Sermon 2930. 'Hiding in You!'
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, APRIL 6, 1905.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, DECEMBER 14, 1876.
"I flee unto You to hide me." Psalm 143:9.
WHAT a great mercy it is for us that David had not a smooth path and an easy life! We would have lost much valuable instructionif he had been able to hold on continually the even tenor of his way. Whereas, now, we are great gainers by his trials andsufferings. In reading the Psalms of David, you will often find a verse which just suits your own case. It is hardly possiblefor you to be placed in any position without discovering that the son of Jesse has been there before you. I cannot, in allrespects, liken him to the Lord Jesus Christ, who was in all points tempted like as we are, yet, to a large extent, it wasso with David as well as with "great David's greater Son." He seems to have been not merely one man, but "all mankind's epitome,"and to have known almost all human temptations, human sins and human joys, having been led, sometimes by the Spirit, and sometimes,alas, by his own frailty and foolishness, into all sorts of strange places in order that he might become an instructor tous.
You have probably heard this remark a great many times, but, did it ever strike you that very much the same may be said concerningyour own experience? When you are wondering why you are so strangely tried and why your experience is often so remarkable,may it not happen that the reason does not lie in yourself so much as in others to whom God means to make you useful? Youare being led along a rough road and being tried and instructed in order that you may be the means of helping others whomyou will find in some of the dark places of the earth. You are being trained as a hardy mountaineer in order that when theLord's sheep are lost on wild craggy places, you may know how to climb up after them and bring them down to a place of safety.You are being taught how to find your way through the country of despondency and despair in order that when the pilgrims tothe Celestial City lose their way and get into the marshy places of fear and doubt, you may know how to bring them out againand set their feet again upon the Rock and establish their goings once more.
The bearing of any one man's life upon the lives of other men can scarcely be fully known to us here. Even when we are ableto look upon the completed life, we shall hardly know how much it has been intertwisted with other men's lives and, certainly,until the life is completed, no man can know how much his present sufferings have to do with his usefulness to others. Norcan he fully understand how he is being prepared here, there, and in a thousand other places for usefulness in a positionof which he little dreams that he will ever be the occupant. Yet he is one day to be placed where all this mysterious trainingwill be of the utmost service to other people. The steel blade that was put into the fire again, and again, and yet againto be tempered, did not know that the Cid would use it in the day of battle to cut through the armor of his adversaries! Ifit had not been prepared for use in this fashion, it would not have been fit to be placed in such a hero's hands. Believersare being made into vessels meet for the Master's use and it is not every vessel that is fit for Him to employ in His Divineservice. David was prepared, but he could only have become so by means of the remarkable life of trial through which he wascalled to pass.
Whenever we read the story of David's life, or note in the Psalms where he went and what he did, we should not merely noticehow David acted and suffered and what he did while undergoing the suffering, but we should try to so study his experienceas to be able to do as he did if we are placed in circumstances similar to his. Avoid his sin-let that be a beacon to warnyou-but imitate his virtues. Pray the Lord to make you a partaker of the fullest measure of the Grace which the Psalmist possessed,but never look at his life as you gaze at a statue-merely to admire it and to say how
beautifully it is worked-but look at it as a boy should look at his copy, that he may imitate it. Look at it as the soldierlooks at his leader, that he may march step by step as he sets him the example and, above all things, always keep your eyeson David's Lord and Master, lest even David should be the means of misleading you! Let your admiration both of David and ofthe Lord Jesus Christ be practical-there is far too much of that kind of religion which consists in merely admiring otherpeople, or in seeing what we, ourselves, ought to be, or in regretting that we are not what we should be-true godliness ismanifested as we bring forth the fruit of the Spirit by being and doing that which we feel we ought to be and to do. To thisend, gracious Spirit, be pleased to help us! Let us give to our text that sort of meditation which shall all the while beaiming at a practical result-and while we see how David fled to his God in the time of trial, let us each one, also, makethis resolve, in the strength of the Holy Spirit-"I will do the same as David did. I will flee unto God to hide me."
In our text we have David's declaration to the Lord, "I flee unto You to hide me." We also ought to do as David did, but noman will do this unless he has the five things of which I am about to speak.
