Sermon 3002. The Best Thing in the Best Place
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, AUGUST 23, 1906.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, OCTOBER 31, 1875.
"The Law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide." Psalm 37:31.
THIS verse occurs in a Psalm in which the contrast between the righteous and the wicked is drawn in a very vivid fashion.The wicked are depicted as being very frequently rich and prosperous, yet no one who is truly wise would wish to change placeswith them. The Psalmist so plainly points out the brevity of their prosperity, the certainty of their ultimate fate if theycontinue unregenerate and the terror of their overthrow, that we are not tempted for a single minute to be envious of them.As for the righteous, David gives us abundant hints that they will be tried, persecuted, hated and so on, but he indulgesus with such sweet promises from the mouth of the great Father, Himself, that we feel perfectly satisfied to share the lotof His children, however hard it may sometimes be. If we wish to share the lot of the righteous, we must be as they are and,among other things, this text must be realized in our experience as it is in theirs. The Law of our God must be in our heartthat our steps may not slide.
I remember, when I was a lad, hearing a sermon from a text which is almost a parallel to the one before us-"Your Word haveI hid in my heart, that I might not sin against You." The divisions of that discourse were so excellent and they fixed themselvesso firmly upon my memory, that I shall borrow them for my own use on this occasion, for I cannot make any better ones formyself. The preacher said, "Here we have the best thing-'Your Word.' In the best place-'have I hid in my heart.' For the bestof purposes-'that I might not sin against You.'" Those are to be the divisions of my text, only altered thus-the best thing-"theLaw of his God." In the best place-"is in his heart." With the best result- "None of his steps shall slide."
I. So I am first to speak, for a few minutes, about THE BEST THING-"The Law of his God."
In these Gospel days we must use this expression in a wider sense than may have been originally intended by David and takeit to mean a great deal more than the moral Law. If we are Christians, we delight in that Law, but we are not under it asa rule of condemnation and of judgment, but we rejoice to obey it. We could not suggest an alteration to it which would bean improvement. The Ten Commandments are very simple, but absolutely perfect for the purpose for which they were intended.To add another to them, or to take one away from them would be to spoil the whole. We "delight in the Law of God after theinward man." Whoever may be Antinomians, that is, those who are "against the Law," we are not to be numbered among them, forwe can say with Paul, "The Law is holy and the Commandments holy and just and good." And though we are carnal, and often feelourselves "sold under sin," yet we cannot find any fault with the Law of God. If eternal life could have come by any law,it would have come by that Law-and even though that Law can now do nothing for us but condemn us, yet, as we hear its terriblesentence, we feel that the Law "is holy, and just, and good." We desire, then, to have even the moral Law in our hearts, andto have it written there, that none of our steps may slide.
But we cannot use David's expression in that limited sense only! It must nowinclude the whole Book of God, and all its teachings,for it is often used in that sense. "The Law of his God is in his heart." Take this expression as referring to the whole ofScripture, and I may truly say that it is the best thing. O my Brothers and Sisters, what can be better for informing theunderstanding than the Word of God? Would you know God? Would you know yourself? Then search this Book! Would you know timeand how to spend it? Would you know eternity and how to be prepared for it? Then, search this Book! Would you know the evilof sin and how to be delivered from it? Would you know the plan of salvation and
how you can have a share in it? This is the Book which will instruct you in all these matters! There is nothing which a manneeds to know for the affairs of his soul, between here and Heaven, of which this Book will not tell him. Blessed are theythat read it both day and night-and especially blessed are they who read it with their eyes opened and illuminated by theDivine Spirit! If you want to be wise unto salvation, select the Word of God, and especially the Spirit of God, as your Teacher.There is nothing else that is equal to the Bible for inflaming, sanctifying and turning in the right direction all the passionsof the soul.
Perhaps you are not satisfied with merely knowing. You want something or someone to love. You men and women with large hearts,whose one desire is to have a worthy object for your affections to fix upon, turn to this Word of God, this Law of God, thisGospel of His and you will see there how God Himself becomes the Object of His creatures' love, and how, in the Person ofHis Son, you have the loveliest Object upon which human eyes ever gazed! You have, in Him, One who is so lovely that a glancefrom His eyes is enough to set your soul on fire and to make your heart enamored of Him forever! You who have mighty fountsof love welling up in your soul may come and let them flow most freely here, for here is One who is worthy of them all! Andwhen you have loved Christ as much as you can, you have not loved Him half as much as He deserves to be loved! Here your passionsmay burn and blaze and glow with sacred ardor, without any fear of your being idolaters-and without any risk of your beingdeceived!
And if you want something more than enlightenment for the understanding and fullness of love to satisfy the heart-if you needpractical directions for your everyday life-this Book will supply you with them. In every part of the sea of life in whicha man may be, if this is his chart, he will not miss his way or suffer spiritual shipwreck. If you were a king, you mightlearn your duty here-and if you are a beggar, or the poorest of the poor, you may find comfort and instruction here! Fathers,you may here learn how to manage your households. Children, you may learn here the duties of your position in your variousrelationships. Servants, masters, husbands, wives, sick folk, people in robust health, you who are poor and you who are rich-thisBook is for you all and when you consult it in the right spirit, it will talk with you all! Into whatever condition you mayhappen to be cast, this Book will follow you. It is such a wonderful Book that it adapts itself to all sorts and conditionsof men and women! It whispers softly by the sick man's bedside and it has often called aloud, as with a trumpet voice, amidstthe fury of the storm. It has a message for you while you are yet in the heyday of your youth and a promise for you when youlean upon your staff and totter to your grave! It is Biblos, The Book, the everyday book, full of wisdom for every day inthe week all year round. And when the circle of life is complete, you will see how the Book was equally adapted to the childrenand to the aged man whose life is just closing.
Perhaps, dear Friend, you say, "I know the path that I ought to take. I know whom I ought to love and I trust I am instructedas to what I ought to believe-for all this I prize the Bible very highly! But what I really need is the courage of my convictions,the force of character which shall enable me to tread in those ways which I know to be right." Yes, I know what you mean.But where else will you find Truths that have such power as those which glisten in the pages of this blessed Book? Where willyou read any records so calculated to fire men with dauntless bravery as those that are contained in this Book? Above all,in Him who is the sum and substance of this Book, to whom all its pages point, you can see an example of disinterested loveand perfect consecration to God and man which will suffice if the Holy Spirit shall bless it to you, to give you all the forceof character and courageousness of spirit that you can possibly need. If young men would read their Bibles more, they wouldnot be so easily turned aside as they now are. When a young man puts his foot down for the right and says, "I cannot and Iwill not tell a lie, or commit an act of dishonesty in business, or frequent places of amusement where I cannot go with aclear conscience," I believe that he has cleansed his way by taking heed thereto according to God's Word. I see here the treasurehouse of holy courage! Commune with God, commune with Christ Jesus, commune with saints, martyrs and Apostles as you readthese pages, and you yourself will imbibe something of their determination and resolution, something of their zeal and energyfor the right and the true!
It is here that true men are made! As they peruse these pages, the weak grow strong and dwarfs develop into giants. Yes, andif you say, "I often feel unhappy-there is an aching void within my spirit, a something which prevents me from being perfectlysatisfied. I have a kind of horse-leech somewhere within me which cries, 'Give, give,' and I have not yet found the food withwhich to stop its clamor." It is in this Book that you will find the comfort which your spirit craves! Here every grief maybe allayed, every right desire satisfied and all wrong desires and evil lusting be ejected from the spirit. When the HolySpirit applies this Book to the soul, it is food for man's hunger and medicine for man's disease! It
lays its hand upon his fevered brow and cools him down to health. Or, if he is too cold, it warms him into holy energy. Infact, there is no end to the blessings which this Book bestows-
"This is the field where hidden lies The pearl of price unknown! That merchant is divinely wise Who makes the pearl his own."This is the best of books, as Christopher Harvey says-
"It is the Book of God. What if I should Say, God of Books? Let him that looks
Angry at that expression, as too bold- His thoughts in silence smother Till he find such another."
Its every page is a sheet of gold! No, rather let me say that Heaven's banknotes are here, to be cashed by them who have faithenough to bring them to the God that issued them, that He may make their souls rich to all the intents of bliss! This, then,is the best thing-"The Law of his God."
