A timely snowstorm, a changed life
On the first Sunday in 1850 at the age of fifteen Charles Spurgeon converted to Christ. On January 6, 1850 a snow storm made him seek shelter in a Primitive Methodist chapel in Colchester. The scheduled speaker could not keep his appointment, and one of the men attempted to preach. His text was Isaiah 45:22, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” After exhausting his thoughts on the passage, he looked straight at the young Spurgeon and said: “Young man, you look very miserable! You always will be miserable-miserable in life and miserable in death, if you don’t obey my text: but if you obey now, this moment you will be saved. Young man, look to Jesus! Look! Look! Look! You have nothing to do but to look and live”
Young Spurgeon heard, not the voice of the inept preacher, but the voice of the Spirit of God and was gloriously saved. Realizing his need to be baptized “He walked from Hew Market to Isleham, seven miles, on May 3rd, 1850, where Rev. Mr. Cantlow buried him with Christ in Baptism.”
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 180-181
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A timely snowstorm, a changed life
pālal [and] śiyach [and] šā’al
Prayer is, of course, a recurring theme in the Psalms. While the verb pālal (H6419) appears only four times (Psa_5:2; Psa_32:6; Psa_72:15; Psa_106:30, “to judge”), we find the noun tepillāh (H8605) some thirty-two times. In its first occurrence, for example, David prays, “Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer” (Psa_4:1). There is a man who is dependent upon God.
Another Hebrew word translated prayer, however, is śiyach (H7879), which appears fourteen times in the OT, five of which are in the Psalms, and speaks of contemplation and meditation. Its primary meaning, however, is actually “complaint,” which might seem odd at first. The idea, however, is not complaining in the sense of blaming God, rather deep meditation brought on by distress and urgent need. Job, for example, used this very word in the midst of his suffering (Job_7:13; Job_9:27; Job_10:1; Job_21:4; Job_23:2), as did David in his distress when he hid in a cave from Saul (Psa_142:2; cf. Psa_64:1; Psa_102:1). Prayer is David’s “battleaxe and weapon of war,” writes Charles Spurgeon; “he uses it under every pressure, whether of inward sin or outward wrath, foreign invasion or domestic rebellion. We shall act wisely if we make prayer to God our first and best trusted resource in every hour of need.”
Still another word for prayer in the OT is šā’al (H7592), which appears about 170 times and is also found in Akkadian, Ugaritic, and even “in the Aramaic of Daniel and Ezra (Dan_2:10-11; Dan_2:27; Ezr_5:9-10; Ezr_7:21).” It simply means “to ask something of someone,” whether one is just asking a question (Gen_32:17), making a simple request (Jdg_5:25), or even begging (Pro_20:4).
An integral part of prayer, then, is inquiring of and asking God, not just for things, but for guidance, strength, and all else. While we no longer ask the Urim and Thummim (Exo_28:30) for guidance, let us be like David who often “enquired of the LORD” (1Sa_23:2; 1Sa_30:8; 2Sa_2:1; 2Sa_5:19; 2Sa_5:23; 1Ch_14:10; 1Ch_14:14). We never demand anything in prayer; rather we “ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that” (Jas_4:15).
Scriptures for Study: What wonderful thing does the psalmist ask for in Psa_27:4-9 (“desired” in Psa_27:4 is šā’al)? Note how Mat_6:31-33 is illustrated in Psa_105:40 (“asked” is šā’al).
yāḏa‘ [and] hālal
The old Scottish (Genevan) Psalter of 1551 affectionately and respectfully refers to Psalms 100 as “Old Hundredth.” The first stanza declares:
All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
Him serve with fear, His praise forth tell;
Come ye before Him and rejoice.
Here “is one of the every-day expressions of the Christian church,” writes Charles Spurgeon in The Treasury of David, “and [it] will be so while men exist whose hearts are loyal to the Great King. Nothing can be more sublime this side of heaven than the singing of this noble psalm by a vast congregation.” Today we consider a fourth way to praise God according to “Old Hundredth.”
The words “Know . . . that the LORD he is God” (Psa_100:3), show us that we praise God by increasing our knowledge of Him. Know is yāḏa‘ (H3045), which appears more than 900 times and has a wide range of meanings concerning knowledge acquired by the senses, “to know relationally and experientially.” It is similar to the Greek ginōskō (G1097), “to know by experience,” and often is practically synonymous with love and intimacy (Mat_1:25), as well as the personal relationship the believer has with Christ (Php_3:10; 1Jn_2:3; 1Jn_2:5; cf. Mat_7:23).
Yāḏa‘, then, first appears in Gen_3:5, where Satan tells Eve that eating of the forbidden tree would enable her to know good and evil. Gen_3:7 goes on to say that Adam and Eve knew they were naked. It also speaks of sexual intimacy (Gen_4:1) and even its perversion, such as homosexuality (Gen_19:5). Spiritually, not only does yāḏa‘ speak of God knowing us (Gen_18:19; Deu_34:10), but also of our knowing Him. While the lost do not know God (Jer_10:25; Job_18:21; Joh_17:25), the believer does, and that knowledge is to increase and grow. The psalmist desired to understand and know God’s Word (Psa_119:125). Solomon wanted “to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding” (Pro_1:2) and then added, “Teach [yāḏa‘] a just man, and he will increase in learning” (Pro_9:9). Peter likewise declares, “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2Pe_3:18).
Scriptures for Study: In what does true knowledge result (Psa_9:10)? What does Psa_44:21 declare about God?
Psa_119:1 also stands out as a verse that speaks of being blessed: “Blessed are the undefiled in the way.” The Hebrew here for undefiled is tāmiym (H8549), an adjective that speaks of being “blameless, complete, and without blemish.”
