Posts Tagged "Charles Spurgeon"

Obadiah’s Early Piety (Synopsis of Come Ye’ Children – Chapter 18)

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In the last chapter, we were introduced to Obadiah who later in his life worked in the hostile court of the evil King Ahab.  In this chapter, Spurgeon discusses the early piety of Obadiah.  In 1 Kings 18:12, during his exchange with Elijah, Obadiah states:

“…but I thy servant fear the LORD from my youth.  [1 Kings 18:12 KJV]”

The Bible does not tell us how Obadiah came to faith or who instructed him.  Spurgeon does postulate that based on Obadiah’s name (which means “the servant of Jehova”) that Obadiah’s parents were likely believers.  In a time when believers in God were frequently persecuted or even killed, the fact that Obadiah’s parents would name their son “the servant of Jehova” speaks to the faith of his parents and supports Spurgeon’s contention that they were likely believer.  On the importance of parents, Spurgeon notes:

“Whether this be so or not [that Obadiah’s parents were believers], it is quite certain that thousands of the most intelligent believers owe their first bent towards godliness to the sweet associations of home…we were consecrated to the service of God before we knew that there was a God. Many a tear of earnest prayer fell on our infant brow and sealed us for Heaven; we were nursed in the atmosphere of devotion; there was scarce a day in which we were not urged to be faithful servants of God, and entreated while we were yet young to seek Jesus and give our hearts to Him.”

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Witnesses for God Converted in Youth (Synopsis of Come Ye’ Children – Chapter 17)

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Although this chapter touches on those who come to faith early in life, Spurgeon’s principle point in this chapter is that God is forever sovereign and always has a plan.  This chapter is based on the story of Elijah and Obadiah recorded in the book of 1 Kings and lays the foundation for the following chapter’s discussion of Obadiah’s early piety.

In 1 Kings 18, we read the story of Elijah and Obadiah.  Obadiah was in charge of the household of Ahab, the King of Israel.  When Ahab’s wife Jezebel ordered that all the prophets of the Lord be killed in order to expedite that worship of Baal, Obadiah hid a hundred of the prophets of the Lord in caves around the country  He watched over them and sustained them with bread and water.  As Obadiah was walking through the land, he came across the great prophet Elijah who summoned him to go tell King Ahab the Elijah was there to meet him.  Obadiah was understandably nervous about this request of Elijah was an enemy of the King.

Spurgeon notes that Obadiah was a quiet man of God who feared the Lord and still worked in the court of the King which was hostile to the God of Israel.  On the other hand, Elijah was a very outspoken and public prophet of the Lord.  In Spurgeon’s opinion, Elijah did not think very highly of Obadiah.  Spurgeon postulates:

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Childhood and the Holy Scriptures (Synopsis of Come Ye’ Children – Chapter 16)

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In this chapter, Spurgeon employs the example of Paul and Timothy to draw some conclusions about children and the Bible.  He begins by recounting the method how Paul taught Timothy the gospel.  He taught him the lessons of the Bible verbally by teaching him sound doctrine.  As importantly, he taught him experientially by allowing Timothy to see Paul live out his Christian faith in everyday life.  As Spurgeon explains,

“We cannot force truth upon men, but we can make our own teaching clear and decided, and make our lives consistent therewith. Truth and holiness are the surest antidotes to error and unrighteousness.”

As teachers of children, it is of the utmost importance that we lead lives consistent with what we teach.  If our kids see us outside of the classroom setting violating the very standards that we teach them on Sunday morning, they will never follow those standards again.  We are supposed to shine the light of Jesus on them by imitating hm.  Teaching the Word of God is as much about living it as it is about speaking it.

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King David’s Two Encouragements to Parents and Teachers (Synopsis of Come Ye’ Children – Chapter 15)

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Lest we should ever start to feel like our work with kids is pointless, in this short chapter, Spurgeon offers two words of encouragement to both parents and teachers for dealing with kids.  The two examples are found in the lives of David and Jesus.

Encouragement #1 – Working with Children is a Noble Endeavor

David was renowned King of Israel and author of numerous psalms.  Appointed by God in his early years, David replaced Saul and led the nation of Israel for 40 years.  Jesus was, and is, the Son of God who came to earth in human form to die on the cross to pay the price for our sins so that we could be reconcile to God forever.  One thing they shared in common was a desire to teach children.

David said:

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“Come, Ye Children” – The Psalmist’s Invitation (Synopsis of Come Ye’ Children – Chapter 14)

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David and the Children

In Chapter 14, Spurgeon exegetes the verse in Psalm 34 that serves as the title for this book:

“Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.” [Psalms 34:11 ESV]

NOTE: Spurgeon’s book was, of course, based on the wording of the King James Version of the Bible which is slightly different than the ESV Version.]

Spurgeon notes that this Psalm was written by David following the change in his behavior in front of Abimelech.  In those events, which are related in 1 Samuel 21:10-15, David pretended to be insane before the King of Gath in order to escape from him.  Spurgeon points out that, only after David had lowered himself to pretending to be a drooling madman subjected to the scorn of children did he finally discover his duty. Spurgeon explains:

“In after days, when David sang songs of praise to Jehovah, recollecting how he had become the laughing-stock of little children, he seemed to say, “Ah! by my folly before the children in the streets, I have lowered myself in the estimation of generations that shall live after me; now I will endeavour to undo the mischief,—”Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.'”

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