Be a Good Soldier

For Lord’s Day, January 26, 2014

Dear Saints,

We will see this Lord’s Day that the Angel of God (the preincarnate Jesus Christ) leads Israel into the wilderness.  Previously, we saw He led the Church to the edge of the wilderness, and then to the edge of the Sea, both places where much faith was needed.  This time, Jesus lets His people get thirsty in the dessert so that they learn even more to only drink of Him. What we keep learning is that Jesus tries our faith to increase it.  He would have us be faithful servants: good soldiers.

We don’t like this testing, but it is what prepares us; or, as Exodus 15:25 says, testing is what God uses to prove (or train) us.  King Jesus prepares us for survival through spiritual battle the same way boot camp does our military for earthly wars.  In his sermon on Exodus 14:19-20, entitled “The Glory in the Rear”, Charles Spurgeon (a faithful soldier who mightily suffered before us) challenges us to accept Christ’s training and to quit ourselves like men:

I know some of you who are Christian people want to be always coddled and cuddled, like weakly babies. You pine for love-visits and delights, and promises sealed home to your heart. You would live on sweetmeats and be wheeled in a spiritual perambulator all the way to heaven, but your heavenly Father is not going to do anything of the sort. He will be with you, but he will try your manhood, and so develop it. I have seen children cosseted into the grave by their fond mother; and I suppose that a great many more will follow in the same way; but God never spoils his children. He educates them for nobler ends. He takes visible guides away from them that they may exercise faith in him. Why, Job would have been nobody if he had not lost everything …

Beloved, you and I lose the enjoyments of religion and the comforts of hope in order that we may walk by faith and not by sight, and may the more greatly glorify God …

I should think myself all the more called to a service if I found obstacles in my way. The course of true service never did run smooth …

Will you always be wanting to have your bread buttered for you on both sides? Must your road be gravelled, and smoothed with a garden roller? Are you a carpet knight, for whom there is to be no fighting? You are not worthy to be a soldier of Jesus Christ at all if you look for ease. Go home! I dare say, after all, it is the best thing you can do. True believers expect difficulties. It is ours to do what we are bidden to do, not to act according to fancied indications of providence. When the Lord said “Forward!” forward Israel must go, without a fiery cloudy pillar to cheer the way. Has not the Lord spoken? Who shall ask for plainer guidance? …

To you the daily supply of grace is more important than the supply of comfort, and this shall never fail you so long as you live.

Beloved, may we each … endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. (2 Timothy 2:3)

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant