14 MARCH (PREACHED 1770)
Seasons of refreshment
‘And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.’ Luke 9:28
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Psalm 84:1–12
The Lord affords his people seasons of refreshment which the world knows nothing of. The scribes and Pharisees who despised Jesus could not but despise his followers. They little thought of what passed upon this mountain. Had they seen him transfigured they would not so much have wondered at the disciples’ attachment to him. It is thus still. The world see that the Lord’s people have their trials, dejections and infirmities, but they know nothing of their consolations. Therefore they either pity or despise them, and suppose they lead a poor, melancholy life. They would not think so if they knew all. His people have indeed their heart bitternesses, but a stranger intermeddleth not with their joys [Proverbs 14:10]. One gracious visit from his presence makes them amends for many sufferings. A day, or an hour, of communion with him, is better than a thousand.
The experiences of different believers are very different at the same time. While some are rejoicing, others are sorrowing. These three were happy upon the mount—the rest had a sharp exercise of their faith in their master’s absence (Luke 9:40).
FOR MEDITATION: I had long believed and often told others, that our God is all-sufficient, but in the year ’90, I could say, I not only believe him to be all-sufficient, but I have found him so. He enabled me to trust in him, and I am helped. Yes, I am persuaded that no power, short of that which sustains the stars in their orbits, could have supported me. To this day, she is seldom an hour out of my waking thoughts, but the recollection gives me no pain. I can say from my heart, he has done all things well. He gave, and he took away. I praise his goodness and wisdom for both. I compare creature comforts to candles. While they burn they waste, and if we live long we may see them all go out in succession. But if we are interested in the Sun of Righteousness, the Fountain of Light, Life and Power and Comfort, he can well supply their place, and he has promised that he will. Habakkuk 3:17–18.
John Newton to William Wilberforce, 30 September 1800
[Newton preached his wife’s funeral sermon from Habakkuk 3:17–19.]
SERMON SERIES: ON THE TRANSFIGURATION, NO. 2 [3/5], LUKE 9:28