Thy paths drop fatness. — Ps 65:11
Many are “the paths of the Lord” which “drop fatness,” but an especial one is the path of prayer. No believer, who is much in the closet, will have need to cry, “My leanness, my leanness! Woe unto me!” Starving souls live at a distance from the mercy-seat, and become like the parched fields in times of drought. Prevalence with God in wrestling prayer is sure to make the believer strong—if not happy.
The nearest place to the gate of heaven—is the throne of the heavenly grace. Much alone with Jesus and you will have much assurance; little alone with Jesus and your religion will be shallow, polluted with many doubts and fears, and not sparkling with the joy of the Lord. Since the soul-enriching path of prayer is open to the very weakest saint; since no high attainments are required; since you are not bidden to come because you are an advanced saint but freely invited if you are a saint at all; see to it, dear reader, that you are often in the way of private devotion. Be much on your knees, for so Elijah drew the rain upon famished Israel’s fields.
There is another especial path dropping with fatness to those who walk therein, it is the secret walk of communion with Jesus. Oh! the delights of fellowship with Jesus! Earth has no words which can set forth the holy calm of a soul leaning on Jesus’ bosom. Few Christians understand it, they live in the lowlands and seldom climb to the top of Nebo; they live in the outer court—they do not enter the holy place, they take not up the privilege of priesthood. At a distance they see the sacrifice but they do not sit down with the priest to eat thereof, and to enjoy the fat of the burnt offering. But, reader, sit ever under the shadow of Jesus; come up to that palm tree, and take hold of the branches thereof; let your beloved be unto you as the apple-tree among the trees of the woods, and you shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness. O Jesus, visit us with Your salvation!
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice. — 1 Sam 15:22
Saul had been commanded to utterly slay all the Amalekites and their cattle. Instead of doing so, he preserved the king, and allowed his people to take the best of the oxen and of the sheep. When called to account for this, he declared that he did it with a view of offering sacrifice to God; but Samuel met him at once with the assurance that sacrifices were no excuse for an act of direct rebellion.
The sentence before us is worthy to be printed in letters of gold, and to be hung up before the eyes of the present idolatrous generation, who are very fond of the fineries of will-worship but utterly neglect the laws of God. Be it ever in your remembrance, that to keep strictly in the path of your Savior’s command is better than any outward form of religion; and to hearken to His precept with an attentive ear is better than to bring the fat of rams, or any other precious thing to lay upon His altar. If you are failing to keep the least of Christ’s commands to His disciples, I pray you be disobedient no longer. All the pretensions you make of attachment to your Master, and all the devout rituals which you may perform, are no recompense for disobedience. “To obey,” even in the slightest and smallest thing, “is better than sacrifice,” however pompous.
Do not talk of Gregorian chants, sumptuous robes, incense, and banners; the first thing which God requires of His child is obedience; and though you should give your body to be burned, and all your goods to feed the poor—yet if you do not hearken to the Lord’s precepts, all your formalities shall profit you nothing. It is a blessed thing to be as teachable as a little child but it is a much more blessed thing when one has been taught the lesson to carry it out to the letter. How many adorn their temples, and decorate their priests but refuse to obey the Word of the Lord! My soul, do not come into their practice.
Morning and Evening - October 18
Public domain content taken from Morning and Evening by Charles H. Spurgeon.