
works, but now, through grace and a mighty intercession,
we have been brought nigh, and lifted up, and made to sit
with Him in heavenly places. Our fellowship is now with
the Son in the chariot of His salvation..Old Testament Outlines. 153
VI. Voluntary Restitution. “Ben-hadad said, The
cities which my father took from thy father I will restore”
(v. 34). Now that he had been “saved by grace” he was
prepared to yield up to him all that beforetime had been
taken from him. Should not the saving grace of the Lord
Jesus Christ constrain us to yield up to Him that life which
was beforetime taken from His service and spent in opposi-tion
to His will? (Rom. 12. 1). “Thou hast loosed my
bonds. . . What shall I render unto the Lord ? ” (Psa.
116. 12, 16, 17).
VII. Blessed Consummation. “So he made a cove-nant
with him” (v. 34). They made a mutual agreement
to seek one another’s welfare in time to come. Surely all
self-seeking should end when we have been forgiven and
reconciled unto God through the death of His Son. Is
there not also a mutual understanding between the saved
sinner and the Son of God, that while He looks after our
interests in Heaven we should look after His interests on
earth? As He has brought us into sonship shall we not
agree to be His bond-slaves ? “I determined not to know
nothing among men save Jesus Christ and Him crucified”
(1 Cor. 2. 2). So said Paul, whose whole soul had been
captivated by the covenanting grace of God.
MICAIAH, THE FAITHFUL
1 Kings 22.
“When gathering clouds around I view,
And days are dark and friends are few,
On Him I lean, who, not in vain,
Experienced every human pain ;
He sees my wants, allays my fears,
And counts and treasures up my tears.”-GRAN
UNION is not always strength, for an unequal yoke with
unbelievers is shown in this chapter to be utter weakness.
God is willing to use weuk things, but not wadeart things. 1
L Vol. 5.34 Handfuls on Purpose.
The godless Ahab was quite pleased to have the help of the
God-fearing Jehoshaphat, but such compromising on his part
could only end in shame and defeat. However, he was
anxious that some true prophet might be consulted, and at
last Micaiah was called. Micaiah is a noble man, with
some of the daring of Elijah about him. Let us ask-I.
Who was he?
1. HE WAS A HOLY MAN, a man who knew the mind of
the Lord (v. 3). The meaning of his name is “Who is like
Jehovah ? ” In his character he was like God, and in his
testimony there are none like God. He was Jehovah’s mouth-piece
and representative, a light to shine in a dark place.
All who have been called of God into the fellowship of His
Son have been called to a like life and work.
2. HE WAS TEMPTED. The messenger that was sent from
the king to call him tried to persuade him to speak words
pleasing to the king, as the other prophets had done (v. 13).
The temptation was to please man rather than God. Paul
said, “If I yet pleased men, I would not be the servant of
Christ. ” The king’s four hundred false prophets had all
spoken smooth things, but the man who stands in God’s
stead must be prepared to stand alone. The workers of
iniquity always like to hear good said concerning them,
and men-pleasers are always found speaking smooth things.
3. HE WAS FAITHFUL. “Micaiah said, What the Lord
saith unto me, that will I speak“ (v. 14). When Luther
was told that all the world was against him, his answer was,
“Then I am against the whole world.” The faithful
preacher will never shun to declare the whole counsel of
God” (Acts 20. 27). “He that hath My Word let him
speak My Word faithfully, saith the Lord, for what is the
chaff to the wheat ? ” (Jer. 23. 23). A man handles the
Word of God deceitfully when he turns its sharp edge
away from the hearts of the people (see v. 17)..Old Testament Outllntu. 155
II. How was he Treated?
1. HE WAS HATED. “There is yet one man, Micaiah:
but I hate him” (v. 8). Why did the king hate him ? Be-cause
of this faithfulness to God. “He doth not prophecy
good concerning mc. ” His words were not smooth enough
for the royal ear. Christ and His disciples were hated for
the same cause. The carnal mind is enmity against God.
It is quite clear that if Ahab had loved God he would not
have hated His servant because he spoke the truth. “Every
one that doeth evil hateth the light” (John 3. 20).
2. HE WAS MOCKED. “Zedekiah smote him on the cheek,
and said, Which way went the Spirit of the Lord from me
to speak unto thee I ” (v. 24). What does false prophets
or men-pleasing professors know about the Spirit of God 1
He has no place in their ministry. They are always ready
to smite with the tongue when grace has not been poured
into their lips. But smiting the speaker does not break
the teeth of the truth. In our testimony for Christ we
need never forget that our position is outside the camp of
worldly-mindedness, bearing His reproach.
3. HE WAS IMPRISONED. “Put this fellow in the prison”
(v. 27). He became the enemy of the self-seeking because
he spoke the truth. It is easy to bind the servant of God,
but the Word of God is not to be bound; its Spirit, like
the wind, bloweth where it listeth. When they imprisoned
John Bunyan “The Pilgrim’s Progress” came out of the
jail, and has been wandering through the world ever since.
III. What Became of his Prophecy 7 (v. 17).
1. IT WAS F U L F I L L ED , ALTEOUGH SOME B ELIEVED IT
NOT. The king had ordered him to be shut up until he
would return from the battle in peace. He was peacefu1
enough when he came back, for he was carried back dead
(v. 37) according to the word of Micaiah (v. 28). The.156 Handfuls on Purpose.
unbelief of some could never make the Word of God of
none effect.
2. IT WAS F U L F I L L ED, ALTHOUGH THE U NBELIEVER
DISGUISED HIMSELF TO ESCAPE IT (vv. 30, 34). No man
has ever yet been able to disguise himself so that God could
not find him out. The “bow at a venture” became the
divine detective to apprehend Ahab. God’s arrows never
miss the mark. There are mapy ways by which unbelievers
disguise themselves, with the hope of escaping the judg-ment
of God. Be sure your sin will find you out. The cloak
of morality or religion will never hide from God the sin of
an unbelieving heart (1 Sam. 16. 7).
3. IT WAS FULFILLED, ‘ BECAUSE IT WAS GOD’s WO RD
(v. 14). His Word shall not return void, as an empty,
fruitless thing. Every Word of God is pure, incorruptible,
and unfailing. He never sficcdates. There is no shadow of
doubt about God’s shalls. The prophet who speaks in the
Name of the Lord and whose word does not come to pass is
a fraud (Deut. 18. 21, 22). It is impossible for God to
lie. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salva-tion?”
(Heb. 2. 3).
CHRIST NEAR, BUT OUTSIDE
Revelation 3. 20.
1. A Present Saviour. “At the door. ”
2. A Waiting Saviour. “Behold I stand. ”
3. A Seeking Saviour. “And knock. ”
4. A Pleading Saviour. “If any man open the door. ”
5. A Promising Saviour. “I will come in.”
6. A Providing Saviour.
with Me. ”
“A$ sup with him, and he.New Testament Outlines
A GREAT FAILURE
Luke 12. 13-21.
“Give us Thy grace to rise above
The glare of this world’ s smelting firea;
Let GOD’ S great love put out the love
Of gold, and gain, and low desires.
Still sweetly rings the Gospel strain
Of golden store that knows no rust ;
The love of CHRIST is more than gain,
And heavenly crowns than yellow dust.”
-ALEXANDER.
THIS parable of the rich and prosperous fool was given to
rebuke the covetousness of the man who said to the Master,
“Speak to my brother that he divide the inheritance with
me.” But the Lord could see that under the mask of
justice there gleamed the greedy eye. Who made Me a
judge or divider over you ? Take heed and beware of
covetousness, for a man’ s life consisteth not in the abund-ance
of the things which he possesseth. This socialistic
brother, who wanted the akheritame divided, misunderstood
the mission of Christ, who came to save us from our sins.
But the time is coming when He will be made both Judge
and Divider over all the earth, for He shall judge His
people and divide to every man according to his works. In turning our attention to the “certain man” referred to in
the parables we would note his-I.
Prosperous Condition. “The ground of a certain
rich man brought forth plentifully” (v. 16). He was on
the highway to worldly honour and applause. “For men 157.158 Handfuls on Purpose.
will praise thee when thou dosf well thyself” (Psa. 49. 18).
He was evidently a land proprietor, the ground seemingly
belonged to himself. He could pull down his barns at will,
without consulting any one. The day of prosperity is
perhaps a greater test to a man’s character than the. day
of adversity. The Rev. Mr. Jay once had this request
handed to him: “The prayers of this congregation are
asked for a man who is prospering in trade, ” He needed
them.
II. Present Dilemma. “He thought within himself,
saying, What shall I do?” (v. 17). Ah ! this thought withi%
himself was not hid from Him who is a discerner of the
hearts of men. He had probably just gone for his night’s
rest, after having surveyed those fields so heavily laden
with a plentiful harvest. The vision of lavish abundance is
before his eyes, the tide of good fortune is coming in like
a flood. “What shall I do ? ” He is quite unconscious
of the tremendous importance of this crisis. What he does
%ow will tix and determine his eternal character. Let US
also take heed.
III. Settled Purpose. “He said, This will I do: I will
pull down my barns and build greater” (v. 18). The die is
cast. He is weighed in the balance and found wanting.
There is no recognition of God in all his plans, no acknow-ledgment
of His goodness. God is not in all his thoughts.
He has made the greatest miscalculation that any scheming
mortal can make in allowing the GIVER OF ALL no place in
his reckoning. We may deliberately vote God out of our
lives by our “This will I do,” but every “I will” of self
has to do with the “Thou wilt” of God (Acts 9. 6).
IV. Self-Congratulation. “And I will say to my
soul, Soul, thou hast much goods; . . . take thine ease,”
etc. (v. 19). This rich pauper’s life was entirely absorbed
in his own selfish ease and gratification. A self-centred life.New Testament Outlines. 159
is for ever a lost life. “Mw’z goods. ” 0, soul, be these thy
gods ? They will certainly be deaf and dumb to thy CT
in a famishing eternity (Luke 16. 19-25). The writer
once received a one-pound note with these words written
on the back of it, “This is the best friend I ever had. ” SO
that poor unknown soul had to part with his best friend.
Not so with those who have the living unchanging Christ
as their Friend.
V. Terrible Awakening. “But God said unto him,
Fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee” (v. 20).
This sudden handwriting of God on the wall of his self-satisfied
soul was a fearful interruption to his godless plans.
This night „THEY require thy soul” (R.v., nzargin). They I
Who ? They by whose spirit he had been ruled (Eph. 2. 2),
and to whom he had yielded himself a willing servant
(Rom. 6. 16). God does not require such world-sodden
souls in the kingdom of Heaven. “Lo, this is the man
that made not God his strength; but trusted in the
abundance of his riches” (Psa. 52. 7). Covetousness is
a kind of lunacy that makes men fools in the sight of
God. Blessed are they who are fools for Christ. Then
notice lastly-VI.
The Lord’s Application. “So is he that layeth
up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God”
(v. 21). To make it our life’s business to live only for self-interest
is pure unadulterated madness. Not to be rich
toward God when He hath brought within our reach the
“unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3. 8); riches of
His grace and glory is to play the fool. Sell not your
soul’s birthright to heavenly and eternal treasure for the
“much goods” of this world, which, if you set your heart
on them, will,only be to you as Esau’s mess of pottage.
There is a poverty that maketh rich (2 Cor. 6. 10). “Covet
earnestly the best gifts” (1 Cor. 1’2. 31)..160 Handfuls on Purpose.
LESSONS FROM A BANKRUPT
Luke 12. 22-34.
“Heart-buried in the rubbish of the world-The
world, that gulph of souls, immortal souls.”
–YOUNG.
OUR Lord never lost an opportunity of letting the light of
truth shine into dark sin-beclouded souls. He had just
spoken the parable of “a certain rich man” to expose the
sin and folly of covetousness. Then, in these verses quoted
above, He presses home upon the hearts of “His disciples”
the needlessness of harassing anxiety about worldly and
material things. The “rich man” who suddenly died a
spiritual pauper should teach us to lay up treasures in
Heaven. The Great Teacher come from God bases his
application on a sevenfold argument-I.
The Value of Life. We should not be troubled with
anxious thoughts about our Iife, for “the life IS MORE thm
meat” (w. 22,23). We do not live to eat, but eat to live,
and life is the gift of God. This thought is specially
precious to the children of God by faith. .They have been
made partakers of the divine nature, a new creation,
through the incoming of this new and eternal life. This
life is surely more than the meat that supplies it with fresh
energy. Your life, as the followers and servants of Christ,
is of more value to Him than the food and raiment needed
to sustain that life. Therefore take no thought for your
life. He who gives the greater will not fail in the less.
“Cast all your care upon Him” (1 Peter 5. 7).
II. The Manner of the Ravens. “Consider the ravens :
they neither sow nor reap, . . . and God feedeth them ; . . .
ye are better than fowls” (v. 24). The second reason
Christ gives us why we should rest ourselves in God, con-cerning
the things of this present life, is, “God feedeth the
ravens, and ye are better thart they.” They were not re-., New Testament Outlines. 161
deemed by the Blood of His Son, nor called with an holy
calling. The ravens, with neither “storehouse nor barn,”
were happily unconscious of their poverty; the rich man
who would “pull down his barns and build greater” (v. 18)
was equally unconscious of his spiritual bankruptcy.
The raven’s ignorance is its bliss ; the rich man’s ignorance
was his curse. Christ’s next argument is drawn from-III.
The Growth of the Lilies. “Consider the lilies
how they grow. . . . If God so clothe the grass, . . . how
much more YOU ? ” (w. 27, 23). If God clothes and
adorns the grass that may go to the oven to-morrow with
the lilies, how much more carefully will He clothe YOU who
are going into the Father’s house above? The lily-glory of
the grass was greater than Solomon’s; the righteousness
which is unto all, and @on all who believe is the righteous-ness
of God. Therefore, with regard to s@pLy and adorning,
the disciples of Christ must rest in the Lord. This rest does
not mean idleness (1 Tim. 5. 8). Neither can it mean
failure (Phil. 4. 19).
IV. The Knowledge of the Father. ’ “Your Father
knoweth that ye have need of these things” (v. 30). Oh,
the sweetness of these words to the care-burdened heart!
“Your Father krtoweth. ” Coming as they do from the lips
of Him who is the eternal Son, they are unspeakably
precious, for He does know the deep, real love and faithful-ness
of the Father’s heart toward those who are His blood-bought
children. Your Father knoweth that ye have need
of these things. Then why harass your hearts with anxious
thoughts about them, as if your Father neither knew nor
cared about your need ? If you can say, “The LORD is my
Shepherd, ” you may confidently add, “I shall not want. ”
Be content, for He hath said, “I will never leave thee”
(Heb. 13. 5).
V. The Promise of Christ. “Seek ye the Kingdom of.162 Handfuls on Purpose.
God, and all these things will be added unto you” (v. 31).
Those who seek first the Kingdom of God as the object
of the soul’s life will have all those things which “the
nations of the world seek after” added as a matter of course
and of necessity. It is a small matter to give the clothing
when we have parted with the child. Those things which
the restless worldling seek after are to be added to the
servants of God as things that are as needful for the life as
the sunshine of Heaven or the air we breathe. Solomon
asked that he might have understandiq, for the Kingdom
of God’s sake, and there was added both riches and ILO~OW
(1 Kings 3. 11-13). Godliness has the promise of the life
that now is and of that which is to come (1 Tim. 4. 8).
VI. The Littleness of the Flock. “Fear not, little
flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give yozl the
Kingdom” (v. 32). The more weak and helpless the child
is the more love and care will the mother lavish upon it.
Our felt and confessed weakness is the secret of our
spiritual strength (2 Cor. 12. 10). It is not to those wise
in their own eyes, but “unto babes,” to whom the Father
reveals His great and precious secrets, and for this Jesus
was thankful (Matt. 11. 25, 26). It is the poor of this
world that are most frequently the rich in faith (Jas. 2. 5).
The flock may be very little, as the word means, but the
pleasure of the Father-Shepherd towards them is very good.
Therefore, take no anxious thought about your life.
VII. The Character of the Heart. “Where your
treasure is, there will your heart be also” (v. 34). It is
not SO much what the treasure is as where it is that de-termines
the nature of it. The human heart has always
a something that is dearly coveted as treasure. So the
affections of the heart and that real or imaginary treasure
will always be wedded together. Seeing, then, that the
things needful for this present life are freely promised us,
.,.New Testament Outlines. 163
we are thereby relieved from any anxious thought about
them, that we might be entirely free to set our whole
hearts’ affections on things above (John 8. 36). “Whatso-ever
He saith unto you, do it” (John 2. 5).
HE IS COMING
Luke 12. 35-48.
“Thou art coming, 0 my Saviour I
Thou art coming, 0 my King!
In Thy beauty all resplendent,
In Thy glory all transcendent,
Well may we rejoice and sing.
Coming in the opening east,
Herald brightness slowly swells;
Coming I 0 my glorious Priest,
Hear we not Thy golden bells.”-HA~RGAL.
IN this portion there are several lessons which are of
tremendous importance in these latter days in which we
live. We learn that-I.
The Lord is Coming. “He wiZ1 rctwn from the
wedding” (v. 36). This is not the coming of death-at
death we go to Him-but the coming of the “LORD HIM-SELF,
” who said, “I will come again” (John 14. 3). Were
the disciples not told by the heavenly messenger that “this
same Jesus shall in like manner come again ? ” (Acts 1. 11).
II. He will Come like a Thief (v. 39). He will come
suddenly, like lightning (Matt. 24. 27), and like a thief,
unex$ectedly to the many. A thief would never think
of telling the day and the hour when he was coming to
break through and steal. The day of the Lord cometh as
a thief in the night. This terrible Christ-dishonouring night
is fast settling down upon us. “But ye, brethren, are not in
darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief”
(1 Thess. 5. 2-6).
III. We should be Looking for Him. “Blessed are.164 Handfuls on Purpose.
those whom the Lord, when He cometh, shall find watching”
(v. 37). We are not to look for death, but for the “glorious
appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who gave Himself for us” (Titus 2. 13). It is said to the
credit of the Thessalonian cdnverts that they “turned
to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to
wait for His Son from Heavert. ” Do we not always watch
and long for the return of loved ones when they go away
from us for a season ? If Christ is precious to us we cannot
but look and long for Hjs personal appearing.
IV. We should be Ready to Meet Him. “Be ye
therefore ready” (v. 40). This readiness consists in hav-ing
our “loins girded and our lamps burning” (v. 35).
The “girding” and the “burning” speaks of teaclzing and
testimony, the twofold need of these latter days, when many
are turning away from the faith and giving heed to fables
and the traditions of men which make the Word of God of
ltone effect (Mark 7. 13). The loins of the mind are to be
“g&t about with TRUTH,” the speculations of critics will
never do this. The lamp of life is to be trimmed and
brightly burning through the oil of the Holy Spirit.
V. The Faithful shall be Rewarded when He Comes
(w. 41-44). All the servants of Christ are “stewards of
the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4. l), and as such are ex-pected
to give to the household of faith “their portion
of meat in due season. ” We, as servants, “must all appear ’
before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may
receive according to that he hath done” (2Cor. 5. 10). His
“Well done, ” will never be spoken to those who have lived
only for themselves. A selfish life is a cowardly God-dishonouring
existence. Such verily have their reward.
VI. The Unfaithful shall Suffer Loss at His Coming.
He will be cut asunder, separated from the faithful ones,
and appointed the portion of the unbelieving (v. 46)..New Testament Outlines. 1 65
The portion of the unfaithful is shanzeful disappointment
(1 John 2. 26). Looking for the coming of the Lord Jesus
Christ has a powerful effect upon the daily life. It was the
man who said, “My lord delayeth his coming, ” that began
to smite his fellow-servants (v. 45). Children in school
will be on their good behaviour when they know that the
master is just at the door, coming in. It is possible to be
saved and yet to suffer the loss of every reward by having
our works burned up in the fire of His testing judgment
(1 Cor. 3. 12-15). But there will be degrees of punish-ment,
because there are degrees of privilege. To whomso-ever
much is given, of him shall be much required (VV.
47, 48). Whether the stripes be many or few, the Judge
of all the earth shall do right. Let us praise His Name,
“that with His stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53. 5).
THE BARREN PIG-TREE
Luke. 13. 6-9.
“Praise, 0 Lord, for g-race bestowed,
If fair graces in me have showed :
Praise for growth as of leaf or flower
By Thy Spirit’ s quickening power;
But fruit, ‘ much fruit,’ 0 Lord, I ask
As ‘ neath Thy sweet shining I bask;
Enrich me as I urge my suit,
With nothing less than plenteous fruit. ’ ’
THE Jews as a nation were more highly favoured than any
other. Taken out of barren Egypt and planted by the hand
of God in fertile Canaan, with all the care and protection
that divine wisdom and power could bestow, much fruit
was naturally expected. But the heart of Him who planted
was grieved and disappointed, For three years GOD IN
CHRIST sought fruit and found none. Yet the compassion-ate
Saviour interceded, crying, “Father, forgive them”
(Luke 23. 34). And though spared for a season to get
the “digging” of His teaching and proofs of His resurrec-.166 Handfuls on Purpose.
tion, yet remaining in unbelief they were cut off (Rom.
11. 20). Cumberers will not always be permitted in His
vineyard. This parable contains solemn and searching
lessons for every Christian.
I. The Tree Mentioned. Observe its-1.
HOPEFUL CHARACTER. “A fig-tree” (v. 6). It is the
right kind of a tree for a garden. It was a fruit tree. It be-longed
without doubt to a valuable class of trees. None
could dispute its good connection. This fig-tree represents
one who has been born from above, who has received a new
nature, and who is a new creature, one who belongs to the
family of God. He is perfectly assured of his honourable
connection. Once he had another name and a more dis-reputable
character, but now he is classed as a Christian.
2. GREAT PRIVILEGE. “Planted in the vineyard” (v. 6).
This fig-tree did not grow by the wayside. It was more
highly favoured. It was chose% by the Lord of the vineyard
and carefu.lIy planted in the most favourable place, under
the immediate eye and had of the skilful dresser, and
within the enclosure of the separating walls. In short, it
was chosen, planted, supplied, and protected. Such is the
privilege of every chosen one. “I have chosen you, and
ordained you, that you should bring forth fruit” (John 15.
16). Ye are the Lord’s planting, and in the place of bless-ing
has He put you “by the rivers of water” (Psa. 1. 3).
3. BARREN CONDITION . “Fruitless” (v. 7). Fruit
sought and none found. Is it possible ? A fruit tree in a
vineyard and yet no fruit ? Quite possible, and, alas, far too
common. Then who is to blame ? Neither the dresser nor
the ground, but the tree, which refuses or neglects to rise up
to its great privilege. It was planted there not for an
ornament, not merely to be fed, but to bear fruit, failing
this all is failure. It might boast of its life, leaves, and
opportunities, but there is nothing to satisfy the Lord..New Testament Outlines. 167
Many are fruitless Christians just for the same reason.
Failing to prove their nature by their fruits they fail to
rise to their high calling. The Lord seeks fruit, and has a
right to expect it from every fruit-tree in His vineyard.
Your presence in the vineyard proves His claim.
II. The Master’s Complaint. “Behold these three
years I come seeking fruit on lhis fig-tree” (v. 7). From
His own language we have suggested three thoughts. His-1.
LONG SUFFERING GRACE. “These three years. ” (v. 7).
“He is long suffering to usward, not willing that any should
perish” (2 Peter 3. 9). The three years suggest something
like a threefold failure. Yet hitherto no judgment was
passed. It stands by grace alone. How his heart must
have been grieved at seeing such great grace bestowed in
vain, or worse, only used for self- aggnendisement. How’ is
it with you ? What about all your privileges? Has the
Master found fruit in your life ? He, no dotibt, has been
seeking fruit. How long is it since you was converted, or
planted in the vineyard ? Have you only been a receiver,
drinking up the sap and the sunshine of His gifts, while he,
the Master, receives nothing? Oh, ungrateful heart I
2. WEARIED P ATIENCE. “Cut it down” (v. 9). “Hope
deferred maketh the heart sick” (Isa. 7. 13). The trees in
the vineyard are judged by their works, those outside
by their nature. By our works are we justified or con-demned.
Fruit-bearing constitutes the only title we have
to our continuance in the vineyard (Isa. 15. 2). “My Spirit
will not always strive with men. ” Privileges abused will
be privileges lost. He that hid his lord’s money lost it, and
suffered besides. Shall we sin that grace may abound?
God forbid ! for the grace of God teacheth us to deny un-godliness
and to live soberly and righteously in this present
world. Mere lip profession will not save us from becoming
a castaway as a servant (1 Cor. 9. 27)..168 Handfuls on Purpose.
3. SOLEMN QUESTION. “Why cumbereth it the ground ? ”
Every fruitless tree is a cumberer. Why should it be a
hindrance ? Who can reply against this ? Who can defend
the fruitless? Every unfruitful professor is a burden and
a hindrance. Their roots, or motives, get intertwined with
those of the fruit-bearing, and drink up that which should
have gone to the fruit-making. And how often we spread
forth our barren branches over others, hindering the bright
sunshine, and so affect their fruit-bearing. The incon-sistencies
of professing Christians have been the destruction
of much fruit ; they act as a biting frost upon the tender bud.
III. The Dresser’s Intercession. He-1.
PLEADS FOR MORE GRACE. “This year also” (v. 8).
How interesting that he who had been at all the labour and
watchfulness, without receiving any credit or honour
through it, should yet advocate its cause and plead in its
name. Here Jesus is seen, and His voice is heard. He
maketh continual intercession for us. “I pray not that
thou shouldst take them od of the world!’ (John 17. 15).
That some Christians are still in the $&~ce of fruit-bearing,
but in a barren condition, living only for self, how much is
this owing to the priestly work of Jesus? “This year also. ”
This may be your last.
2. PROMISES MORE WORK. “I shall dig about it, and
dung it” (v. 8). This speaks of grace more abundantly.
If fruit is found at all it must be the result of grace alone.
Other trees are not to be impoverished for the sake of this,
hence the extra digging, etc. The unfruitful Christian has
often been perplexed and amazed at the unusual digging
about the roots of his being, which looked very much like a
removal at the time. Such times of affliction and trial are
solemn warnings. They seem to whisper, “More fruit,” or less
privilege. The shaking of the roots indicate the presence of
the Gardener. After the digging comes the additional supply.New Testament Outlines. 169
3. AGREES THAT THE RESULTS SHOULD BE FINAL. “After
that” (v. 9). Oh, how very solemn is this “after tlzat ! ”
This is known only to themselves, the owner and the
dresser. The last effort grace may expend in order to fruit-bearing
may be a season of affliction, a searching sermon,
or some providential incident. In the case of many this
may have already taken place. The present may be the
brief season of His waiting. Waiting on God, and God
waiting on us, are widely different thoughts. The fruit
of a fig-tree is figs, the fruit of a Christian is Christ.
MADE STRAIGHT
Luke 13. 10-16.
“1 would not champ the hard cold bit
As thozc-of what the world thinks fit,
But take God’ s freedom, using it. ”
-E. B. BROWNING.
COLERIDGE’ S definition of freedom is, “The unfettered use
of all the powers which God for use hath given. ” Before
all the powers that God hath given us can be used for Him
the fetters of sin and the power of Satan must be broken.
The woman before us here, “whom Satan had bound, ” and
whom Christ set at liberty, is a perfect example of how a
sin-bound soul may enter into the freedom of God. She was-I.
Crooked. “Bowed together” (v. 11). She had
been bound by Satan for eighteen years (v. 16). Com-pletely
deformed by the power of the Devil. It is always
Satan’s business, wherever he can, to bow down the souls
of men to the earth. Sin never fails to make a crook in
the will and thoughts of those under its dominion. Their
name is legion, who are so bound together by the love of
the world that they cannot lift their faces to Heaven.
Crooked through the constant use of the muck-rake.
II. Helpless. “She could in no wise lift up herself” M Vol. 5.170 Handfuls on Purpose.
(v. 11). It was utterly impossible for her to break the
cords that bound her face to the earth. She had been so
long bowed down that her deformity had become fixed,
like a crooked tree of eighteen years old. She was perfectly
conscious of her outward disfigurement, and had often tried
to straighten herself up, but “she could not. ” How like this ’
is to those who are morally “bowed together” through
drink, lust, or temper, and who again and again have
attempted to lift thmselves up, but they cannot, back they
go to their lzatural peformity.
III. Anxious. She was in the synagogue on the
Sabbath day, when Jesus was there (v. 10-11). Per-haps
it was because He was there that she was there ; at
anyrate she was putting herself in the way of getting
blessing. It does not matter where we take our sin-crooked
souls, there is no deliverance for them so long as
we avoid the presence of the Son of God and refuse to hear
His Word. If Bartimeus had bolted over the fence when he
heard that Jesus was passing by, instead of praying, he
would have certainly remained in his blindness.
IV. Invited. “Jesus called her to Him” (v. 12). He saw
many in the synagogue, but He called her, for He came not
to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. The Spirit
of the Lord was upon Him to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to them that are bound (Isa.
61. 1). True to His mission, He searches out this helpless
one “whom Satan had bound, lo, these eighteen years. ”
Jesus Christ alone hath the keys of all the prison houses of
Satan (Rev. 1. 18). When He opens no man can shut.
