A certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. — Luke 11:27-28
It is fondly imagined by some, that it must have involved very special privileges to have been the mother of our Lord, because they supposed that she had the benefit of looking into His very heart in a way in which we cannot hope to do. There may be an appearance of plausibility in the supposition but not much. We do not know that Mary knew more than others; what she did know—she did well to lay up in her heart. But she does not appear from anything we read in the Evangelists, to have been a better-instructed believer than any other of Christ’s disciples. All that she knew—we also may discover. Do you wonder that we should say so? Here is a text to prove it, “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.”
Remember the Master’s words, “I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father.” So blessedly does this Divine Revealer of secrets tell us His heart, that He keeps back nothing which is profitable to us; His own assurance is, “If it were not so—I would have told you.” Does He not this day manifest Himself unto us—as He does not unto the world? It is even so; and therefore we will not ignorantly cry out, “Blessed is the womb that bore you,” but we will intelligently bless God that, having heard the Word and kept it, we have first of all—as true a communion with the Savior as Mary had; and in the second place—as true an acquaintance with the secrets of His heart as she can be supposed to have obtained. Happy soul to be thus privileged!
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said ... Be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods. — Dan 3:16,18
The narrative of the manly courage and marvelous deliverance of the three holy children, or rather champions, is well calculated to excite in the minds of believers firmness and steadfastness in upholding the truth in the teeth of tyranny, and in the very jaws of death. Let young Christians especially learn from their example, both in matters of faith in religion, and matters of uprightness in business—never to sacrifice their consciences. Lose all rather than lose your integrity, and when all else is gone, still hold fast a clear conscience as the rarest jewel which can adorn the bosom of a mortal.
Do not be guided by the will-o’-the-wisp of policy but by the pole-star of divine authority. Follow the right at all hazards. When you see no present advantage, walk by faith and not by sight. Do God the honor to trust Him when it comes to matters of loss for the sake of principle. See whether He will be your debtor! See if He does not even in this life prove His Word, that “Godliness, with contentment, is great gain,” and that those who “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, shall have all these things added unto them.”
Should it happen that, in the providence of God, you are a loser by conscience, you shall find that if the Lord does not pay you back in the silver of earthly prosperity, He will discharge His promise in the gold of spiritual joy. Remember that a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of that which he possesses. To be a person of integrity, to have a heart void of offence, to have the favor and smile of God, is greater riches than the mines of Ophir could yield, or the traffic of Tyre could win. “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and inward contention therewith.” An ounce of heart’s-ease, is worth a ton of gold.