II. Now, secondly, we have the best thing IN THE BEST PLACE-"The Law of his God is in his heart." What does this mean?
It means, first, that he loves it. That which we love is always said to be in our hearts, and the reason why he loves it isgiven in the text-"The law of his God"-not merely the Law of God, mark you-but, "The law of his God." Men do not love theLaw of God until they know that He is their God. Blessed, indeed, is this precious possession which God gives us first, inHimself, and then in His Word! Do you not all like to read a book which has been written by a near and dear friend? It musthave greater interest for you than the works of strangers ever can say. You may pass over a hundred books on a stall, or ina shop, but if you notice a volume which was written by one who was your play fellow, or perhaps by one who is still nearerand dearer, you take an interest in that book at once! So is it with this blessed Book which was written by our Heavenly Father-thisBook which tells us of our elder Brother-this Book into which the Divine Spirit has breathed the breath of Life and upon whichHe always shines as the great Illuminator-this Book must always be indescribably dear to us! How dear has the Bible been toGod's saints in past ages! They have even run the risk of losing their lives rather than part with it-and many of them haveactually died as martyrs because they would translate it and pass its messages on to others! And this Book is equally dearto us. Sooner than give up the smallest jot or tittle of its Inspired teaching, I trust that we would be prepared to go tothe stake as our brave forefathers did in cruel Queen Mary's day. Precious Bible, you are in our hearts because we love you!
But David meant more than that. The Law of his God was in his heart to be remembered as well as to be loved. We soon forgetwhat we only learn in our head, so we tell our children to learn things "by heart." What is written in the head may be erased,but what is written in the heart abides there. Neither sickness, nor death, nor the devil, himself, can ever take from uswhat is in our hearts. We have known people in sore sickness suffer from loss of memory, and that is a very serious loss.But we have known them retain their recollections of spiritual things unimpaired when they have forgotten their own wivesor husbands, so strangely does the mind or heart hold most firmly to that which is most deeply engraved upon it. If you havethe Word of God in your hearts, it will not matter who may try to tear it from you. All the Jesuits in or out of Hell couldnot wrest from a man the Gospel that is written in his heart! They could easily turn some people from their creed becauseit is only a creed, lying loosely in their brain. But the Truth which has really entered the heart of a man, neither Satannor all his hosts could ever take from him! See to it, then, that the Law of your God is in your heart so deeply affectingyou and so powerfully moving you, that it abides so tenaciously in your memory that you can never give it up!
"The Law of his God is in his heart," has a third meaning, namely, that he obeys it, for the heart is the most influentialorgan of the body. What is done in the heart affects every part of the man. Disease there means that the man, as a whole,cannot be well. If the heart's affections are set on God, all is right, for the intent, the motive, sways the man. "As hethinks in his heart, so is he." If your heart's eyes are single, your whole body shall be full of light! But if your heart'seyes are evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. If the Law of God is in the heart, then every pulsing of that cerebralorgan will affect the entire man. If the man has led an evil life, he will be altogether changed by it. And if, through therestraining Grace of God, he has been somewhat better than others, the Law of his God will operate in his heart and life anddo for him all that he could well desire to have done as he yields obedience to it.
To have the Law of God in your heart means, in fact, that you live by it-that you have the Gospel as the food of your souland that you have the Christ of the Gospel as your hope for eternity. The heart is that by which we live, so, if the Law ofGod is in our heart, we shall live by it and draw our comfort, as well as our sustenance from it. Let each one judge how farthis is true concerning himself. We are not perfect, but we wish we were-and this proves that the Law of our God is in ourheart. We sin, but we grieve that we sin-and this proves that there is within us a longing for perfect holiness. We say, withthe Apostle Paul, "To will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not... When I would do good, evilis present with me." Yet that willng and wouldng prove that our heart has the Law of God within it! God looks upon you, dearFriends, very much according to what you desire to be. And if there is, in your soul, strong pangs of desire after that whichis perfect, He accepts those desires and blesses you through Christ Jesus, His Son. John Bunyan used to put it in one of hissimple allegories something like this. He says, "you want a man to fetch a doctor, and you tell him to be quick. So he mountshis horse, but it is a sorry jade, and very lame, and cannot go fast, yet you see that your man would fly if he could, forhe is whipping and spurring the creature with all his might to try to make it go. So," says Bunyan, "the Lord often sees thatthe spirit is willing-whipping and spurring, but the flesh is weak-like the lame horse. He sees what His servants would gladlybe and accepts them as if they were really so." It is well for us that we have so gracious a Master who looks so favorablyupon our imperfect service! Have the Law of God in your hearts, my Brothers and Sisters, and albeit that you are foolish today,you will conquer some of those follies tomorrow. And you will, by God's Grace, go on to conquer more and more, until the Law,written on your heart, shall also be written on all your members and you shall be presented spotless and faultless beforethe Throne of God!