I. And, first, no man will ever flee to God to hide him unless he has A SENSE OF DANGER.
David was in danger from many cruel enemies and he fled to God to hide him from them. You and I may not be in any such dangeras that, physically. We live in a country where, happily, we are protected from such a danger as that-at least, the most ofus do-but there are other dangers to which we are exposed. David fled to God to hide him because he realized the danger inwhich he was placed and we shall only flee to the Lord to hide us when we realize our own personal peril.
We are all well aware that many persons have perished because they have not realized their danger. You know how often thisis the case. Men have gone, without any thought of peril, into places where there have been pestilential odors or the seedsof deadly diseases. If they had known what was there, they would not have gone in that direction, or they would have takenvarious precautions to guard themselves from infection. But, in ignorance of their peril, they have breathed the fatal airand have gone home to sicken and die. Many a gallant ship has struck upon a hidden reef, or upon a sandbank that was not markedon the chart. I have never heard of any vessel being wrecked through its officers keeping too good a look-out. Nor do we oftenread of ships being lost because the captain was too anxious to keep far away from the treacherous sands and the dangerousheadlands. But we often hear of wrecks which have occurred through the captain's ignorance of the danger to which his vesselwas exposed. Every now and then we learn that some obstruction has been encountered upon the railway as the express trainhas came rushing along. If the driver had but known that the permanent way, as it is called, was out of order and that therewould be a collision if he did not stop the train, he would have done all that he could to avoid such a calamity-but becausehe did not know that he and his passengers were in danger, he went on as though all had been well-and the most terrible consequencesensued.
Many have perished-I am using the word, "perish," in the ordinary sense-because they have not known that they were in danger.And we know (oh, that it were not so!) that concerning spiritual things, there are millions of our fellow countrymen who arein danger of the eternal wrath of God, yet they are not conscious that it is so. They know that they are living in sin andthey have some dim perception that sin is an evil thing in God's sight, yet they are not fully conscious of what sin is. Manyof them do not know, in the full meaning of the word, that they are sinners. See how contented they are with their fanciedrighteousness, conceiving themselves to be in perfect safety-and all the while they are in the utmost peril! They eat andthey drink. They are married and they are given in marriage as though such a state of things would last forever. Talk to themconcerning the last dread conflagration which is to consume the world and they will laugh you to scorn, and cry, "Peace andsafety," even though sudden destruction is coming upon them! If we could once make men realize that they are in danger, therewould be some hope that they would seek to escape from the peril that threatens them! But we cannot make them believe in itsreality and certainty. They are unbelieving with regard to such disturbing news. If we cried aloud to them, "Peace, peace,"although we know there is no peace for them as long as they continue as they now are, they would probably believe us, forthey lend their credulous ears to any superstition that seems to promise them a false peace. But if we try to warn them oftheir danger-danger of the most terrible kind-they will not, as a rule, be persuaded to listen to such unwelcome tidings-orif they do listen, they do not believe our message and they will not admit they are in danger.
If any such persons are present with us here-and I fear that there are some-I mean those who have no sense of danger and yethave never trusted in Christ for salvation, let me remind you, dear Friends, that your sins must inevitably bring punishmentupon you! There is a Judge of all the earth who must do right-and every transgression of His righteous Law must be followedby punishment, otherwise why should there be a Judge of the earth at all if He is indifferent to the iniquities of man? Letme also remind you that your sin is holding you in its power and though, at present, you may not indulge in the grosser formsof vice, you are in great danger of going much further into paths of sin than you like to think you will. You cannot stopin an evil course just when and where you please. You cannot say to sin, "Thus far shall you go and no further." The beginningsof evil are like the letting out of water-and when the dyke is once broken and the pent-up flood is set free-it soon delugesthe fields and, perhaps, sweeps away multitudes of men and their habitations as well. Oh, that men could but realize thatwhile they are living in sin, they are always in danger of committing more sin, and yet more sin-going on from bad to worseand from worse to the very worst of all!
