How Readily We Promise what We Cannot Perform
They have done well in all that they have spoken. Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always! Deuteronomy 5:28,29 (NASB).
What was it that the children of Israel had well said? we find it in the preceding verse; “speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee, and we will hear it and do it.” This their vow they were ready to make, but He who knew what was in man distrusted them, from the proneness of our nature to backslide. It is easy to make professions, but the mere words of our lips will not satisfy God: how many persons fail to bear in mind the vows and promises by which they were bound in the baptismal covenant, how many unite in the prayers of our church without duly considering the meaning of the words they utter! Take, for instance, that sentence in the Communion Service “here we offer and present unto Thee, O Lord, our selves, our souls, and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto Thee.” What words can be more expressive of entire devotion to the glory of God; but can we say that the general conduct of Communicants tends to promote his glory? It may surely be affirmed of all who have united in this holy service that “they have well said all that they have spoken,” God grant that there may be a heart in them to fear him and keep his commandments always.
About the author and the source
We often do not know what stories lie behind devotional books, but in the case of Daily Readings, we have a hint. It was produced “in the hope of furnishing to the Inhabitants of two Villages in Northumberland, some counter-action against the moral evils arising from the temporary settlement of Railway Labourers in the immediate neighbourhood.”
E. F. Daily Readings; consisting of devotional reflections . . . London: Hamilton, Adams, & Co., 1847.