III. Now I must pass on to the last point, namely, THE BEST RESULT-"None of his steps shall slide."
Here is a man who has God's Word in his heart and you notice that he takes pains about his steps. A step is a very littlething. We must take a good many hundreds of steps to walk a mile, but good men take notice of little things. The man who hasthe Law of God in his heart is scrupulous and conscientious about thoughts and imaginations, as well as about words and actions.Hence, the promise in the text is suited to him, for it is a promise about little things-"None of his steps shall slide."I recollect-no, I hope it is so with me still-but I recollect that just after my conversion, I used to be almost afraid toput one foot before the other lest I should put it down in the wrong place. And often have I paused, when I was speaking,for fear I would not say the right word. That holy caution is most commendable in all who have it. I wish that many more hadit. What a hop, skip and jump some men's lives are! Not only do they not look before they leap, but they do not even seemto look afterthey have leaped! They rush on blindly and heedlessly, presuming where they ought to be praying and self-confidentwhere they ought, with deep repentance, to be humbling themselves before God! Our old proverb says, "Take care of the pence,and the pounds will take care of themselves." And the same rule applies to our actions. If we are careful about our littleactions, the great ones will be pretty sure to be right. Oh, that we were all very guarded about how we act at home! Oh, thatwe were careful about our speech as we sit around the tea table! Such a little thing as that may do almost infinite mischief.I believe the worst evils in the world arise out of little things. It is said that the seed of mischief is as small as a gnat'segg, and so it is. Then, look well to those gnat's eggs, lest they hatch out far greater evils.
I think, too, that whenever Christians go wrong, it is concerning something about which they thought they were quite safe,like the children of Israel with the Gibeonites. These people came to Gilgal wearing old garments, old shoes and clouted,and carrying bread that was dry and moldy. What need was there to ask counsel of God? It was as clear as the sun at noondaythat they had come from a long distance, wishing to make a league with the Israelites because of the wonders that God hadworked for His people! So even Joshua did not pray about the matter-and he was deceived, for these Gibeonites were near neighborsand had thus tricked the Israelites into a league which was always an impediment to them in their campaign. Always suspectwhere you have no suspicion and be afraid where you are not afraid-be especially afraid of a man who tells you that you haveno need to be afraid of him. There was a man who said to a friend of mine, "I need a loan of so much from you. You know thatI am all right. I have been a member of a Christian Church for so many years. I am not like So-and-So, and So-and-So who latelyfailed. You can trust me, you know you can."
"No," said my friend, "you are the sort of man I would not trust with a bad half-crown." And he was right, for those who didtrust him lost everything! Be very cautious in such cases as that. If you are dealing with those who are known to be rogues,you hardly need to be put on your guard, but if you are dealing with rogues who pretend to be honest men, you must have allyour wits about you or they will certainly take you in. They have covered up their wolf nature with sheepskin, so you hadbetter see what is underneath the skin!
When David says, "The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide," what does he mean by that last clause?He means that God will guide him. As he has God's Law in his heart, he will have God's guidance for his steps! In the 23rdverse, David says, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delights in His way." When a man really carriesGod's Law in his heart, God will take care that he does not carry that Law into any evil place, for, as David goes on to say,"the Lord upholds him with His hand." There will come to every man, whoever or whatever he may be, sudden assaults of temptation-butif the Law of his God is in his heart, he will be forewarned and forearmed against them! There will also come the long siegesof temptation and many a man has fallen by little and little. But if the Law of his God is in his heart, he will be safe againsteven them. There will come, sometimes, the temptation which results from loneliness, when he will be urged by Satan to doevil. As no human eye is upon him, may he not do wrong? But, with the Law of his God in his heart, he will not do any wrongeven though he might never be found out-that Law within his heart is a sufficient check to keep him from evil! Sometimes hewill be perplexed. I wonder whether every businessman here is not, at some time or other, puzzled to know what he ought todo? He is most anxious to do the right thing, but he does not know which of two courses is right. Well, that is the time tolet the Law of your God, which is in your heart, be like a compass to you-and to plead this promise and say, "O Lord, Youhave said that as Your Law is within my heart, none of my steps shall slide! Fulfill Your Word unto Your servant, whereonYou have caused me to hope."