V. Touched. “He laid His hands on her” (v. 13).
Jesus Christ comes into personal contact with every soul
whom He saves. He cannot delegate this great work to
another. He is ready to lay His healing and fetter-breaking
hand upon all who accept His invitation, as this poor.New Testament Outlines. 171
woman did. The woman mentioned in Luke 8. 44 came
without any special invitation, and touched His garment,
and was instantly delivered. The results are the same,
whether He condescends to touch us, or suffers us to touch
Him, it is all of grace on His part. His hands are the hands
of infinite love and power, they are never exercised in vain.
’ VI. Delivered. Notice the terms used, “Loosed from
thine infirmity,. . . made straight,. . . loosed from this bond”
(v. 12). It was to her a full salvation. It consisted of a
deliverance from her own weakness; a freedom from the
binding power of Satan, and a being made straight for
future life and work. She was now a monument of His
gracious wonder-working power. Such is His salvation.
A loosing of the soul from the bondage of Satan and moral
infirmity, and a making of the heart straight for an upright
life and loving service. Therefore the song of the saved is,
“Unto Him who loved us, and.. . loosed us from our sin by
His own blood” (Rev. 1. 5, R. V. ).
VII. Thankful. “Immediately she glorified God” (v. 13).
A new song was put into her mouth as soon as her feet had
been taken out of the horrible pit of her eighteen years’
bondage through Satan (Psa. 40. 2, 3). The snare was
broken by the power of Him who came “to heal all that were
o$$ressed by the Devil” (Acts 10. 38), and now her soul had
escaped like a bird, and was singing her song of praise high
up in the wide, pure Heaven of God’s redeeming love.
THE GREAT SUPPER
Luke 14. 16-24.
“My need, and all my need, Thou wilt supply; I take Thee at Thy Word, and ask not why. ”
-GROSART.
‘ 1‘ HE supper time is this present dispensation. The su$per
refers to the blessings and privileges provided for men in.172 Handfuls on Purpose.
the sacrifice of God’s Son. The malzy bidden (v. 16) are
the Jews who received the first invitation, and who had been
advised a long time beforehand. The exczcses are the silly
objections brought by them against Jesus and His claims.
The $00~ and maimed are the publicans and sinners among
both Jew and Gentile who accepted the invitation. Those
com+ellsd to come in from the highways and hedges are the
strangers afar off who had no hope. Those who shall aever
taste of this supper are the unbelieving Jewish nation, who
have been “cut off” ,(Acts 13. 46; Rom. 11. 20). Such
may be the dispensational teaching of the parable, but let
us look at some practical thoughts. A-
,
I. Threefold Reason for Coming.
1. “CO ME, FOR ALL THINGS ARE NOW READY.” “All
things. ’ ’ Every spiritual and temporal blessing for time
and eternity is NOW ready in Christ Jesus. We often see a
notice about some new book being in the press or now ready.
Here is an advertisement that all things pertaining to a
sinner’s salvation is “NOW READY. ” Do you need a sub-stitute
? Then behold the Lamb of God. Do you need
forgivertess? Then this is ready (Acts 13. 38). Do you need
peace ? Then “Peace is made, ” etc. Do you need power ?
Then “Power is offered” (Acts 1. 8).
2. „CO ME, FORALLCLASSESAREINVITED.” Surely these
four classes include all sorts. First, the poor-those who
feed on stale scraps, and who have never known what it is
to have a thoroughly satisfying feast. Those who go from
door to door of the world’s pleasure-haunts, begging for
something to satisfy and getting nothing. Second, t he
vna&aed-those who have been deprived of some of their
limbs, and have become hopelessly mutilated. Morally,
this class represents those whose conscience has been seared,
and whose will-power may have been cut off. What a help-less
object! Yet come, for all things are ready. Third,.New Testament Outlines. 173
the halt-those who have all their limbs, but in a crooked
and deformed condition, whose manner of walk is neither
straight nor steady. They do their best to appear all right,
but they cannot possibly conceal their deformity. Fourth,
the blind-those who can walk pretty straight, but are in
the blackness of darkness all the time: Their outward life
may be all right in the eyes of men, but they know not
where they are going and are unconscious of their danger.
You may explain the truth to them, but their answer is,
“I cannot see it. ”
3. „COME, FORYETTHEREISROOM.” The houseisbeing
rapidly filled, but yet there is room. How much room still
remains none can tell. We know not the hour when the
Master may rise up and shut to the door. Yet there is room
-room in the Father’s love, in the Saviour’s atoning death,
in the ministry of the Spirit, and in the offer of the Gospel.
II. Threefold Excuse for not Coming. To put them
briefly, they may stand thus-1.
“I HAVE SOMETHING ELSE TO SEE.” „I haveboughta
piece of ground, and must needs go and see it” (v. 18). Why
is it that men must Needs go and see after their earthly pos-sessions,
and have no time to look at the provision God hath
made for their eternal safety and inheritance? There are
certainly many interesting things in the world to be see%
but what can be compared to the saving glory of the Cross
of Christ?
2. “I HAVESOMETHINGELSET~D~.~ „I mustgotoprove
them” (v. 19). He was more anxious to prove the oxen
than to prove the riches of the kingly offer. Some people
seem to think that the time to obey the call of God will be
when they have nothing else to do. There are thoqe who will
persist in going on proving their own worldly interests until
they finally prove themselves to be fools. While they are
“busy here and there ” their chance for eternal life is gone..174 Handfuls on Purpose.
3. “I HAVE SOMETHING ELSE TO EN JOY. ” “I have married
. a wife, and therefore I cannot come” (v. 20). All new rela-tionships,
whether they be business or matrimonial, are
sure to have a powerful influence in one way or another.
There may be no sin in marrying a wife, in buying a house,
in forming a new companionship, or looking forward to
some coming event ; but if the affections of the heart are so
centred on these that the Gospel of God’s grace must take
a secondary place, then the life becomes a positive insult to
the Son of God. God will not be mocked, He has em-phatically
declared that those who treat lightly His gracious
invitation “Shall not taste of My supper. ” They who
prefer to make their own suppers in time will in the end feel
the pinch of that poverty which is eternal. No man has
ever yet been able to form a God-satisfying excuse for not
accepting His Son as their Saviour. It is you God invites,
not your excuses ; these can never stand for YOU.
THE LOST SHEEP
Luke 15. l-7.
“Blame not thy thought, that it cannot reach, That which the Infinite must teach: Bless thy God, that the Word came nigh, To gaide thee home to thy na&e sky.“-MacDo~arn.
THE murmuring of self-righteous scribes and Pharisees
drew from our Lord those three pet parables that have
brought healing under their wings to many a sin-laden soul.
They said sneeringly, “This man receiveth sinners, ” and
with merciless feet they sought to trample on the grace of
Christ. But all the more did this “plant of renown” send
forth its heavenly fragrance. The obvious meaning of this
parable is to reveal Christ’s personal interest in the salvation
of sinners. It brings before us-I.
A Painful Discovery. “One is lost” (v. 4). Whether
this one represents a world, a nation, or an individual,.New Testament Outlines. 175
the underlying thought is that the Shepherd’ s restfulness
of heart has been disturbed by the discovery that He has
lost one. The lost one immediately draws out the sym-pathy
and longing desires of His soul. When this dis-covery
on Christ’ s part was first made it may be difficult
to say (Eph. 1. 4), but it has been made.
II. An Altered Purpose. “He leaves the ninety and nine, and goes after that which was lost” (v. 4). He counted ninety and nine, but He did not count the lost one. To be
out of His count is to be lost. The ninety and nine left in
the wilderness may represent the Jewish nation, who are
in the wilderness still, being without a Shepherd and with-out
a home-a separated people, having neither king nor
country, and priding themselves in their righteousness.
But the Shepherd of Israel goes forth in humiliation, agony,
and death to seek and save that which was lost. He does
not seek the lost sheep merely because of its value, but
because of His love. Fallen angels might have been of more
vale than fallen man, but God so loved the world.
III. A Patient Search. “He goes after the lost wztil
He finds” (v. 4). There is no turning back with Him until
His purposes are fully accomplished. “He shall see of the
travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied. ” Christ’s cletermination is to find the lost ones, and every lost one He
will yet find, if not in His saving mercy certainly in His
righteous judgment. Has He not said, “I, if I be lifted ufi
from the earth, will draw all men unto Me” (John 12. 32).
If sinful men are not drawn to Him by the grace of His
Cross they will be drawn by the power of His throne. Every human soul the atoning Son of God must find, either as
Saviour or as Judge. Don’ t you hear the gentle footfall of His blessed presence in His Word even now ?
IV. A Joyful Finding. “When He hath found it He
laveth it on His shoulders rejoicing” (v. 5). To find the.176 Handfuls on Purpose.
lost, while He is a seeking Saviour, brings gladness to His
gracious heart. Oh, the infinite tenderness of this self-sacrificing
Shepherd ! there is no word of reproach or of
blame uttered. What a wonderful moment this is when
the weary sin-worn sinner finds himself alone with the
gentle Shepherd, and feels His tender yet mighty hands
raising him up into the great bosom of love! At this
blessed crisis the sheep is everything to the Shepherd and
the Shepherd is everything to the sheep. Each rejoicing
in each, and having nothing else besides. What a picture
of the great salvation ! Until the lost ones meet the
Saviour they are living solitary, selfish, hopeless lives.
V. A Restful Journey. “He layeth it on His shoul-ders”
(v. 5). The weary, aimless wanderer has now found
a resting-place on the shoulders of Him who came to seek
and to save. The Lord neither drives nor drags those whom
He saves, but undertakes to carry them every step of the
way to the home beyond. The way of salvation for this
lost one was very simple-just “abiding. ” The sheep did
absolutely nothing but rest on Him who was able and
willing to save. His shoulders is the place of strength
and safety; the government of the universe rests upon
them, then surely they are strong and broad enough for
thy weary soul.
VI. A Happy Home. “When He cometh home, He
calleth His friends, . . .saying, Rejoice with me” (v. 6). As
surely as the Shepherd goes home, so surely will He take
His trustful sheep with Him. “Where I am, there shall ye
be also” (John 14. 3). While in the wilderness, seeking
to save the lost, the Son of Man was away from home.
But He comes back rejoicing, bringing His sheaves with
Him. The “friends and the neighbours” may represent
the redeemed; and the angels in glory, who must be ever:
lastingly interested in all that glorifies the Lord Jesus.New Testament Outlines. 177
Christ as the Saviour of men. Are we sharing Heaven’s
joy just now by rejoicing with Him over sinners repenting?
THE LOST SILVER
Luke 15. 8-10.
“I would be missed when gone;
I would not-my life done-Have
no eyes wet for me,
No hearts touched tenderly,
No good of me confessed ;
Dead-and yet not missed. ”
~I-IERE is no exaggeration or false colouring in the word-picture
of this heavenly artist. Every touch bears the
impress of what is absolutely true. The pictures of
ordinary mortals look best in the shade, but Christ’s always
improve in loveliness as the light increases. This little
gem of a parable has been Iightly esteemed, because its true
’ meaning and value have not been generally understood. In
the first parable we have the love of the Son in seeking the
lost ; in the t?tird the love of the Father in seeking the lost;
in this second we surely have the love of the S$irit in seek-ing
the lost. The woman is a fit emblem of the Holy Spirit
in search of a lost but precious thing that might be put to
some honourable use. The small silver coin referred to
here was a drachma, about the value of a shilling. As
representing a human soul, we would point out that it was-I.
Precious. To a poor woman, whose fortune con-sisted
of ten shillings, it was a great privation to lose one.
It was a loss that was keenly felt. It also bore the imuge
of the king, and so was good current coin. Such are souls
redeemed by Christ in the estimation of the Holy Spirit.
They are precious to Him, and fit for circulation in the
mterests of the Kingdom of God.
II. Lost. It had slipped out of her hand, so that now
she had no control over it. It is a sad, sad thing for.178 Handfuls on Purpose.
any one who has known what it is to be in the hand of the Spirit to slip out of touch with Him through pride
or unbelief. To be out of His hand is to be lost to Him.
The fall may have been in a moment, but the grief created
was intense. “Grieve not the Holy Spirit, whereby ye are
sealed until the day of redemption” (Eph. 4. 30).
III. Lost in the House. It was not like the sheep,
lost .far away from home. It was irt the house, but as
utterly useless as if it had been in the depths of the sea.
It is possible to be in the house of God’ s salvation, in the
place of safety and privilege, and yet to be lost to the
management of the Holy Ghost. It is one thing to be justi-fied
by faith before God; it is quite another to be ready ,
for service in the hand of God. We may be in the home
of the Spirit for salvation, and yet not be in the hand of / the Spirit for service.
IV. Lost to Usefulness. As long as this silver coin was
not in the hand and at the disposal of this woman it was
lost to all the good it might do. If you throw a sovereign
into the sea it would not be only so much gold that would
be lost, but all the good that gold might do is lost. So
is it with our lives after we have been brought into the household of God. If we are not in the hands of the Holy Spirit, that He might use us by spending us for the glory
of God, then our lives are lost. Christ seeks to save, but
the Holy Spirit seeks to find that He might use. No one
is able to get so much out of our lives as He. Be assured He
, will spend you to the best advantage, whether it be at
home or abroad.
V. Lost in the Dust and Darkness. In seeking to
find she had to “light a candle and sweep the house. ”
The candle of God’ s Word and the besom of providence
are needed before He can get a hold of His lost treasure.
The dust of sin and the darkness of unbelief always hinder.New Testament Outlines. 179
the Spirit of God from rejoicing over us as a means in His
hands for bringing glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. Though
the sweeppiq process may be attended with much that is
painfully unpleasant, as the dust of our unconfessed sin
gets stirred up and the covering of our guilty darkness
is being taken away, there must be a disturbance in the
house if the Lord the Spirit is to get possession of His lost
treasure.
VI. The Cause of Great Joy in the Finding. “Re-joice
with me, for .I have found the piece which I had lost”
(v. 9). As Jesus, the Shepherd, rejoices over the saving of
the sinner, so the Holy Spirit, like this woman, rejoices
over the recovery of a precious soul that had been lost to
communion and service. It is worthy of notice that the
woman does not say, “My piece which was lost. ” The
very omission of the my (see w. 6, 24) is strong evidence
that the work of the Holy Spirit is here indicated.
Believers are the property of Christ, but are to be used
by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1. 8).
THE LOST SON
Luke 15. 11-X
“Alas ! how have I served the Devil,
Still lusting after all things evil ;
For, 0 my God, I saw the light,
Yet plunged into the foulest night. ’ ’
IN studying the three parables (so-called) in this chapter
we should not overlook the fact that they were spoken by
our Lord as ooze parable (v. 3) to show how God, as Father,
Son, and Holy Ghost “receives sinners” and companies
with them. The Son, like the shepherd, seeks the lost
that He might save them ; the Spirit, like the woman,
seeks the lost that He might use them; God, like the
father, seeks the lost that He might have f e l l o w s h ip.180 Handfuls on Purpose.
with them. This is the threefold aspect of this great
and perfect salvation. This parable of the prodigal
has been called “the prince of parables. ” It has .been
the door of hope to many a weary wanderer. Let us
consider his-I.
Selfish Demand. “Give me the portion of goods”
(v. 12). Like many in our own day, he wanted to have all
the goods and blessings that the father could give him, that
they might minister to his own personal gratification,
utterly regardless of the father’s wisdom or feelings. It is
dishonouring to God that we should seek to manage our
own lives with His gifts.
II. Wayward Journey. “Into a far country” (v. 13).
The “far country” represents that condition or sphere of
living where God the Father is unknown. A salt must have
got into an awful sad and sinful state of soul when he feels
that he must leave a rich and gracious father in search of
pleasure. The self-will is a rebel against God.
III. Reckless Living. “And there wasted his sub-stance”
(v. 13). The sweet fellowship of the father was
exchanged for the “riotous living” of the ungodly, and the
result was, as it ever is with a backslider from God, a
wasting of His precious gifts. We cannot keep the
substance of God’s forgiveness-peace and joy-when
we wilfully forsake Him for the pleasures of sin. All
will be wasted; the enjoyment of them will speedily
die away.
IV. Miserable Plight. “When he had spent all, there
arose a mighty famine” (v. 14). A “mighty famine” is
sure to overtake all who have wandered away from God.
Hunger of soul will certainly come upon those who
spend their gifts for that which is not bread. He found
out by bitter experience that “the rebellious dwell in
a dry land. ”.New Testament Outlines. 181
V. Despairing Effort. “He went and joined himself
to a citizen” (v. 15). He had willingly given away his
substance, now he is compelled to give himself. Such
is the course of sin. If we waste our gifts and
privileges we ourselves will finally become bond-slaves.
Lot took the same foolish and fruitless step when he
became a ruler in Sodom.
VI. Friendless Condition. “No man gave unto him”
(v. 16). He had sold himself for naught. Wretched and
self-ruined, he longs for even the satisfaction enjoyed by
the beast, envying the swine. “No man gave him. ” NO
man ever will give a sin-wasted sinner what he needs. YOU
might as well expect heat from an iceberg.
VII. Noble Resolve. “I will arise and go to my
father” (v. IS). This is the Ianguage of one whose pride
had driven him to acts of madness, but is now “come to
himself. ” He remembers the “father’s house” and the pro-vision
there, and the fire of hope springs up from the
smouldering embers of his wasted life.
“While the lamp holds on to burn,
The greatest sinner may return. ”
He not only said “I will arise, ” but he did it. Herein was
the evidence of his sanity.
VIII. Gracious Reception. “He fell on his neck and
kissed him” (v. 20). The father’s love at once cast out the
prodigal’s fears. He began to confess, but his coming home
was to the father the best confession. What value is there
in confession if there is no turning away from sin ? (Isa.
55. 7). No one gave him in the far country, but now all that I
the father hath is at his disposal. By taking his portiort he
had forfeited all right to further blessing, but he is saved by
GRACE, and the father is happy. “By grace are ye saved
through faith” (Eph. 2. 8). His grace is sufficient for
all who come..182 Handfuls on Purpose.
LOST SYMPATHY
Luke 15. 25-32.
“I ask Thee for a thoughtful love,
Through constant watching wise,
To meet the glad with joyful smiles,
And wipe the weeping eyes;
And a heart at leisure from itself,
To soothe and sympathise.“-A. L. WARING.
IN its wider scope we think this part of the parable (the
elder brother) is brought in to illustrate the attitude of
the Jewish nation towards that manifested GRACE of God
which hath brought salvation to all men. The Gentile
prodigal is being saved by grace, while the self-righteous
Jew is angry and will not go in. Yet all the while, whether
he will or not, this religious elder is the prodigal’s brother-both
alike in need of the Father’s forgiveness. There are
some things about this elder brother, so often neglected, that
are worthy of special attention. He stands before us here
as one-I.
Who was Willing to Work. “Now his elder son was
in the field” (v. 25). Whatever else he was, he was not
lazy, he had a mind to work. While others were feasting
and dancing he was busy looking after, the flocks or the
crops. EIe is a type of those who like to be doing, and
whose hands are constantly filled with some kind of good
and useful work. So active are they that they would much
rather be in thefield of service than in the closet of prayer.
II. Faithful to Duty. He could say, “Neither trans-gressed
I at any time thy commandment” (v. 29), and he
was quick to say it. As regularly as the clock, does he go
the round of his daily task. His motto is, “I must do my
duty. ” This type of Christian is as straight as an arrow,
as regular as the post, and equally as formal. He speaks
and acts from a sense of duty and prides himself on doing
the right thing, although it may be done with a heart as.New Testament Outlines. 183
cold as an icicle. The other brother was the sinner, but
this one is the Pharisee (Luke 18. 11). It is not duty but
love that constrains the true servant of Christ.
III. Who had never Received a Mirth-making Gift
from the Father. “Thou never gavest me a kid, that I
might make merry with my friends” (v. 29). The reason
why he had never received even a kid was doubtless be-cause
that in his self-complacency he had never asked it
nor even felt the need of it. He was working away without
ever seeking any definite token of the father’s grace and
love, serving without receiving his mirth-making GIFT.
What about those who week by week go the round of
religious performances, but have never at any time received
the soul-gladdening gift of God (John 1. 12). It was not
the father’s fault that his son’s service had been so joyless.
“Ask and ye shall receive” (John 16. 24). It is honour-ing
to the Lord Jesus Christ when others are constrained to
say, like the Queen of Sheba, “Happy are these thy ser-vants”
(1 Kings 10. 8).
IV. Grievously Offended. “He was angry, and would
not go in” (v. 26). His pride was wounded to think that
one whose life had been a public scandal should now receive
more honour than himself who had never done anything
very bad. He ZPIOUUM not go in with this way of doing things,
so he gets entirely out of sympathy-1.
WITH HIS FATHER. The father’s heart was brimful of
joy at the finding of the lost one, but it brought no gleam
of gladness into the selfish soul of the elder brother. The
conversion of sinners brings no mirth into the heart of
those who are out of fellowship with God.
2. HE GOT OUT OF SYMPATHY WITH HIS BROTHER. If he
had had any love for his wandering brother he would have
rejoiced over his home-coming., To get out of sympathy
with God is to get out of sympathy with sinners. How.189 Handfuls on Purpose.
not upon the outward appearance. It is no uncommon
thing for the character of a poor afhicted child of God to
stink in the nostrils of the covetous and wealthy man of the
world. But the soul of Lazarus was a precious jewel to
God, although the casket was in a broken condition.
III. That a man may have but the burial of a dog,
and yet be attended by the angels of God (v. 22). No
poorhouse inmate ever got a more unceremonial funeral than
Lazarus.
“They rattle his bones over the stones,
He is only a pauper whom nobody owns !”
Yes, God owns him, and white-robed angels bear his
emancipated spirit to the Father’s bosom.
IV. That a man may have a pompous funeral, and
at the same time be a miserable soul (vv. 22, 23). There
would be more real mourners at some funerals if only they
could see within the veil. Men eulogise the east of the
world’s departed great ones, but what about their evesed? .
The wail of the “Dead March in Saul” is mockery compared
with the wail of a lost soul in eternity.
V. That a man may have abundance of this world’ s
goods, and yet, in the world to come, be utterly
destitute of the commonest mercy (v. 24). This wor-shipper
of Mammon on earth has found out in eternity that
a “smiling providence” is no evidence that the soul is right
with God. This everlasting thirst for a drop of water is an
awful experience to a man who never knew what want meant,
and who only lived for the gratification of his own desires.
VI. That if a man neglect his opportunities in this
life, in the life to come he will have good cause to re-member
his folly (v. 25). “Son, remember thy life-time.
” The remembrance of a wasted lifetime, in the
midst of many “good things, ” will be, in the world to come,
the undying worm of remorse..New Testament Outlines. 185
LESSONS FROM A LOST SOUL
Luke 16. 19-31.
“Sin, not till it is left, will duly sinful seem;
A man must waken first, ere he can tell his dream.”
–TRENCH.
THIS “RICH MAN” had to waken up in eternity before he
could tell the dream of a wasted life.
“No man can serve two masters” (Matt. 6. 24),
especially when the masters differ in character as much as
“God and Mammon. ” Mammon stands for the “love of
riches” and the “pleasures of sin. ” Both God and Mammon
demand the mastery of our beings. If the love of God does
not master us the love of the world will. If we hold to the
one, we must of necessity despise the other. The covetous,
in the pride of their heart, are always ready to “justify
themselves in the sight of men, ” forgetful that they may
esteem things very highly which are an abomination in the
sight of God (vv. 14, 15). The words which follow about
“a certain rich man” and “a certain beggar” are heavy
laden with solemn and weighty meaning. The Lord does
not call this a parable. His meaning is clear and un-mistakable.
Then what are the lessons we may learn
from this portion ? .
I. That a man may have a beautiful appearance in
the sight of men, and yet be utterly corrupt in the
sight of God (v. 19). The “purple and fine linen” of
man’s righteousness will never beautify in the eyes of God.
There are those who think that they have need of nothing,
and know not that they are wretched, and miserable, and
poor, and blind, and naked (Rev. 3. 17).
II. That a man may be poor and loathsome in the
eyes of his neighbour, and yet be rich and beautiful in
the sight of God (vv. 20, 21). The poor beggar may have
been an object of disgust to many, but the Lord looketh
N Vol. 5.188 Handfuls on Purpose.
and the despairing, supremely conscious that in Himself He
was all-sufficient to meet the need of all. In Jesus Christ
all the fullness of the Godhead tabernacled among men, and
when He laid down His life for us on the atoning Cross, it
was the paying down of His unsearchable riches as the
redemption price of our souls. His miracle of healing in
this nameless village while on the way to Jerusalem (w.
11, 12) has for us heart-searching thoughts. Let us see the-I.
Pitiful Sight. “There met Him ten men that were
lepers” (v. 12). Ten men bound together by a common
misery, and utterly unable to save themselves. Although
there were telz of them, that did not lessen the sufferings and
dangers of each. Although we may have many companions
in sin, that does not in any way detract from the guilt of each.
In Scripture le$rosy is the outstanding type of sin.
1. Like sin, it brings UNCLEANNESS . The true cry of
the leper, with his shame-covered lip, was to be “Un-clean,
unclean” (Lev. 13. 45). We are only taught, like
the leper, to speak the truth when we are asked to make
confession of our sins.
2. Like sin, it leads to SEPARATION. “They stood afar
off” (v. 12). The place appointed for them by the law of
God was “without the camp” (Lev. 13. 46). “Far off” is
the position of all those who have not been made nigh by
the blood of Christ (Eph. 2. 13). Their very character
alienates them from the life and fellowship of God.
3. Like sin, it is humanly INCURABLE . Man has no remedy
for leprosy; he can only attempt to alleviate their sufferings
while the dreadful plague runs its death-working course.
II. Earnest Prayer. “Jesus, Master, have mercy
on us” (v. 13). This may have been a hoarse cry through
throats diseased with leprosy, but there was music in it to
the ear of Jesus, for it came from the heart, and was for the.I
New Testament Outlines. 187
VII. That though saints and sinners may meet
together now, the time is coming when they must be
eternally separated (v. 26). Earthly relationships will
avail us nothing when the “great gulf is fixed. ” Every-thing
depends on our relationship to God and His Christ.
All the prayers and penance of the Papacy or of purgatory
will never bridge this gulf, for it is FIXED (Matt. 13. 30).
VIII. That the prayers of the lost can avail nothing,
neither for themselved nor others (w. 24, 27, 28).
Those who set no value on prayers in this life will have no
value set on them in the life which is to come. It is not
enough to be in earnest when the day of grace is past,
“Behold, now is the accepted time. ”
IX. That those who will not hear and believe the
Word of God shall perish without remedy (w. 29-31).
Signs and wonders would profit us nothing if we will not
hear Him whom God hath sent to bless us (Luke 9. 35).
The Israelites saw His wonders, and murmured against
Him. Many saw the miracles of Christ, and yet hated
Him ; even Lazarus “rose from the dead, ” and they
sought to kill Him (John 12. 10, 11). “Believe in the
Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16. 31).
TEN LEPERS CLEANSED
Luke 17. 11-19.
“Sin is established subtly in the heart
As a disease, like a magician foul,
Ruleth the better thoughts against their will.
Only the rays of God can cure the heart,
Purge it of evil, there’ s no other way,
Except to turn with the whole heart to God.”
-ALLINGHAM.
WHEREVER Jesus went He always found occasion for the
exercise of His infinite compassion and power; and what is
better, He was constantly on the look out for the distressed.190 Handfuls on Purpose.
is quite possible for us, like those nine, to be very anxious
to get salvation merely for our own comfort and happiness,
and to be utterly indifferent about honouring the Saviour
with our new life. Such secret believers-we cannot call
them disciples-are ungrateful cowards. This despised
“stranger” who turned back to give God the glory got
something that the thankless nine did not get. He got the
Lord’s assurance that the work wrought in him was perfect
(v. 19). The belief of the heart should always be accom-panied
with the confession of the mouth (Rom. 10. 9).
Where are the nine ? Are you one of them?
CHRIST’ S SECOND ADVENT
Luke 17. 20-37.
“Surely the time is short,
Endless the task and art,
To brighten for the ethereal court,
A soil’ d earth-drudging heart.
But HE, the great Proclaimer of that hour,
Is pledged to thee in love, as to thy foes in power. ”
-KEBLE.
THE Lord Jesus Christ did in no way rebuke those Pharisees
who demanded of Him “when the Kingdom of God should
come” (v. 20). It has been clearly revealed that t he
Messiah would redeem His people, and establish the throne
of David. So ‘powerfully did this truth lay hold on the
people that at one time they were about to take Jesus by
force and make Him King (John 6. 15). But Jesus did
not commit Himself to them, knowing what was in man.
Even after His resurrection the disciples asked Him, “Lord,
wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel 1”
(Acts 1. 6), But even then it was not fit for them to know
z&en. We are here taught something of the-I.
Nature of the Kingdom. “The Kingdom of God
is anzong you” (vv. 20, 21, margilz). They asked when it.New Testament Outlines. 189 I
one thing needful. “Mercy”–that mercy which in Jesus
Christ was wedded to Omnipotence, ,a.nd that had its abode
in the tenderest and purest of men.
