The Promises of God

“The promises of God are to the believer an inexhaustible mine of wealth.” This is the opening line of the third chapter in Spurgeon on Resting in the Promises of God, which is a work compiled by Dr. Jason K. Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Spurgeon adds, “Blessed is he who is well skilled in heavenly pharmacy and knows how to lay hold on the healing virtues of the promises of God. The promises are to the Christian a storehouse of food (43).” 

Dr. Allen composes a work of eight chapters, around 150 pages, filled with the beauty of God’s promises and their encouragement to the Christian. I haven’t been encouraged by a book like I was with this one in a long time. This was such a refreshing read for my soul. Two chapters encouraged me while reading: A Refreshing Promise and Sweet Peace for Tried Believers. 

The Provision of the Lord 

Spurgeon lays his words upon the foundation of Isaiah 27:3, which says, “In that day, a pleasant vineyard, sing of it! I, the LORD, am its keeper; every moment I water it. Let anyone punish it, I keep it night and day;.”

Dr. Allen writes, “Just as the Lord gives growth to all He plants, He routinely satisfies the needs of all who abide in His vineyard by watering them Himself (32).” God cares for His church. Isn’t that good news? When we consider the majesty of God, we can ask, like David, “what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him (Ps. 8:4)?” 

Spurgeon writes, “The love of the Lord toward His whole church goes forth to each individual member; the care He displays toward the vineyard is exercised upon each vine He has planted. So, then, we may without hesitation believe that the lord will do for us personally that which He promises to do for His people as a whole (34).” 

We are tempted daily, aren’t we, to grow weary? The Christian life isn’t easy. I once heard it said that the Christian life isn’t a playground; it’s a battleground. Those words certainly seem to be true. Exhaustion, temptation, and doubt lurk around the corner for the Christian. We know that our enemy prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8), and if we’re not careful, we’ll stop. We need watering. We cannot live the Christian life faithfully in our power; we cannot rely on our strength. We need the Lord and His grace. 

Spurgeon says, “Satan’s temptations scorch and wither our hearts unless the water of life is abundantly laid at our root. If we trusted in ourselves, we should soon be as the heath in the desert or as the grass upon the housetops (36).” He adds, “One moment without divine watering and shading would dry us up, root and branch (ibid.).” I am reminded of the words of Jesus when He said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5, emphasis added).” 

We need the grace of the Lord. We need Him to work in our lives, or we are hopeless. Spurgeon said, “Without watering every moment, the most faithful among us would be cast forth and only fit for the fire; every prophet would become a Balaam, every apostle a Judas, every disciple a Demas. We must be watered, and watered every moment, or we die (37).” 

We need the Lord, not just daily, but moment by moment. 

How does God Water? 

God provides for the saints’ needs by His blessing and protection. His watering is constant; it never ceases. “There is never a moment in which it [vineyard] ceases to need it, and, therefore, the supply is as constant as the demand, so that at all hours of the night, as well as of the day, the Lord’s care is over His people. Mercy knows no pause (37).” 

Christians may grow tired of seeking God’s grace and mercy, but God does not grow weary in dispensing it. The Christian may be unaware of God’s grace at any given moment. Nonetheless, His graces are never suspended, “no, not for a moment (38).” In the gospel of John, Jesus said, “This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: ‘Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.’ (John 18:9).” Spurgeon says, “Between here and heaven there will never be a moment in which the Lord will not water His people, and therefore never a moment in which they will be dried up, and so left to perish. Let faith lay hold of this and gather strength from it (38).” 

God never stops working in the lives of His people. Isn’t that reminder encouraging to your heart today? These words encouraged me greatly. There are times when life is hard. There are times when I struggle with doubt, worry, and anxiety. There are times when I am fearful and weak; what an encouragement to know that my God is never idle in my life. He is near, and He is working. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6).” 

Peace for the Tried 

Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).” According to Spurgeon, John 16:33 is a “most delightful passage (93).” He said, “It took our Lord but a moment to speak some of its sentences; it will take us a lifetime to understand them (93-94).” 

The words of Jesus above are helpful in our walking in peace. How? First, Jesus told his followers to expect trials and tribulations. According to Spurgeon, “it shall help you greatly to attain peace if you expect rough treatment while you are a sojourner in this present evil world (97).” 

How often is the truth of inevitable tribulation far from our minds? We may denounce the prosperity gospel, but how often are we surprised by suffering? How often is the Christian caught off-guard when trials and tribulations present themselves? How often do we grumble when these things come upon us? Is our grumbling not a demonstration of our neglect to realize that we will have trouble in this world? 

The Christian has peace amid trials when they realize the purpose of their tests. We know that God desires our sanctification, and we are reminded in Scripture that God intends that all things will work together for our good and the praise of His glory (Rom. 8:28). Jesus said to His disciples, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you (John 16:7).” 

There is purpose in our suffering. There is purpose in our grieving. There is purpose in our discipline. There is a purpose in tribulation. The purpose behind it all is our happiness and dependence on God. We may think of the Israelites wandering in the desert. God spoke to them in Deuteronomy 8 and reminded them of His past work. He reminded them that He humbled them and tested them. Why? so “that they may know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Deut. 8:3).” 

God could have given the Israelites all that they wanted. He could have spoiled them. But He didn’t. Why? So that their dependence on Him might increase. In the same way, God brings discipline, trials, and tribulations into our lives so that our joy and dependence on Him may increase, that we may know He is the Lord our God. 

In John 16, Jesus reminds His disciples (and us today) that we are not alone. He sends the Holy Spirit. Spurgeon says, “You are not left without a friend more able than all other friends to enter into your secret griefs and administer to you the most potent consolations (98).” 

The Lord used Spurgeon to encourage me. I am greatly encouraged by the reminder that God is sovereign, good, and loving. I am inspired by the reminder that He has not left me, nor will He forsake me. God is near to me. He has a plan for all things that He brings my way. There is purpose in trials. My suffering is never for nothing. 

Spurgeon writes, “Your Lord, among the treasures that He gives you, grants a cross. The cross is the best piece of furniture in your house, though you have sometimes wished it was not there. It shall always work your good: it does work it now…It is a bitter tree, apparently, but it is a healthful medicine. Take it, child of God; plant it, let it grow, and its fruit shall be sweet (101).” 

Thanks be unto God for the tribulation that weans our thoughts from the earth. 

**Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Josh Chambers

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