A Chastened Joy

Then it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise, and an honor before all nations of the earth, who shall hear all the good that I do to them; they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide… – Jeremiah 33:9

If we are very happy to-day, and though that happiness be lawful and proper, because it arises both out of spiritual and temporal things in due order, yet in all human happiness there lurks a danger. There is a wealth which hath a sorrow necessarily connected with it, and I ween that even when God maketh rich and addeth no sorrow therewith, yet He makes provision against an ill which else would surely come. Let me remind you of that memorable passage, “There the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams.” The Lord is all that to His believing people. But then broad rivers and streams have a danger appertaining to them, for these are waterways by which the pirates of the sea approach a city and plunder it; and hence for Zion’s protection it is added, “Wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby.” Thus the Lord gives the benefit without the danger naturally attendant upon it; He gives peace, but prevents carnal security, and He gives happiness but prevents the pride and presumption which are too apt to grow out of it. The text speaks of goodness and prosperity procured for us, and then tells us that all danger which might arise out of it is averted by a gracious work upon the heart. The Lord sends a chastened joy, — “they shall fear and tremble.” Instead of unduly exulting in their possessions, and becoming high-minded and vainglorious, the Lord’s people are kept lowly and self-distrustful, and thus their happiness brings glory to God, and the Lord’s word is fulfilled, “It shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon


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