III. Simple Remedy. “Go, show yourselves unto the
priests” (v. 14). Th’ 1s seems a strange command, but
the meaning is clearly this: “The priests have condemned
you as lepers ; then, if you believe that I can heal you, and
am healing you, go and show yourselves, that they may see . that you are healed” (Lev. 14. 2-4). “And us they wed
they were cleansed. ” Two things were absolutely needed :
1. Faith in the WORD of Christ (v. 19).
2. Obedience to the WILL of Christ. .
If they had waited till they felt better before they went,
they never would have gone. It is while we believe and
obey that we enter into life.
IV. Grateful Recipient. “And one, when he saw that
he was healed, turned back and glorified God” (v. 15).
Personal healing is something we can only see by experience,
and a something for which we should be instantly and pro-foundly
thankful. It was a moral impossibility for this
man to glorify God while in the terrible bondage of, leprosy.
It is only when we are made free from sin that we can give
glory to God. The healing mercy of Christ not only made
this Samaritan very thankful, it also made him humble.
“He fell on his face at His feet.” Humility and thankful-ness
are characteristic of those saved by the grace of God.
V. Searching Inquiry. “Were there not ten cleansed ?
But where are the nine ? ” (w. 17-19). He who counted
the stars will not fail to number those who have been
cleansed by His Word. He knows them every one. “Where
are the nine?” Surely our Lord expects that those who
have been saved by Him should glorify God by making
a public acknowledgment of His cleansing power. It.192 Handfuls on Purpose.
III. Results of His Coming. The results will be
very many, but there are two definite effects brought
before us here.
1. SEPARATION. When Noah, who had been condemning
the world by his righteous works (Heb. II. 7), was taken
into the Ark and shut up then the flood came. When Lot
was taken out of Sodom, then the fire and brimstone fell
from Heaven. “One shall be taken, and the other left” (vv.
34-36). So shall it be when the Son of Man cometh. There
shall be a taking away of those who are the Lord’s.
“Caught up to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess. 4. 16-17).
2. JUDGMENT. The taking away of the righteous pre-pares
the way for the judgments of God upon the unbeliev-ing.
The Lord declared that He could “do nothing” till
Lot was brought out of Sodom. When the “salt of the
earth” has been removed, then there is no hindrance to
the process of death and corruption. When the Church of
God has been taken out of this Christ-rejecting world, then
the Lord shall take “vengeance on them that obey not the
Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1. 7-10).
Wheresoever the lifeless and corrupt body is, thither will
the eagles of God’s judgments be gathered together (v. 37).
SUCCESSFUL PRAYER
Luke 18. 1-14.
“Pray, t.hough the gift you ‘ ask for
May never comfort your fears,
May never repay your pleading,
Yet pray, and with hopeful tears!
An answer-not that you long for,
But diviner-will come some day;
Your eyes are too dim to see it.
Yet trust, and wait, and pray. “-A. PROCTER.
THERE is as much difference between the mere form of
prayer and the spirit of prayer as there is between a dead.New Testament Outlines. 191
should come. The Kingdom, as the Rule of God, was
already among them in the Person of His Son. There can
be no kingdom without a king (see Matt. 12. 28). But as
to its outward visible glory, it was still hidden, because He
was not yet glorified as Prince and Saviour.
1. It will come SUDDENLY. “As the lightning” (v. 24).
The lightning does not “come with observation, ” that is,
men do not see the lightning before it becomes a present
reality. “So shall also the Son of Man be is His day.”
2. It will be UNMISTAKABLE when it does come. When
we pray’ “Thy Kingdom come, ” we pray for the coming of
the King. When He comes there will be no need for saying,
“Lo, here, ” or “Lo, there, ” for the shining of His influence
will be like lightning from one part under Heaven unto the
other, that is, from one hemisphere to the other (vv. 21’24).
II. State of the World at His Coming. “As it was
in the days of Noah, so shall it be” (vv. 26-30). Most
certainly the world was not converted in the days of Noah.
Neither will it be converted at the coming of the Lord
(Luke 18. 8). The days of Noah were characteristic of
backsliding and unbelief (Gen. 6. l-7). They ate, and
drank, and married, and rejected the testimony of Noah
until the flood came. God had said, “My Spirit shall not
strive with man for ever” (R.v.), indicating that in the days
of Noah the voice and pleadings of His Spirit were resisted.
“So shall it be in the days of the Son of Man. ” “In the
last days perilous times will come, for men shall be lovers
of themselves, . . . heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure
more than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3. l-4). And our ration-alistic
lower critics are doing what they can to complete
this dark picture, striving against the Spirit of God (see
2 Tim. 4. 3, 4)’ and “turning the truth into fables.” From
such turn away. Whatever teaching does not exalt the
Lord Jesus Christ and honour the Holy Ghost is not of God.
..194 Handfuls on Purpose.
the self-righteous. It was quite true that he was not “as
other men, ” for he was neither a saint in the sight of God
nor a sinner in his own. The man who would be justified
by his works has whereof he might glory, but not before
God. The fact is, the spirit of pride and self-sufficiency
is at enmity with the spirit of prayer. This Pharisee said
his prayers, but he did not #way. The spirit of prayer is
the most humble spirit on the face of the earth; compared
with other earthly spirits, it is as a lily among thorns.
V. Prayer must be Honest. The publican smote upon
his breast saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (v. 13).
Out of the heart are the issues of life. The Pharisee com-pares
himself with others, and justifies himself; the
publican compares himself with God, and makes confession
of his sin. No prayer can be perfectly honest before God
which does not express the true conscious condition of the
heart. The Lord has an open ear for our cry, but he has
also an open eye for our heart. Those are God-pleasing
prayers that smite our own breasts; but there are others
that smite the breast of God.
VI. Prayer will be Answered. “I tell you that He
will” (v. 8). “I tell. you that he went down justified”
(v. 14). True prayer will never be sent empty away.
The prayer of the poor, friendless, but importunate widow,
and the prayer of the honest, sin-conscious publican were
~rmadlitag prayers, while that of the self-righteous Pharisee
only insulted God and ministered to his own pride and self-deception.
Our own righteousness will neither save our-selves
nor our prayers any more than counterfeit jewels
would’ save a drowning man. The way to get up in the
estimation of God is to get down in our own. “He that
humbleth himself shall be exalted” (v. 14), and he
that is so exalted shall ask what he will, and it
shall be given him..New Testament Outlines. 193
body and a living one. The one is but the breathless
skeleton of the other.
I. Prayer is a Great Privilege. How black the heavens
would be if there were no opening to the cry of human
need; how hopeless our lives, in the day of distress, if we
had no access to the ear of God. Even this sin-blotched
world may become to us the audience chamber of the King
of kings; thy closet may be gilded with the glory of God. ,
Let your requests be made known unto Him.
II. Prayer is a Necessity. “Men ozlglzf always to pray,
and not to faint” (v. 1). It is “impossible to believe in
God and not feel the need of prayer. ” It is the Christian’s
“vital breath. ” It is absolutely needed to spiritual life
and health. We ought always to pray, because we are
always dependent upon Him in whom we live and move.
If tie had more delight in prayer we would have less
inclination to grumble ; if we loved the presence of the
Lord more we would quarrel with our neighbours less.
III. Prayer must be Urgent. “Because this widow
troubleth me, I will avenge her” (w. 3-5). Her “continual
coming, ” which prevailed over the indifference of this
“unjust judge, ” is used by our gracious Lord as an argu-ment
for persistent prayer. If your desire is for things
needful, or for the glory of God, do not be afraid to “trouble
the Master” about them. His silence for a time may be but
the testing of your faith. If you can possibly be satisfied
without this definite answer to your prayer, the likelihood
is that no answer will be given. Be importamate, and you
will certainly get all you need (chap. 11. 8).
IV. Prayer must be Void of Self-confidence. The
parable of the two men that went up into the temple to
pray was spoken to those that “trusted in themselves”
(vv. 9-12). Prayer is a solemn mockery on the lips of.106 Handfuls on Purpose.
himself there will be no cause for His faith getting shaken.
He has made himself what he is, so he worships a god of
his own making.
3. HE HAS NO SENSE OF PERSONAL NEED BEFORE GOD.
“He trusts in himself that he is righteous” (v. 9). He is
rich in religious works, and increased with the goods of
personal qualifications, and has steed of nothing (Rev. 3.
17, 18). He belongs to that famous generation “that are
pure in their own eyes” (Prov. 30. 12). The Cross of Christ
makes no appeal to him. He is quite independent of any
such provision. He would not bemean himself by classing
himself with silzners. His eyes are so very innocent that
they cannot see anything very bad in anything that he has
:ver done.
4. HE HAS NO LOVE FOR OTHERS. “Despised others”
(v. 9). This is quite consistent with his hypocritical
profession. Others have so many faults and imperfections
that his self-righteous soul cannot esteem them. There is
no true religious uprightness but in his own pride-puffed
bosom. Others may, through weakness, fall, and be caught
in a whirlpool of disaster, or may be slowly drifting
toward the precipice of eternal ruin, but what is that to
him. Such drift-souls are unworthy of his notice. His
creed is, Let every man care for himself.
II. A Self-abased Confessor.
1. HE BELIEVES IN PRAYER. He may have gone up with
the Pharisee, but not like him. The one went up to perform
a work, the other to enjoy a privilege. Custom constrained
the one, while a deep-felt need moved the other.
2. HE IS SENSIBLE OF GOD’s HOLINESS. “He stands afar
off” (v. 13). He realises that there is a great moral distance
between God’s character and his own. “Afar off” de-scribes
our true position as sinners before God (Eph. 2. 13)..New Testament Outlines. 195
THE PHARISEE AND PUBLICAN AT WORSHIP
* Luke 18. 9-14.
“Even as Elias mounting to the sky,
Did cast his mantle to the earth behind,
So when the heart presents the prayer on high,
Exclude the world from traffic with the mind,”
–SOUTHWELL.
THIS parable was spoken as a rebuke to all those who
“trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and
despised others.” In the preceding parable He taught that
“men ought always to pray, and not to faint, ” but here He
shows clearly that while all men ought to pray, everything
depends on the spirit and motives which constrain us to
pray if we are to have the answer of God to our petitions.
These two men represent two classes of worshippers.
I. A Self-satisfied Professor. Here are some of the i general characteristics of such-1.
HE BELIEVES IN BEING RELIGIOUS. This Pharisee
goes up to the temple to pray. Like his modem descen-dants,
he goes regularly to his place of worship, and keeps
up a kind of bowing acquaintanceship with all the ordin-ances
of God ‘ s house. He has a great respect for religion,
and thinks that everybody should say prayers. As for
himself, he can always pray like an unfallen angel, for he
is not like “other men. ”
2. HE HAS GREAT FAITH IN HIMSELF. “He trusts in
himseJf” (v. 9). If ever there was a righteous man on the
earth, he is that man. His brown penny is worth anybody’ s
shilling. He glories in what he is, “not as other men,” in
what he does. “I fast twice a week. ” In what he gives,
“I give tithes. ” His every sentence begins with a capital “ I. ” He trusts in himself, not in God. He attends the
Church because he likes to patronise things that are honour-able.
He believes that as long as he is able to trust in.198 Handfuls on Purpose.
humble beggar is exalted to Heaven. This word is settled
in Heaven, that if yo% save your life you will lose it, and if
you lose it for Christ you will save it.
ONE THING LACKING
Luke 18. 1.530.
“Lord, by Thy grace I have made my choice,
In Thy Salvation I rejoice,
I empty was, I’ m empty still,
Thy full Salvation doth me fill,
Transient are all things that move,
But Thine is everlasting love.“-GROSART.
JESUS is equal to the need of all, from the ruler of the
Synagogue down to the infant in the mother’ s arms (v. 15).
Blessed are those mothers who seek for their children
the to& of the life-giving Christ, and who will not be dis-couraged
in this good work by the forbidding or mocking
looks of ignorant and cold-hearted disciples. The Kingdom
of God must be received in the simple, ulzqucstiolzi~g spirit
of “a little child” (v. 17). This fact is clearly brought
out in the following story of the young ruler. In this short
suggestive narrative we note-I.
An Important Question. “What shall I do to in-herit
eternal life ? ” (v. 18). There is no question more be-coming
a thoughtful young man than this. It is beautiful
to see a man, while basking in the sunshine of worldly
prosperity (v. 23), anxiously inquiring into the eternal
sureties of the unseen. Why should the glory of earthly
riches blind the eyes to the greater glory of the heavenly?
This ruler came to the right person with this most momen-tous
of all questions when he came to Jesus. He only has
the words of eternal life. It was also a very personal
quest ion. “What shall I do.” Salvation is a matter
between Jesus Christ alone and our own individual souls..New Testament Outlines. 197
But while the prodigal was yet “a great way off” the father
ran and met him. He came not merely to pray, but to have
a personal dealing with a personal God. “He that cometh
to God must believe that He is. ”
3. HE IS CONSCIOUS OF HIS OWN SINFULNESS. “He smote
upon his breast” (v. 13). He is convinced that the source of
his guilt lies deeper down than mere words or acts, that his
heart was “deceitful, and desperately wicked. ” He stands
before God a self-condemned man, so overwhelmed with
. shame that he could not “lift up so much as his eyes unto
Heaven. ” He takes his true place as one “condemned
already” (John 3. 18).
4. HE PLEADS THE ATONING SACRIFICE. We infer from
1 the word used, “God be merciful”-be propitiated for me the
sinner-that this sin-smitten one had his eyes on the
sacrifice smoking on the altar when he uttered this prayer
(v. 13, R.v., margin). When a man is thoroughly con-vinced
of his guilt before God he has no difficulty about the
doctrine of substitution. He feels that this is his only
hope, and thanks God for the Cross of Christ.
III. An Infallible Judge. This “I tell you” of Jesus
is the final pronouncement of God upon the attitudes of
these two classes as before Him (v. 14).
1. THE SELF-EXALTED SHALL BE ABASED. No man can
lift himself up into the favour of God by his own works.
“God resisteth the proud ” (James 4. 6). As long as a man
covers his own sin he shall never prosper in the sight of the (
heart-searching God (Prov. 28. 13).
2. THE SELF-ABASED SHALL BE EXALTED. “Humble
yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you ,
up” (James 4. 10). The story of Haman and Mordecai is a
perfect illustration of this truth. In Luke, chapter six-teen,
we see a proud rich man abased to hell, while the’.200 Handfuls on Purpose.
V. A Sorrowful Result. “When he heard this he was
very sorrowful,. . . and Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful”
(vv. 23, 24). To part with his all, even for the all of
Christ was to him a sorrowful bargain, proving that he had
more faith in his riches than in the Son of God. No man
can serve two masters. Christ gave him the Word of life,
but the deceitfulness of riches choked it (Matt. 13.22). “He
that trusteth in his riches shall fall ” (Prov. 11. 28). One
thing is needful, and Mary hath chosen that good part.
VI. A Forcible Application. “How hardly shall they
that have riches enter into the Kingdom of God” (w.
24-30). It is easier for a camel to get uaburdevced and to
crawl through the narrow side gate into the city, and that
was no light task. No camel, of itself, could untie the
obstructive bundles from its back. No more can the rich
free themselves from the burden and love of their riches,
but “the things which are impossible with men are possible
with God” (v. 27). To sacrifice self-interest for the
interests of Christ is to “receive manifold more in this
present time, and in the world to come life everlasting. ”
BARTIMEUS
Luke 18. 31-43.
“I longed for light, but all the light I found was second-hand-‘
Reflected thought that had been tossed about for ages past.”
-W. SM I TH.
GOD, who made the heavens and the earth, through His
Son, and who by Him divided the light from the dark-ness
of old, is both able and willing now, through Christ,
to open the blinded eyes and minds of men, and to illumine
them with the glorious light of Heaven. “In Him was life,
and the life was the light of men” (John 1. 3, 4). About
this blind man, observe his-I.
Wretched Condition. He was “blind” and “begging”.New Testament Outlines. 199
II A Searching Inquiry. “Jesus said unto him, Why
callest thou Me good ? ” (v. 19). Our Lord would have
him understand that He deals not only with the language
of the lip, but with the deeper motives of the heart. “There
is none good but God” (v. 19). Do you believe that I
am God ? When we come to Jesus about the matter of
“eternal life” we must come with full purpose of heart,
believing that He is divine, and that He is the Way, the
Truth, and the Life. Believest thou this ?
III. An Honest Confession. “All these have I kept
from my youth up” (v. 21). Doubtless this anxious
ruler was perfectly sincere in saying this. He knew
nothing against himself. There is a peace of conscience
that is not the “peace of God.” There is a justness of
character in the sight of the law that does not justify in
the sight of God, for the just shall live byfaitk (Gal. 3.
10, 11). “Without faith it is impossible to please Him”
(Heb. 11. 6). The Pharisee who “went up to pray”
had many good works, but he was destitute of faith in the
atoning sacrifice (Luke 18. 11-14).
IV. A Testing Command. “Yet lackest thou one
thing; sell all that thou hast, . . .and thou shalt have trea-sure
in Heaven” (v. 22). Those who would have the
“eternal life” that is in Christ must be prepared to let
everything else go at His bidding. “Treasure in Heaven”
is the coveted portion of all those whose heart is right with
God. They look not at the things which are seen, but at the
things which are unseen and eternal. We may possess many
good things, and yet lack the one thins needful. One crack
in the lantern will leave the pilgrim in darkness; one faulty
link will make the chain worthless ; one leak in the ship
will sink it. If we offend in one point we are guilty of all.
The one needful thing is a whole-hearted, unstaggering
faith in the Lord Himself..202 Handfuls on Purpose.
is what every poor, destitute soul finds when they find the
favour of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Seek, and ye shall find. ”
V. Definite Request. “Lord, that I may receive my
sight” (v. 41). When we are as conscious of our sinfulness as
this man was of his blindness we shall not fail to plead for the
one thing needful. He was poor, but he did not plead for
wealth ; there is something which Christ can give us that is
infinitely more precious than silver or gold, and that is eyes to
see the Lord Himself as our own personal Sayiour and Friend.
This is what the blind man saw when his eyes were opened.
VI. Instant Cure. “Immediately he received his sight”
(w. 42,43). The Son of God has but to speak and it is done.
His word of power is always spoken in answer to faith. Jesus
said,“Thyfaith hath saved thee. ” Instant faith brings instant
blessing. In receiving his sight, he received it, of course, from
the Lord as the gift of His love and the evidence of His
almighty power. “Believe, and thou shalt see. ” Worldly wis-dom
will never make the blind to see. Jesus is mighty to save.
VII. Practical Gratitude, “He followed Jesus, glorifying
God” (v. 43). He did not go back to his miserable “begging. ”
Having received his sight, he lost his right and title as a pro-fessional
pauper, and become a &lli+ag disciple of his Saviour.
How are others to believe that we have been healed by Christ if
our lives are not glorifying God by following Him in the way ?
Those who have been delivered from the enemy of sin and
blindness are to serve Him without fear, in holiness all the
days of their life (Luke 1.74,75). Has your faith saved you ?
ZACCHAEUS
Luke 19. I-10.
“Thou hast made us for THYSELF, and our hearts are disquieted
until they can find rest in THEE.“-ST. AUGUSTINE .
THERE is a striking contrast between the case of Bartimeus
and that of Zacchaeus. While they were b?th near Jericho,.New Testament Outlines. 201
(v. 35). His eyes were darkened, and his circumstances
impoverished; he was utterly destitute. No fellow-mortals
could restore to him the joy of saving light. What a
picture of us all by nature, with our sin-blinded eyes
and impoverished hearts ! Satan hath blinded the minds
of them that believe not.
II. Anxious Inquiry. “Hearing the multitude pass
by he asked what it meant” (v. 36). Although he had lost
his eyesight, he had his heaving and his tongue left, and he
used them both. If we only put to a proper use the faculties
we have, we would find ourselves, perhaps, richer than we
imagined. All men have not faith in God, but all men
have faith in some one or some thing. There are multitudes
still following Christ, and who are willing and ready to lay
down their lives for His sake. Have you ever seriously
“asked what it means ? ”
III. Urgent Petition. “He cried, Jesus, Thou Son
of David, have mercy on me” (v. 39). And when those
in front of him sought to block his way, “he cried so much
the more. ” The more he was rebuked the louder he cried.
This is the holy logic of a man conscious of his need, and
of a God-sent remedy within his reach. “Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. ” If the voice of his need doth not reach the
ear of His mercy now it may never. To Bartimeus this
was his “accejded time, ” and he took full a.dvantage of it. They are un-Christlike followers of Christ who would seek
to drown the voice of the prayer of the needy.
IV. Blessed Privilege. “Jesus asked him, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? ” (vv. 40, 41). His
importunity has prevailed. The Lord Himself invites him
to his presence, and with these words, “What wilt thou? ”
He lays, as it were, all His divine treasures of wealth
and power at the feet of this poor blind supplicant. He is
now within the reach of all that his heart could wish. This 0 Vol. 5.204 Handfuls on Purpose.
interests are sure to test the sincerity of our desires after
Christ.
IV. Fixed Determination. “He ran before, and
climbed up into a tree to see Him” (v. 4). The chief of the
tax-gathering clan running and climbing a tree like a
schoolboy ! Who would have thought of it? Ah, when
there is real anxiety to know Jesus Christ and the power of
His salvation there will be no concern about the “fear of
man”-no feeling of shame in such a desperate search.
Those who are ashamed to show any excitement over Christ
and His cause are utterly unworthy of Him.
V. Unexpected Call. “Jesus looked up and saw him,
and said, Make haste and come down, for to-day I must
abide at thy house” (v. 5). Zacchaeus sought to see Jesus
and to know Him, unaware of the fact that to see Jesus as
He ought to be seen implies being seen and known by Him.
“Make haste, ” the Lord is always ready to meet the need
of an anxious soul. “To-day I must abide.” Why this
must? Does not the real heart anxiety of a sinner after
Christ always lay a gracious necessity upon Him who came
to seek and save that which was lost ? (v. 10).
VI. Ready Obedience. “He made haste and came
down, and received Him joyfully” (v. 6). His prompt
response to the Master’s call and his joyful reception of
Him surely prove that the publican was both eager and
honest in his new search. False professors have always an
excuse to make when the personal call of Christ is pressed
upon them (Luke 14. 18). A hungry man does not need
much pressing to eat when suitable a& savoury food is set
before him. Those who are really anxious to be saved are
never very far from the Kingdom.
VII. Instant Salvation. The whole crowd murmured
when they saw that He had gone in as the guest of a pub-lican.
Perhaps it was to hush their murmurings and.New Testament Outlines. 203
yet they were found at the extreme ends of the city; the
one was sitting on the lowly wayside, the other was perched
on a tree; the one was poor, the other was rich ; the one
sought Jesus for mercy, the other sought to see Jesus ; the
one had to get up to be saved, the other had to get down.
Jesus Christ is able to save to the uttermost heights of
society, as well as to the uttermost depths of it. Let us
look at his-I.
Social Position. “He was chief among the pub-.
licans, and he was rich” (v. 2). He was, perhaps, a
contractor, with many tax-gatherers under him, and so had
ample opportunity of enriching himself. These Jez&h toll-keepers
were severely hated by their brethren, because that
through this business the Roman government, under whose
galling yoke they groaned, being burdened, was strengthened
and upheld.
II. Earnest Desire. “He sought to see Jesus, 7~1ho He
was” (v. 3). He not only wished to see Him, he evidently
desired to know Him. He was undoubtedly moved by
deeper feelings than mere curiosity. The Son of God never
gratifies the professional sight-seer. Had there been
no longing in his heart for a personal acquaintance with the
Christ, the Lord would in all likelihood have passed him
bYa He who look&h upon the heart hath said, “Thou
shalt find Me when thou shalt seek Me with all thine
heart” (Deut. 4. 29).
III. Twofold Difficulty. “He could not for the
press, because he was of little stature” (v. 3). A great
crowd and a pair of short legs are really formidable
obstacles in the way of seeing. i’he hindrance was both
personal and circumstantial-in himself and in others.
Who ever sought the Lord without being confronted with
these two classes of difficulties? Our own shortcomings
and the callous indifference of others to our spiritua.1 I.206 Handfuls on Purpose.
Jesus Christ arc being received by Him, and are being
made unto Him a kingdom (Rev. 1. 6, R.V. ).
III. The Servants (v. 13). These ten servants had
delivered to them one pound each, and their commission
was plain-“Occupy till I come.” They were to occupy
His place, and trade with His gift, till He would come
again. This part of the parable found its perfect fulfilment
in Pentecost, when His servants, gathered together in the
upper room, had delivered to them the gift of the Holy
Ghost by the Master Himself. This gift was not divided
among them, for “it sat upon each of them” (Acts 2. 3, 4).
Each one received his or her pound, with which they were
to do business for Him till He came. It is impossible for
us to occupy in Christ’s Name unless we trade with Christ’s
gift, living and acting in the power of the Holy Spirit.
IV. The Citizens. “They’hated Him, saying, We will
not have this man to reign over us” (v. 14). They are called
“His citizens” because that Jesus Christ was the rightful
heir to the throne of David, established in Jerusalem.
These citizens are typical of all those who hate Him without
a cause, and who, through unbelief and pride of heart, will
not submit to His rule, but cry, “Away with Him ! ”
V. The Return. “When He was returned. . . He com-manded
the servants to be called unto Him” (v. 15).
The first thing our Lord will do, when He comes again, will
be to call His servants together to give an account of how
they have used or neglected His gift of the Holy Spirit.
This is the judgment-seat before which all we, as His
servants, must appear (2 Cor. 5. 10). Through grace we
are accepted in Him, but we must labour in the power of
the Spirit if we would be “accepted of Him. ”
VI. The Reward of the Faithful. Salvation is by
faith, but the rewards of the coming King will be acccording
to OUT works. There are three classes of servants represented.New Testament Outlines. 205
justify himself and also the Lord in coming into his house
that Zacchaeus “stood up and said, Lord, the half of my
goods I give to the poor, ” etc. (w. 7,s). But Jesus did not
come into his house because “he gave to the poor, ” etc., but
because he was an anxious sinner seeking fellowship with
Himself-a lost one needing a Saviour. We are saved, not
by our good works, but by the grace of God (Eph. 2. 8).
The day that salvation came to his house was the day that
Jesus Christ the Son of Man came. “He that hath the Son
hath life.” “There is none other Name given, whereby we
can be saved. ” Salvation is certain to “as many as
RECEIVE HIM” (John 1. 12).
THE PARABLE OF THE POUNDS
Luke 19. 11-27.
LUKE has hung up the keys of this parable outside the door
, for us. He gives us two reasons why it was given-“be-cause
He was nigh Jerusalem, and because they thought
that the Kingdom of God should immediately appear. ” So
the parable has reference to the inhabitants of Jerusalem
(Jews), and the coming of the King. We shall have a little
word about-I.
The King. He is called here “a certain nobleman”
(v. 12). This nobleman is the Lord Jesus Christ, and surely
He is a Noble-man. He is of high birth, for He was born
from above (Luke 1. 35). As the Son of Man He is indeed
the noblest of men. Was it not David Livingstone who
called him “a perfect gentleman ? ” All his words and
works have the nobility of God about them.
II. The Journey. “He went into a far country to
receive for Himself a kingdom” (v. 12). Jesus went into
the far country when He ascended to the Father, and, as
the Son of Man, He is now receiving “‘ for Himself” a king-dom
(Dan. 7. 13, 14). All who now believe in the Lord.208 Handfuls on Purpose.
sevenfold revelation of the character of the Lord Jesus
Christ.
I. His Wisdom. If the eyes of our Lord had not more
light in them than that of ordinary mortals, how could He
assure the disciples that they would find a young colt tied
at a certain place named (v. 30) ? Through faith He
spake as one endued with Omniscience. Distance is as
nothing in the eyes of God.
II. His Power. All the apology they were to offer on
taking away the man’s ass was, “The Lord hath need of
him” (vv. 31-34). With this simple declaration there went
forth such an influence from the presence of the absent
Christ that no resistance could be offered. He will have a
willing people in the day of His power. All who go forth,
like these disciples, in His Name, to do His will, cannot fail
to have the authority of their Master with them (Matt.
28. 18, 19).
III. His Humility. “They set Jesus thereon.” The
King of Glory sitting upon a borrowed ass, and with “their
garments upon the colt” (vv. 35, 36). There was nothing
too humiliating for the Son of God, if only the Scriptures
might be fulfilled (Zech. 9. 9). He that so humbleth him-self
will surely be exalted (Phil. 2. 8, 9). The pride of
man is for ever opposed to the revealed will of God.
IV. His Royal Dignity. “Blessed be the King that
cometh in the Name of Jehovah” (Heb. 5. 38). Jesus was
a King, although His face was more marred than any
man’s I He was bedless and penniless ; yet His every word
and act was stamped with the sovereign majesty of Heaven
(v. 37). The glory of His kingly character manifested
itself on the holy mount when it burst with overwhelming
power through the concealing veil of His flesh, revealing
“peace in Heaven, and glory in the highest. ”
V. His Compassion. “When He beheld the city He.New Testament Outlines. 207
here (vv. 16-24). They all had the same gift; the same
possibilities were within the reach of each. The first had
great faith in his pound, and gained with it other ten. The
second had little faith, and gained but five. The third had
no faith in it, and gained only the reproach of his Master.
The application is plain and heart-searching. Every be-liever
in Christ has the gift of the Holy Ghost brought
within his reach, and in the strength and power of this
divine money he is to do business for God in the place and
Name of his Lord. He does not send us a warfare on OUT
own charges. In this “pound” there was all-sufficient,
whereby each receiver may accomplish all the will and work
of their absent Master. Those who trade with their own
gifts instead of this gift of God will certainly-like this
man (v. 23)-be found fruitless at the coming of Christ.
