Only A Prayer Meeting by C. H. Spurgeon
“Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” – Genesis 15:1.
Turn to the nineteenth Psalm, and the tenth verse, and there read, in our version, “sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” This is applied to “the judgments of the Lord,” which are “true and righteous altogether.” The expression sets forth David’s esteem of the law of God, and we may fitly apply it to Holy Scripture. The Hebrew hath it, “sweeter than the dropping of honeycombs.” Whereupon good Mr. Brooks observes, “It is sweeter than that which drops immediately and naturally without any force or art, which is counted the purest and the sweetest honey.”
There are texts of Scripture which are exceedingly sweet, and marvellously free in the giving forth of their sweetness, needing little study or meditation. Children have their drops, and their little candies, which melt away in their mouths; and, even so, certain Scriptures are prepared for the Lord’s little children; they have only to receive them by the Kiouth of faith, and their enjoyment is great. Some words of the Lord are as nuts that need cracking, or grapes that need treading in the winepress, for their meaning lieth not upon the surface; but those too visible to protect us, what a blessing it is to know that we are guarded by the invisible and omnipotent God! The visible must always of necessity be finite, but the invisible God is infinite, there is no searching of His understanding. You are infinitely safe if you are a believer in the living God,- your beginnings and your endings, your wakings and your sleepings, your journeyings and your restings, your sufferings and your doings, your slander or your honour, your poverty or your wealth, your all for ever and ever is most secure when the Lord is your Keeper, and your shield upon your right hand. Be it ours to leave our cares, and give our hearts up to the repose of faith. Come, sing with me that verse of the beloved Toplady,-
“Inspirer and Hearer of prayer,
Thou Shepherd and Guardian of Thine,
My all to Thy covenant care
I sleeping and waking resign.
If Thou art my shield and my sun,
The night is no darkness to me;
And fast as my moments roll on,
They bring me but nearer to Thee.”
We are safe if God be with us. We may be in the midst of cruel adversaries, but no weapon that is formed against us can prosper if God be our shield. Please to notice that the Lord does not say, “I will shield you;” but, “I, the Almighty, am your shield; it is not alone My power, My wisdom, My love, which will protect you, but I Myself will be your shield.” Then Abram may have thought, “I shall be protected; but, after all, shall I not spend my life in vain?” He might have feared for his success. He led the life of a gypsy, roaming through a land in which he owned no foot of ground; therefore the Lord added, “I am thy reward.” He does not say, “I will reward you;” but He says, “I am thy reward.”
Dear brother-ministers, if souls are saved, they are a form of reward to you; but, nevertheless, rejoice not in them, but rather rejoice that your names are written in Heaven. I have quoted an old text, first spoken to chosen men who had healed the sick and cast out devils in Christ’s Name. Yes, dear brethren, if many receive our word, it is our joy that they have received it; but, still, we may be disappointed in our estimate of conversions; and, at the best, our success will not equal our desires. The only reward that a Christian can fully rejoice in, without any reservation, is this assurance of the Lord, “I am thy reward.” Did not the father, in the parable, say to the elder son, when he grumbled and growled at the reception given to his brother, “Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine”? That was reward enough, was it not? It is wealth enough to a believer to possess his God, honour enough to please his God, happiness enough to enjoy his God. My heart’s best treasure lies here: “This God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our Guide even unto death.”
“Oh, but people have been so ungrateful to me!” True, but your God does not forget your work of faith and labour of love. “Ah, sir, I am dreadfully poor!” Yet you have God All-sufficient; and all things are yours. “Alas! I am so ill.” But Jehovah Rophi is the Lord that healeth thee. “Alas! I have no friends left to me.” Yet the best of friends changes not, and dies not. Is He not better to you than a host of other friends? How great is your God? He filleth all things. Then, what more can you seek? Would you have two persons occupying the same place? If God fills all, where is there room for another? Is not God’s grace sufficient for you? Do you bemoan a cup of water which has been spilled at your feet? A well is near. Did I hear you cry, “I have not a drop in my bucket”? A river flows hard by,- the river of God, which is full of water. O mournful soul, why art thou disquieted? What aileth thee, that thou shouldst fret thy life into rags? Very fitly does the Lord say to Abram, “I am thy exceeding great reward.” He is infinitely more as a reward than we could ever have deserved, desired, or expected. There is no measuring such a reward as God Himself. If we were to pine away in poverty, it would be joy enough to know that God gives Himself over to us to be our portion. The tried people of God will tell you that, in their sharpest sorrows, their joys have reached flood-tide when they have known and felt that the Lord is their Covenant God, their Father, their all. Our cup runs over when faith receives Jehovah Himself as the crown of the race, the wages of the service. What more can even God bestow than Himself?
Now you see what I meant at the beginning, by honey-drops. I have not strained after novel thoughts or choice words; but have persuaded you to taste the natural sweetness of the Scripture. Receive it as God gives it; and go your way, and let the flavour of it fill your mouths all through the week, Fear not, Mary; fear not, William; fear not, Sarah; fear not, John. The Lord saith to thee, even as to Abraham, “I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” No Scripture is of private interpretation; you may take out the name of Abram, and put your own name into the promise if you are of Abraham’s spiritual seed, and do not stagger at the promise through unbelief. “If children, then heirs,” applies to all the spiritual family. The ground whereon thou liest, the Lord thy God has given thee; if thou canst rest on this Word, it is thine to rest upon. The Lord is thy Defender and Rewarder, and by the double title he shuts out all fear, making thy rest to be doubly sure. Wherefore, cease thou from all anxiety. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. This day He bids thee dwell at ease, and delight thyself in him.