As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.
This teaches us that the comfort obtained by one may often prove helpful to another, just as the springs would be enjoyed by the company who came after. When we read some book that is really helpful and encouraging, we recognize that the author has gone ahead of us and discovered these refreshing springs for us as well as for himself. Many books have been like wells drilled by a pilgrim for himself but have proved quite as useful to others. We notice this especially in the Psalms-for example, 42:11: "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?" Travelers have been delighted to see the footprint of man on a barren shore, and we love to see the marks of pilgrims while passing through the vale of tears.
The pilgrims dig the well, but, strangely, it fills from the top instead of the bottom. We use the means, but the blessing does not spring from the means. We dig a well, but heaven fills it with rain. The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but safety is from the Lord. The means are connected with the end, but they do not produce it themselves. Consider here how the rain covers the ground with pools, so that they become useful as reservoirs. The endeavor is not wasted, but still it does not supersede divine help.
Grace may be compared to rain for its purity, for its refreshing and energizing influence, for its coming from above, and for the sovereignty with which it is given or withheld. May our readers have showers of blessing, and may the springs be filled with water! What are the means and ordinances without the smile of heaven! They are like clouds without rain and pools without water. God of love, open the windows of heaven and pour us out a blessing!
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.