If we are working for Christ in our own strength and
wisdom we are hiding our Lord’s money, and can never be
rewarded with His “Well done” (Matt. 25. 21).
VII. The Doom of the Unbelieving. Those who
“would not that He should reign over them” were to be
slain before Him (v. 27). All hatred and unbelief will be
judged when He appears. Those who in their hearts and
lives have said, “Not this Man,” shall one day hear these
awful words from the most merciful of lips, “Depart from
Me, ye cursed.” “For He must reign till He hath put all
enemies under His feet” (1 Car, 15. 25).
CHRIST WEEPING OVER JERUSALEM
Luke 19. 28-48.
“The Son of God was seen
Most glorious: in HIM all His FATTIER shone
Substantially expressed, and in His fact
Divine compassion visibly appeared. “-MILTON,
IN every single ray of white light we are told there are all
the colours of the rainbow. In this portion we have a.210 Handfuls on Purpose .’
PARA%LE OF THE HUSBANDMEN
Luke 20. 9-19.
“Dare I trust my heart and voice against the voice of the whole ?
Yet should the roar of the crowd ever drown the true voice of the
SOUl ?“–w. SMITH.
IT is not only Scotch-like, but it may at times be Christ-like,
to answer one question by asking another. The chief
priests and scribes asked, “Who gave Thee this authority ? ”
Jesus answered bgr asking, “The baptism of John, was it
from Heaven or of men ? ” They “could not tell, ” or
rather, they r~ould not say, lest they should commit them-selves.
Neither would He tell them. It is so still. Those
who refuse to accept the testimony of His servants shall not
know the secret of Christ’s authority and power. There
must be faith in His Word if we would have revelations of
Himself. This parable, like that of the “pounds,” has a
decided dispensational character.
I. The Vineyard. “A certain man planted a vineyard”
(v. 9). This nameless man is intended to represent Jehovah,
the Eternal One; the v&yard is the whole house of Israel,
whom He hath redeemed for Himself (Jer. 2.21); the@?arctitig
refers to their settlement in the land of promise, where they
were carefully nurtured and guarded by the presence of God.
II. The Faithless Husbandmen. These were the
proud rulers of the people, who “entreated shamefully”
those sent by God to assert His claims upon them as His
professing people. They persecuted and slew those servants
of God who testified against them (Neh. 9. 26). Did not
the Spirit-filled Stephen fling the same charge in their
teeth when he said, “Which of the prophets have not your
fathers persecuted ? ” These wicked husbandmen, like
many in our own day, were willing to take all they could
get from God that would enrich themselves, but refused to
give Him anything in return..New Testament Outlines. 209
wept over it” (v. 41). If we had the eyes and the com-passion
of Jesus Christ we would be constrained many a
time to weep over what others are rejoicing in. Christ as
the Son of God and the Redeemer of men can only look
upon places and persons in their relationship to Himself.
The temple stones may be large and beautiful, but what of
that if there be no welcome for Him in His “Father’s
house” (v. 45). To Him the heart of the city was the
heart of the citizen ; if this was false and cruel, all else was
desolation. “He wept over it. ” “Greater love hath no man
than this. ” What about that city within our own hearts?
What does the sympathetic Saviour see there ?
VI. His Faithfulness. It must have been with .a very
heavy heart that our Lord uttered these solemn words
recorded in verses 42-46, for He willeth not the death of
any, but rather that they would come to Him and live.
But even His tearful compassion does not hinder Him from
speaking out these awful words of warning and of doom
It is a fearful thing to fall, as an unbeliever, into the hands
of the living God. Neither the city, the nation, nor the
individual can finally prosper who reject the claims and
resist the pleadings of the Lord Jesus Christ. “While
ye have the light, believe in the light, ” for this same
Jesus who wept and died shall yet judge the quick and
the dead.
VII. His Influence. The chief priests..l.sought to
destroy Him, for all the people were attentive to hear Him”
(w. 47, 48). To some He was a savour of death, to others
of life. The sun which melts the wax will harden the clay.
Everything depends on the attitude of our heart to Christ
as to whether His influence will melt us unto salvation or
harden us for judgment. The preaching of the Cross is
either joolishnps to us or it is the wisdom of God (1 Cor.
1. 23, 24)..212 Handfuls on Purpose.
knew him to be “the Heir,” yet, in the pride of their hearts,
they refused to submit to Him. What better are we than
they, in acknowledging Christ to be the Son of God, if we
have not yielded ourselves unto Him? Is our guilt not
greater in that we are casting Him out of our hearts and
homes; out of our businesses and pleasures daily. To cast
Him out of our lives is to cast our lives into eternal bank-ruptcy
and ruin (V. 18).
VII. The Terrible Results. The husbandmen shall be
destroyed, and the vineyard given to others (v. 16).
Neglected opportunities will bring corresponding judg-ments.
The Word of God was first spoken to the Jews as
His people, but they put it far from them, and now the
vineyard is given to the Gentiles (Acts 12. 46). The
blessed privileges offered us now will soon have gone to
others. Are we laying hold of them for our eternal profit,
or shall they pass, leaving us in the deeper condemnation
through our pride and unbelief ? “When they heard it they
said, “God forbid. ” But all such “God forbids” from the
lips of self-righteous rebels will never in any degree avert
the just judgments of an insulted God.
CHRIST AND THE SCEPTICS
Luke 20. 20-40.
“I have a life in Christ to live,
I have a death in Christ to die-And
must I wait till science give
All doubts a full reply ?
Nay, rather while the sea of doubt
Is raging wildly round about,
Questioning of life and death and sin,
L.et me but creep within
Thy fold, 0 Christ, and at Thy feet,
Take but the lowest seat. ’ ‘ -SHARP.
THE man is a fool who would suffer himself to be lifted up
or cast down according to the length of his own shadow;.New Testament Outlines. 211
III. The Divine Dilemma. “What shall I do ? ” (v. 13).
His thankless people have transgressed and rebelled ;
His warnings and entreaties, through His servants, have
been neglected and despised. “What shall I do ? ” Some-thing
Izew must be done if the Lord of the vineyard is to
maintain His rights to the fruits thereof. Shall it be
vengeance or mercy? Shall it be instant judgment or a
further manifestation of His infinite grace ? Shall it be the
sacrifice of man for his sins, or a sacrifice from God for the
sins of man ? “Deliver from going down to the pit, for I
have found a ransom. ”
IV. The Gracious Purpose. “I will send My beloved
Son” (v. 13). It may be that when they see Him they will
turn away their faces from shame, and confess their sins
(v. 13). Instead of opening the flood-gates of wrath against
those offenders, He opens the treasures of His heart, and
sends forth His only Son. “Herein is love, not that we loved
God, but that He loved us” (1 John 4. 10).
V. The Fond Expectation. “It may be they will
reverence Him when they see Him” (v. 13). What did they
see when they saw HIM ? They saw the invisible yet
frequently insulted God, manifest in mortal flesh, as a loving,
sin-forgiving Saviour, the wisdom and the power of God.
Surely when they behold such an exhibition of His con-descension
and forbearance they will feel rebuked for their
pride and arrogance. It would seem as if the Lord of the
vineyard hoped to kill their enmity with His kindness.
The mission of the Son of the Highest was to save us from
our sins, and to reconcile us to God. “He that honoureth
the Son honoureth the Father. ” To refuse Him reverence
is to dishonour the Father who sent Him.
VI. The Deliberate Refusal. “They cast Him out of
the vineyard and killed Him” (v. 14, 15). They would
not have this Man to reign over them. Although they.214 Handfuls on Purpose.
penny, but used of Christ it becomes a witness for
Him that all the wisdom of men cannot gainsay. We
sometimes say “a penny for your thought,” but let
us give earnest heed to the thought connected with this
penny. “Give to man the things that are man’s,”
and “to God the things that are God’s!” If ye are
Christ’s, then ye are not your own. Ye are bought
with a price, therefore give to God the things that are
His. Then came-II.
The Resurrection Trap (w. 27-40). It was-1.
SET BY THE SADDIJCEES. This sect denies that there
could be any resurrection, because to them it was contrary
to reason. These Sadducees are the forefathers of our
modern rationalists, who would limit the workings of God
to the understanding of sin-blinded mortals. In referring
to this woman who had been married seven times, they
were presenting their cause in the strongest possible
light, but their light was only the blackness of darkness
of ignorance.
2. BROKEN BY CHRIST, The truth of God will always
escape (like a bird) out of the snare of the fowler. In the
world to come the children of God are equal to angels-they
don’t need marriage to increase their happiness and
bliss ; they never enter into one another’s possessions
there, because they “die no more. ” And as touching
the certainty of the resurrection, it is as sure as that
the Lord is the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of
Jacob. They are living now, for Jehovah is not the
God of the dead, but of the living? He who is our life
beyolzd the grave can easily lift our bodies from the
tomb and turn the corruptible into incorruption, and this
mortal into immortality. “Thanks be unto God, who
giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. ”
Have faith in God..New Testament Outlines. 213
but not more so than those who would set themselves, in
the pride of their heart, against Christ, who is the wisdom
of God. The chief priests and the scribes sought to lay
hands on Him because He had spoken a parable against
them. The light will always be against those who love the
darkness (v. 19). We have here two different attempts
to ensnare the Lord through His words; but in vain
is the snare spread before Him. There is what we
might call-I.
The Tribute Trap. Is it lawful to give tribute to
Caesar or no ? It was-1.
CUNNINGLY SET. All the craft of hypocrisy and
wickedness was employed to catch Him in His words.
Other men were easily caught in this fashion. These
deceivers “feign themselves just men” that they might more
easily accomplish their diabolical business. Notice their
buttery words : “Master, we know. . . that Thou teachest
the way of God truly” (v. 21). The truth was in .their
lips, but hypocrisy was in their hearts. As no honey was
to be put in the meat-offering, so no flattery could move
Him who is the Truth and the Life. They expected a “Yes”
or “No” to their pressing question. If he said “Yes, ” then
they would rouse the people against Him. If He said “No, ”
then they would speedily report Him to the Roman officials.
It was-2.
QUICKLY DETECTED. But He perceived their crafti-ness,
and said, “Why tempt ye Me ? ” There is no mask
thick enough to hide our motives from His all-searching
eye. It is a fearful thing to fall as hypocrites into the
hands of the Living God. “Show Me a penny,” said the
penniless Saviour, and as He turned it on His fingers He
made that “image and superscription” to bring their wis-dom
to naught, and to humble their haughty pride. Learn
how mighty little things become in His hands. Only a.216 Handfuls on Purpose.
IV. Sacred Fellowship (w. 14-18). There is intense
longing in this desire of Christ to eat the passover with them
before He would suffer. The awful shadow of the Cross, falling
over His Spirit, seems but to intensify His love for His own.
His love was stronger than death; many waters could not
quench it. It was a hallowed time when He took-the cup, say-ing,
“Divide it among yourselves. ” The cup of salvation, and
also of the “fellowship of His sufferings. ” Have we take it ?
V. Merciful Substitution (w. 19, 20). The language
is infinitely tender and unmistakable, “My body given for
yo24. I’ “My blood shed for you. ” If God is to pass over us
in judgment, it must be because the blood of Jesus Christ,
His Son, cleanseth us from all sin. “When I see the blood,
I will pass over you” (Exod. 12. 13). The atonement of
Christ is the only covering for sin that can enable God
righteously to “pass by,” justifying the believer in Jesus.
VI. Infallible Prophecy (w. 21-23). “The Son of
Man goeth as it was determined” (Luke 22. 22). While
with wicked had they slew Him, yet His going was
according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of
God (Acts 2. 23). In the purpose of God, Christ was the
“Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev.
13. 8). The unbelief and wickedness of men shall never
make void the eternal counsel of Jehovah. “Behold the
Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world. ” ’
GETHSEMANE
Luke 22. 39-54.
“So, as thou wert the seed and not the flower,
, Having no form or comeliness in chief,
Sharing thy thought with thy acquaintance grief,
THOU wert despised, rejected in Thine hour
Of loneliness and God triumphant power.“-MACDONALD.
THERE is a deep, soul-moving pathos in these words: “He
went, as He was wont, to the Mount of Olives.” This was.New Testament Outlines. 215
CHRIST’S LAST PASSOVER
Luke 22. l-23.
*‘ With all His sufferings full in view,
And woes to us unknown,
Forth to the task His Spirit flew,
‘ Twas love that urged Him on.“-COWPER.
Lsmmenais says : “All that Christ asked of mankind, wherewith
to save them, was a Cross whereon to die.” He got it without a
grudge.
THE word “passover” is derived from a verb meaning “to
pass by, ” or “to spare. ” It was instituted in Egypt in the
most solemn and suggestive circumstances (Exod. 12).
Not a bone of the paschal lamb was to be broken. See how
literally this was fulfilled in “Christ our passover” (John 19. 33). This last passover was the final fulfilment of the
first. Associated with it here we see-I.
Unreasonable Hate (vv. 1,2), In seeking how they
might “kill Him, ” these chief priests and scribes manifested
the diabolical enmity of their own hearts against the true
character of Jehovah, whom they professed to worship. Little
did they think that they were planning how to kill God’ s
“Passover Lamb. ” They hated Him without a cause.
II. Cruel Betrayal (w. 3-6). Satan always finds a
suitable instrument for his wicked work in a hypocritical
professor. Satan entered Judas because the door of his
heart stood open wide to every evil suggestion. The Devil’s
bait for him was money, because he knew that he loved it,
and that at heart he was a thief.
III. Special Provision (w. 7-13). The guest-chamber
was appointed by Christ, “a large q@r room furnished,”
to be noted for ever afterwards as a place connected with
His death, resurrection, and with Pentecost. The place was
there furnished for them, where Christ, God’ s paschal Lamb,
was “made ready” as a sacrifice for the sin of the world..218 Handfuls on Purpose.
V. Cruel Betrayal (w. 47, 48). The kiss of Judas
was to the “Man of Sorrows” as the bite of a serpent.
This was the first salutation Christ received from man
after taking the cup of the curse on his’ behalf. “Man’ s
inhumanity to man” is as nothing compared with his
inhumanity to God. We but give Jesus the Judas kiss
when we give Him the l@s of profession and deny him a
heart of love.
VI. Merciful Miracle (w. 50-51). Even Christ’s
own unparalleled sufferings did not check His sympathy
for the misfortunes of an enemy. “He touched his ear, ”
undoing the revenge of Peter’ s sword. What self-for-getting
love was His ! The power that healed the ear could
have hurled the whole band of mockers into perdition.
VII. Satanic Power. “This is your hour, and the
power of darkness” (w. 52, 53). All who oppose Jesus
Christ are acting as the agents of th& Devil. The triumph
of the wicked is short (Job 20. 5). Creatures that live in
the dark are usually fierce and furious. Walk in the light (John 3. 19-21).
PETER ‘ S DENIAL
Luke 22. 54-62.
“Sirs. the significance of this your doubt
Lies in the reason of it; ye do grudge
That those, your lands, should have another Lord.
Ye are not loyal, therefore ye would fain
Your King should bide afar.”-INGLELOW.
“To be forewarned is to be forearmed. ” But Peter did
not seem to profit anything from the Lord’ s forewarning that “Satan desired to have him that he might sift him as
wheat. ” It was more than Job got. Christ uses a fan to
blow away the chaff, and cleanse the wheat ; the Devil uses
a sieve to save the chaff and cast out the wheat. Next to
the power of Christ dying for us is the power of His praying.New Testament Outlines. 217
Christ’s prayer-closet, and this was His last, and for ever
memorable visit. The saving interests of a dying world,
and the eternal honour of His Holy Name are now to be
cast into the crucible. The issues of this night’ s awful work
will affect Heaven, earth, and hell, and stretch out to the
uttermost ages of eternity. In a garden the first Adam fell
through sin ; in a garden the second Adam triumphed
through suffering. Gethsemane was to Christ a place of-I.
Solemn Loneliness. “He was withdrawn from
them about a stone’ s cast” (v. 41). Far enough to be
beyond their reach of help, He trod the wine-press of
atoning suffering alone. On the great day of atonement
the High Priest alone had to do the work (Lev. 16. 29-30).
“Jesus paid it all. ” “Nothing in my hand I bring. ”
II. Prayerful Resignation (v. 42). This woeful cup
was enough to crush into nothing an ordinary mortal.
Christ knew its terrible contents, for He well knew the
holiness of God and the heinousness of sin. The only
way this cup could pass from us was through the “never-theless,
not My will, ” of Jesus Christ.
III. Heavenly Succour. “There appeared an angel strengthening Him” (v. 43). This angel was highly honoured in having a hand in such needful and glorious
work. Doubtless he would be remembered for it after
the Ascension. Will we not feel like thanking Him when
we go to Heaven for strengthening the Redeemer in His
way to make atonement for our sins ?
IV. Awful Suffering. The agolzising prayer and
the “drops of blood” tell of a tender, sensitive heart;
crushed and bruised in the mortar of love by the weight of
hated sin-not His own (2 Cor. 5. 21). But this prayer,
with strong crying and tears, was heard (Heb. 5. 7). If sin
iqkted to Him brought such agony of soul, “How shall we
escape if we neglect so great salvation ? “ P Vol. 5.220 Handfuls on. Purpose.
V. Repentance. “He wclzt ozlt and we@? b i t t e r l y”
(v. 62). The Lord Jesus Christ, while being led from the
judgment hall across the open court to the guard-room,
cast such a searching, pitiful, heart-melting look on Peter
that wakened his sin-drugged memory, and filled his eyes
with the bitter tears of sorrow and penitence. One look of
Christ is enough to make the deep sea of the past to yield
up its dead. “Peter remembered. ” An awakened memory
will be a blessing or curse, according to our relationship
to the Lord Jesus Christ. “If we confess our sins, He is
faithful and just to forgive” (1 John 1. 9).
PILATE AND CHRIST
Luke 23. l-25.
“Why should I quit my place and go and ask
If other men are working at their task ?
And turn away from THEE, 0 THOU most Holy Light,
To look if o$her orbs their orbits keep aright
Around their proper sun,
Deserting Thee, and being undone ?”4LOUGfi.
CHRIST was accused of “perverting the nation, and for-‘
bidding to give tribute to Caesar. ” A double charge, which
was a double-dyed lie (Matt. 22. 21). They are for ever
found liars who would seek a cause for condemning the
Christ. Let us note-I.
Pilate ‘ s Privilege. “They led Him unto Pilate”
(v. 1). No man can ever be the same after being brought
face to face with the saving Son of God, It is a high and
‘merciful honour to have Jesus brought before us, but what
will be the issues of our case ?
II. Pilate’ s Question. “Art Thou the King of the
Jews ? ” (v. 3). To this straight question Jesus gives a
plain and emphatic answer that Pilate might, if he cared,
feel the great responsibility of his present position. “To
this end have I been born, and for this cause came I into.New Testament Outlines. 219
for us. “I have prayed for thee” (v. 32 ; John 17. 15).
Let us note the steps in Peter’s downfall.
I. Self Confidence. He said, “Lord, I ws ready to go
with Thee into prison ami to death” (v. 33). Peter thought
he was ready now, but the testing time had not yet come;
he should have believed the Lord’s Word, that his @aye7 for
Him was greatly needed. Peter had not yet learned that
“without Him he could do nothing“ but faint and fail.
“He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Prov. 28. 26).
II. The Fear of Man. “Peter followed afar off”
(v. 54). Now was Peter’s time to “go with Him into prison,”
but his feet were caught in that snare that is always made
by the “fear of man. ” Acts speak louder than words. Let
us beware of imitating Peter’s cowardly conduct by re-fusing
to identify ourselves with Christ’s cause when others
are ruthlessly treating His Word and His work. “Follow-ing
afar off” is nothing but a half-hearted denial.
III. Companying with the Scornful. “Peter sat down
with them” (v. 5.5). Through the influence of John,
Peter was allowed into the open court, but he joined the
scoffers and warmed himself at the enemies’ fire (John 18.
15-18). John doubtless followed Christ into the judgment
hall. Following afar off will surely lead to mingling with
the ungodly, and joining with them in their unholy mirth,
After the prodigal went into the far country he was soon
found joining himself to a citizen (Luke 15. 15).
IV. Denial. “He denied Him, saying, I know Him
not” (vv. 56-60), and that three times over, as the Lord
had said. The fruit of self-confidence is Christ-denial.
Christ is always being condemned when pride sits in the
throne of our heart. Let us take care that we don’t throw
stones at Peter for doing in one day what we ourselves may
be doing every day we live-refusing to confess Christ our
Lord. Then came his-,.._.–.222 Handfuls on Purpose.
willeth not the death of any. ” It were better for Pilate and
for us that,we had never been born than give such a sentence
as this. Has not God, through the offer of His Gospel,
delivered up Jesus to your will ? What is your sentence ?
Is it that you will reject Him or receive Him ? (John 1. 12).
CALVARY
Luke 23. 24-48.
“From pain to pain, from woe to woe,
With loving hearts and footsteps slow,
To Calvary with CHRIST we go . .
Was ever grief like His ? Was ever sin like ours ?’ ’
–FA B ER.
WHO would not rather be Simon the Cyrenian, who was
compelled to bear the Cross of Jesus, than the purple-robed
Pilate, who, through fear, was compelled to deliver Jesus
up to the will of the people ? (w. 24-26). But apart from
Pilate’s dastardly weakness, God has delivered up His Son
to the will of the people. And every time we hear the
Gospel of Christ we are in our hearts honouring Him or
dishonouring Him (John 1. 12). The deep and solemn
thoughts of this portion may be easily focused at “the
#lace which is called CALVARY” (v. 33). It was a-I.
Place of Guilt. “There were two malefactors with
Him” (v. 32). Christ was crucified between the thieves, as
if He were the greater criminal. The passer-by counted the
malefactors as one, two, three. Truly He was “rtumbered
with the transgressors. ” Yes ; He bare the sins of many.
II. Place of Compassion. Jesus said, “Father, for-give
them, for they know not what they do” (v. 34).
What a prayer from a thorn-crowned sufferer! What a
revelation of the love and mercy of God, welling up through
the breaking heart of Christ, His Son, from the proud,
guilty sons of men ! He loved His enemies, and blessed
them that cursed Him (Acts 7. 59)..New Testament Outlines. 223
III. Place of Derision. “The rulers derided Him,. ._.
the soldiers mocked Him” (w. 35-37). The fact that he
did “save others” did not in any way lessen their enmity or
modify their wrath, but rather intensified their diabolical
rage. He could not “save Himself” because He came for
the very purpose of giv&g Himself a ransom for many.
IV. Place of Testimony. “In Greek, Latin, and
Hebrew” (v. 38) these words were written over Him, THIS
IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Although written and read in
mockery and disdain, these words were absolutely true ;
although attributed to the irony of Pilate, they were in
very truth the testimony of the Spirit of God. They had
crucified their King, their Messiah, the Son of the Highest.
Calvary reveals the natural enmity of the human heart
against the image of God.
V. Place of Salvation. “To-day shalt thou be with
Me in paradise” (vv. 40-43). This penitent thief was the
first to enter paradise through the blood of the Lamb.
The sum of Christ’s redemption work is found in these two
little words, „WITH ME. “ This dying malefactor was re-conciled
to God through the death of His Son. Those who
are with Him now in Spirit and in life will be with Him
hereafter in transforming power (1 John 3. 2).
VI. Place of Miracle. “The sun was darkened, and
the veil of the temple was rent in the midst” (w. 44, 45).
The rending of the veil and the obscuring of the sun were
outstan’ding symbols of the goodness and the severity of
God as embodied in the Cross of Christ. The darkness
declares His severity against sin, the torn veil indicates
a God-made way, through the sufferings of Christ, into
His own presence (Heb. 10. 20).
VII. Place of Death. “He gave up the ghost” (v. 46).
He became obedient unto death, even the death of the
Cross. A DEATH that has brought life and immortality.224 Handfuls on Purpose.
to light; that has made peace with God, and that still
makes sinful men “smite their breasts” in the beholding
of it (v. 48); a death that puts our sins away, and is the
death of death.
“Calvary! 0 Calvary I All Thy agony for me!”
RESURRECTION WONDERS
Luke 24. l-27.
“What is left for us, save in growth of soul to rise . . .
From the gift, looking to the Giver,
And from the cistern to the river,
And from the finite to the Infinity,
And from man’ s dust to God’ s D~~~~~~~.“-BRowNING.
THE soldiers made His grave with the graves of the wicked
who were crucified with Him, but He was “with the rich
in His death, ” that the Scripture might be fulfilled (Isa.
53. 9), for Joseph, a rich counsellor, begged the body, and
buried it in 111., ..wn new tomb. Christ offered Himself a
sacrifice unto God, so His body was precious to Him, and
like the a&es of the burnt-offering of old, must be “carried
forth into a clean place” (Lev. 6. 11). It is said that
there are seven wonders in the world, but we have seven
wonders in this chapter. A-I.
Wonderful Stone. “They found the stone rolled
away” (v. 2). This stone, which was sealed with Pilate’ s seal, and had Roman soldiers set apart to watch it, yet it is
rolled azeray (Matt. 27. 27-66). The great block-stones
rolled in the way of Christ and His cause by the enemies of
God are easily removed when the hands of the “Angel of
the Lord” are laid upon them (Matt. 23. 2). Who shall
be able to stand when He appeareth ?
II. Wonderful Grave. “They found not. the body
of the Lord Jesus” (v. 3). Here Jesus was buried; now
the tomb is empty. There lies the linen that wrapped Him,
in the same place and in the same form as when the body.New Testament Qutlines . 225
was within it; but He is gone. It was quite clear from the
position of the clothes that no one had stolen Him away.
“0 grave, where is thy victory ? ”
III. Wonderful Vision. “Behold two men stood
by them in shining garments” (v. 4). In following Jesus
into the tomb, they were privileged to see the glorified ones.
Every place, even the dark and lonesome grave, is hal-lowed
and illumined when Jesus has been there. The glory
of the resurrection life is first seen in the grave of Jesus.
To be buried with Christ is to he raised with Him in new-ness
of life (Rom. 6. 4).
IV. Wonderful Message. “He is not here ; He is
risen ” (w. 5-S). “He is not here”-all the powers of
earth and hell have failed to keep Him. “He is risen”-all
the authority of Heaven has been given Him. These
angels remember&d the words that Jesus had spoken, while
the disciples had forgotten them (v. 6). It is easy to
forget what we do not believe.
V. Wonderful Incredulity. “They believed them
not” (w. 10, 11). The Lord Jesus Himself had told them
that He would be raised agaivt on the third day (Matt.
17.23). Now the two women declare to them that the grave
was empty, yet they “believed not. ” The truth about the
resurrection of Christ is soul-resurrecting truth; men are
always slow to believe it.
VI. Wonderful Conversation. “They talked to-gether”
(w. 13-17). As they “communed, Jesus Him-self
drew near, ” f& the Lord delights to hearken and
hear when they that fear the Lord speak one to another
(Mal. 3. 16). No scientists were ever more interested in
any discovery than these two men were in the report that
“Jesus is risen. ” How could it be otherwise, when, so to
speak, the whole of their capital for time and eternity was
sunk in this business..226 Handfuls on Purpose.
VII. Wonderful Stranger. “Art Thou only a
Stranger ? ” (w. 1527). “Only a Stranger ! ” How
suggestive these words must have been to Him who had
been “wounded in the house of His friends, ” but how
comforting to hear Himself spoken of as “a prophet mighty
in deed and word before God and all the people. ” Yet this
“Stranger” rebuked them for their foolishness in not
believing “all that the prophets had spoken ;” and
beginning at Moses-where the “higher critics” make ship-wreck-
He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the
things concerning Himself. He who was the TRUTH could
never sanction a falsehood. He delights to reveal Himself
to the seeking ones. “Seek, and ye shall find. ”
WONDERS OF GRACE
Galatians 2. 20.
THERE are seven spiritual wonders in this marvellous text.
1. That the Son of God should love a persecutor like
Saul. “Who loved me. ”
2. That the Son of God should be crucified. “Crucified
with Christ. ”
3. That Christ should give Himself for sinners. “Who
gave Himself for me. ”
4. That a man should be crucified in the Christ. “I am
crucified with Christ. ”
5. That a crucified man should still be alive. “Never-theless
I live. ”
6. That Christ, who was crucified, should be found
living in a crucified man. “Yet not I, but Christ
liveth in me. ”
7. That a man can live this new life by faith on the Son
of God. “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by
the faith of the Son of God. ”.Bible Readings
JOSHUA
I. -CALLED AND EQUIPPED .
‘ Yet the cloud of witness solemnly advances,
Widening as each clarion voice is hushed in death below;
Yet the heavenly vision gleams on raptured glances,
Prompt through changing vesture, their changeless Lord to know.”
As soon as Moses was dead, the divine call came to Joshua,
“Now, therefore, Arise” (Josh. 1. 2). God may bury His
workman, but He still carries on His work. The Greek form of the name Joshua is Jesus. As a servant of God, there are many precious lessons that we might learn from
his most wonderful life and work. We see him as-I.
