Waiting, Not Running
“Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from Him cometh my salvation” (Psalm 62:1).
He Blesses and Keeps
The Lord bless thee, and keep thee. (Numbers 6:24)
This first clause of the high priest’s benediction is substantially a promise. That blessing which our great High Priest pronounces upon us is sure to come, for He speaks the mind of God.
What a joy to abide under the divine blessing! This puts a gracious flavor into all things. If we are blessed, then all our possessions and enjoyments are blessed; yea, our losses and crosses and even our disappointments are blessed. God’s blessing is deep, emphatic, effectual. A man’s blessing may begin and end in words, but the blessing of the Lord makes rich and sanctifies. The best wish we can have for our dearest friend is not “may prosperity attend thee,” but “the Lord bless thee.”
It is equally a delightful thing to be kept of God; kept by Him, kept near Him, kept in Him. They are kept indeed whom God keeps; they are preserved from evil; they are reserved unto boundless happiness. God’s keeping goes with His blessing, to establish it and cause it to endure.
The author of this little book desires that the rich blessing and sure keeping here pronounced may come upon every reader who may at this moment be looking at these lines. Please breathe the text to God as a prayer for His servants.
Bow Down; Be Lifted Up
“Humble yourselves therefore order the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).
This is tantamount to a promise: if we will bow down, the LORD will lift us up. Humility leads to honor; submission is the way to exaltation. That same hand of God which presses us down is waiting to raise us up when we are prepared to bear the blessing. We stoop to conquer. Many cringe before men and yet miss the patronage they crave; but he that humbles himself under the hand of God shall not fail to be enriched, uplifted, sustained, and comforted by the ever-gracious One. It is a habit of Jehovah to cast down the proud and lift up the lowly.
Yet there is a time for the LORD’s working. We ought now to humble ourselves, even at this present moment; and we are bound to keep on doing so whether the LORD lays His afflicting hand upon us or not. When the LORD smites, it is our special duty to accept the chastisement with profound submission. But as for the LORD’s exaltation of us, that can only come “in due time,” and God is the best judge of that day and hour. Do we cry out impatiently for the blessing? Would we wish for untimely honor? What are we at? Surely we are not truly humbled, or we should wait with quiet submission. So let us do.
“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” (Daniel 12:3)
Here is something to wake me up. This is worth living for. To be wise is a noble thing in itself: in this place it refers to a divine wisdom which only the Lord Himself can bestow. Oh, to know myself, my God, my Savior! May I be so divinely taught that l may carry into practice heavenly truth and live in the light of it! Is my life a wise one? Am I seeking that which I ought to seek? Am I living as I shall wish I had lived when I come to die? Only such wisdom can secure for me eternal brightness as of yonder sunlit skies.
To be a winner of souls is a glorious attainment. I had need to be wise if I am to turn even one to righteousness; much more if I am to turn many, Oh, for the knowledge of God, of men, of the Word, and of Christ, which will enable me to convert my fellowmen and to convert large numbers of them! I would give myself to this, and never rest till I accomplish it. This will be better than winning stars at court. This will make me a star, a shining star, a star shining forever and ever; yea, more, it will make roe shine as many stars. My soul, arouse thyself. Lord, quicken me!
Burdens Cast on Him
“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and He shall sustain thee; He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22).
It is a heavy burden; roll it on Omnipotence. It is thy burden now, and it crushes thee; but when the LORD takes it, He will make nothing of it. If thou art called still to bear, “he will sustain thee.” It will be on Him and not on thee. Thou wilt be so upheld under it that the burden will be a blessing. Bring the LORD into the matter, and thou wilt stand upright under that which in itself would bow thee down.
Our worst fear is lest our trial should drive us from the path of duty; but this the LORD will never suffer. If we are righteous before Him, He will not endure that our affliction should move us from our standing. In Jesus He accepts us as righteous, and in Jesus He will keep us so.
What about the present moment? Art thou going forth to this day’s trial alone? Are thy poor shoulders again to be galled with the oppressive load? Be not so foolish. Tell the LORD all about thy grief and leave it with Him. Don’t cast your burden down and then take it up again; but roll it on the LORD and leave it there. Then shalt thou walk at large, a joyful and unburdened believer, singing the praises of thy great Burden-bearer.
A Mountain Choir
“Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted His people, and will have mercy upon His afflicted” (Isaiah 49:13).
So sweet are the comforts of the LORD, that not only the saints themselves may sing of them, but even the heavens and the earth may take up the song. It takes something to make a mountain sing; and yet the prophet summons quite a choir of them. Lebanon, and Sirion, and the high hills of Bashan and Moab, He would set them all singing because of Jehovah’s grace to His own Zion. May we not also make mountains of difficulty, and trial, and mystery, and labor become occasions for praise unto our God? “Break forth into singing, O mountains!”
This word of promise, that our God will have mercy upon His afflicted, has a whole peal of bells connected with it. Hear their music — “Sing!” “Be joyful!” “Break forth into singing.” The LORD would have His people happy because of His unfailing love. He would not have us sad and doubtful; He claims horn us the worship of believing hearts. He cannot fail us: why should we sigh or sulk as if He would do so? Oh, for a well-tuned harp! Oh, for voices like those of the cherubim before the throne!
Back, Then Forward
“Nevertheless I will remember My Covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an Everlasting Covenant” (Ezekiel 16:60).
Notwithstanding our sins, the LORD is still faithful in His love to us. He looks back. See how He remembers those early days of ours when He took us into covenant with Himself, and we gave ourselves over to Him. Happy days those! The LORD does not twit us with them and charge us with being insincere. No, He looks rather to His covenant with us than to our covenant with Him. There was no hypocrisy in that sacred compact, on His part, at any rate. How gracious is the LORD thus to look back in love!
He looks forward also. He is resolved that the covenant shall not fail. If me do not stand to it, He does. He solemnly declares, “I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant.” He has no mind to draw back from His promises. Blessed be His name, He sees the sacred seal, “the blood of the everlasting covenant,” and He remembers our Surety, in whom He ratified that covenant, even His own dear Son; and therefore He rests in His covenant engagements. “He abideth faithful; he cannot deny himself.”
O LORD, lay this precious word upon my heart and help me to feed upon it all this day!
Possess, Not Only Profess
“For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance” (Matthew 13:12).
When the LORD has given to a man much grace, He will give him more. A little faith is a nest egg; more faith will come to it. But then it must not be seeming faith, but real and true. What a necessity is laid upon us to make sure work in religion and not to profess much, and possess nothing! For one of these days the very profession will be taken from us, if that be all we have. The threatening is as true as the promise.
Blessed be the LORD, it is His way when He has once made a beginning to go on bestowing the graces of His Spirit, till He who had but little, and yet truly had that little, is made to have abundance. Oh, for that abundance! Abundance of grace is a thing to be coveted, It would be well to know much but better to love much. It would be delightful to have abundance of skill to serve God but better still to have abundance of faith to trust in the LORD for skill and everything.
LORD, since Thou hast given me a sense of sin, deepen my hatred of evil. Since Thou hast caused me to trust Jesus, raise my faith to full assurance. Since Thou hast made me to love Thee, cause me to be carried away with vehement affection for Thee!