The Safest Shelter
“And a Man shall be as an hiding-place from the wind and a covert from the tempest” (Isaiah 32:2).
Who this Man is we all know. Who could He be but the Second Man, the LORD from heaven, the man of sorrows, the Son of Man? What a hiding place He has been to His people! He bears the full force of the wind Himself, and so He shelters those who hide themselves in Him. We have thus escaped the wrath of God, and we shall thus escape the anger of men, the cares of this life, and the dread of death. Why do we stand in the wind when we may so readily and so surely get out of it by hiding behind our LORD? Let us this day run to Him and be at peace. Often the common wind of trouble rises in its force and becomes a tempest, sweeping everything before it. Things which looked firm and stable rock in the blast, and many and great are the falls among our carnal confidences. Our LORD Jesus, the glorious man, is a covert which is never blown down. In Him we mark the tempest sweeping by, but we ourselves rest in delightful serenity. This day let us just stow ourselves away in our hiding place and sit and sing under the protection of our Covert. Blessed Jesus! Blessed Jesus! How we love Thee! Well we may, for Thou art to us a shelter in the time of storm.
Broken and Smoking
“A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench” (Isaiah 42:3).
Then I may reckon upon tender treatment from my LORD. Indeed, I feel myself to be at best as weak, as pliant, as worthless as a reed. Someone said, “I don’t care a rush for you”; and the speech, though unkind, was not untrue. Alas! I am worse than a reed when it grows by the river, for that at least can hold up its head. I am bruised — sorely, sadly bruised. There is no music in me now; there is a rift which lets out all the melody. Ah, me! Yet Jesus will not break me; and if He will not, then I mind little what others try to do. O sweet and compassionate LORD, I nestle down beneath Thy protection and forget my bruises! Truly I am also fit to be likened to “the smoking flax,” whose light is gone, and only its smoke remains. I fear I am rather a nuisance than a benefit. My fears tell me that the devil has blown out my light and left me an obnoxious smoke, and that my LORD will soon put an extinguisher upon one. Yet I perceive that though there were snuffers under the law, there were no extinguishers, and Jesus will not quench me; therefore, I am hopeful. LORD, kindle me anew and cause me to shine forth to Thy glory and to the extolling of Thy tenderness.
Abiding in Obedience, in Love
“If ye keep My Commandments, ye shall abide in My love” (John 15:10).
These things cannot be parted — abiding in obedience and abiding in the love of Jesus. A life under the rule of Christ can alone prove that we are the objects of our LORD’s delight. We must keep our LORD’s command if we would bask in His love. If we live in sin we cannot live in the love of Christ. Without the holiness which pleases God we cannot please Jesus. He who cares nothing for holiness knows nothing of the love of Jesus. Conscious enjoyment of our LORD’s love is a delicate thing. It is far more sensitive to sin and holiness than mercury is to cold and heat. When we are tender of heart and careful in thought, lip, and life to honor our LORD Jesus, then we receive tokens of His love without number. If we desire to perpetuate such bliss we must perpetuate holiness. The LORD Jesus will not hide His face from us unless we hide our face from Him. Sin makes the cloud which darkens our Sun: if we will be watchfully obedient and completely consecrated we may walk in the light, as God is in the light, and have as sure an abiding in the love of Jesus as Jesus has in the love of the Father. Here is a sweet promise with a solemn “if,” LORD, let me have this “if” in my hand; for as a key it opens this casket.
Food and Rest
“I will feed My flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the LORD God” (Ezekiel 34:15).
Under the divine shepherdry saints are fed to the full. Theirs is not a windy, unsatisfying mess of mere human “thought,” but the LORD feeds them upon the solid, substantial truth of divine revelation. There is real nutriment for the soul in Scripture brought home to the heart by the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself is the true life-sustaining Food of believers. Here our Great Shepherd promises that such sacred nourishment shall be given us by His own self. If, on the LORD’s Day, our earthly shepherd is empty-handed, the LORD is not. When filled with holy truth the mind rests. Those whom Jehovah feeds are at peace. No dog shall worry them, no wolf shall devour them, no restless propensities shall disturb them. They shall lie down and digest the food which they have enjoyed. The doctrines of grace are not only sustaining but consoling: in them we have the means for building up and lying down. If preachers do not give us rest, let us look to the LORD for it. This day may the LORD cause us to feed in the pastures of the Word and make us to lie down in them. May no folly and no worry but meditation and peace mark this day.
“If thou seek Him, He will be found of thee” (1 Chronicles 28:9).
We need our God; He is to be had for the seeking, and He will not deny Himself to any one of us if we personally seek His face. It is not if thou deserve Him, or purchase His favor, but merely if thou “seek” Him. Those who already know the LORD must go on seeking His face by prayer, by diligent service, and by holy gratitude: to such He will not refuse His favor and fellowship. Those who, as yet, have not known Him to their souls’ rest should at once commence seeking and never cease till they find Him as their Savior, their Friend, their Father, and their God. What strong assurance this promise gives to the seeker! “He that seeketh findeth.” You, yes you, if you seek your God shall find Him. When you find Him you have found life, pardon, sanctification, preservation, and glory. Will you not seek, and seek on, since you shall not seek in vain’ Dear friend, seek the LORD at once. Here is the place, and now is the time. Bend that stiff knee; yes, bend that stiffer neck, and cry out for God, for the living God. In the name of Jesus, seek cleansing and justification. You shall not be refused. Here is David’s testimony to his son Solomon, and it is the writer’s personal witness to the reader. Believe it and act upon it, for Christ’s sake.
Waiting, Not Running
“Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from Him cometh my salvation” (Psalm 62:1).
Blessed posture! Waiting truly and only upon the LORD. Be this our condition all this day and every day. Waiting His leisure, waiting in His service, waiting in joyful expectation, waiting in prayer, and content. When the very soul thus waits, it is in the best and truest condition of a creature before his Creator, a servant before his Master, a child before his Father. We allow no dictation to God, nor complaining of Him; we will permit no petulance and no distrust. At the same time, we practice no running before the cloud and no seeking to others for aid: neither of these would be waiting upon God. God, and God alone, is the expectation of our hearts. Blessed assurance! From Him salvation is coming; it is on the road. It will come from Him and from no one else. He shall have all the glory of it, for He alone can and will perform it. And He will perform it most surely in His own time and manner. He will save from doubt, and suffering, and slander, and distress. Though we see no sign of it as yet, we are satisfied to bide the LORD’s will, for we have no suspicion of His love and faithfulness. He will make sure work of it before long, and we will praise Him at once for the coming mercy.
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.