A Drink from Brooks: The Strength of Withering


“David was like a withered flower that had lost all its sap, life, and vigour, when God had wrapped up himself in a cloud. The life of some creatures lieth in the light and warmth of the sun, and so doth the life of the saints lie in the fight and warmth of God’s countenance. And as in an eclipse of the sun there is a drooping in the whole frame of nature, so when God hides his face, gracious souls cannot but droop and languish, and bow down themselves before him. Many insensible creatures, some by opening and shutting, as marigolds and tulips, others by bowing and inclining the head, as the solsequy [sunflower] and mallow-flowers are so sensible of the presence and absence of the sun, that there seems to be such a sympathy between the sun and them that if the sun be gone or clouded, they wrap up themselves, or hang down their heads, as being unwilling to be seen by any eye but his that fills them; and just thus it was with David when God had his his face in a cloud.” —Thomas Brooks, An Ark for all God’s Noahs

A Drink from Brooks: You May Cry out To but Not Against

“He that hath deserved a hanging hath no reason to charge the judge with cruelty if he escape with a whipping; and we that have deserved a damning have no reason to charge God for being too severe, if we escape with a fatherly lashing. Rather than a man will take the blame, and quietly bear the shame of his own folly he will put it off upon God himself, Gen. 3:12. It is a very evil thing, when we shall go to accuse God, that we may excuse ourselves and unblame ourselves, that we may blame our God, and lay the fault anywhere rather than upon our own hearts and ways. …When thou art under affliction, thou mayest humbly tell God that thou feelest his hand heavy; but thou must not blame him because his hand is heavy.” —Thomas Brooks, The Mute Christian under the Smarting Rod

Not a Dainty Grace (Exodus 4:1–17)

As Moses’ sinful questions mutate into brazen objections, God’s grace grows more firm. God’s grace isn’t fragile. It isn’t a dainty grace. When God sets His covenant love on sinners, sinners’ sins don’t change His covenant love; God’s covenant love changes sinners. We’re told Moses’ sins aroused God’s anger, and what do we see next? Preplanned grace (4:14). God’s grace is always preplanned. To put a spin on Spurgeon, if God didn’t love His people before the foundation of the world, it’s certain He’d never see cause, in them, to love them afterward.

God’s grace isn’t a dainty grace. You can’t shatter it. It’s child proof; indestructibly designed by a Father who knows us. You can’t break this grace. It breaks you. This isn’t the kind of grace that sweeps sin under the rug, but propels us out the door. This is persistent and insistent grace that covers and refuses our objections.

God’s grace throws us in the deep end and then is there to keep us from drowning. Remember Jonah? God’s firm grace got Jonah to Nineveh. The book ends with Jonah rebelliously pouting. Or does it? Who wrote the book of Jonah? I believe it was Jonah. The book ends then as Jonah’s expression of the ugliness of his sin and the beauty of God’s grace. Good parents often make their children do things they’re fearful of and the children are often thankful after the fact. I’m sure, once Jonah set his pen down, it was with a contented sigh of thankfulness that God threw him in the deep end and was there to keep him from drowning, even in his own sins. Once Moses returned to Sinai, certainly, he too was thankful that God’s grace was made of adamant.

There is grace for those who are ambassadors of grace. Not a grace that excuses our sins, but a grace that leaves us without excuses.