In more than half its OT occurrences, tāmiym describes an animal to be sacrificed to the Lord, whether a ram, a bull, or a lamb, since such animals were required to be “without blemish” (e.g., Exo_29:1; Lev_4:3; Lev_14:10). It is also used to refer to time, as in a “whole” day (Jos_10:13), a “complete” seven Sabbaths (i.e., “weeks,” Lev_23:15), and a “full” year (Lev_25:30). When used in a moral sense, as it is here, tāmiym speaks of truth, integrity, virtue, uprightness, and righteousness. It appears, for example in Psa_18:23, where the psalmist again declares, “I was also upright before [God], and I kept myself from mine iniquity.” Solomon echoes this principle in Pro_11:5 : “The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.” (See also Jos_24:14, “sincerity”, and Pro_2:21, “perfect”).
Added to this word is the word way (derek, February 23), once again a marked-out pattern of life. True bliss and contentment, then, come when our pattern of life is characterized by unblemished behavior. How ironic (and tragic) that the world looks for happiness in the exact opposite, pursuing it in lawlessness and just living their own way, but they will never find it there. Every young person should be challenged with this principle. They might think they will be happy by doing what they want, but they will not. Hopefully, they will not have to find out the hard way that true contentment, bliss, meaning, purpose, and peace will come by a life of unblemished behavior, a lifestyle that is characterized by purity. Charles Spurgeon put it well when he wrote in his classic The Treasury of David: “Doubtless, the more complete our sanctification the more intense our blessedness.” In other words, and let us mark this down: The holier we live, the more content we will be.
Scriptures for Study: Who is spoken of as being undefiled (“perfect”) in Gen_6:9; Gen_17:1? In Psa_15:1-5, what other traits characterize those who will abide with God (“uprightly” is tāmiym)?
Psalms 23 is another great psalm of comfort, to many readers the greatest of all, for in it we find another “Jehovah-compound,” the LORD Is My Shepherd. The Hebrew behind shepherd (rō‘iy, or rō‘eh, H7462) is one of many words that have a truly ancient history. It goes all the way back to the Akkadian (re‘û) (an extinct Semitic language that existed in Assyria and Babylon), and is then subsequently found in Phoenician, Ugaritic, Aramaic, and Arabic.
Appearing some 170 times in the OT, rō‘iy pictures the simplicity of ancient civilization. Shepherding was the most common occupation throughout ancient Palestine, and this common, ordinary word simply refers to the feeding of domestic animals. Such a mundane word, however, was transformed by biblical usage. It was used to describe the true function of the leaders of God’s people. A true leader is not a despot or dictator who not only drives his sheep but sometimes even slaughters them. Rather, a true leader is a shepherd who leads, tends, feeds, and protects his sheep at the risk of his own life.
Our Lord, of course, is the Great Shepherd. As Charles Spurgeon writes in his The Treasury of David, “What condescension is this, that the Infinite Lord assumes towards his people the office and character of a Shepherd!” Think of it! God descended and assumed one of the lowliest occupations in the ancient world. Likewise, the true function of the king of Israel was to be a shepherd (2Sa_5:2; 2Sa_7:7; Jer_3:15), as was that of other leaders, although at times they did it badly (Jer_2:8; Jer_22:22; Eze_34:2-3; Eze_34:8; Eze_34:10).
Coming to the NT, the word pastor is the direct descendant of that OT precedent. The word “pastors” in Eph_4:11, in fact, is a translation of the Greek poimēn (G4166), which means shepherd (poimēn is used to translate rā‘â in the Septuagint). In Classical Greek, it referred to the herdsman who tended and cared for the sheep. It was also used metaphorically to refer to a leader, a ruler, or a commander. Plato, for example, compared “the rulers of the city-state to shepherds who care for their flock.” This meaning was carried over into the NT. A pastor leads, tends, feeds, and protects the sheep that God has entrusted to his care. What a solemn responsibility!
Scriptures for Study: Read the “Shepherd Trilogy,” noting that in Psalms 22, the Great Shepherdredeems the sheep (cf. Joh_10:11); in Psalms 23, He rescues the sheep (cf. Rev_7:17); and in Psalms 24, He rewards the sheep (cf. 1Pe_5:4).
Young in the Ministry, Aged in Theology
Little could Rev. Cantlow realize the spiritual and historical significance of the baptismal service on May 3, 1850, when he immersed the teenager, Charles Haddon Spurgeon in Isleham, England. The teenaged lad had walked seven miles from Anew Market to Isleham because he had become firmly convinced that believer’s immersion was an ordinance of the Lord and not a sacrament. Desiring to serve, the young man made himself available to the Lord. Though he had received limited formal education, within a year he was called to the pastorate of the small Baptist church in Waterbeach, England. Quickly his fame spread to London, and on April 28, 1854, he accepted the call to pastor the New Park Street Chapel where famed Baptist predecessors had served. Charles Spurgeon was still a teen, but soon his name would be known throughout Great Britain, and he would be addressing thousands of people every Lord’s Day. Charles Haddon Spurgeon was soon targeted for criticism by the press in London. He was made the subject of political cartoonists, and the general Christian public examined his doctrine closely. As Spurgeon grew older, he shifted some of his emphasis in theology. His doctrinal emphasis moved more to the fundamentals of the faith concerning the person and work of Christ, the substitutionary atonement, and similar central doctrines. This speaks highly of the man. He matured as a Christian; he matured as a theologian.
Dr. Dale R. Hart adapted from: “This Day in Baptist History III” David L. Cummins. pp. 256 – 257