Friday, December 16, 2016

Advent Journal Day XX: Awaken Your Praise: Spurgeon and Joy

Awake, awake, Deborah; Awake, awake, sing a song! Arise, Barak, and take away your captives, O son of Abinoam {Jdgs. 5:12 NASB}.

Many of the saints of God are as mournful as if they were captives in Babylon, for their lives are spent in tears and sighing. They will not chant the joyous psalms of praise. If anyone requires of them a song, they reply, “How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” However, we are not captives in Babylon. We do not sit down to weep at Bable’s streams. The Lord has broken our captivity. He has bought us up out of our house of bondage. He has brought us up out of our house of bondage. We are free men, not slaves. We have not been sold into the hand of cruel taskmasters, but “we which have believed do enter into rest” {Heb. 4:3} {pg. 7}.

We are not captives, sold under sin. We are a people who ‘sit every man under his vine and his fig tree, and none shall make us afraid’ {Mic. 4:4 NASB}. “We dwell in a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks” {Is. 26:1 NASB}. Babylon’s mourning is not suitable in Zion, which is “beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth…the city of the Great King” {Ps. 48:2 NASB}, “Let us serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing {Ps. 100:2 NASB} {pg.8}.

If God were a faithless God; If Christ were not a perfect Redeemer, if the Word of God might after all turn out to be untrue. If He had not the power to keep His people, and if had not love enough with which to hold them even to the end, then might they give way to mourning and to despair. Then might they cover ther heads with ashes and wrap their loins with sackcloth. But while God is just and true, while His promises stand as fast as the eternal mountains, while the arm of God is unpalsied, and His eye undimmed, while His covenant and His oath are unbroken and unchanged, then it is not proper or fitting for the upright to go mourning all their days. You Children of God, refrain from weeping and make a joyful noise unto the Rock of you salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, expressing our gladness in Him with Psalms {pg.9}.

Your harps, ye trembling saints, Down from the willows take; Loud to the praise of love Divine
Bid every string awake {Your harps, Ye Trembling Saints: Augustus Toplady (1772)}.

First, I will urge you to stir up all your powers for sacred praise, to “awake, awake, utter a song.” In the second place, I will persuade you to practice the sacred leading of your captivity captive. “Arise Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, the son of Abinoam”{ed. note: see also Ps. 68: 18; Eph.4:8} {pg.9}.

Let us look to stirring up all our powers to praise God, according to the words of the holy woman in the text, “Awake, awake,” repeated yet again, “Awake, awake.” What is there that we need to awaken if we would praise God?...Our flesh is sluggish. We have been busy with the world. Our limbs have grown fatigued. But there is power in divine Joy to arouse even the body itself, to make the heavy eyelids light, to reanimate the drowsy eye, and quicken the weary brain. We should call upon our bodies to awake, especially our tongues. Let it put itself in tune like David’s harp of old {pg.10}.

This song is beautiful worship...

Charles Spurgeon, The Joy Of Praising God (New Kensington: Whitaker House, 1995), 7-10. 

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