C. H. Spurgeon
Sermon Notes From Charles Spurgeon
These Notes from Spurgeon, famed for his expository preaching in England at Park St.
and Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, are well worth studying, adapting, and making
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to this day as "the Prince of Preachers," and is arguably the greatest
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15. The Faithful Olive Tree.

But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honor God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? Judges 9:9.

THE fable teaches that temptations will come to us all, however sweet, or useful, or fruitful, even as they came to the fig, the olive, and the vine. These temptations may take the shape of proffered honors; if not a crown, yet some form of preferment or power may be the bribe. The trees were under God's government and wanted no king; but in this fable they "went forth" and so quitted their true place. Then they sought to be like men, forgetting that God had not made them to be conformed to a fallen race. Revolting themselves, they strove to win over those better trees which had remained faithful.

No wonder they chose the olive, so rich and honored; for it would give their kingdom respectability to have such a monarch; but the olive wisely declined, and gave its reason.


The question is to be asked, Should I? Let us never do what would be unbecoming, unsuitable, unwise (Gen. 39:9).

Emphasis is to be laid on the I Should I? If God has given me peculiar gifts or special grace, does it become me to trifle with these endowments? Should I give them up to gain honor for myself (Neh. 6:11)?

A higher position may seem desirable, but would it be right to gain it by such cost (Jer. 45:5)?

It will involve duties and cares. "Go up and down among the trees" implies that there would be care, oversight, traveling, etc.

These duties will be quite new to me; for, like an olive, I have been hitherto planted in one place. Should I run into new temptations, new difficulties, etc., of my own wanton will?

Can I expect God's blessing upon such strange work? Put the question in the case of wealth, honor, power, which are set before us. Should we grasp at them at the risk of being less at peace, less holy, less prayerful, less useful?


"Should I leave my fatness?" I have this great boon, should I lightly lose it?

It is the greatest advantage in life to be useful both to God and man "By me they honor God and man." We ought heartily to prize this high privilege.

To leave this for anything which the world can offer would be great loss. "Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon?" etc., (Jer. 18:14; 2:13).

Our possession of fatness meets the temptation to become a king. We are happy enough in Christ, in his service, with his people, and in the prospect of the reward. We cannot better ourselves by the move; let us stay as we are.

We may also meet it by the reflection.

That the prospect is startling "Shall I leave my fatness?" For an olive to do this would be unnatural: for a believer to leave holy living would be worse (John 6:68).

That the retrospect would be terrible--"leave my fatness." What must it be to have left grace, and truth, and holiness, and Christ? Remember Judas.

That even an hour of such leaving would be a loss. What would an olive do even for a day if it left its fatness?

That it would all end in disappointment; for nothing could compensate for leaving the Lord. All else is death (Jer. 17:13).

That to abide firmly and reject all baits is like the saints, the martyrs, and their Lord; but to prefer honor to grace is a mere bramble folly.


Let us take deeper root. The mere proposal to leave our fatness should make us hold the faster to it.

Let us be on the watch that we lose not our joy, which is our fatness. If we would not leave it, neither can we bear that it should leave us.

Let us yield more fatness, and bear more fruit: he who gains largely is all the further removed from loss. The more we increase in grace the less are we likely to leave it.

Let us feel the more content, and speak the more lovingly of our gracious state, that none may dare to entice us. When Satan sees us happily established he will have the less hope of overthrowing us.

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366 Daily Devotions - Spurgeon's "Faith's Check Book"
366 Daily Devotions - Spurgeon's "Morning and Evening"
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