Many a young man would shudder with horror if he could foresee what he will yet become unless the Grace of God shall preventit. You have often seen that familiar picture of the child and the kind of man that he will yet become- either drunken orsober. If that child should be told that, one day, he would be like that red-faced old drunkard, he would not believe thathe could ever grow to be as bad as that! Neither will most young men who are now living in sin, believe that they can evergrow to be what they will be if they continue in their present course. Yet that is the danger to which they are continuallyexposed-the danger of sin always producing yet more sin-and, to my mind, it seems to be punishment of a most grievous kindeven if there were no other, that sin should be allowed to breed within itself something yet more black and foul and filthythan it is itself! So foul that on the cancer of sin there comes yet another and another, more foul and loathsome, and yetanother, and another, and another until the man who was possessed with one devil becomes possessed with seven devils evenmore wicked than the first one was! There is this real danger, this grievous danger, in the case of every unconverted manor woman upon the face of the earth! Therefore each one of them should cry unto the Lord, "I flee unto You to hide me."
No man ever flees to God for shelter until he realizes that he is in danger, yet all men, whether they are the children ofGod or the children of this world, are in danger of one kind or another. As for the men of this world-the children of disobedience-theyare in danger of the punishment which is due on account of their present sin and that awful growth of sin of which I havebeen speaking. But are the children of God also in danger? Ask them and they will tell you that they are pilgrims to the CelestialCity which they will, in due time, reach by God's Grace. But they will also tell you that all along the road to Heaven, thereare dangerous places where the traveler might fall to his very grievous hurt-for instance, the descent in the Valley of Humiliation,with Apollyon waiting there, determined to slay, or at least to wound the pilgrim! Or the Valley of the Shadow of Death, alittle further on, with its miry bog and its hobgoblins and all manner of terrifying sights and sounds. And then the EnchantedGround with its temptation to the pilgrim to sleep. And Vanity Fair, where there are all sorts of ill wares to allure anddeceive the pilgrim. Dangers of every sort beset the followers of the Lamb-and they are only safe as they are Divinely protected.The moment you become a Christian, you are-
"Safe in the anas of Jesus,"
as far as your ultimate and final perseverance is concerned, but all the while you are on the road to Heaven you must wearthe armor provided for the good soldiers of Jesus Christ, for you are always exposed to danger from the adversary's arrowsand sword. All the while that you are in the earthly pastures, you need the protection of the good Shepherd. Why? Becauseyou are in danger from the roaring lion who goes about seeking whom he may destroy and unless the Great Shepherd's rod andstaff protect you, you will certainly be destroyed!
Let me also remind you that some dangers are not readily perceived and those are generally the worst of all. We may be ableto keep clear of "the arrow that flies by day," but who can guard himself against "the pestilence that walks in darkness"?Possibly we do not fall into open sin, but the dry rot of gradual declension-the silent sliding away of the heart from Christ-whobut God can guard us against that? Many a man is caught in the invisible nets of Satan and well-near destroyed even whilehe dreams that he is safely pursuing the path that leads to Heaven! Therefore do I sound the alarm and ring the bell againand again to remind you that we are all in danger, though some think they are not! Those who think they are not are the verypersons who are in the greatest danger of all because they think they are not in peril. I wish I had the power to awaken allof you to a true sense of your danger with regard to spiritual things, for then you would, like David, flee to God to hideyou. You never will do that until you realize the peril in which you are placed and recognize that as long as you are notabiding in Christ, you are in continual peril and that your only safety lies in fleeing to God to hide you, even as the Psalmistdid long ago.
II. The second great need of a man in order that he may flee to God to hide him is A SENSE OF WEAKNESS. A man who thinks thathe can fight his own battles in his own strength will not flee to God to hide him. But we are, all of us, as weak as waterif we are left to ourselves and we soon show that we are quite unable to cope with our spiritual foes. The unforgiven sinnerproves how weak he is by yielding at once to the tempter. He has a traitor within his own heart who opens the gates to Satanand so he is easily overcome. The Believer, though he has within him the new life which hates sin, is as weak as other menif he is left without the Spirit of God for a single moment. There is enough of the fire of Hell in you, my Brother-you whoare the most spiritual and most like Christ-to set all Hell aright again if the infernal fires were ever put out! You areinclined toward that which is good, but if the Grace of God ever left you, you would be quite as much inclined toward thatwhich is evil! I will not quite say what Ralph Erskine said concerning himself-
"On good and evil equal bent And both a devil and saint"-
but I will say that if a saint could ever be left of God, he would soon become a devil. And he who was so eager after thatwhich was good, would be just as eager after that which is evil. So again I say that we are, all of us, as weak as water ifleft to ourselves.