An Inquirer. “But Joshua, a young man, de- parted not out of the tabernacle” (Exod. 33. 11). In verse
seven we read, “Every one which sought the Lord went into
the tabernacle which was without the camp. ” We infer
that the choice of this young man to abide in the tabernacle
of the LORD proved his love for His fellowship and desire
to know more fully His mind ,and will. Souls who are reaIly anxious do not wait for stated hours to learn the way
of life. When the heart is truly seeking God, His house and His Word will have a new fascination. The “broken cisterns” will be forsaken for the fountain of iiving water.
II. A Changed One. “And Moses called Oshea the
son of Nun Jehoshua” (Num. 13. 16). This change of
name was surely the indication of a change of nature. The
old name, Hosea, implied that salvation was in himself; the
new name, Jehoshua, taught that the “LORD is salvation. ”
It is the old story of a conversion, when self-confidence is
turned into faith in God, when the old supplanting nature 227
,.228 Handfuls on Purpose.
is transformed into the princely and the divine, having
power with God and with men, and prevailing
(Gen. 32. 23). He waited on the Lord, and now his
strength is exchanged. “Not I, but Christ. ”
III. A Witness. “Joshua said, The land which we
passed through to search, it is an exceeding good land”
(Num. 14. 6-9). At the time of murmuring, fear and
dissention, he with Caleb, boldly took his stand upon the
Word of God. He testified that the land was all that God
had said it was. It was quite evident that he was on the
Lord’s side. We are not following cunningly devised fables
when we make known the power and faithfulness of our
Lord Jesus Christ. What need there is to-day for a fearless
standing by the statements of God’s Word, in the face of all
the murmurings of those unbelieving spies, who are now
known as “higher critics. ” The cry of all rationalists is
not “back to Christ, ” but “back to Egypt. ” “But the
Lord is with us : fear them not” (v. 9).
IV, One Called to Honour. “Take thee Joshua, and
lay thine hand upon him,. . . and thou shalt put of thine
honour upon him” (Num. 27. 18-20). Having taken
his stand for God, he is now filled with the spirit of wisdom
and power (Deut. 34. 9). He has sought the honour
that comes from God only, and now he is abundantly re-warded
with promotion in the service of the Lord. This is
the anointing which they that believe should receive
(John 7. 29). The spirit of .Moses rested on Joshua as the
spirit of Elijah afterwards rested on Elisha, and as the
Spirit of Christ should now rest upon us.
V. One Taught of God. In the book of Joshua,
chapter 1, and verses 1 to 9, we have the Lord Himself
giving Joshua his marching orders. He received his great
commission directly from God. This portion is worthy of
the careful attention of all the Lord’s servants, as it.229 Bible Readings.
reveals the spirit and manner in which He would have
the work done.
1. EVERY STEP must be taken in faith (v. 3).
2. The great PURPOSE OF GOD must be kept ever in
view (v. 4).
3. There must be the CONFIDENCE OF VICTORY (v. 5).
4. There must be COURAGE and FAITHFULNESS in
adhering closely to the Word of God (w. 6-S).
5. His abiding presence must be continually RECKONED
ON (V. 9).
Truly the servant of God has a meat to eat that others
know not of.
VI. One Seeking the Glory of God. “Joshua said
unto the people, Sanctify yourselves; and to the priests,
Take up the Ark of the Covenant, and pass over before the
people. ” He would have God FIRST, and a sanctified people
following. In such circumstances well may they expect the
Lord to do “wonders among them. ” Before the Lord can
be glorified before all the people, He must be sanctified in
His own (see Lev. 3. 10). But notice the result of this
God-honouring action on the part of Joshua. “That day the Lord began to magnify him in the sight of all Israel”
(v. 7). They who put God first will always have a first
place of honour in His service. “Him that honoureth Me,
I will honour” (Phil. 2. 9).
VII. One Entirely Consecrated to the Will of God.
When he suddenly met the “Captain of the host of the
Lord. . . he fell on his face to the earth, . . . saying,
What saith my lord unto His servant” (Josh. 5. 13-15).
Joshua would be perfectly satisfied just to know that His
will was being done. This to him was a holy place ; it is
always such where HIS ,PRESENCF, is. The shoes of our
self-willed service must be taken off if we would stand.”30 Iiandfuls on Purpose.
accepted on the “holy ground” of His abiding presence.
“Yield yourselves unto God. ”
VIII. One Victorious in the Cause of God. “The
Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand
Jericho” (Josh. 6. 2). “By faith the walls of Jericho fell
down” (Heb. 11. 30). “This is the victory that overcometh
the world, even our faith.” They that honour their God shall
be strong and do exploits (Dan. 11.32). It is in the weakness
of our child-like faith that His strength is perfected (2 Cor.
12. 9). Success in the work of God is absolutely certain,
when all the conditions are perfectly fulfilled. “Only be
thou strong and very courageous ; turn not to the right or to
the left, , . . then shalt thou have good success” (Josh. l-7-9).
The apostle said, “This ooze t/z&g I do. ”
JOSHUA
II. -TRIED AND TRIUMPHANT.
ALTHOUGH the Christian experience ought to be a going
from strength to strength, and from glory to glory, yet
between each successive and higher attainment there may
lie deep valleys of trial and temptation that casts the very
shadows of death over the pathway of the heaven-bound
pilgrim. In this respect the noble life of Paul and that of
the true-hearted Joshua are in many ways akin.
I. He was Severely Tested. “Joshua rent his clothes
and fell to the earth upon his face before the Ark of the
Lord” when he heard that his “three thousand men had
fled before the men of Ai” (Josh. 7. 4-9). What a victory
they had at great Jericho, what a shameful defeat at little
Ai ! The bloom of their new life has been suddenly blasted
and withered. The enemy is rejoicing, and the name of
God has been dishonoured. What is the cause ? “Israel
hath sirtned” (v. 11). The Lord cannot permit His con-quering
power to rest upon those who are not in their.Bible Readings. 231
hearts right with Himself. But let no young Christian be
discouraged, although at the beginning of their life of
testimony for Christ there should be shameful defeats, but
let this rather lead to deeper humility and heart searching.
It is God’s purpose to give us the victory over all our
enemies, but He can only do this in a way that will bring
glory to His own Name (Heb. 10. 33).
II. He Makes no Compromise with Known Sin.
“Joshua rose up early in the morning, , . . and Achan
was taken, . , . and stoned with stones” (chap. 7. 16-26).
This solemn business was not only his, but God’s ; so for
His sake he must not allow human reason nor feelings to
stand in the way of a complete expulsion of the whole con-cern.
What a lesson for us to beware of that covetousness
which is idolatry, “for which things’ sake the wrath of God
cometh upon the children of disobedience” (Col. 3. 5, 6).
III. He Gives Great Prominence to the Word of
God. “Then Joshua built an altar unto the Lord God of
Israel, ,.. . and wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law
of Moses… . the blessings and the cursings” (chap. 8. 30-35).
He knew the power of it in his own experience, and in faith-fulness
he fearlessly declares “the whole counsel of God
keeping back nothing. ” Preach the Word. Let the
blessings for the obedient and the cursings for the dis-obedient
have both their rightful place in your testimony.
What God has joined together let no man put asunder.
IV. He was not Infallible. The Gibeonites, with their
false pretensions, “did work so wilily” that he was pre-vailed
upon to “make a league with them, ” contrary to the
command of God. After all, he was a man of “like pas-sions
as we are,” so that his mistake is a source of encourage-ment
for us. If God could so mightily use a man capable of
making such a great blunder, surely there is good hope for
us I Yes, this is the sort of material that the grace of God.2q2 Handfuls on Purpose.
has to deal with. We see how truly human this stalwart
servant of God was. Nevertheless, we should give earnest
heed that while we take counsel we forget not the Lord
(Isa. 30. I).
V. He showed Prodigious Faith. “Joshua said in the
sight of all Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon”
(chap. 10. 12-14). His failure in no way hindered him
from asking and expecting great things from God as soon as
the need arose. This was altogether a unique exhibition of
the possibilities of faith. The faith that could make such a
demand from God was surely fit for anything. He took
full advantage of the promise of His grace, “Command ye
Me. ” This record of faith has never been broken, but how
very far short we do come of what lies within the reach of
every servant of God who really seeks the glory of His
Name. All things that will bring glory to God are possible
to them that believe (1 John 3. 22).
VI. He Claimed the whole Land of Promise. “SO
Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord
said unto Moses” (chap. il. 23). He claimed it by faith,
although the people were slow to take possession of it
(chap. (8. i;. He did not think it presumption to accept
all that God had promised. What is our faith doing for us
if it is not laying hold of that which God hath promised
us in Christ Jesus i i.1 car. 1. 30). It is honouring to Him
that we shouid receive those things freely given us by Him.
“He that believeth not God hath made Him a liar. ”
VII. He Encourages Others to Enlarge their
Possessions. When the children of Joseph complained
about the smallness or their lot, he said, “Get thee up, and
cut down for thyself ;. . . drive out the Canaanites ; . . . thou
hast great power” (chap. 17. 14-15). It is easy to get
dissatisfied with our Christian life when we are more taken
up with its narrowness and shallowness than with the all- ’.Bible Readings. 233
sufficient promise of God. The effectual cure for such
grumbling is to “get up” and “drive out” the doubts and
fears, and lay hold of the unsearchable riches of Christ,
for “thou hast great power” if thou hast faith in God.
There are not a few who, like the tribe of Joseph, have
just got about as much of the “land of promise” as make
them miserable, always crying out about their leanness
and poverty when the cause of it is sheer spiritual laziness.
0 ye of little faith, how long will ye be slack to go in and
possess the land ? (chap. 18. 3).
VIII. He Testifies to the Faithfulness of God. “Ye
know ilz yo~v hearts that not one thing hath failed of all the
good things which the Lord spake concerning you ; all are
come to pass” (chap. 23. 14). All that God hath promised
He is prepared to give. Many know this ilz their hearts, like
the Israelites, but they have not the courage, like Joshua,
to put it to the test, and to say so. Although we believe in our hearts that “it is easier for Heaven and earth to pass
than one tittle of the law to fail, ” yet how slow we are to
claim the promises of God with the feet of faith (chap. 1. 3).
If there is any shame in Heaven it will surely be that
we expected so little from our exalted and glorified
Redeemer and Lord.
IX. He Exhorts to Whole-hearted Service. “Now,
therefore, fear the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and
truth” (chap. 24. 14, 15). In considering “how great
things He had done for them,” and promised to them,
surely this was but reasonable that they should serve Him.
Does not the great apostle beseech us by the mercies of God
that we present OUY bodies as our reasonable service ? (Rom.
12. 1). “Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves
servants to obey, his servants ye are, ” whether that be to
sin or righteousness, self or Christ (Rom. 6. 16).
X. His Posthumous Influence. “Israel served the Q Vol. 5.2-34 Handfuls on Purpose.
Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders
that overlived Joshua” (chap, 24. 31). The powerful life of
this Prince with God kept speaking through those with
whom he had been associated after he was gone. The life
of faith always dies hard, while the memory of the
wicked soon rots. The garments of a consecrated life,
even when laid aside, are like the smell of Lebanon,
recognised a long way off (Cant. 4. 11). “Blessed are’
the dead which die in the Lord to all self-interest, they
do rest, and their works follow them. ”
CONSECRATION; or, Hands Filled
THIS word, in its various cognate forms, occurs in the Bible
forty-two times. In the sense of “to separate” it is used
three times ; “to set apart, ” seven times; to “denote” and
“dedicate, ” once each; but Yo fill, ” or “being filled, ”
twenty-nine times. Only once is it used in the sense of “to perfect, ” and that in connection with the eternal and only begotten Son (Heb. 7. 28). Let us view this subject in the above fourfold aspect. It means-I.
To be Separated from the Unclean. The law of
the Nazarite clearly taught this (Num. 6. l-13). To touch the unclean was to bring instant defilement and to mar his
holy relationship. Separation is no new doctrine. It be-gan
with Adam ; it appears in Abel. It is seen in Enoch and
Noah. It is taught in the calling oat of Abraham, in the
lives of the patriarchs, in the God-raised Judges, the pro-phets,
and the apostles. The Church itself is the out-called
of the grace of God. The very name saint tells us that we are separated ones. Ye are not of the world, says our Lord, but I have chosen you out of the world (John 15. 19).
“Wherefore come ye out from among them, and be ye
separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean”
(2Cor. 6. 14-17)..Bible Readings. 235
II. To be Set Apart for God. Separation does not
mean isolation. The Lord hath set apart him that is godly
for Himself (ha. 4. 6). The word godly here has reference
more directly to the gracious state of the soul. All the
subjects of His saving grace are marked out as His own.
By the holy anointing Aaron and his sons were consecrated
(set apart) that they might minister unto the Lord (Exod.
30. 30). So with all the vessels of the Tabernacle, which
were set apart for the service of God, by being anointed.
These vessels, although they were a “new creation” for
the work and worship of God, yet they were unfit for use
until they had received the baptism of the holy oil (Lev.
8. 10, 11). They were sanctified and made meet for
Jehovah’s use as soon as they occupied their true place, and
were set apart by the special anointing. In this sense, that
sanctification which fits for service is not a growth, it is a
gift. We grow in grace, but we are made meet for the
Master’s use by the anointing of the Holy Ghost. We
cannot grow into the promise of the Spirit. We receive it
by faith (Gal. 3. 13, 14). Who then is willing to set him-self
apart, that he might receive the unction from the
Holy One ?
III. To be Devoted to God. It was said of Jericho
that “the city shall be devoted, and a11 that is therein, to
the Lord” (Josh. 6. 17, R.v.). Achan took of the “devoted
thing” and brought trouble upon the camp and condemna-tion
upon himself. Surely this is a solemn warning to us
never to appropriate for our own selfish use what has been
devoted to God I “Ye are not your own, ye are bought
with a price” (1 Cor. 6. 20). Samuel was devoted to the
Lord “as long as he liveth. ” Every offering laid upon the
altar was devoted to God. It would have been sacrilege to
have taken it back. The servant with the bored ear be-came
for ever devoted to his master (Exod. 21. 5). Who
then is willing to devote himself unto the Lord ?.236 Handfuls on Purpose.
IV. To have the Hands Filled for the Service of God.
As we have already noticed, the word “consecrate” is used
twenty-nine times in the sense of “filling the hands. ” So
that the most prominent thought in connection with con-secration
is not giving, but taking; not yielding, but
receiving. The marginal reading of that well-known text,
1 Chronicles 29. 5, is, “Who then offereth willingly to fill
his hands this day unto the Lord” (R. V. ). The Lord would
not have us to serve Him with empty hands. What have we
worth offering, either to Him or to perishing men, that we
have not received? Our Lord Jesus Christ did not send
the hungry multitude away because the disciples had not
enough to satisfy them. He filled their halads with the
heaven-sent bread, and so equipped them for the carrying
out of His gracious will. Are our hands so filled with
Christ, the “Bread of God, ” that hungry souls are being
satisfied. We cannot bless the people with ewt$ty hands.
And what shall it profit if our hands are full of other things
than those which God Himself puts into them. Our hands
will hang down in emptiness and feebleness until they are
“given unto the Lord, ” and filled with the gift of His Son
(2 Chron. 30. 8, margin). Empty hands mean powerless
and fruitless service for God. As the priest’s hands were
only filled after he was cleansed and anointed, so must we
be saved and sanctifisd ere our hands can be filled with
acceptable service in His sight. And what a filling He
gives when Jesus Christ, in all the unsearchable riches of
His grace, is made ours in reality by the revelation of the
Holy Spirit (John 16. 14).
THE CHRISTIAN’ S THREEFOLD RELATIONSHIP
John IS.
THIS chapter will always be a fathomless deep of spiritual
instruction, because the twenty “I’s” that are in it are each.Bible Readings. 237
a tree of life as big as God, laden with the fruits of grace.
All the words of Jesus Christ are everlastingly fresh and
seasonable. The breath of eternal life has been breathed
into them, so they are destined to live on for ever. The
whole chapter might be divided into three parts, each
showing a distinct relationship of the believer.
I. Our Relationship to Christ (w. l-11). Here we
are taught that it is one of-1.
LIFE. “I am the Vine, ye are the branches” (v. 5).
The connection is a vital one. Each branch is made a
partaker of the life that is in the vine. So, by His grace
we ark made “partakers of the divine nature, ” planted
into Him, who is the life of men and the fullness of the
Godhead bodily (1 John 5. 11).
2. ENTIRE DEPENDENCE . “The branch cannot bear
fruit of itself; no more can ye” (v. 4). The chief purpose of
the branch is not merely to draw as much life from the vine
as maintain its own existence, but to bring forth fruit. For
this, unbroken fellowship with the vine is absolutely neces-sary.
To be fruitful unto God (the Husbandman) we must
moment by moment abide in Christ, so that His Spirit and
Word may continually abide in us.
3. CO-OPERATION. “Without ME ye can do nothing”
(v. 5). The vine and the branches labour together in
fruit-bearing. Jesus, as the true Vine, desires that the
Father should be gloritied in the fruitfulness of those who,
as branches, are united to Him by a loving faith, and being
made the recipients of His grace and Spirit. If the “good
pleasure” of God is to be wrought out in our lives, it will be
because of His working in us both to will and to do (Phil.
2. 13). A barren branch is a dishonour to the vine ; the
fruitful bring glory to its name.
4. GREAT POSSIBILITIES . “If ye abide in Me, . . . ye
shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you”.238 Handfuls on Purpose.
(v. 7). Who has ever yet proved all the spiritual poten-tialities
that lie hidden in these few simple words, “I
IN YOU” (v. 4). Our union with Christ brings the things
which are impossible with men within easy reach. Paul
knew the power of it when he said, “I can do all things
through Christ which strengtheneth me. ” Have faith 5
in God.
II. Our Relationship to One Another (vv. 12-17).
“That they all may be one“ was the prayer of our Lord for
His followers (John 17. 21). As believers, we are closely
related to one another. There is a-l.
ONENESS OF LIFE. Each branch is possessed l$’ the
same sap (Spirit), and dependent on the same source.
One spiritual life, governed by the one Head, animates the
whole body of Christ. “Christ our life. ” All are born
of the same Spirit, and members of the same family.
2. ONENESS OF LOVE. “Love one another, as I have
loved you” (v. 12). To love one another as Christ loved 21s
is to love with the love of God shed abroad in our hearts.
His love was unmerited, unselfish, and abiding. We
love Him because He first loved us, so if His love is in
us we will not wait till we are loved before we love others.
We will go on loving first, because it is Christ’s love in us.
He who Ioveth God will love his brother also (I John 4. 21).
Love one to another is the universal mark of discipleship
(John 13. 35).
3. ONENESS OF F RIENDSHIP. “I have called you
friends, for all things I have heard of My Father I have
made known unto you” (v. 15). The doing of His will
constitutes this holy friendship (v. 14). ‘Whosoever shall
do the will of My Father, the same is my brother” (Matt.
12. 50). In our obedience to the will of God we are brought
together into this divine brotherhood, where the “secret of
the Lord” becomes common property (Psa. 25. 14). Was.Bible Readings. 239
it not because of Abraham’s faithfulness to the will of God
that He said, “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing
which I do?” (Gen. 18. 17).
4. ONENESS OF WORK. “I have chose% you and
ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit”
(v. 16). Our unity of life and privilege leads to unity of ser-vice.
We have been u&e&y chosen and ordained to go
and bring forth the fruits of Christ’ s character in our lives
for the glory of the Father, not for the glory as the indi-vidual
branch. Where this truth is known experimentally
there is no room for jealousy or envy. If one branch is
more successful than another there will be mutual joy that
the heart of the husbandman has been made glad. The
source of all fruitfulness is not in the branch, but in the
vine. “From ME is thy fruit found” (Hosea 14. 8).
III. Our Relationship to the World (w. 18-27).
This may be stated under the following three words-1.
SEPARATION . “Ye are not of the world” (v. 19). The
whole world lieth in the wicked one, but ye have been
chosen ozrt of the world. Chosen to be a special people unto
Himself, not because ye were better or mightier than others,
but because the Lord loved you (Deut. 7. 6-8). Called by His grace, cleansed by His Blood, and made meet for His
fellowship by the indwelling of His Spirit.
2. OPPOSITION . “Because ye are not of the world, there-fore
the world hateth you” (v. 19). As soon as we be-came
sons of God the world “knew us not and despised
us as strangers and foreigners” (1 John 3. 1). The true
disciple cannot expect to fare better than his Master (Matt.
10. 22). The “contradiction of sinners” must be expected
by all who would follow in Christ’ s steps (Heb. 12. 2-4).
“Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, . . . for great
is your reward in Heaven” (Matt. 5. 11)..240 Handfuls on purpose.
3. WITNESSING. “Ye shall bear witness, because ye
have been with Me. ” (v. 27). We have been separated by
Him, to be witnesses for Him, in the midst of a crooked and
perverse generation. In any ordinary court the witnesses
are separate persons; they are there not to see and be seen,
but to give their evidence. Our business in the great open
court of this world, where Christ is still being judged and
condemned, is as witnesses for Him. The more intimateIy
we know HIM-His Word, His work, and His will-the
more powerful and convincing will our evidence be (Luke
24. 28). We are His witnesses of these things. What
things ? We are witnesses to His death, because we have
been crucified with Him; to His resurrection, because we
have been raised from the dead; to His ascension, because
we are seated together with Him in the heavenlies. “Let
your light so shine” (Matt. 5. 16).
THE ABILITY OF GOD IN AND THROUGH
HIS PEOPLE
“The exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe,
according to Ihe working of His mighty power, which He wrought in
Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all” (Eph. 1. 19-21).
“I also labour, striving according to His working, which worketh
in nte mightily” (Col. 1. 29).
“When I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Cor. 12. 10).
THIS is a great thought, the invisible and Almighty God
working in us-His believing people-and through us,
accompbshing all the good purposes of His will. It is God
who worketh in us, both to will and to do of His good
pleasure (Phil. 2. 13).
I. What God is able to do for us. He is-1.
ABLE TO SAVE US (Heb. 7. 25). For this He came,
for this was His Name called Jesus, for this He died and.Bible Readings. 241
rose again. He saves from wrath, from sin, from the world,
from self, from the Devil, and from death and the grave.
2. ABLE TO DELIVER us (Dan. 3. 17). He delivers by
shutting the mouths of our enemies and quenching the
violence of their fiery passions (Heb. 11. 33, 34).
3. ABLE TO MAKE us STAND (Phil. 3. 21). This is a
great comfort in these slippery days, when men will not
endure sound doctrine. We will be able to stand if we are
able so say, like Elijah, “The Lord God of Israel, before
whom Istand” (1 Kings 17. I).
4. ABLE TO KEEP us (Jude 24). He can even keep
from stumbling. In Christ, we are kept in the Father’ s
hand, where no thief can steal. “Kept by the power of
God through faith” (1 Peter 1. 5).
5. ABLE TO SATISFY us (2 Cor. 9. 8). What a treasure
is here ! “All grace abounding toward you, that you always
may have all-sufficiency in all things. ” Is it so with you I
Why not ? God is able-able to do exceeding abundantly.
6. ABLE TO RAISE us (Heb. 11. 19). He is able to keep
that which we have committed unto Him-spirit, soul, and
body. Joyful anticipation-this mortal shall put on im-mortality.
What a change-a body like unto His own
glorious body.
7. ABLE TO PRESENT us FAULTLESS (Jude 24). What a
joy to Jesus ! What a consolation to the Father! What a
prospect and privilege for the Christian !
II. What God is able to do in us. He is-1.
ABLE TO DWELL IN us (Eph. 3. 17-20). Know ye not
that your body is the temple of God, and that God dwelleth
in you ? Christ dwelling in us by His Spirit in the inner
man is to be the power that worketh in us, as the sap
worketh in the branch..2 42 Handfuls on Purpose.
2. A BLE TO S UBDUE (Phil. 3. 21). If Christ reigns
within, the enemies within will be subdued. He will subdue
the lusts of the flesh, the fiery temper, and the hasty tongue.
3. ABLE TO SUCCOUR (Heb. 2. 18). Temptations are
common. If we are in fellowship with Christ we shall be
succoured with His sympathy in the hour of trial. “He
knows what sore temptations are. ”
4. ABLE TO STRENGTHEN (2 Tim. 4. 17). Abiding in us
by His Spirit, we are conscious of Him standing by us. A
sense of His presence inspires with freshness and vigour.
5. ABLE TO B UILD UP (Acts 22. 32). The inner life
and character need building up-the new man-whose
builder and maker is God. He builds up the believer by
revealing the truth through the Holy Spirit, which is able
to build us up into the image of His Son (Col. 2. 7).
6. ABLE TO FILL (Col. 1. 9). What a precious portion
is ours, “Filled with the knowledge of His will” (Col. 1. 9) ;
and again, “Be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5. 18).
God has reserved to Himself the right to fill a human soul.
7. ABLE TO W ORK (Heb. 13. 21). Sweet thought,
that amidst all the stubborn material within He is able to
work in us that which is pleasing in His sight. Yield all,
and all will be well (1 John 4. 4).
III. What God is Able to Do Through Us. He is-1.
ABLE TO REVEAL (Gal. 1. 16). If His Son has been
revealed in us, it is that He might be revealed through us.
If the light hath shined in our hearts, it is that others might
see it and glorify God (1 Cor. 4. 6). The treasure is put
in the earthen vessel that the power may be of God.
2. ABLE TO RECONCILE (2 Cor. 5. 18-20). What a re-sponsibility
that God should commit unto us the word of
reconciliation ! What a privilege that God should, through
our feeble ministry, reconcile sinners to Himself I.Bible Readings. 243
3. ABLE TO MINISTER (2 Cor. 3. 16). Able to serve
others through His consecrated servants. May He give us
the tongue of the wise to know how to speak a word to the
weary !
4. ABLE TO OVERCOME (Eph. 6. 11). Our defeat is His
dishonour. When we, clothed with the armour of God,
get the victory over the wiles of the Devil, it is Christ
conquering through us.
5. ABLE TO BEAR FRUIT (Col. 1. 10). Walking worthy
of the Lord, He will make us fruitful in every good work.
The vine needs the branches to bear its fruit, so Christ needs
His people to show forth the riches of His grace (John 15. 5).
6. ABLE TO DO HIS OWN PLEASURE (Phil. 2. 13). God
worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
He is shut out from the hearts of the ungodly, but may His
will be done in us as it is done in Heaven. We are “workers
together with Him” (2 Cdr. 6. 1). We “dwell with the
King for His Work” (1 Chron. 4. 23).
“Oh, to be filled with life divine;
Oh, to be clothed with might;
Oh, to reflect my Lord, and shine
As shine the saints in light I”
GOD’S QUESTIONS
IT would appear that from the very beginning it was the
manner of Jehovah to impress the thoughts of His heart
upon the minds of men by asking them questions. Almost
at every great crisis in the history of His ancient people
some definite interrogation falls from His lips. What
method is better calculated to make people think ? It was
also the manner of Jesus Christ-God manifest in the flesh.
He began in the temple by “asking questions, ” and all
through His ministry they were continually falling like
coals of fire upon the heads of His unbelieving followers,.244 Handfuls on Purpose.
and often with startling effect upon His own beloved dis-ciples.
Every question asked by God is intended to arrest
the attention and direct the thoughts of the human mind to
some definite purpose of His heart. So that behind every
question there seems to be a revelation. The following
questions, asked by God Himself, have been put into three
sections, under different topics, and may be used as so
many different readings.
I.-GOD’S QUESTIONS IN RELATION TO SIN
I. “Adam, where art thou ?” (Gen. 3. 9). An in-terrogation
calculated to make him “consider his ways. ”
Why was he now troubled at the presence of God ? (Job 23.
15). Why does his heart condemn him ? (1 John 3. 20).
II. “Who told thee that thou wast naked 7” (Gen. 3.
11). How is it that your innocency as a “garment of glory
and beauty” has suddenly dropped off and left you
clothed only in your own shame ? The hand of sin strips
the soul naked of all comeliness in the sight of God.
III. “What is this that thou hast done ?” (Gen. 3. 13).
Something awful has been done, and thou hast done it.
What is it ? Think it all over again in the very presence of
the Holy One, of Him who hath blessed you with every
needful blessing. What a humbling experience this should
be ; but she attempts an excuse. “Be not deceived ; God is
not mocked. ”
IV. “Why art thou wroth 7” (Gen. 4. 6). Is God un-just
and partial in His dealings with men that you should
be at enmity with Rim in your heart? Why do you let
your “countenance fall” instead of coming and reasoning
together with the Lord? (Isa. 1. 18). He is no respecter of
persons (Rom. 2. 11).
V. “How long wilt thou refuse to Humble thyself
before Me ?” (Exod. 10. 3). Dost thou not know that.Bible Readings. 245
“before destruction the heart of man is haughty”
(Prov. 18. 12). Refusing to humble thyself is to declare
war with the Almighty.
VI. “How long will it be ere they believe Me ?”
(Num. 14. 11). As long as ye believe HIM not, ye are com-panying
with those who shall have their part in the lake
of fire with all liars. In believing Him not ye make Him
a liar. He has sworn that “them that believe not” shall
not enter into His rest (Heb. 3. 18).
VII. “Who would set the briers and thorns against
ME in battle I” (Isa. 27. 4). Your reasons and excuses
for not believing His Word and obeying His will are just so
many briers and thorns set up to oppose the progress of an
unquenchable fire. “I would go through them, ” saith the
Lord. “Who can stand before His indignation ? ” (Nah. 1.6)
VIII. “Can any hide himself that I shall not see
him ?” (Jer. 23. 24). If I make my bed in Hell, Thou art
there. The “thick clouds” that hide Him from thee cannot
hide thee from Him (Job 22. 13, 14). “The eyes of the Lord
are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Prov.