For your steps to slide would be for you to bring dishonor upon your character. How many men who have stood firm for a while,either in the Christian Church or in business life, have thus slid! I recollect reading, some years ago, when there were somesad failures of this sort, that "neither the white cravats of Exeter Hall, nor the drab coats of Lombard Street could preventsome men from being great rascals." And there has, sometimes, been only too much reason to say that. But the Law of God inthe heart is better than a white cravat at the throat or a drab coat on the back, for it does keep men's steps so that theydo not dishonor their God. Trials may come to those who live nearest to God- possibly they will come all the more becausethese people have lived near to God-but there will not be the stain upon the character, or the casting down from integritywhich causes so much sorrow. A true Christian would sooner die than that this should happen! And he may comfort himself withthe assurance that if the Law of his God is in his heart, "none of his steps shall slide."
Nor shall he slide into despair. He may tremble, he may totter, he may be almost down, but as he has the Law of his God inhis heart, he shall scramble to his feet again and shall still hold on his way! I hope all of you who have to fight the goodfight of faith and to journey as pilgrims to Heaven, will take to yourselves all the comfort you can possibly get out of thistext. You have asked to have the Law of your God in your heart and it is there. Well then, you shall be upheld! You are goingto live, young man, where there are no other Christians, but your steps shall not slide, for the Law of your God is in yourheart. You are going, my Brother, to occupy a position where a large number of people will be under your charge and you hardlyknow how you will manage them. But with the Law of your God in your heart, none of your steps shall slide. You are going,my young Sister, to live with ungodly relatives where you will scarcely get an opportunity for private prayer, yet, with theLaw of your God in your heart, none of your steps shall slide! My young Brother, you are about to become the pastor of a largechurch and you tremble lest you should make some great mistake and bring dishonor upon God. But if His Law is in your heart,none of your steps shall slide. You need not mind about the slipperiness of the way if the Law of your God is in your heart!Many slip when the road is not slippery, and many a man, by God's Grace, stands fast where it seems a miracle that he standsat all. Men are not in danger in proportion to their position-they are in danger or in safety according to the measure oftheir Grace! If the Law of your God is in your heart, you might face a world in arms and not be afraid! If God should makeyou the leader of a thousand squadrons of the armies of Heaven on their white horses, you would be able to command them allif you had His Law in your heart and yielded yourself wholly to Him!
Note also that if you have the Law of your God in your hearts, this implies that you also have the Lawgiver there, for youcannot separate the Divine Lawgiver from His Law. Do you love Him? Do you trust Him? Is His name melodious to your ears? Isit like ointment poured forth, for sweetness, to your spirit? If you love Him who gives you the Law, you must love the Lawthat He gives. We are under Law-the Law of Grace-to Jesus Christ. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light to those who trustand love Him. If you trust and love Him, that proves that you have His Law in your hearts.
Again, if you have the Law of your God in your heart, you also have there the great Teacher of the Law, namely, the Holy Spirit.You are conscious of His comforts, sometimes of His rebukes and often of His encouragements. How is it with you in this respect?Do you know anything about the work of the Holy Spirit in your heart? Alas, there are many who do not know that there is aHoly Spirit, for they have never felt His power. But the Law of God is never in the heart until the Holy Spirit puts it there-andwhere He puts that Law, He abides with it, to open our understanding that we may receive the Scriptures and to open the Scripturesthat our understanding may receive them. What do you know about God the Son? Is He your Savior?