But some people think that they are very strong. Hear how the boastful man says, "I can drink my glass of beer or wine, butI shall never become a drunkard. I can attend the theater and see what a low standard of morals prevails there, but I shallnever fall into such an evil thing as fornication or adultery! I shall never became a blasphemer! I am not in the habit ofeven using coarse language and it is quite impossible that I should become profane." He thinks, when he stakes his small sumsof money, that he will never become a gambler. "No," he says, "I am not such a fool as that." Yet, often, when a man saysthat, you may write his true name in large capital letters-"A FOOL"-for there is no other fool who is so foolish as the onewho thinks he is not such a fool as other men are!
When Hazael was told by Elisha what he would afterwards do, he exclaimed, "Is your servant a dog, that he should do this greatthing?" Ah, Brothers and Sisters, we are all sadly weak and those are the weakest of all who think themselves to be strong!Past failures ought to have taught us all how great is our weakness. I wonder if any of you ever tried to soar away into theclouds with the perfectionists who delight to go up in a balloon and seek to live far above all ordinary mortals? If so andif you are at all like me-and I expect your flesh and blood are very similar to mine-I imagine that you soon discovered yourmistake. The very day that you thought your temper was perfect, you found that it was very imperfect! And at the very timethat you intended to have no thought or care, and when you had made up your mind that you were not coming down again to thelevel of this poor groveling world, you found that you could not rise an inch above the ground and that you were, as far asspiritual things were concerned, just like a lump of lead! You were made to feel that the best of men are but men at the bestand, in that way, your failure taught you how weak you are. Even if you are the best man or woman in the world, in yourselfyou are utter weakness-only Christ Himself can make anything of you! Saint as you are, you are still a sinner saved by Graceand you are only holy as you are made so by the blessed Spirit who sanctifies you! If you were left by Him for a single moment,your sinnership would come to the front all too prominently and your saintship would retire to the rear.
Now, Brothers and Sisters, in our weakness lies our strength. The Apostle Paul says, "When I am weak, then am I strong." AndI wish it were possible for me to produce in all of you, whether you are sinners or saints, the sense of positive inabilityand utter weakness, for, until you feel that, you will never say to the Lord, "I flee unto You to hide me." On the contrary,you will stand out boldly in the place of danger and you will even defy your foes to do their worst against you! You willventure into worldliness. You will go up to the very mouth of the furnace of sin. You will become more daring and more presumptuousand you will be less on your watchtower-you will keep on going further and further in the wrong way as long as you imagingthat you are strong. But if the Lord will aim His arrows right at the very heart of your strength and lay all your fanciedglory in the mire and make you to know that you are less than the
least of all saints, then it will be better for you. But before you will reach this point, you will have to confess your ownnothingness and say-
"But, oh, for this no strength have I! My strength is at Your feet to lie."
Then you will flee to the Lord to hide you, and then you will be hidden by Him in a safe place-but never till then.
III. A third thing which we must all have before we are likely to use the language of the text with truth is A PRUDENT FORESIGHT-"Iflee unto You to hide me."
The ungodly man and, in a measure, also the unwise Believer, will perceive the peril in which he is placed and yet hesitate,linger, delay, deliberate, procrastinate. This is great folly, yet it is just what thousands are doing. I feel sure that someof you who are here are not prepared to live-much less are you prepared to die. I am glad to see you come to the House ofGod on a weeknight, for it looks as if you had some desire to find out the way of Everlasting Life. Yet how many there areamong you who are living as if this life were all! You are quite unprepared for that great day to which you all know you arehastening and you do not like to even hear anything about death and the judgment to come because you are utterly unfit toface those stern realities. Are you always going to put off thoughts about these all-important matters and to go on livingwithout the slightest preparation for eternity? You know that you are in danger and that you are too weak to face that dangerall alone though you have not yet fully perceived how great your weakness is. Oh, that you would be wise enough to begin tolook about you for a way of escape! When you are in this sense, wise, you will flee to God to hide you-but until you do getat least a little of this sacred prudence and some of the wisdom which the Holy Spirit teaches, you will delay, and delay,and delay, till, on some dread day, the long-gathering clouds will discharge the awful storm of Divine Judgment upon yourdevoted head! And then you will not be able to flee to Christ to hide you, for the harvest will be past and the summer willbe ended-but you will be "not saved."
