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Little Investment in Heavenly Goods

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Cause for Lamentation, Repentance, and Labor

Symptoms of the Decay of the Heavenly Trade

Little Investment in Heavenly Goods}

Small transactions by traders usually show that business is bad. When times are hard and goods do not move off the shelf, retailers buy only a little and do less business when profits fail. Thus they will detest further investment in their business, stock fewer products, and downsize. So it is in this spiritual trade. When souls begin to decay in it and trading is bad, they narrow their trade and lay out less of their heart and strength to it. Little of their soul goes out after God and things above. They cannot venture out for God as before. They cannot spare time for prayer, sermon hearing, reading, and holy conversation as they used to do. The stream of their emotional attachments begins to run another way. Now they are all for the world, self, and vanity. Earthly business and investments eat up all their time, or at least they say to Christ, as David did to Mephibosheth, “You and Ziba divide the land” (2 Samuel 19:29).313 So, they say to Christ, “You and the world, You and pleasures, You and reputation, divide my heart, time, and strength. This is too obvious. God does not have so much of people’s hearts, desires, love, delight, faith, hope, and zeal as in the past. It is low waters all year long for many people.314 They have no heart to duty, as the prophet complains: “Harlotry, wine, and new wine enslave the heart” (Hosea 4:11 NKJV). So, lust, sloth, the world, and self take away the heart. They do not desire God when He is absent or delight in Him when present. They are disinclined to duty, cold and formal in duty, and put off God with anything else. They keep the best of the flock and the prime of their strength for themselves and the world, and turn away the Lord with a corrupt thing, the residue of their wasted affections and strength (Malachi 1:14).315

313So the king said to him, ‘Why do you still speak of your affairs? I have decided, You and Ziba shall divide the land’” (2 Samuel 19:29 NASB).

314Prior to the age of steam railroads, transport of goods by boat and barge on inland waterways such as rivers and canals was extremely important. Many governments through history spent enormous amounts of money and (often conscripted) labor on canals. Lack of rain or silting up of the bed would impede water traffic. This is the likely meaning of Ashwood’s reference to low waters.

315“‘But cursed be the swindler who has a male in his flock and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord, for I am a great King,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and My name is feared among the nations’” (Malachi 1:14 NASB).

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