15. 3). All things are naked and bare before the “high
and lofty One that inhabiteth Eternity. ”
IX. “Wilt thou condemn ME, that thou mayest
be righteous ?” (Job. 40. 8). We are condemning Him
when we say that we have not sinned, and seek to establish
our own righteousness. We treat Him as a liar when we
believe not His Word. The life that is built on God-dis-honouring
principles is built on sand and doomed to sudden
destruction (Matt. 7. 24-27).
II.-GOD’ S QUESTIONS IN RELATION TO
SALVATION
I. “What aileth thee?” (Gen. 21. 17). How ready the
Lord is to hear the voice of the needy, and to be touched.246 Handfuls on Purpose.
with compassion at the cry of a desolate, penitent heart.
What aileth thee ? is the language of this Great Physician,
who can well heal all the ailments of the human soul.
II. “To whom will ye liken ME ?” (Isa. 40. 25). You
cannot liken the HOLY ONE to any created thing. 0 man,
with all the multitude of your ailments, liken not God, the
Fountain of Life, to the broken cisterns of earth, or His way
to the deceitfulness of your own heart ! Where will you get
His like for mercifulness, mightiness, and readiness to save ?
III. “To what purpose is your sacrifices unto Me 3”
(Isa. 1. 11). Your gifts and your religious works are to no
pzcrpose as long as the heart is at enmity with God. The
sacrifices of God are a broken spirit (Psa. 51. 16, 17). TO
obey the voice of His Word is better than sacrifice. A
hearing ear is better to Him than the fat of rams (1 Sam.
15. 22).
IV. “Wherefore do ye spend your money for that
which is not bread ?” (Isa. 55. 2). Why go on with re-ligious
forms which bring no strength or satisfaction into
the heart and life ? Why do ye set your affections on those
things which are perishing, and leave your own imperish-able
soul to face an eternal famine ? Why do you labour to
establish yotir own righteousness, when after you have done
your very best you have gained nothing but ‘Xlthy rags ? ”
(Isa. 64. 6).
V. “How shall I pardon thee for this ?” (Jer. 5. 7).
It is not possible for man to give any cogent reason why God
should pardon sin apart from the “Blood of Christ. ”
When God does pardon He has always a good reason for it,
but that reason is never found in our own worthiness, but
in the worthiness of Him who died for us.
VI. “How shall I put thee among the children ?”
(Jer. 3. 19). How can God put the “children of dis-obedience”
among His own sons ? Only by recieemilzg them.Bible Readings. 247
from all iniquity and sending forth the spirit of His Son
into their hearts so that they may truthfully cry, “Abba,
Father” (Gal. 4. 4-6). The constraining motive on God’s
part is love (1 John 3. 1).
VII. “Wilt thou not cry unto me, My Father ?”
(Jer. 3. 4). If He has loved you so much as to give His
Son up to the death for you, that you might have the right
to take your place among His children, wilt thou not cry,
“My Father” (John 1. 12). Wilt thou not own Him as
your Father? We are the children of God by faith
(Gal. 3. 26).
VIII. “Is there anything too hard for ME ? {Jer.
32. 27). Has He not power over all flesh, that He might
give eternal life to as many as believe? (John 17. 2). Is He
not “able to save to the very uttermost” all that come.
Is there anything in your heart, your life, or your circum-stances
that is too kavd for HIM ? Things too hard for you
are easy for God (Matt. 19. 26).
IX. “How shall I give thee up ?” (Hosea 11. 13).
Surely this is good proof of the willingness of God to keep
a hold of His own. Are you afraid that you may not be able
to hold on. Listen. “How shall I give thee up ? ” Your
safety lies in His power to keep. “He is able to keep that
which we have committed unto Him. ” This is a question
that might melt the heart of any backslider.
III.-GOD’ S QUESTIONS IN RELATION TO
SERVICE
I. “What seest thou?” (Jer. 1. 13). There are those
who see no beauty in Jesus, no attractiveness in His Word.
Dost thou see those things which are set before thee in the
vision of the Gospel ? Then thine eyes have been, anointed
with the holy eye-salve (Rev. 3. 18). “Set thine heart
upon all that I shall show thee” (Ezek. 40. 4)..248 Handfuls on Purpose.
11. “Where is thy brother ?” (Gen. 4. 9). Andrew
found his brother, and brought him to Jesus (John 1.41,42).
Those who have seen the Lamb of God and believed on
Him should seek, that others may see Him also. Are you
so taken up with yourself that you forget that you have a
brother ?
III. “Who will go 3” (Isa. 6. 8). Jesus Christ went
forth to the place of shame and death, that God’s message
of salvation might come to us &ozdgh Him. Who will go
tbr Him? There is no compulsion in the service of God but
the compulsion of love. “Here am I, send me, ” for the love
of Christ constraineth me.
IV. “Wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face ?”
(Joshua 7. 10). There is a time to pray, and to humble
thyself before God, but there is also a time to be up and
doing (Exod. 14. 15). Sin must not only be confessed in
ourselves, but must also be rebuked in others. We *
may lie on our face until we become a grief to our
Lord and Master.
V. “What is that in thine hand ?” (Exod. 4. 2). It is
a good thing to have something iti hand that may bring
glory to God. The thing itself may seem small and useless
for this great end; but HE can make it mighty to the pulling
down of the strongholds of Satan. Every lawful thing
that’s in your hand may become a conquering weapon
for God.
VI. “Cannot I do with you as this potter ?”
(Jer. 18. 6). “Woe unto him tharstriveth with his Maker”
(Isa. 45. 9) If the potter can work wonders in a piece of
clay, can not the Lord Almighty work in you both to will and
to do of His good pleasure ? Ye are bought with a price,
therefore it is surely lawful for Him to do what He will
with His own (Matt. 20. 15). Yield yourseIves unto God,
lest ye become as marred vessels unto Him..Bible Readings. 24%?
VII. “Is not My Word as a fire ? ” (Jer. 23. 29). Does
it not make the head to burn when it comes from the lips of
love ? (Luke 24. 32): It is a divine light that needs but the
oxygen of human faith to make it a burning flame in the
soul. The Word of God is no carnal weapon ; it is a tongue
of fire unquenchable. The words of men are as thorns and
briars in the presence of this holy flame (John 6. 63).
VIII. “Can these bones live ?” (Ezek. 37. 3). Can
God raise up out of these dead, dry, and severed bones,
living, moving, mighty men? (Rom. 4. 17). How are the
dead raised up? It is the Spirit that quickeneth. Faith
prophesies, but God causes the breath to enter. “In Him
was life” (John 1. 4).
IX. “Who is blind. . . and deaf, as my messenger ? ”
(Isa. 42. 19). As Saul was blinded by the “brightness
of that light, ” so has all the Lord’s true servants been
blinded to the perishing things of earth by the revelation of
the glory of the things of Heaven. This one thing they do-they
“glory in the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, ” and are
blind to the glory and deaf to the voices of this world that
had nothing for Him but a crown of thorns. “Ye cannot
serve God and Mammon. ” As the messengers of God, we
must have the blindness and the deafness of those who
dort’t wad to see or hear anything that would distract
us in our soul-saving mission.
ENCOURAGEMENT TO PRAYER
Psalm 50. 15.
1. The Time, . . . . “Day of trouble. ”
2. The Counsel, . . . . “Call upon Me. ”
3. The Promise, . . . . “I will deliver. ”
4. The Result, . . . . “Thou shalt glorify Me. *
R Vol. 5.Gospel Outlines
THE WAY OF CAIN
“Woe unto them, for they have gone in the way of Cain” (Jude 11).
GRACE does not run in the blood, so the way of Cain is
spoken of as opposed to the way of God. The broad and
the narrow way may still be distinguished as the way of
Cain or the way of Christ. “My way is not your way, saith
the Lord. ” The way of Cain is-I.
The Way of Mere Human Opinion. He offered
the firstfruits, the best that he had, as ‘an atonement
for his soul. Well, says the modem Cainite, if a man
does the best he can, what more can he do ? The best
way we can do is to take God’s way. Cain refused to
come to God as a sinHey. By faith Abel offered unto God
a more acceptable sacrifice.
II. The Way of Wilful Ignorance. Cain must have
known, from the fact that he was born o&side Eden,
and from the example of his father and mother, that
he was a sinner in the sight of God. The very coats of
skin given them by God revealed the need of an atonement
to cover. But this he, like many to-day, was “willingly
ignorant of. ” God cannot accept our thankoffering as long
as we refuse to acknowledge His sin-offering (John 1. 29).
III. The Way of Utter Rejection? “Unto C&z and
his offeeritig God had not respect” (Gen. 4. 5). The q5irit of
Cain was unacceptable, as well as his offering. The offering,
and the offerer, must always stand or fall together. We
are accepted in the beloved. By one offering He hath
perfected them that are set apart. Jesus says, “I am
the Way, no man can come unto the Father but by Me. ”
250.Gospel Outlines. 251
IV. The Way of Unyielding Pride. “And Cain
was very wroth, and his countenance fell” (Gen. 4. 5).
Although he knew that the way he came to God was of his
own choosing, and displeasing to Him, there is no desire
for repentance, no willingness to confess his sin and forsake
his way. Abel had found his sin-offering at his door among
the flock. A sin-offering also lay at the door of Cain, wait-ing
his reception and ready for his use, but he would not.
The preaching of Christ, and Him crucified, is the laying
of the God-appointed sin-offering at the door of every sinner
who hears the Gospel. If thou doest not well, this si+
offering is for thee (Gen. 4. 7).
V. The Way of Manifest Hatred. “Cain talked with
his brother Abel, and slew him, ” because his own works
were evil and his brother’s righteous (1 John 3. 12).
Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. The
quarrel between good and evil is an old one. To reject
Christ the sin-offering is to take the pIace of a murderer.
He that hateth his brother is a murderer. The first
murder was committed by a man who denied the doctrine
of substitution and the need of atonement.
VI. The Way of Divine Condemnation. “Now
art thou cursed” (Gen. 4. 11). “He that believeth not
is condemned already. ” Where can the man hide who has
fled from the only refuge under Heaven for a sinner-the
sin-offering ? The Lamb of God. The guilt of the un-forgiven
cries unto God like the blood of Abel. Sin
always cries unto God for vengeance, but Christ our
sin-offering answered this terrible cry by the sacrifice of
Himself (1 Peter 2. 24).
VII. The Way of Hopeless Despair. Cain said,
“Mine iniquity is greater than that it may be forgiven”
(Gen. 4. 13, margin). “He meat out from the presence of the
Lord” (v. 16). All who reject the sin-offering are doomed.252 Handfuls on Purpose.
to go out for ever from the presence of the Lord and
from the glory of His power (2 Cor. 1. 9). Cain’s guilt
began by taking his own way, and it was aggravated by
refusing to repent after light and guidance had been
given. He is now confirmed in his unbelief and sealed
in his doom. “Woe unto them, for they have gone
in the way of Cain” (Isa. 1. 18).
WHAT HAVE I DONE?
Jeremiah 8. 6.
THE divine complaint is, that no one seems so sensible of
sin and guilt in His sight as to say, What have I done ?
All are so full of self-confidence that they feel no need of
repentance. Is there not an urgent need of pressing this
question now ?
I. What have I Done with God ? Is He not the Author
and Preserver of my life? Have I been mindful of His
goodness and thankful for His mercies? What place have
I given Him in my thoughts ?
II. What have I Done with Christ? He has been
offered me as the gift of God. What have I done with Him ?
Have I accepted Him or rejected Him ? Have I crowned
Him with thorns or with honour and glory? Is His blood
sprinkled on my heart or is it under my feet ?
III. What have I Done with the Holy Spirit? Have
I grieved Him by my unbelief ? Have I turned a deaf ear
to His entreaty, and hardened my heart against the melting
influences of His presence? Have I received Him in all
His fullness, or am I still doing despite to the Spirit of grace.
IV. What have I Done with the Warnings of Pro-vidence?
In the day of adversity have I been led to
“consider ? ” Have all my afflictions been sanctified? Has
the loss of loved ones on earth drawn my affections more
intently after the things that are above ?.Gospel Outlines. 253
V. What have I Done with my Bible? H a ve
I been reading it as God’ s written message to my
soul ? Have I been using it as a lamp from Heaven
to guide my footsteps thither? Have I made it the
“Man of my counsel, ” and is its message hid in my
heart ? Have I openly confessed its truth, or am I
ashamed of it ?
VI. What have I Done with my Talents ? My brain,
my money, my time, and my tongue, have they been used
for the glory of self, or for the glory of God? Have they
been buried in the napkin of self-preservation, instead of
used for the advancement of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus
Christ ?
VII. What have I Done with my Opportunities?
Have I taken advantage of my many God-given pr.ivileges,
to hear His Word, to speak in His Name, to reprove, to
rebuke, to exhort? Have I been more anxious to kill the
time than to redeem it ?
VIII. What have ‘ I Done with my Neighbours ? Have
I sought to take advantage of them, rather than be a bless-ing
to them? Have I loved them as myself, or have I
treated them as inferior creatures ? Have I received of the saving grace of God, and have I treated those beside me as
if I owed them nothing ?
IX. What have I Done with the Inner Cry of my
Own Need? Have I been conscious of the need of
God’ s forgiveness and deliverance from the power of
sin, and yet have sought to stifle the voice? What have I done with my sense of weakness, powerlessness,
and fruitlessness in living the Christian life ? Have I
sought comfort instead of confession, the pity of my
fellow-believers instead of the power of the Holy Ghost?
Are you among those of whom the Lord complains,
that they do not repent saying, “What have I done?”.254 Handfuls on Purpose.
FREE SALVATION
Isaiah 55. 1.
I. The Articles for Sale. “Wine and milk. ”
1. MILK, emblematic of that which contains all the essm-tials
of life. The Gospel of Christ meets man’ s every need.
2. WINE, emblematic of that which cheers and inspires.
The Gospel not only saves, but satisfies and inspires the
soul with new and higher motives.
II. The Price ‘to be Paid. “Buy without money and without price. ” “Nothing in my hand I bring.” Any
price, in the form of works, prayers, emotions, or doc-trines,
offered to God for eternal salvation is an insult to
His GRACE. The condition is without momey, with abso-lutely
nothing but your need and emptiness, that his
“lovingkindness” may be known.
III. The Customers Invited. The-1.
THIRSTY. “Ho, every one that thirsteth I” If this
invitation was found over some publican’ s door there
would likely be a good many applicants. Soul thirst is
your qualification for the “waters of life. ” “If any man
thirst, let him come (John 7. 37). ”
2. BANKRUPT. “He that hath no money. ” Already “sold
under sin. ” Debtors, having nothing wherewithal to meet a
merciless creditor. It was when the prodigal began to be in
wad that he said, “I will arise and go to my father.” “Come,
for all things are now ready. ” “By grace are ye saved
through faith, and that not ofyouvselves, it is thegift of God.”
ALIENATED FROM THE LIFE OF GOD.
Ephesians 4. 18.
I. What is Meant by “the Life of God ? ” Jesus Christ was the perfect exhibition of this life. In Him this life
was manifested as a life of-.Gospel Outlines. 255
1. HOLINESS. He was the image of God, although in
the likeness of sinful flesh. A life lived in the fellowship
and favour of God.
2. SELF-SACRIFICE. He pleased not Himself. He loved
us and gave Himself for us. Always pleasing unto God
(Matt. 17. 5).
3. INWARD JOY AND PEACE. He could say, “My peace
I give unto you, ” and that “My joy may remain in you. ”
The life of God is a life in perfect harmony, with a perfect
environment.
4. POWER AND VICTORY. Power over all His enemies,
and victory over death and the grave.
II, What is Meant by being “Alienated” from this
life ? It is to have-1.
No LIKENESS TO GOD. No kinship of nature. Separ-ated
by sin, and living at enmity with Him (Rom. 8. 7).
2. No FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD. As soon as Adam sinned he
fell out of communion with God. Those in fellowship with
the powers of darkness cannot walk in this light (Acts 26. 18).
3. No HOPE IN GOD. Where there is no faith in Jesus
Christ there is no hope, and those without this hope are
without God in the world (Eph. 2. 12).
4. *tie FITNESS FOR GOD. The carnal mind cannot
please Him, and without holiness no man shall see the
Lord. “Except a man be born again he cannot see the
Kingdom of God. ”
III. What is the Cause of this Alienation 3 It is
threefold-1.
IGNORANCE. “Alienated through the ignorance that
is in them. ” This is wilful ignorance, for Jesus said, “If
ye had known Me, ye would have known My Father also. ”
“Ye will not come to Me. ”.256 Handfuls on Purpose.
2. BLINDNESS . “Because of the blindness of their
heart. ” Those who prefer the darkness to the light will
surely be smitten with heart-blindness. Spiritual ignor-ance
is the most favourable condition for a “deceitful
heart. ”
“The understanding darkened. ” Spiritual 3. DARKNESS.
things become foolishness to them. These are the
fetters with which the god of this world binds the enemies
of God (2 Cor. 4. 3, 4).
IV. What is the Cure. for Alienation ? We may in-stantly
escape from this awful condition by-1.
CONFESSION. If we confess our sins, He is faithful
and jwt to forgive us, because God’s Lamb has been slain
(John 1. 29). Pvo+itiution has been made (1 John 2. 2).
2. RECEPTION. “As many as receive Him, to them gives
He the right to become the sons of God” (John 1. 12). The
prodigal was no longer alienated after he “came to his
father ” “No man can come to the Father but by ME. ”
3. SUBMISSION. To abide in His fellowship there must
be a continual surrender of the will to God. “If ye keep My
commandments, ye shall abide in My love” (John 15. 10).
REGENERATION
John 3. 3, 6, 7.
IT is John, the apostle of love, who speaks most directly on
the doctrine of the “new birth. ” It is referred to seven
times in his first epistle. To be regenerated is to be “born
from above ” (margin), “born of God ” (John 1. 13). For
the sake of clearness, think of-I.
What this Change is Not. It is not-1.
A NATURAL BIRTH. “Ye must be born again-born
from above. ” That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and
flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God..Gospel Outlines. 257
2. A SYSTEM of DOCTRINE. Nicodemus knew that Jesus was
a teacher come from God, and was acquainted with much of
His teaching, yet Jesus said to him, “Ye must be born again. ”
3. OUTWARD REFORMATION . No adorning of the ex-ternal
character can change the heart, and make a man a
new creation. It may be possible to keep the hands of a
clock’right at times, but that does not make it right when
the main spring is wrong.
4. MAKING A PROFESSION. Merely professing to be
saved does not save. A sow in a sheepskin does not make
the sow any better. Not he that s&h, but he that doeth
the will of the Father.
II. What this Change Really Is. It is-1.
A DIVINE CHANGE. It is the Spirit that quickeneth.
To be “born from above” implies the forth-putting of the
creative power of God. If God is to be our Father, then
we must be born of God.
2. A COMPLETE CHANGE. If any man be in Christ he is
a flew creation. Old things have passed away. The winter-of
darkness and death is gone, and the time of singing the
new song has come. The transformation of character is still
as radical as it was in the case of Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9).
3. A CONSCIOUS CHANGE. No one can be brought out of
such a horrible pit of ignorance and sin without being
sweetly sensible of it (Psa. 40. I-3). “One thing I know,
whereas I was blind, now I see. ” We know that we have
passed from death unto life.
III. Why this Change is Needed.
1. THE CHARACTER OF MAN DEMANDS IT. “Except a man
be born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. ”
Man’s way is to educate and legislate, but God’s way is to
regenerate. There is no other remedy for that canal mind
which is enmity against God..258 Handfuls on Purpose.
2. THE CHARACTER OF GOD DEMANDS IT. How can two
walk together except they be agreed? God is holy, SO
without holiness no man shall see the Lord. The Kingdom
of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace,
and joy in the Holy Ghost.
3. THE WORK OF CHRIST DEMANDS IT. He came and
suffered and died that we might have life through His
Name. The voice of His Blood cries for a thorough change
in man before he can come with acceptance to the Father
(John 14. 6).
4. THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT DEMANDS IT. It is the
Spirit that quickens, the flesh profiteth nothing. If it were
possible for an unrenewed soul to enter Heaven it would
be an eternal insult to the Son and to the Holy Ghost.
5. THE WORD OF GOD DEMANDS IT (v. 3). This Word,
which is settled in Heaven, cannot be broken. “The
words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit and life. ”
Incorruptible.
IV. How this Change is Effected.
1. THE AGENT IS THE SPIRIT. “Not by might nor by
power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord. “He is the Holy
Breath that breathes upon the slain, that they may live
(Ezek. 37. 9).
2. THE INSTRUMENT IS THE WORD. “Born again by the
Word of God” (1 Peter 1. 23). It is not man’ s thoughts
that the Holy Spirit uses in regenerating any soul, but
God’ s.
3. THE CONDITION IS FAITH. “Whosoever belie&h that
Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5. 1). “Whoso-ever
belicveth in Hi& should not perish, but have ever-lasting
life. ” This is our Lord’ s own answer to the great
question of Nicodemus, “How can a man be born when he
is old?” (John 3. 14-16)..’ Gospel Outlines.
REMEMBER LOT’ S WIFE
Luke 17. 32.
259
THERE are very solemn reasons why we should remember
Lot’s wife, in the near approach of the coming of the Son
of Man (v. 30). To be unfit for His appearing will be to
be overtaken with that, vengeance which shall come upon
those who have not “obeyed the Gospel ” (2 Thess. 1. 6- 10).
Some things about her that should be remembered-I.
She Perished, although she was the Wife of ti
Righteous Man. Lot was not all that he might have
been, but he was a “righteous man who vexed his soul”
(2 Peter 2. 8) with the filthy conversation of the Sodo-mites.
She was also related to Abraham, the man of faith.
II. She Perished, although she was Warned of her
Danger. A special message had come from Heaven,
warning them to “escape for their life. ” Have we not also
had a special warning from God through His own Son 1
(John 3. 36).
III. She Perished, although she Made an Effort to
be Saved. She heard the warning, partly believed it,
and ran for a while, but stopped short of salvation. She
did not “forget the things that were behind. ” Like Simon
the sorcerer, her heart was not right with God (Acts 8. 21).
“Doing the best you can, ” apart from a steadfast faith in
Christ, is to perish by the way.
IV. She Perished, although Separated from the
Sodomites. Her body was outside the city, but her,
affections were in it. She was not so bad as the wicked
citizens of the plain, but still fatally fettered by the love
.of the world. She could thank God, like the Pharisee,
that she “was not like others, ” but she was unsaved
(Heb. 10. 38, 39).
V. She Perished, although she Committed but.260 Handfuls on Purpose.
One Sin. That one awful sin was the sin of unbelief,
which manifested itself in a disobedient look. The com-mand
was, “Escape for thy life: look not behind thee”
(Gen. 19. 17). Sinners perish, not because of the nzmber
of their sins, but because of the nature of sin. By one man
sin entered into the world, and death by sis, not sins. To
offend the law of God in o%e point is to be guilty of all.
She would never have looked back if she had kept her eye
on the mountain set before her (Heb. 12. 2).
THE RICH FOOL
Luke 12. 16-21.
“A MAN’ s life consisteth not in the abundalzce of the things
which he possesseth” (v. 15). An abundance of straw will not
supply the place of wheat : neither will the abundance of a
man’s rags adorn him. Life consists not in aburtdance, but in
having that which is truly meet. Man’s covetous eyes looks
for quantity, although it should rot like the kept up “manna. ”
“Consider the ravens” (v.24). “Consider the lilies”(v. 27).
“YourFatherknoweth that yehaveneedof these things”(v.30).
A man’ s life is not in things at all, but in God, just as there is
no life in the chaff, so there is no true life in the things of the
world. The Laodiceans had abundance, but it was a miser-able
portion (Rev. 3. N-20). Life means peace, faith, hope.
The things of the world cannot give them.
I. A Plentiful Portion. “The ground brought forth
plentifully” (v. 16). Unprecedented success has attended
his effort. The sun and shower has favoured him, the
horn of plenty has been poured into his lap, and with this
plentiful harvest comes also a plentiful opportunity of doing
good by making the hearts of the poor sing for joy. In
the Lord Jesus Christ God has given us a very plentiful
portion. They are infinitely rich who possess Him. And
as a consequence greatly responsible..Gospel Outlines. 261
II. A Perplexing Thought. “What shall I do”
(v. 17). Give thanks unto the Giver of every good gift of
course. “But no, not a word about God, WZY fruits, my
goods” .(v. 18). Alas, this is but the influence of the
abundance of the things of this life, to increase the per-plexity
of the possessor. The more corn, the more care. The more pounds, the less pleasure if God is forgottefl. The .
young ruler went away sorrowfully for he was very rich. A
child will be happy with one apple in its hand and miserable
with three, because it has more than it can hold. How different with spiritual blessings. Christ, “the blessing of
the Lord maketh rich and addeth no sorrow” (Prov. 10. 22).
Here are riches that satisfy, and cure all perplexity. Pilate
said, “What shall I do with Jesus (which is called Christ). ”
This precious gift of God is worthy of a new and bigger
heart.
III. A Reasonable Conclusion. “This will I do, I will
pull down my barns and build greater” (v. 18). There is
nothing foolish in this. It is wise to make Iarge provision
for God’ s larger gift. It would be good for some Christians
to have their old barns pulled down and to build greater, to
make more room for Christ the Gift of God in their hearts, the “exceeding riches of Christ” are often crowded out of
hearts because they are too contracted. The fdhess of the
blessing cannot be contained in the old barns, there must be
a pzclli~g down and an enlargement, or else there will be a
suffering of loss. The windows of Heaven are opened, but we cannot say we have not room enough, because faith is
small.
IV. A Selfish Consideration. “I will say to my soul,
Take thine ease, eat, drink, be merry” (v. 19). God’ s great
gift in providence has been received, but how is it to be
used? All for the ease and gratification of self. “My soul,
eat, drink, etc.” Self only is in his reckoning, and here is.262 Handfuls on Purpose.
his folly. It is a foolish thing then to be selfish and to seek
abiding happiness where it can never be found in material
things. Having got abundance, he would now rest in
idleness and ease. Are there not many who, having
received abundant salvation for themselves, revel in
spiritual luxuries and forget the poor and the needy out-side
the Kingdom of God. It is foolish, selfish, and
sinful to “take thine ease, and eat, ” etc., while others are
perishing.
V. A Solemn Message. “This night thy soul shall be
required of thee” (v. 20). This is an awakening word to
those who are seeking their happiness only in the things
which satisfieth not. Death, to the rich worldling, is their
bill of bankruptcy, while dreaming of peace and plenty
sudden destruction and spiritual poverty, cometh upon
them. With regard to their enjoyments, “death ends all. ”
In all his planning there is no “if the Lord will. ” Those
who have been occupied only with their own good can never
receive the Master’s “Well done. ” “Inasmuch as ye did
it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me. ”
It is blessed to receive, but it is more blessed to give.
VI. A Remorseful Question. “Then whose shall those
things be ? ” (v. 20). Thelz what a thrust at the heart
this is, by the sword of the Spirit “whose, ” they will not be
his at anyrate. His expectation of “many years” is sud-denly
cut off, and the foolishness of his conduct is clearly
seen. Oh, that men were wise, especially rich men, to con-sider
their latter end! But there is a thought here still for
the selfish Christian : “Whose shall these privileges be ? ”
With every blessing there is privilege, and with the privi-lege
corresponding responsibility. See that others get a
share of the legacy of your own experience, otherwise
“whose shall they be ? ”
VII. A Pointed Application. “So is he that layeth up.Gospel Outlines. 263
treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (v. 21).
Whether he is a worldling or a Christian he acts the fool, if
he lays up for self instead of God. Men lay up for them-selves
by gathering, and for God by giving. Self cries,
Give, give, like the greedy sea. Grace says, Give give,
like the generous sun. “Lay up treasure in Heaven. ”
Self is a bag that will wax old (v. 33). The woman that
cast her farthing into the treasury was laying up treasure in
Heaven. The Samaritan who paid the two pence for the
wounded did the same. So did the woman that poured her
ointment on the Master’ s head. The world cannot see the true
Christians’ riches, they are in God’ s bank. Is your heart right
with God ? Where is it ? Just where your treasure is (v. 34).
PRAYER, A NECESSITY AND PRIVILEGE
“He spoke unto them, saying, that men ought always to pray,
and not to faint” (Luke 18. 1).
OUR Lord first gives the precept, then follows the example.
There are five examples of prayer in this chapter:
(1) A praying widow (v. 3), (2) a praying Pharisee (v. IO),
(3) a praying publican (v. 13), (4) a praying ruler (v. 18),
(5) a praying beggar (v. 38). All men ought to pray.
I. MEN ought to Pray. It .las been said that man is the only animal that can look up. Alas! that so many
should play the man with the muck-rake described in
Bunyan’ s Pilgrim’ s Progress. Man, made in the image of the God of Heaven, should look up. When Nebuchadnezzar
looked up his understanding retuned (Dan. 4. 34).