The Lord, by His Grace, has made Christian men and women more full of forethought than the ungodly are. And they have desiredto escape from the wrath to come and they have done so. And let me tell you, Sinner, you who have not yet fled to Christ forsalvation, that while it is a blessed thing to be delivered from the wrath to come, it is also a most delightful thing tobe delivered from the fear of it even now! I do not think that I could live an hour without being in the bitterest agony ifI had any sort of doubt about my safety in Christ Jesus, for I have a most vivid sense of my danger and my weakness apartfrom Him and these, like wings, bear me to the Rock of Ages where I can hide in absolute security. But I could never restin peace if I thought that God was angry with me, or if I knew that if I were to drop down dead, my soul would be in Hell!How can any of you remain unconcerned in such a sad condition as that? Surely it must be because you do not realize what yourtrue condition is!
If I could lock some of you up in a room and make you think about your position with regard to God, you would be very uncomfortable.You would almost as soon go to prison as sit down to think about the needs of your immortal spirit. Yet it is wrong for aman to be afraid to look into the books in which he keeps his soul's accounts! It is worse than foolish to be afraid to testthe soundness of the foundation of the house in which he dwells! It is sheer madness to be afraid to look to the state ofhis soul to see whether it has the marks of death upon it or not! Do not any of you be so foolish, so insane! You insure yourlives, you insure your houses, you put on warmer garments as winter approaches and if you have only some slight ailment, yourun to a doctor! Have you no care about your immortal souls? Have you no anxiety concerning death and eternity? Or are youresolved to play the fool before high Heaven? I pray you, do not do it, but awake to something like prudence! And any oneof you who does so will say to God, as David did, "I flee unto You to hide me." You never will do this until you exercisesuch wise forethought as I urge upon you.
IV. Now, fourthly, and briefly, before anyone of us will say to the Lord, "I flee unto You to hide me," there must be
A SOLID CONFIDENCE.
What kind of confidence do I mean? A solid confidence that God can hide us. Did you notice the second hymn that we sang? Italways seems to me that the writer had a wonderful conception of God in His awfulness and greatness to be feared and thenhe says-
"Yet I may love You, O my God!"
Think of the great God who made the Heavens and the earth, who is everywhere, filling all things and doing all things accordingto the good pleasure of His own will-and then say to yourself, "If I flee to Him-if He will permit me to flee
to him to hide me-how safe I must be! It is He of whom I have been afraid, but if I can hide in Him, how secure I shall be!If I can find a shelter in Him, what a perfect shelter that must be!" When God lifts up His sword of Justice in His almightyhand to smite the sinner, if that sinner can lay hold upon His arm and cling firmly to it, how can God smite him? And He urgesus to take hold of His strength! A heavy blow falls with the greatest force upon those who are some little distance away fromthe striker. When a man intends to strike a tremendous blow, if his adversary runs up close to him and clings to his arm,what can he do with him? And fleeing to God to hide us does, as it were, disarm God- therefore I urge you to flee to God inChrist that He may hide you from His Justice and He can rightly do this because Christ has borne for all Believers the punishmentthat was due to their sin and, therefore, the God of Justice can, Himself, smile when He sees a sinner hidden in the Christwho made a full and complete Atonement for his sin!
Where can any of you flee from the Presence of God? If you ride upon the sunbeams, He will track you. If you plunge into thedeeps of the sea, He will discover you. If you could climb up among the stars, He could pluck you from your hiding place,for He is everywhere. But if you flee to God in Christ to hide you, you must be safe forever! I have read an old story ofa rebel who was hunted by a certain king, but who disguised himself and entered into the king's tent and partook of his hospitalitybefore anyone discovered that he was the very man whose life the king had been seeking. And the king nobly and generouslyrefused to kill the foe who had fled for shelter to his own tent. O poor guilty Soul, this is the message of the Gospel-Fleeto God to hide you from God! Turn to Him as the prodigal returned to his father to obtain forgiveness of the wrong which hehad done to his father!
