Your shoes shall be iron and brass; and as your days, so shall your strength be.
I. WHAT THIS PROMISE IS NOT.
1. It has no direct relation to the past — no power of retrieval and recovery. Negligence is negligence, and no spiritual alchemy can change it into diligence. This only may be done: precious lessons may be drawn out of that which has been; and thus the moral continuity of the results of what was evil may be in a measure interrupted, and good drawn out of the evil.
2. It does not bring us into any immediate connection with the future. No doubt there is what may be called grace in stock; in capital if you will, in the existence and operation of gracious principles and dispositions. You may reckon with certainty on getting large interest from these. But even that is on condition of continued faithfulness, and in order to secure that God gives by the day. It is only in the day itself — in the dispensation — in the duty — in the melting of the heart grief; in the bitterness of the disappointment, or in the fierceness of the temptation, that you can fully know what strength you will require — and only then, in the nature of things, can you receive it.
II. WHAT THIS PROMISE IS. You are going some distance to a banquet. It will, of course, be pleasant if the sun shines by the way, and all the world looks fair. But if the clouds hang heavy, and the air is cold, you will go to the banquet just the same. You are going across the sea to claim a property, and you are to sail in a ship that cannot sink. It will be pleasant if there is only the ripple of quiet waters from the prow of the ship, and the flashing of the sunlight from the scarcely crested waves. But if even there should come the roar and burly of the storm, and the dash of the angry waves against the sides of the vessel, until the very masts are white with spray, you will none the less, and probably even none the later, see and claim your good estate. If a man lives well each day — die well he must, whatever his feeling be. Death will be to him a very chariot of fire to take him to the banquet of heaven; or a ship that turns back for no weather, nor ever strikes sail till she enters the harbour. Lessons —
1. Do not be managing and masterful over circumstances and providence; hammering and hewing at the "days" to compel them into a certain shape. Take them as they come; for they come as they are sent, arrayed darkly or brightly by the hand of God, and filled with such elements as His wisdom and goodness have put into them.
2. Do not be timorous and fearful and full of anxious care; you see how little need there is for it, how well you are provided for!
3. Such a subject, and such a promise is surely a call to diligence. For here you see is an unlimited promise of strength — strength to match the "days" — that is God's side of it. Our part is to try to raise the "days" to match the strength.
(A. Raleigh, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.