II. Men OUGHT to Pray. SOIA~O sneer at the efficacy
of prayer, and talk about the ~nchangeableness of God. As
if the unchangeable God could not ordain the means as well
as the end. Man ozcgltt; this allows for the free action of
his will. He ought; but he may not or will not, yet his
responsibility remains..204 Handfuls on Purpose.
III. Men ought ALWAYS to Pray. To pray about
everything, and to be thankful for anything (Phil. 4. 6).
“In everything by prayer and supplication, ” etc. Regard
the things which would distract as the bark of a dog, for they
are sure to be the howlings of the flesh. This reaches to
every extremity and detail of our daily and humdrum life.
We need God’s counsel and strength, even when we don’t
think it, or are at least unconscious of our need.
IV. Men Ought always to PRAY. The Greek word is
“wish for. ” Men ought always to desire and ask. Praying
without desiring is mockery. To be always wishing does
not mean always begging, but a speaking to God, as a
Father, and as one who delights in His fellowship. It is a
life of walking and talking with God. It is not a task to
those who have the Spirit of prayer. It is their very breath
of life.
V. Men Ought always to Pray and NOT TO FAINT.
These are the words of Him who will avenge His elect who
cry day and night unto Him. He knows that importunity
will not go unrewarded. Abraham fainted when he ceased
pleading for Sodom. Joash also stopped too soon, and fell
short of the full blessing (2 Kings 13. 19). Paul’s im-portunity
prevailed, although the thorn was not taken
away. The causes of fainting are usually doubt and delay.
In this chapter there are great encouragements to prayer.
Pray on. If you cannot pull God nearer you, you will
pull yourself nearer to Him.
VI. Why Men do not Pray.
1. BECAUSE OF UNBELIEF. They do not believe God,
and show by their practical infidelity that Jesus Christ has
no place in their lives.
2. BECAUSE OF SELF-CONFIDENCE. They have such
great thoughts about their own character and abilities that.Gospel Outlines. 265
they feel not their need of seeking the help and guidance of
the Lord.
3. BECAUSE OF THE LOVE OF SIN. Some are so conscious
that their lives are opposed to the will of God that they
dare not pray unless they are prepared to make confession.
“BELIEVE, AND THOU SHALT SEE ”
John 11. 40.
THE happy home at Bethany had been suddenly over-shadowed
with sorrow, Lazarus was sick. The loving
sisters hasten to breathe their trouble into Jesus’ ear.
When He heard, He said, “This sickness is for the glory of
God. ” What? Sickness for the glory of God. How slow
we are to believe this (Rom. 8. 28). Jesus Loved Martha
and her sister and Lazarus, and abode two days still in the
same place where He was. How strange that His absence
from them should be a proof of His love for them. In
refusing their request He desires to give them far above
what they asked (v. 1.5). They had “prayed,” now He
asks their “trust. ” Having declared Himself to be the
“Resurrection and the Life, ” He said, “Believest thou
this ? ” Such faith needs to be tested before it can be re-warded.
We notice then the-I.
Test of Faith. “Take ye away the stone” (v. 39).
If you believe that your brother will rise again, and that
“I am the Resurrection, then roll away this stone. ” Faith
without works is dead. James says, “I will show you my
faith by my works. ” If we expect great things from God,
then we will attempt great things for God. But here we
see-II.
Language of Doubt. “Lord by this time he
stinketh” (v. 39). Corruption will be doing its loathsome
work. Just so, Martha. You are looking at the difficulty
more than at the promise. Your eyes are still on the dead s Vol. 5.266 Handfuls on Purpose.
more than on the Life-giving One. Is not this the reasvn
why many of us fail to see the glory of the Lord’s power?
We are looking more at the giants in the land than at the
arm of Omnipotence. We see our friends lying in spiritual
death, and we mourn their sad condition as hopeless, be-cause
our.eyes are not fixed on Him who is the Resurrection
and the Life. Then came-III.
Rebuke of Love. “Said I not unto thee that, if
thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God”
L (v. 40). Doubtless these tender, burning words fell with
melting power as tears upon the face of Martha’s heart.
Doubting is not an infirmity, but a sin; a denial of the
Word of Him who cannot lie. Oh, how often our unbelief
hinders the manifestation of His power (Matt. 13. 58).
How often do we pray, “Lord, if thou hadst been here ? ”
while He is saying to us, “If thou wouldest believe. ”
Now comes-IV.
Obedience of Faith. “Then they took away the
stone” (v. 41). The stone of unbelief-the unbelief of
God’s people-often lies in the way of the dead in sin being
raised. “Believe, and thou shalt see. ” There are other
stones that lie in the way, such as the fear of man, the love
oj the world, and selfish indiffeerence. This last is a sort of
morbid Calvinism or fatalism that says, “If they are going
to be saved they will be saved. ” But what saith the Lord ?
“Said I not unto thee that, if thou wouldest believe, thou
shouldest see the glory of God 1” After obedience came
the-V.
Glory of God. How was His glory seen ? In
giving life to the dead and liberty to the living (v. 44).
Lazarus was restored to their home and their hearts. All
their desires and longings were fully met. They believed,
and saw His glory, and were satisfied. Have you beheld
the glory of His life-giving power in answer to your.Gospel Outlines.
obedient trust, or are you still mourning hopelessly over the
dead, forgetting Him who hath said, “Believe, and thou
shalt see?” This prescription, “Believe, and thdu shalt
see, ” given by the Great Physician to those troubled
sisters, might be taken as a word in season to the-1.
QUESTIONING UNBELIEVER. How am I to know that
the Bible is the Word of God? How am I to know that
the Blood of Jesus cleanseth from all sin? How am I to
know thai eternal life is in Jesus Christ? “Believe, and
thou shalt see. ”
2. ANXIOUS SEEBER. I do not see how I can be justified
by simply believing. No, but “Believe, and thou shalt see. ”
“All that believe are justified from all things” (Acts 13. 39).
3. SUFFERING BELIEVER. No affliction for the present
seemeth joyous, but rather grievous, nevertheless afterwards
it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them who
are exercised thereby. “Believe, and thou shalt see. ”
4. DISCOURAGED WORKER. “We have toiled all night
and taken riothing: launch out into the deep. ” “At Thy
word we will let down the net. ” “Believe, and thou shalt
see. ” The Sunday school teacher says, “I long fo see my
scholars brought to Christ. ” “Believe, and thou shalt see. ”
5. DYING CHRISTIAN. The tide of life is ebbing, the
things of this world fast fading from the vision, the eyes
fast closing to the light of day ; but Jesus is near with
His sure Word of promise. “BELIEVE, AND THOU
SHALT SEE THE GLORY OF GOD. ”
THE POWERLESS STAFF
“Gehazi laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was
neither voice nor hearing” (2 Kings 4. 31).
THE staff belonged to Elisha the prophet, and was doubtless
a good staff, quite fit to do all the work of a staff, but it was.268 Handfuls on Purpose.
useless in bringing life to the dead. There are many things
good enough in their own way as he@, but which are
utterly powerless to save the soul from sin and death.
There is, for instance-I.
The Staff of Religious Upbringing. This is a
beautiful staff, and quite prophetic in a way. It is a great
advantage to be trained from youth to honour and respect
everything religious. But to trust in this as fitness for the
Kingdom of God is to lean on a rotten stick. “The child
is not awaked. ”
IL The Staff of Regular Praying. This is another
staff, good in itself, that is often trusted to bring life to the
dead. “I have said my prayers from my youth up. ” Very
good, but dead prayers cannot bring to life any more than a
dead staff. We are not saved because we pray, but we use
prayer as a staff to help us to the God of salvation.
III. The Staff of Good Works. Good works are always
good, but those who lean on them to help them to Heaven
are always found glorying in themselves, because they don’t
feel indebted to any other for the hope that is in them.
They are limping on with these two crutches what they
have done and what they have not done. They are leaning
on the arm of flesh and refuse the arm of God.
IV. The Staff of Godly Parentage. To be well con-nected
in a religious sense is much to be thankful for, but
remember that Judas was also well connected, and that the
rich man who “lifted up his eyes in hell” (Luke 16. 23) was
a son of Abraham. Lot’s wife was very well connected,
yet she perished. If you are trusting to this staff you are
depending on a rope of sand.
V. The Staff of Church Membership. Those who
trust this crutch to save them generally lean hard on it.
They make a point of hearing the Word preached at least.Gospel Outlines. !!69
once a week, and never miss a communion if they are well.
They seem to think that every attendance at a communion
gains for them a mark of favour in the Book of Life. To
use the means of grace is good, as you would use the cup
hanging at a fountain; but to trust them is to remain in
your sins.
VI. The Staff of Scriptural Knowledge. This staff is
perhaps the most ornamental of all ; at least it is well
varnished. Those who lean on this for salvation seem very
wise. You can tell them nothing new; they have known it
all from their youth. Yet are they utter strangers to that
new life begotten by the Spirit of God. They say, ‘<We
know, ” and then ask, “How can a man be born when he is
old” (John 3. 4). Life is not found in searching the
Scriptures, but in Christ.
VII. The Staff of Historical Belief. This staff ap-pears
to be both long and strong, so there be many who
hope for life through it. They believe in the Bible, the
Creed, and the Confession of Faith ; they believe in Heaven
and in Hell, in Christ and the Devil, in demons and in
angels, and in everything that is in the Bible, just as they
believe everything that is in the History of Scotland, and
with the very same result. They are dead while they live.
BARABBAS OR JESUS
Matthew 27. 17.
IT was a solemn day when Jesus stood in silence before
Pilate and the people, a day heavily laden with far-reaching
consequences. It is always such a day when a soul is called
upon to make its final decision for God or the world. Observe-I.
Who they are. Barabbas and Jesus.
1. BARABBAS. One who also bears the name of Jesus. A
law-breaker, a robber, and a murderer. An enemy to God
and to all the best interests of society..270 Handfuls on Purpose.
2. JESUS. The Son of God and the Friend of man. One
who went about continually doing good. A sufferer for the
salvation of others.
II. What they are. They are representatives of two
different kingdoms-of two different rulers that are
opposed to each other.
1. THE B.&sn~s KINGDOM. The kingdom of this present
evil world-the kingdom of darkness governed by the prince
of darkness. Their great business is to rob men of their
time, of their affections, their wills, and their souls. They
seek to rob both God and man.
2. THE J ESUS KINGDOM. Jesus represents the Kingdom . of God. He stands for the sacrifice for sin, the eternal life
which is the gift of God. He is the light and life of men,
the substitute Redeemer.
III. Where they are. They stand together before the
people (v. 21), waiting for their individual choice. In
one way or other they have been standing together before
each generation ever since that day, All to whom Christ
is preached must make their choice.
1. You CANNOT HAVE BOTH. Barabbas and Christ are
opposites, as diametrical as darkness and light. “Ye
cannot serve God and Mammon. ” Ye cannot love the world
and love God also. Whosoever is the friend of the world is
the enemy of God. There is no alternative, you must
choose the one or the other.
2. YOUR ETERNAL DESTINY HANGS ON YOUR CHOICE.
They said, “Barabbas, ” and what followed ? His blood is
on them tiIl this day. What do you say ? In Christ there
is life; in the Barabbas of this world there is dentlz. Both
life and death is set beforeyo2C. “Choose life” (Deut. 30. 15).
“My heart is fixed, eternal God-fixed on Thee;
And my immortal choice is made-Christ for me.”.G o s p e l Outline% . 271
HOW TO BE BLESSED
Psalm 40. I-4..
THIS is the testimony of a man who knew by experience
the blessedness or happiness here spoken of. There are two
conditions referred to-in the pit, and on the rock; the
position of the unsaved and the position of the saved.
Look at- .
I. The Position of the Unsaved. In a “horrible pit. ”
1. Its DEPTH is horrible, for those in it are “afar off”
from God and beyond the reach of. the help of man.
2. Its DARKNESS is horrible. The darkness is so dense
that those in this pit cannot see themselves or their own
lamentable state. They are often stone blind to the light
, of God’s grace or the beauty of His Son.
3. Its N OISE is horrible (mnvgin). There are many
noises, but no soul-soothing music. The noise of strife and
the clamour of many tongues-the tongue of business, the
tongue of pleasure, the tongues of greed, of riot, and of
blasphemy-noises that are so loud that the still small
voice of the Spirit of grace is often unheard.
II. The Position of the Saved. “Upon a rock. ” The
place of safety. And instead of the horrible noise there is
a new song in the mouth.
1. -Upon the rock of His I NFALLIBLE W O RK. The
work finished on Calvary’s Cross is a sure foundation
for the feet of faith.
“On Christ the solid Hock L stand,
All other ground is sinking sand. ”
2. Upon the rock of His INFALLIBLE WORD. He hath
promised, and He cannot lie. His “hath” is as sure as His
throne (John 3. 36). “Thy Word is settled in Heaven. ”
All the efforts and arguments of ungodly men will never
unsettle it..272 Handfuls on Purpose.
3. Upon the rock, SINGING A NEW SONG. This singing
implies gladness and perfect satisfaction. The noise of the
pit has given place to the music of Heaven. The agqny
arising out of self-interest has been exchanged for “Praise
unto our God. ”
11.1. The Power of the Saviour. “He brought me out.”
HE only could go deep enough down to lift us out of such I miry clay. No human arm was long enough or strong
enough for such a great deliverance. All who ever get out
of this pit of sin will have to praise HIM for it. Make the
Lord your trust, and this blessedness will be yours (v. 4).
“Look unto Me, and be ye saved. ”
THE BARTERED BIRTHRIGHT
Genesis 25. 27-34 ; Hebrews 12. 17.
ESAU, like Cain, stands out in the Word of God as a beacon
of warning-like the mast of some sunken ship still seen
above the overwhelming tide. Observe here a-I.
.Privilege Inherited. Esau was the first-born, and
so by birth he had the opportunity of becoming heir.
Although it is true that natural birth will not bring us ido
the heirship of God’ s promises, yet it does bring us into a
marvellous place of opportunity compared with those who,
through no fault of their own, have been born in the dark-ness
of cannibalism. All born in Bible lands are heirs of
a priceless privilege.
II. Privilege Despised. Esau said, “What profit is
this birthright to me I ” (v. 32). It could be no profit to
him when he esteemed other sensual things of more im-portance.
The pottage to him was the chief thing at that
moment. He allowed his a$$etite to overrule the higher
instincts of his nature. Men constantly make this mistake
Nhen they sufter temporal things to take the place of
. s p i r i t u a l. Things of first importance should always be.Gospel Outlines. 273
put first. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His
righteousness, and these things for which so many hunger
after shall be added. To despise Gospel privileges is to
despise your birthright.
III. Privilege Lost. “He sold his birthright” (v. 33).
He deliberately parted with it as a thing of no value. An
opportunity not accepted is an opportunity lost. There
are always plenty of the Jacob sort about, who are ready,
at any cost to others, to make personal gain out of their
spiritual stupidity. Moses looked at his birthright with
a very different eye when he chose rather to suffer affliction
with the people of God than enjoy the pleasures of sin for
a season (Heb. 11. 25, 26). The heart is never more deceit-ful
than when it covets the things which are seen and
temporal, and lets slip those things which are eternal. It
is a bad bargain to sell the spiritual for the natural.
IV. Privilege Lamented. “Afterward, when he would
have inherited the blessing, he was rejected, . . . though
he sought with tears” (Heb. 12. 17). The sin of unbelief
is sure to be followed with a terrible “afterwards. ” His
dying father brought conviction home to his heart and
conscience; but his tears, though many and bitter, did not
avail to bring him into the hitherto despised blessing.
“Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime received good
things, ” was a stinging “afterward” to the rich man spoken
of in Luke 16. How shall we escape the sorrowful afterward
“if we neglect the great present salvation ? ” (Heb. 2. 3).
SEVEN FOOLS
A FOOL is a man whose stupidity is proven by his actions
or words. The-I.
Atheistical Fool. He says in his heart,’ “There is
no God” (Psa. 14. 1). He wishes there was none, and
so ventures to think and say&here is no God. He is a fool.274 Handfuls on Purpose.
for saying so, but he does not know. He has not searched
every corner of the universe to see.
II. Rationalistic Fool (1 Cor. 15. 35, 36). He doubts
the resurrection and denies all miracles, because he knows
not the Scriptures nor the power of God. An American
sceptic was overcome and conquered by these two woods,
“Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened except
it die. ” The weakness of man’s reason to grasp cannot
make the Word of God of none effect.
III. Shameless Fool. This fool “makes a mock at
sin” (Prov. 14. 9). A miner in Tasmania lately had his
eyes blown out of his head by an explosion. He was a
thoughtless and profane man. A very common expressidn
of his was, “God curse my eyes: ” Sin is the abominable
thing which God hates, and for which Christ shed His
Blood. Yet fools make a mock at it.
IV. Thoughtless Fool (Matt. 7. 26). He goes on
building the house of all his hopes for the future on the
sad. So foolish is he that he expects to save himself by
his own works, apart from that only foundation laid by
God, the rock Christ Jesus.
V. Industrious Fool (Luke 12. 20). ’ This man is not
a sceptir ; he does not make a mock at sin. He is a thought-ful,
active, and careful business man. But earthly goods
are all that he is concerned about. He did well for him-self,
and men would praise him, but *he was a fool in the
sight of God, who weighs human lives in the balance of
eternity. To trust in the abundance of riches and make not
God your strength is supreme folly. What is your present
life? It is but a vapour,, therefore lay up treasure in
Heaven. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteous-ness,
and all these things shall be added unto you. ”
VI. Self-Confident Fool (Rom. 1. 21, 22). This man.Gospel ,Outlines. 275
knows there is a God, but glorifies him not as God. Neither
is he thankful, but becomes vain in his imaginations, and
professing himself to be wise he becomes a fool. Oh, the
folly of believing in God and honouring Him not as God !
Following the vain thoughts of his own foolish heart instead
of the thoughts of God, substituting his own imaginations
for the revealed will of God, he sees the light but loves the
darkness better.
VII. Christian Fool (1 Cor. 4. 10). “We are fools for
Christ’s sake. ” It is infinitely.better to be a fool in the
eyes of Christless men, and be wise in the sight of God,
than be a fool in the sight of God and wise in the eyes of
sin-blinded men. The wisdom of Christ is as far above the
highest wisdom of men as the folly of a fool is below it.
So to be wise in Christ is to be as a fool in the eyes of the
worldly wise. After the learned Saul was converted he
was called a “babbler. ” Festus called him “mad. ” The
natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God,
for they are foolishness unto him. For the Christian fool
there is prepared a great and blessed asylum (John 14. 2).
THE DIVINE CALL TO AWAKE
Isaiah 52. l-3.
IT is a great mercy that God does call ; for the Jew, the
Gentile, and the Church of God are all alike prone to
become insensible to their spiritual privileges. He that
hath ears to hear let him hear. Note-I.
What this Call Implies. “Awake ! awake ! ” Surely
this denotes-I.
A STATE OF SLEEP. They were utterly unconscious of
the nearness of God, and of His willingness at once to help
hem. God is at hand, but eyes sealed in the sleep of
selfish ease see Him not and hear Him not till the awaken-ing
takes place..276 Handfuls on Purpose.
2. A STATE OF DEGRADATION. Zion was to “shake her-self
from the dust. “ The dust of worldliness and sin will
quickly gather on the garments of those who become
spiritually drowsy. Bunyan’s “Man with the Muck Rake”
is an illustration of this grovelling spirit that is wilfully
blind to the better riches.
3. A STATE OF CAPTIVITY. “Loose thyself from the
bands of thy neck. ” Zion is here represented as being
self-bound. “Loose thyself. ” The bands that bind
many are self-made. What are some of them ? Love
.of ease and of pleasure, the fear of man and the fear
of women, pride of heart and desire for praise. Awake1
awake ! and loose thyself 1 Step out into the liberty
of God’s children.
II. What this Call was to. It was a call to awake, to
shake off, and then to put on, that the shame of her naked-ness
may not appear.
1 . PUT ON THY STRENGTH. Thy strength is not in
thyself, but in Him who is thy God. Put it on, because
thou art a weak child without this. Paul had put on
strength when he said, “I can do all things through
Christ who strengtheneth me. ” Put on, therefore, the
Lord Jesus Christ, and His strength will be made a
perfect fit for thy weakness. .
2. PUT ON THY B EAUTIFUL G A R M E N TS. Awake !
awake ! and put off thy night-dress, and put on those
garments for glory and beauty which are offered thee
in Him. Put on thy beautiful garments of holiness
and praise, for the Bridegroom is at hand and the
marriage day is near. Put them on, that the world
may see that you belong to Him and that you are
looking for His appearing. Put them on, lest you may
be found among the speechless at the coming of the
King (Matt. 22. 12)..Gospel Outlines. 277
WHY GOD SENT HIS SON
John 3. 17, 18.
THERE is something that has been more expensive than
war-that is SIN. What pardoned sin has cost no one can
fully reckon up. The wealth of Christ’s sufferings and
death, to us-ward and to God, is to a finite mind unsearch-able.
What unpardoned sin will cost the sinner is a terrible
and far-reaching question. No sinner can ever be able to
pay the price that the holy and eternal Son of God hath
paid. In this portion there is-I.
A Great Fact. “God sent His Son” (v. 16). These’
are the words of the sent One Himself. He surely knew
from whence He came. That mother in Kentucky who, in
the time of the war, said to her only son, “Go, my son, I
give you freely,” was exhibiting a faint picture of the self-sacrificing
love of God to a perishing world. She could not
see all that was before her son, and doubtless hoped he
might return unscathed; but God saw the awful depths of
sorrow and suffering into which He willingly gave His Son.
Herein is love.
II. A Great Purpose. “Not to condemn the world, but
that the world through Him might be saved” (v. 17). The
world deserved condemnation, and Christ was able to con-demn
it, but with respect to its condemnation “He opened
not His mouth. ” He came to SAVE. He Himself was God’s
great and unspeakable donation to this poor and needy
world (John 3. 16). All that man can contribute to the
salvation of the world, apart from the gift of God, is but
a few paltry coppers that can never redeem a soul from sin
and death. The work of the Socialist and the Philanthro-pist,
like a copper coin, is good so far as it goes ; but with-out
Christ it does not go far enough by a long way. CHRIST
came to save the world. Nothing else will be a substitute
for HIM..278 Handfuls on Purpose.
III. A Great Responsibility. “He that believeth on
HIM is not condemned, but he that believeth not is con-demned
already” (v. IS). It is one thing to believe in
religion; it is another thing to believe in HIM. The pro-mises
of God are all made to us in Him. Believing will
avail nothing unless it is in the personal Christ, who gave
His life a ransom for all. Not to believe on Him is to be
“condemned already, ” because He is the “Only begotten
Son of God, ” the only Name under Heaven given among
men whereby we can be saved. “As many as are in the
works of the law are ecnder the ceCrse” (Gal. 3. 10); but
* as many as recea’ve Him, to them gives He power to
become the children of God. There is no condemnation
to them which are in Christ Jesus. “Dost tkou believe
on the Son of God.? ” (John 9. 35).
“NOT I, BUT CHRIST “
Galatians 2. 20.
I. Think of those Two Personalities. “I, ” “Christ. ”
There is a mystery in each of them. The mystery of evil
is connected with the first, and the mystery of godliness
with the second. Each is the medium through which .
another great Personality works. “The prince of the power
of the air; the Spirit that now worketh in the children of
disobedience” (Eph. 2. 2) operates in and through the
one, while the Almighty Father of all manifests Himself
through the other. The bne is the instrument of Satan,
the other is the servant of God. This unregenerate “I, ”
in his ignorance, selfishness, pride, and unbelief, is a fit
subject for the prince of darkness, The Heaven-anointed
Christ, in his unselfish devotion to the will of God, is per-fectly
fitted for the accomplishment of His purposes.
II. Think of their Relationship One to the Other.
What is there in common between this “I” and the.Gospel Outlines. 279
“Christ ? ” between the servant of Satan and the servant
of God? What communion hath light with darkness ?
What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?
What concord hath Christ with Belial? What part hath
he that believeth with an infidel? (2 Cor. 6. 14-16). Each
is animated and controlled by a different and opposing
spirit. The-principles of the flesh and of the Spirit are
contrary, the one to the other. That which is born of the
Aesh is flesh, and belongs to the kingdom of this world;
that which is born of the Spirit is spirit, and belongs to the
Kingdom of God. Corruption cannot inherit incorruption
(1 Cor. 16. 20). Self is carnal, Christ is spiritual. “To be
carnally minded is death ; to be spiritually minded is life
and peace” (Rom. 8. 6). This I, the natural man,
receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, and so can
have no fellowship with Christ. It is not subject to the
law of God, neither indeed can be.
III. Think of the Meaning of this New Relationship.
“Not I, but Christ. ” These words imply a putting off of
the old man, and a putting on of Christ. The sinful, self-seeking
“I” has surrendered and given place to the life and
rule of the Holy One. It used to be, “I, not Christ, ” but
now it is, “Not I, but Christ. ”
1. In the matter of SALVATION. The works of the law
and of the flesh have given place to faith in the Lord
Jesus Christ. The sandy foundation has been exchanged
for the infallible Rock. His own righteousness has been
cast aside for the righteousness of God. It is also, “Not
I, but Christ. “
2. In the matter of SANCTIFICATION. “Christ liveth in
me. ” The usurper within has been dethroned, and the
Lord of life and glory has been crowned. Holiness has
come, not by working, but by admitting the Holy One and
giving Him His true place in the heart as Lord. The old.280 Handfuls on Purpose.
“I” has been crucified with Christ, and a new Spirit-formed
“I” has come into being which delights to say,
“Not I, but Christ. ”
3. In the matter of SERVICE. “To me to live is Christ. ”
“Wimse I am, and whom I serve. ” He seeks now not
his own will but the will of Him who saved him and
sent him. “If I yet pleased myself I would not be the
servant of Christ. ” “I can do all things through Christ
which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4. 13). “If any man
be in Christ he is a new creation. ”
CHRIST, THE TRUE MANNA
John 6. 47-51.
THERE can be no question as to the manna being typical of
the character and mission of Christ, for we have the Lord’s
own authority for believing it to be so. A beautiful type
it is. Like Christ-I.
It was Needed, The children of Israel were ready to
perish for lack of bread. There was no help for them in the
wilderness. It was so with this world before Christ came.
There was a great hunger in the hearts of men for the true
bread. The world needed Christ.
II. It was the Gift of God. The manna was not, and
could not be, grown or manufactured on earth. The Saviour
that man needed could not be man-made. All that the
world could give the Christ was a cross. God loved the
world and gave His Son. The manna, like Christ, was not
deserved, but was the gift of infinite mercy to grumbling,
discontented souls.
III. It was Satisfying. The manna was exactly suited
to meet all the cravings of hunger. It was prepared by God
for this very purpose. So Christ’s character and work, as
appointed by God, meets all the needs of a destitute soul..Gospel Outlines. 281
Bread is not more suitable for the hungry than the Saviour
is to the sinner. The one is the divinely-appointed remedy
for the other.
IV. It was Within the Reach of All. The manna did
not fall on the tree-tops, but on the ground, and so was
quite within the grasp of every soul in the camp. No price
was put upon it. It was free to all. Christ, the Bread of
Life, is also within the reach of all who hear the Gospel.
We don’t need to climb to Heaven to bring Christ down.
The Word of salvation is nigh thee, even in thine heart.
Whosoever will may take.
V. It had to be Personally Received. No one could
eat the manna to save his brother. It had to be taken into
each individual life. So with Jesus Christ, the gift of
God. “As many as received Him, to them gives He power to
become the sons of God” (John 1. 12). As every man must
breathe for himself if he is to live, so must he believe for
himself if he is to be saved.
VI. It was the only Means of Saving their Lives.
Not to appropriate this Heaven-sent gift was to die of
starvation. There was no alternative but to eat or die.
“If ye believe not that I am He, ” says Jesus Christ, “ye
shall die in your sins” (John 8. 24). There is no
alternative but to accept Christ or perish. “There is
none other name under Heaven given among men whereby
we must be saved. ” “He that eateth this bread
shall live for ever” (John 6. 58).
NOAH, A TYPE OF CHRIST
Genesis 6.
I. He Came as a Blesser. His Name means “com-forter”
or rest (Gen. 5. 29). God sent His Son to bless you
(Acts 3. 26).
T Vol. 5.282 Handfuls on Purpose a
II. He Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord (v. 8).
So was it with Christ. “This is My beloved Son, hear
Him” (Luke 9. 35).
III, He was Just and Perfect (v. 9). Christ delighted
to do the will of God. He was holy, harmless, separate
from sinners.
IV. He Walked with God (v. 9). Jesus could say, “I
and My Father are one. ” Thou in Me, and I in Thee (John
17. 21). One with the Father in all His desires and
purposes.
V. He had the Will of God revealed to Him (vv.
13-15). The Ark, and the fashion of it, was a revelation
from God. It was His way of salvation made knOwn
through Noah. Was it not so also with Christ ? He came
to manifest His Name (John 17. 6). He spoke not His own _
words, but the words of God the Father (v. 8).
VI. He Prepared the Way of Salvation (v. 14). He -made
the Ark. Christ has made for us a new and living
way (Heb. 10. 20). “The gift of God is eternal life, Ihrotigh
Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6. 23).