And you Christian men and women, this is to be your constant joy, that you always can hide in God-that there is no trouble,difficulty, or danger from which God will not be a shelter to you, for, as He is a shelter from His own Justice, He must bea shelter from everyone else and everything else that would harm you! And you may always hide in God. You will never say tothe Lord, "I flee unto You to hide me," until you know that you may hide in Him. Yes, Beloved, you may flee to God to hideyou, for God is never more truly God than when He receives poor souls that make Him to be their hiding place. It is said thaton one occasion when certain wise men were sitting together in council, a poor bird, which was pursued by a hawk, flew intothe bosom of one of the counselors and he-the only man in the whole company who would have done such a thing-plucked the tremblingbird out of his bosom, wrung its neck and threw it away from him! Whereupon the other counselors all rose up and voted forhis immediate expulsion from their assembly, for they all felt that any man who could do such a deed as that was unworthyto have a place in their ranks-and we may be quite sure that the ever-merciful Jehovah will never take a soul that has flownin His bosom for shelter and destroy it!
You dread God, poor Soul, but you need never do so. If you are in Christ Jesus, God is so fully reconciled to you that whenyou are pursued by sin, or Satan, or trouble of any kind, the safest place for you to fly to is His bosom and there you aresafe forever, for He will never cast you out! If you have this confidence in God, you will say to Him, as David did, "I fleeunto You to hide me."
V. One thing more is needed and that is ACTIVITY OF FAITH.
There are some of you who have heard what I have been saying about hiding in God. And as you go home you will say, "Yes, weknow that we are in danger, we know that we are weak, we know that we need a secure hiding place and we know that God is willingto hide us." Well, then, if you know that, will you not at once flee to Him to hide you? Beloved, you who have often fledto Him to hide you, will not you again flee to Him? Some of you may have a new form of trouble which has just come upon youand it is of such a kind that you do not like to tell anybody about it. I pray you, do not keep it to yourself for even anotherminute, but flee to God and tell Him all about it! I must confess my own folly in this respect, for I have been foolish enough,partly through weariness of body and brain, to nurse a trouble which I ought to have cast upon the Lord long ago. One doesnot mind nursing his own children who may grow up to be a comfort to him, but it is always a pity to nurse trouble, for thatoften means taking a serpent's eggs and putting them into our bosom to hatch there into serpents that will sting us! Thisis a most foolish course of action-would it not be far wiser for us if as soon as any trouble comes upon us, to flee to theLord to hide us from it? Let us be cowardly enough to run away from our trouble! No, it will not be cowardice, but true braveryto always run to God as soon as any trouble comes upon us, each one of us crying to Him with David, "I flee unto You to hideme."
Suppose that 20 troubles should come to us in a day and that we should flee to God 20 times with them? I think that we mightalmost pray to God to send 20 more troubles, so that we might flee to Him 40 times a day! Any reason for
going to God must be a blessing to us, for going to God is going to bliss! So we may even turn our troubles into blessingsby making them drive us to Him.
I want to steer you, dear Friends, to the practical point of my subject. Have you been worrying yourself, since you have beenhere, about a trial that you expect to fall upon you towards the close of this year? You fear that Christmas is not likelyto be "a merry Christmas" to you-there are many bills coming in and not much hope of the money with which to meet them. Well,then, flee to God with that trouble and whatever is burdening your heart or your mind, flee to God about it and leave it allin His hands-and go on your way rejoicing!
Last of all, is there not some poor sinner here who has never yet believed in Jesus Christ as his or her Savior? How happyI should be if even before you leave this place, you would flee to the Lord to hide you! You do not need even to go into thevestry to talk to the elders. You may do that, if you like, and they will be glad to see you-but your best plan is to tellthe Lord, while you are sitting in that seat, that you are a sinner far off from Him and that you wish that He would saveyou. Ask Him, for Christ's sake, to have mercy upon you. Trust His dear Son to save you. Tell Him that you do trust Him tosave you and He will do it, for, according to your faith shall it be unto you. Flee to Him to hide you!
There are His dear wounds and you are a poor feeble dove-and the cruel hawk is after you. You cannot fight with him for hewould tear you in pieces-you can only escape from him by flying to the wounds of Jesus! Do so, then, for your pursuer cannotreach you there-
"Come, guilty souls, and flee away Like doves to Jesus' wounds! This is the welcome Gospel-Day, Wherein free Grace abounds."God bless you all, for His dear Son's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: PSALM143.
Psalm 143:1, 2. Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in Your faithfulness answer me, and in Your righteousness. And enternot into judgment with Your servant: for in Your sight shall no man living be justified. That is, of course, apart from thewondrous system of Justification by Faith in Jesus Christ whereby Believers are made the righteousness of God in Him! Apartfrom that righteousness, no man living can be justified in the sight of God.
3, 4. For the enemy has persecuted my soul, he has smitten my life down to the ground; he has made me to dwell in darknessas those that have been long dead. Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate. Are any ofyou passing through this trying experience? If so, does it not encourage you to find that somebody else has been this waybefore you? The road is very rough, but there is a man's footprint there, the footprint of a man whom God greatly loved, eventhe man after God's own heart! Ah, dear Friends, in those deep sorrows of yours, you are not alone-David has passed this waybefore you and, what is still better, David's Lord has traversed this rough road! In all our afflictions He was afflicted.He was tempted in all points like as we are, so He can most perfectly sympathize with us in all the troubles through whichwe are called to pass.
5, 6. Iremember the days of old; Imeditate on all Your works; Imuse on the work of Your hands. I stretch forth my hands untoYou: my soul thirsts after You, as a thirsty land. Selah. One of the things which God's people are in the habit of doing,when they are in deep trouble, is to look back upon their past experiences. You may have seen the bargemen on the canal pushbackwards that they may propel the barge forwards and, sometimes we who believe in Jesus Christ have to push backwards-tolook back on our past experiences in order to derive fresh courage for the present hour of trial. So the Psalmist says, "Iremember the days of old, I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands." Yet in David's day of distress,when he had meditated upon his experiences in the past, that did not satisfy him. He wanted his God, therefore he cried untothe Lord, "I stretch forth my hands unto You: my soul thirsts after You as a thirsty land." When the fields have long beendry because there has been no rain, you see how the earth opens its mouth in great cracks as if it gaped for the rain it sosorely needs-and David's soul seemed thus gaping with a strong desire after the living God-"My soul thirsts after You as athirsty land."
7, 8. Hear me speedily, O LORD; my spirit fails: hide not Your face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into thepit. Cause me to hear Your loving-kindness in the morning, for in You do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I shouldwalk; for I lift up my soul unto You. This is a beautiful prayer which any of you might present to the Lord-"Cause me to knowthe way wherein I should walk." You are perplexed as to what you ought to do. You wish to do that which is right, but youare not sure what is right. Yet God can cause you to know the way wherein you should walk-He leads the blind by a way thatthey know not and in paths which they have not seen. So breathe this prayer to Him in the hour of your perplexity-
"Guide me, O You great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land!
I am weak, but You are mighty,
Hold me with Your powerful hand!" Or say with David, "Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk, for I lift up my soulunto You." He seems to say, "My soul is like a dead weight which cannot lift itself up; but in the strength which You do impartto me, I lift it up, I will not let it lie like a dead log before You-'I lift up my soul unto You.'"
9, 10. Deliver me, O LORD, from my enemies: I flee unto You to hide me. Teach me to do Your will. This is another most blessedprayer-"Teach me to do Your will." Most of us want to have our own will and to go our own way-but each one who is truly wiseprays to the Lord, "Teach me to do Your will."
10, 11. For You are my God; Your spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. Quicken me, O LORD, for Your name'ssake: for Your righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble. What earnest pleading is this and how powerful it is! Everyword is so fitting that if I had time to explain it, you would note the force and appropriateness of every syllable that thePsalmist here uses.
12. And of Your mercy cut off my enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am Your servant.