VII. He Finished the Work Given Him to Do.
“Thus did Noah, according to all that God commanded
him” (v. 22). He left nothing undone. So also the anti-type-“
1 have finished the work Thou gavest Me to do”
(John 17. 4). His last words on the Cross were, “It is
finished. ”
VIII. His Salvation was Effectual (chap. 7. 1). -1t
was sufficient-1.
FOR HIMSELF. “Noah entered in. ” The great work
of Christ has been the means of bringing new honour and
glories to Him.
2. FOR HIS HOUSE. “Come thou and all thy house into
the Ark. ” “All that the Father hath given Me &all come.Gospel Outlines. 283
to Me. ” He will bring many sons unto glory. The whole
household of faith shall be saved (Eph. 3. 15; 5. 27).
3. FOR ALL THINGS. All in the Ark passed over the
flood into a new and purged worId. Al! things shall yet be
put under Christ, who is not only head of the Church, but
of angels and of all. All under the sweep of His redemption
shall be cleansed and renewed (Acts 8. 19-22).
IX. He was Remembered by God. “And God re-membered
Noah, and all that was Z&Z hint” (chap. 8. 1).
God will never forget His Son and all that are with Him
in the Ark of His saving grace. They shall be held in His
everlasting remembrance. He who numbered the stars
and the sparrows shall not be unmindful of His sons,
purchased by His blood and born of His Spirit. “I will
remember My covenant ” (Gen. 9. 15).
CHRIST TRANSFIGURED .ON THE MOUNT
Luke 9. 28-36.
WE have before us here the most rapturous picture that
the eyes of mortal ever gazed upon-a moving picture, a
transformation scene. A despised and rejected Man,
radiant and luminous with the ineffable glory of God.
Notice the-I.
Appointed Time. “About eight days after” (v. 26).
We are always inclined to associate the eighth day with
resurrection glory. It was eight days after He had told
them that some were standing here that should not taste
of death till they had seen the Kingdom oj God (v. 27).
The transfiguration was at least a manifestation of the
glory of God’s appointed King.
II. Favoured Company. “He took Peter, and John,
and James” (v. 28). He might have left them behind,
but in His love and pity He took them with Hiw Little.284 Handfuls on Purpose.
did they know what was ,in store for them while they
followed Him up the mount. Do we realise now, as we
follow our Lord up the hill of life, what a vision awaits us?
It is still His desire that we should be z&z Him where He
is, and behold His glory (John 17. 24).
III. Special Purpose. “He went up to pray. ” He
could have prayed at the foot of the hill as well as at the
top, but He would teach us the necessity of going alone
purposely to meet and speak with God. Many pray before,
or after, they go to bed, but how few go into the quiet
room or lonely hill-side pzcrposely to pray. We should go
as definitely into our closet for prayer as we go into the
kitchen or dining-room for our meals.
IV. Glorious Change. It was while He prayed that
-“the fashion of His countenance was altered,” and the
hidden glory of His nature burst forth, as the sun through
the rifted clouds (Matt. 17. 2). No one has ever yet
proved to the full the possibilities of secret prayer. It
was while Moses communed with God that the skin of his
face shone. The perfect fellowship of Heaven means perfect
conformity to His likeness (Rev. 1. 16; I John 3. 2). Prayer
is a mighty antidote for an evil temper, and every other
uncharitable feature of our character; instead of wrath
there will come forth glory.
V. Heavenly Visitants. “Behold, there talked with
Him two men, which were Moses and Elias” (v. 30).
Moses and Elias had both experienced what it was to
“depart and be with Christ, which is far better. ” The
:ompany of Jesus Christ is such a privilege and blessing
that even the glorified delight to come to earth to share it.
How much more ought we to prize it now f In His presence
is fullness of joy.
VI. Wonderful Theme. “They spakc of His decease ”
(v. 31). What a subject for such an occasion! What a.Gospel Outlines. 285
terrible prospect for such a glorious One1 What a value ”
. we ought to set on such a death1 It was probably the
greatest event that has ever been heard of in Heaven.
What place has it in our conversation? What power has
it over our heart! and lives? He died for our sins.
VII. Foolish Proposal. Peter, who had just awaked
.
out of sleep and saw His glory, asked of Him permission
“to make three tabernacles” (w. 32, 33). What were they
going to do with tabernacles, when Moses and Elias were
going back to Heaven, and Jesus to a Cross ? Those who .
sleep when they should be awake are sure to talk foolishly.
Did he think that this glory could be shut up in temples
made with hands? (1 Cor. 2. 13, 14).
VIII. Assuring voice. “There came a voice out of the
cloud saying, This is My beloved Son ; hear Him” (vv.
35, 36). Peter afterwards declared that this voice they
heard when they were with Him on the mount (2 Peter 1.
17, 18). The divinity of Christ is here attested by the
invisible Father. Let us give earnest heed lest we should
let this assuring Word of Christ’s power to redeem us by
His death slip away from us. Hear Him. “Hear, and
your soul shall_life” (Isa. 55. 3).
SHUT OUT THROUGH UNBELIEF . “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief”
(Heb. 3. 19).
THE children of Israel were overthrown in the wilderness
because they believed got His Word and hearkened not unto
the voice of the Lord (Psa. 106. 24-26). As unbelief
hinders the sinner from entering into the salvation of God
which is in Christ Jesus, so does it hinder many of God’s
own people from entering into the fullness of the blessing-a
life satisfied in God and victorious in His Name. They
could not enter in because of unbelief..286 Handfuls on Purpose.
I. It was not Because they did not Know God’s
Will. They knew that it was the will of God that they
should go in and possess the land, yet they perished out-side.,
He is not willing that any should perish. Although
many know this, yet they remain outside the promise Of
life that is in Christ Jesus, They know that Christ died for
all, yet they tarry and murmur in the wilderness of un-belief.
II. It was not for Want of Evidences of God’s Power.
. They had been eye-witnesses of many wonders that He
wrought-the plagues of Egypt, the Red Sea, the manna
from Heaven, etc. Surely in the heavens above, and in
the earth beneath, and within the domain of the human
soul and the Divine Book there are aburfdant proofs of the
presence and power of God to fulfil all the promises He hath
made. The invisible things may be understood, or rendered
intelligible, by the things which are visible, so that they
are without excuse (Rom. 1. 20).
.
III. It was not for Wanf of Seeing the Fruits of the
Land. The grapes and pomegranates of the good land
were shown them (Num, 13: 26). Fruits that could never
grow in the wilderness were laid before the@ eyes. Yet
they failed because of unbelief. Unbelievers to-day are
not without the same powerful evidence. The fruits of the
Canaan-life-love to enemies, joy in the Holy Ghost, peace
with God, and the peace of God-these are fruits that
cannot grow on nature’s barren soil. The fruit of the Spirit
in the Christian’s life is a revelation to those outside “the
good and pleasant land” of its reality and richness. These
fruits can be seen almost anywhere, and as they are not
the products of the natural life, they are evidences of
Christ’s power to save, sanctify, and satisfy.
IV, It was not for Want of a Desire for Something
Better. They were not satisfied with their present wilder-.- Gospel Outlines. 287
ness lot; they felt deeply their need of a better and more
enduring portion; they longed intensely for something
more than they had. Yet they entered not in because of
unbelief. Their name is lcgidn who are in the same con-dition
spiritually. Conscious of their need for a better and
more satisfying life, yet refusing to believe God’s Word
concerning His Son. This “good land” of promise is
offered them, yet they cannot enter in because of unbelief.
The evil heart of unbelief always seeks its good in de-parting
from the living God (v. 12). The heart’s need can
only be fully met by a faith that enters into the promise
of God and rests there. “Believe, and thou shalt see. ”
ARE YOU READY?
“How wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?” (Jer. 12. 5).
JORDAN may be looked on here as symbolic of death. The
act of crossing over from this world into the next-from
time into eternity-must always be a solemn one. How wilt
thou do ? Are you ready for the river ? This question is-I.
A Practical One. “How wilt thou DO ? " Something
must be done. Can we be prepared to do when dying
that ivhich we arc not prepared to do while living ? It is
not what we feel, or think, or say, so much as what we
are that will determine what we shall do at that trying
hour. Those who trust in Jesus Christ now will have no
difficulty in trusting Him then.
II. A Personal One. “Ho& wilt THOU do ? ” No
one can do the dying for you. It is your own feet that
must go down through the river, your own soul that must
meet God. Although, .like Queen Elizabeth, you may
offer “a million of money for a moment of time, ” it will
profit you nothing. It is not how will your companion or
neighbour do ? but, how wilt thou do ? The answer, the
fitness or unfitness, is to he found in yourself..288 Handfuls on Purpose.
III. A Testing One. “The swelling of Jordan. ” A
swollen river suggests danger and difficulty. Will your
own strength be sufficient to carry you through the flood ?
or have you the promise of Him who conquered death to
support you ? “The river is deep or shallow according
to your faith, ” says Bunyan in his “Pilgrim’s Progress. ”
IV, An Urgent One. “How wilt thou do?” Time is
short, life is uncertain, and you may be nearer the brink
than you think. Some time ago a Glasgow minister
went to see a dying woman, but she said to him, “It’s too
late. ” Her feet were already in the swelling of Jordan.
How wilt thou do ? What is your answer ? Will you trust
to your Church membership or good works of charity then ?
These will not allay the swellings of Jordan. The sparks
of your own kindling will never be able to exist in the
midst of this flood. Will you trust to the craft of your
own opinions? This swift-rolling stream will make terrible
havoc of that. Such frail things will be swept away as
refuges of lies. The only wise and safe thing to do is to
yield yourself to Jesus Christ now, and then, “When thou
passest through the waters, He will be with thee; and
through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee” (Isa. 43 2).
“I will fear no evil, for Thou are with me; ”
IMPLICIT TRUST BRINGS INFALLIBLE
GUIDANCE
Proverbs 3. 5, 6.
1. The OBJECT, . . . . “The Lord. ”
2. The METHOD, . . . . “Trust in the Lord. ”
3. The MEASURE, . . “With all thine heart. ”
4. The WARNING;. . . . . “Lean not on thine own
understanding. ”
5. The OCCASION,. . . . “In all thy ways. ”
6. The PROMISE, , . . . “He shall direct thy paths. ”.Seed Thoughts
THE POWER OF HIS PRESENCE
THE preseme of Christ means power, whether we are con-scious
of it or not. When He gave His last commission to
His disciples, saying, “All power is given unto Me. . .
Go ye therefore. . . . Lo, I am with yozt alway. ” He was
pledging His presence as the guarantee of every needful
thing for the fulfilment of His will through them. His
presence-1.
Gives SECURITY to the perplexed (Gen. 28. 15).
2. Gives ENCOURAGEMENT to witness-bearing (Exod.
3. 12; Heb. 13. 5, 6).
3. Gives STRENGTH to the warrior (Josh. 1. 5).
4. Gives COMFORT to the timid (Jer. 1. 8).
5. Gives VICTORY to the tempted (Gen. 39. 2-21).
6. Gives CONFIDENCE to the servant (Matt. 28. 20;
Phil. 4. 13).
7. Gives REST to the pilgrim (Exod. 33. 14).
SALVATION
“In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgive-ness
of sins, according to the riches of His grace” @ph. 1. 7).
1. The SUBSTANCE. (I ) It is a purchase ; “Redemption
through His blood. ” (2) It is a pardon ; “Forgiveness of
sins. ”
2. The MEASURE. “According to the riches of His
grace. ”
3. The CONDITION . “In Whom. ”
4. The EXPERIENCE. “We have. ”
289.290 Ilandfuls on Purpose.
THE LORD WILL PROVIDE
Genesis 21. 14 (margin).
I. The Provider. The Lord.
1. In Him is infinite WISDOM to know our need.
2. In Him are infinite RICHES to meet all our need.
3. In Him is infinite GRACE to give us all we need.
II. The Provision. “The Lord will provide. ” He has
provided-1.
REDEMPTION in His Son.
2. SANCTIFICATION’ in His Spirit.
3. SUSTENTATION in His Word.
THE HOPE THAT MAKETH NOT ASHAMED
.Romans 5. 5.
I. What this Hope Is.
1. It is hope in’the Lord.
2. It is a hope begotten through His Word.
3. It is a hope inspired by the love of God.
4. It is a hope upheld by faith in God.
II. What this Hope Does. “It maketh not ashamed. ”
1. Of the Master,(2 Tim. 1. 12).
2. Of the Gospel (Rom. 1. 16).
3. Of the Scriptures (Mark 8. 38).
4. Of the Lord’s people (2 Tim. 1. 8).
5. Of his own confidence (Heb. 6. 17120).
CHRIST NEAR BUT OUTSIDE
Revelation 3. 20.
1. A Present Saviour, “At the door. ”
2. A Waiting Saviour, “Behold I stand.
3. A Seeking Saviour. “And knock. ”
4. A Pleading Saviour, “If any man open the door. ”
5. A Promising Saviour. “I will come in.
6. A Providing Saviour. “And sup with him, and he
with Me. ”.Seed Thoughts. 291
A WONDERFUL PEOPLE
Z Samuel 7. 23.
1. SO U G HT, . .
2. REDEEMED,
3. CLAIMED, . .
4. USED, . .
5. HONOURED,
. : “God went for them. m
. . “Whom God went to redeem. ”
. . “A people to Himself. ”
. . “To make Him a Name. ”
. . “Do for you great things” (Deut.
33. 29).
GOD’S PROMISE TO INQUIRERS
“Thus saith the Lord God: I will yet for this be inquired of by
the house of Israel, to do it for them” (Eiek. 36. 37).
TIIE promises of God are not intended to stifle irtquiry.
Learn from this-I.
That God Longs to be Inquired Of. “Ye have not!
because ye ask not” (James 4. 2). The prodigal got much
by inquiry.
II. That any Man can be an Inquirer. “Men ought
always to pray” (Luke 18. 1). This dear is ever open, and
man-may do business at any time.
III. That a Man may Inquire about Anything. “In
everything by prayer, ” etc. (Phil. 4. 6).
IV. That Inquirers must come in the Right Way.
“Ask in My Name” (John 16. 26). Israel must approach
God through the High Priest. There is but one Mediator.
V. That Inquirers must be Honest in their Inquiry.
Questions of mere curiosity are left unanswerid. Saul was
an anxious inquirer (Acts 9. 6).
VI. That Honest Inquirers will be Fully Satisfied.
“Ask, and ye shall receive. Knock, and it shall be open&d
unto you” (Matt. 7. 7.8). As Solomon satisfied the Queen
of Sheba, so will the Lord grant the desire of your heart
(Psa. 81. 10)..292 Handfuls on Purpose.
HOW TO BE TAUGHT OF GOD ,
Psalm 25. 12.
I. The Man Spoken Of. “The man that feareth
the Lord. ”
1. This is not the fear of ALARM.
2. This is the fear of LOVE.
II. The Promise Given. “Him shall He teach. ”
1. The Teacher (Psa. 32. 8-11).
2. The Teaching (1 John 2. 27).
III. The Condition Mentioned. “In the way that He
shall choose. ”
1. The way of His CHOICE (Isa. 30. 21).
2. He teaches those IN THIS WAY (John 7. 17).
A PRIVILEGED PEOPLE
Deuteronomy 33. 3.
1. LOVED, . . “Yea, He loved the people. ”
2. KEPT, . . . “All His saints are in Thy kand. ”
3. RESTED, . . “They sat down. ”
4. TAUGHT, . . “Every one shall receive of Tky words. ”
A WARNING TO BOASTERS.
“Boast not thyself of to-morrow, for thou knowest not what a
day may bring forth” (Prov. 27. 1).
The boaster is-1.
4 foolish man. He knows ad what a day may bring
forth.
2. A presumptuous man. “To-morrow” is not his.
3. A blind man (Luke 17. 29).
4. A thankless man (Matt. 24. 48-51).
5. A self-deceived man (Luke 12. 19-21)..Seed Thoughts – 293
LOVE AS THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
Galatians 5. 22.
I. The Author of It. “The Spirit. ”
1. He begets it by revealing the work of Christ.
2. He sustains it by applying the Word of Christ.
II. The Character of It. “Love. ”
1. It is of the nature of God (1 John 4. 8).
2. It is to dwell in us (1 John 4. 16).
III. The Outcome of It. “Fruit. ”
1 Fruit is the evidence of life (1 John 4. 19).
2. Fruit is the proof of a healthy condition (2 Cor. 5. 14) .
ATTITUDE TOWARD CHRIST AND HIS CAUSE
1.
2.
3.
4.
F R E E Z I NG, . , . . . . . Philippians 3. 18, 19.
COLD, . . . . . . Revelation 2. 4.
L UKEWARM, . . . . . . ReGelation3. 15, 16.
B URNING , . . . . . . John 5. 35.
FRUITFUL IN AFFLICTION
“God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction”
(Gem 41. 52).
1. The Condition. Affliction. This is a condition-1.
Alarming to the ungodly.
2. Rejoiced in by the believing (Rom. 5. 3).
Il. The Blessing. Fruitfulness.
1. A comfort to the afnicted (1 Cor. 1. 5).
2. A means of satisfaction to the Saviour (John 15. 2).
III. The Source. “God hath caused me. ”
1. By His abounding grace (2 Cor. 9. 8) including His
overruling providence.
2. By His indwelling Spirit (John 15. 4)..294 Handfuls on Purpose.
THE PRAYER OF A MAN OF GOD
Psalm 90. 12-17.
1. For Teaching (v. 12). Job 28. 28; Eph. 5. 15-17.
2. For Fellowship (v. 13). Matthew 5. 4.’ .
3. For Satisfaction (v. 14). Psalm 85. 6.
4. For Gladness (v. 15). Psalm 126. 5, 6; Isaiah
61. 2, 3.
5. For Reviving (v. 16). Habakkuk 3. 2.
6. For Adorning (v. 17). Isaiah 52. 1.
7. For Success (v. 17). Psalm 16. 3; Philippians 2.
12, 13; 1 Corinthians 3. 7. .
BEHOLD HE COMETH
Matthew 25. 13.
1. The Fact. “The Son of Man cometh. ”
II. An Uncertainty. “Ye know neither the day nor
the hour. ”
III. An Exhortation. “Watch, therefore” (Rev. 21.15).
ASKING, SEEKING, KNOCKING
Matthew 7. 7, 8.
I. A Threefold Condition.
1. Knocking at the door.
2. Seeking for the Master.
3. Asking what ye will.
II. A Threefold Promise.
1. He that knocketh shall have the door opened.
2. He that seeketh shall find.
3. He that asketh shall receive..1. The vision of the King and His kingdom (Dan. 7. 13-14).
2: Appointed by God as Son and King (Psa. 2. 6-S).
3. The manner of His coming, and character (Isa. 9. 6, 7).
4. The promise before His birth referred to royalty (Luke
1. 31-33).
5. The search for the King (Matt. 2. 1, 2).
6. The attempt to crown Him as King (John 6. 14, 15).
7. Publicly acknowledged as King (Luke 19. 37-40).
8. Charged with making Himself a King (Luke 23. l-3).
9. Confessed Himself a King (John 18. 33-37).
10. Mocked as a King (John 19. l-5).
11. Crucified as a King (John 19. 14, 15, 19).
12. Preached as a King (Acts 17. 7).
13. Coming as King (Matt. 16. 28; 17. 5).
’ 14. Reigning as King (Rev. 11-15).
Seed Thoughts. 295
JESUS AS KING
HEART DIRECTION
“The Lord direct your heart into the-love of God, and into the
patient waiting for Christ” (2 Thess: 3. 5).
1. Our hearts need directing, because they are way-ward
and deceitful.
2. Our privilege is to have them directed into the lqve
of God; here to find peace, rest, and satisfaction.
3. Our hearts, directed into the love of God, will then
be made partakers of the patience of Christ (R.v.).
(1). Into His patience in SUFFERING.
(2). Into His patience in SERVICE.
4. Our heart director is the Lord Himself. “He
knoweth what is in man, and! like Boax, he speaks to the
heart” (Ruth 2. 13, margigz)..Handfuls on Purpose.
GREAT SALVATION
Hebrews 2. 3.
1. The Needed Blessing-“Salvation. ”
2. The Character of It-“So great. ”
3. The Common Danger- “Neglect. ”
4. The Unanswerable Question-“How shall we escape
if we neglect ? ”
THE PRAYER OF JABEZ
1 Chronicles 4. 9, 10.
1. It was a prayer TO GOD.
2. It was the prayer of an HONOURABLE MAN.
3. It was an EARNEST prayer. “Oh, that thou wouldest I”
4. It was a prayer for DEFINITE BLESSING. “Bless me
indeed. ”
5. It was a prayer for ENLARGED POSSESSIONS. “En-large
my coast. ”
6. It was a prayer for POWER AND GUIDANCE. “That
thine hand might be with me. ”
7. .It was a prayer for PROTECTION FROM EVIL. “Keep
me from evil, that it may not grieve me. ”
8. It was a prayer that was ANSWERED. “God granted
him that which he requested. ”
LOVE SUPERLATIVE
1 John 4. 10.
1. A Woeful Possession. “Our sins.”
2. A Shameless Confession. “Not that we loved God.”
3. A Blessed Revelation. “He loved us. ”
4. A Wonderful Condescension. “Sent His Son.”
5. A Gracious Provision. “Propitiation for our sms. ”
6. A Joyful Acclamation. “Herein is love. ”.Seed Thoughts.
WHOLESOME FEAR
Hebrews 4. 1.
1. The Blessing, . . “His rest. ”
2. The Offer, ._. ._. “Promise being left us. ”
3. The Possibility, .,. “To ‘Come short of it. ’ ”
4. The Warning, , . “Let us therefore fear. ”
297
GOD OUR SAVIOUR
Titus 2. 10.
I. A Great Salvation. “God our Saviour. ” What a
blessing that-i.
There is a SAVIOUR.
2. That this Saviour is GOD.
II. A Wonderful Revelation. “The doctrine of God our
Saviour. ”
1. Revealed in His Word.
2. Embodied in His Son.
III. A Beautiful Occupation. “That they may a&n
the doctrine. ”
1. By believing it (Phil. 4. 8).
2. By living it (Phil. 1. 27).
THE GOSPEL OF JEHOVAH
Exodus 6. 6-8.
THIS old Gospel is ever new. It implies-1.
Deliverance. “I will rid you out of bondage. ”
2. Liberty. “I will bring yozl out. ”
3. Redemption. “I will redeem yozl. ”
4. Acceptance. “I will take you to Me.”
5. Rest. “I will bring you from zcnder the budem. n
6. Knowledge. “Ye shall krzow. ”
7. Inheritance. “I will bring you z&o the lami” (v. 8).
U Vol. 5.298
It
1.
2.
3.
1.
2.
3.
4.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Handfuls on Purpose.
‘ UNSELFISH BLESSING
Psalm 103. 2.
is not, bless me, but Bless the Lord, 0 my soul.
The Reason for it. “All His benefits. ”
The Way to do it. “Bless the Lord. ”
The Danger of Neglecting it. “Forget not. ”
THE VICTORY
Romans 8. 37.
What? – “More than conquerors. ”
Who I _.. “We are. ”
When ? . . . “In all these things.”
How? . . “Through Him that loved us. ”
A SERVANT’ S REQUIREMENTS
1 Corinthians 15. 58.
Be Active.’ . . “Work. ”
Be Devoted. . . “Work of the Lord. ”
Be Steadfast. ._; “Unmovable. ”
Be Liberal. . . . “Always Abounding. ”
Be Hopeful. . . . “Forasmuch as ye know that your
labour is not in vain in the
Lord. ”
THE MANIFOLD MERCIES OF THE
LIVING GOD
“Trusting in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to
enjoy” (1 Tim. 6. 17).
1. An Unfailing Source “The living God. ”
2. A Bountiful Supply. “All things. ”
3. A Gracious Offer. “Who giveth us. ”
4. A Happy Experience. “All things richly to enjoy. ”
5. A Simple Condition. “Trusting. ”.Seed Thoughts. 299
SONSHIP
1 John 3. 2.
1. A Wonderful Privilege. “Sons of God.”
2. A Comforting Negative. “Not yet appear what we
shall be. ”
3. A Blessed Certainty. “We know.”
4. A Glorious Hope. “We shall see Him as He is.”
THE THRONE OF GRACE
Hebrews 4. 16.
1. The Place of Blessing. “The Throne of Grace.”
2. The Manner of Approach. “Come boldly.”
3. The Certainty of Supply. “Obtain mercy and find
grace to help. ”
SALVATION NOW
2 Corinthians 6. 2.
1. A Great Blessing, . . . . “Salvation. ”
2. A Gracious Offer, . . . , “Accepted time. ”
3. A Present Necessity, . , “Now, now. ”
4. A Pressing Call, . . , . “Behold I behold I ”
RESIST THE DEVIL
James 4. 7.
I. The Enemy. The Devil.
1. Personal (Matt. 4. 10).
2. Mighty (1 Peter 5. 8; 2 Cor. 2. 11).
II. Our Attitude Towards the Devil, “Resist. ”
1. Resist, don’t argue (Eph. 6. 10, 11).
2. Resist, don’t compromise (Matt. 4. 10, 11).
III. The Promise. “He will flee from you. ” The vic-tory
will be-1.
Sudden. “He will flee. ”
2. Complete, “He will flee jrone you. ”.Helpful Illustrations
A CURSE CURED BY A CURSE
THERE is an old legend that during a plague an angel
showed to Charlemagne the root of the carline thistle as a
cure for the plague. Thistles are a fruit of the curse. We
do not much believe the legend that the root of that which
represents a curse should cure the curse of a plague, but we
do know and believe that the Christ who was ‘ ‘made a curse
for us” is an infallible remedy for the curse of sin (Gal.3.13).
CARPET CHRISTIANS
A CARPET knight is one who has been dubbed a knight,
not because of his military exploits, but on account of mere
court favour. He bears the name but lacks the nature of a
true knight. Many in like manner are dubbed with the
name Christian because of their kindly, genial character, but
who know nothing at al1 experimentally of the fight of faith
or “overcoming by the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 12. 11).
TEMPER
A MAN is said to be “nettled” when he has got into a
hot temper. Does that mean that the man has been seized
with a moral nettle-rush, and that his whole being bristles
with sharp, stingy things, so that no matter where you touch
him you are sure to smart for it? Temper is the madness
of selfishness. A bad temper is a great curse to a man,
although he may have as many fine points as a hedgehog.
EVANGELISTIC STEAM
It is very suggestive that the word “breath” literally
means ’ ‘s t e a m , ’ * something gentle, yet most powerful,
from a warm and glowing source, “Come, 0 breath, and
300.Helpful Illustrations. 301
breathe ’ ’ (Ezek. 37. 9). The Holy Ghost is the breath
of God, the gentle, glowing all-powerful steam of the
Almighty. A preacher filled with the Holy Ghost has
always the steam up. It is easy driving when you have
plenty of steam on, but oh, how stiff when this heavenly
motor is absent ! The way to keep the steam up is to have
a heart set on fire of love to God, and to have it fed
constantly with the coals of divine promises.
DISCIPLINE
WITHOUT the hard and arduous process of “breaking-in, ”
a horse is not fit for steady and profitable labour. Much of
our bitter trials and heart-bruising hardships come upon us
by way of breaking-i?. They chasten the spirit, and make
us more ready and willing to do the will of God. “No
affliction for the present seems joyous, but rather grievous,
nevertheless afterwards it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of
righteousness” (Heb. 12. 11).
JIB CHRISTIANS
IT is not wise or safe to be turning about with every wind, ,
like the weathercock. The jib-sail in front of the foremast
shifts itself to catch the wind, the ship is thereby helped
on its course. Old forms, like the windmill, may be
beautiful, but they are useless when the power is gone.
It will be. often necessary for us, like the jib-sail, to
turn ourselves if we would catch the breath of Heaven
and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
THE NEW BIRTH
THE law of limitation is everywhere visible in nature.
Many attempts have been made to preserve the white bear,
the Esquimaux dog, and the reindeer in this country, but
without success. If such are to live in this kingdom either
the climate must be changed or their natures must be
transformed. The character of the kingdom of God cannot.302 Handful& on Purpose.
be changed to suit the sinful nature of man, so man must be
transformed if they would dwell in the kingdom of God.
“Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of
God” (John 3. 7).
THE BEAUTIFUL INCARNATION
WE are all familiar with the beauty of the carnation flower,
which takes its name from its flesh-coloured appearance. It
is said that no other flower presents such scenes of wonder
and beauty under the microscope. What an emblem of
Him who was made in the likeness of sinfulflesh ! What
hidden wonders there are in the great incarnation, only to
be seen through the Christ-magnifying power of the Holy
Spirit.
PROVISION FOR THE FLESH
JUST before Lent the Roman Catholics have what they
call the time of carnival, which literally means the solace of
the flesh. If they must fast during Lent the flesh must have
special license beforehand. Solacing the flesh is not con-fined
to Romanists. We are warned to make no provision
for the flesh, If we live in the flesh the flesh will make
provision for itself ; if .we live in the Spirit the lusts of the
flesh will be crucified.
RELIGIOUS BOGGLES
A BOGGLER means a doubter, or one who has turned aside
from the right path. We have all seerrthe potato boggle,
and know that the object of it is to frighten the crows out
of the field. Beware of those sceptics and doubters who
have turned aside from the truth of God, and who attempt
to frighten timid souls out of the field of the infallible
Scriptures-Satan’s boggles. You know that a boggle
succeeds only by putting on an a$pearance. .
Printed at the Press of the Publishers

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