What do you know about the Holy Spirit? Is He your Quickener and Comforter? If He is, be of good cheer, for none of your stepsshall slide. But if He is not, and if you reject this Law of God, remember that solemn text, "Their feet shall slide in duetime." They stand up in their prosperity. They are great, famous, happy, full of mirth-and we are apt to envy them as we seethem upon their high places. But watch! They are standing upon an Alp of ice! The pathway which they tread is very narrowand, in a moment, when they do not expect it, their feet shall slide and they shall descend into the abyss which has no bottom!Down they go, lost, lost, LOST! The high places they once occupied only increase the depth of their fall. They go from theirfull wine cups to craving a drop of water to cool their parched tongues. They go from the dainties of Dives' table to theuttermost woes of Hell! Lazarus once begged for their crumbs and now they would gladly turn beggars and ask a blessing ofLazarus, himself! Their day is changed into night, their glory into shame, their banquets into miseries, their honors intoeverlasting shame and contempt! Be wise, men and women, and seek your Savior now, lest, as a dream when one awakes, the beautyof your present mortal life should all pass away and there should remain nothing but the ghastly form of a wasted existenceto be visited forever with the strokes of Jehovah's awful wrath-
"You sinners seek His Grace, Whose wrath you cannot bear! Fly to the shelter of His Cross, And find salvation there! So shallthat curse remove By which the Savior bled And the last awful day shall pour His blessings on your head." God bless you all,for Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON:
This is one of the Psalms of David which have often cheered the saints of God when they have been perplexed because of theprosperity of the wicked and their own troubles.
Verses 1, 2. Fret not yourself because of evildoers, neither be you envious against the workers ofiniquity. For they shallsoon be cut down like the grass and wither as the green herb. What if their lot is sweet? Yet consider how short it is. Nowise man envies the bull which is being fattened, for he knows that it is being fattened for the slaughter. None will envythe ungodly their pleasures when they remember how transient they must be. Let them have them and I would urge all Christiansto do their best to make the ungodly happy. This is the only happy time they can ever have unless they repent and turn tothe Lord. So do not make them unhappy, but contribute all you can to the little bliss they will ever know, for it will soonbe over. Certainly, if you are a child of God, you have no cause to envy them.
3, 4. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and verily you shall be fed. Delight yourself also inthe LORD; and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Here is a duty which is as much a pleasure as it is a duty-no,it is even more a pleasure than a duty-"Delight yourself also in the Lord." Here is a commandment to be happy in the safestconceivable way. Of all delights, the most delicious is delight in God, and to this we are commanded. But what a privilegeis that which is annexed to it- "He shall give you the desires of your heart." Why is this? Because, when you delight in God,your desires will be such as He can safely grant. Delighting in Him, you will only desire that which is for His Glory andthen, without any restrictions, He may promise to you and give to you the desires of your heart.
5. Commit your way unto the LORD.Blindly, yet believingly, put your hand into His hand and follow wherever He may lead you.
5-7. Trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass. And He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and yourjudgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD. Oh, what sweet precepts these are!-easier to read and to hear than they are topractice, yet, if Grace is given to us, we shall find them blessedly easy to practice. Surely, if it is easy to rest anywhere,it must be easy to "rest in the Lord." There is no such resting place anywhere else like that where Omnipotence and eternallove are sweetly joined together-"Rest in the Lord."
7-9. And wait patiently for Him: fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wickeddevices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not yourself in any wise to do evil For evildoers shall be cutoff: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. I believe that in a right sense, the child of God doesget the best of both worlds. He may not get, in this world, what ungodly men think the best. And as far as worldly good isconcerned, he often gets the worst, but God makes his dinner of herbs to be sweeter to him than the stalled ox is to the wicked.If I knew that I should die like a dog, I would still wish to be a Christian. If there were no hereafter, no world to comeand even if my lot, judged after the manner of men, should be of all men's most miserable, yet to have had God to be my Friend,here, would have turned even that misery into happiness-
"O God of Love, how blest are they Who in Your ways delight! Your Presence guides them all the day And cheers them all thenight!"
10. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yes, you shall diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.How often even the place where he lived-his house-becomes a ruin. The very palace where the tyrant dwelt is burnt down, ordestroyed in some other way! Decay seems to delight to work with the teeth of time upon the palaces of despots!
11. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. There is a great fulfillmentof that prophecy yet to come in the latter days, but it is fulfilled even now. Who does not see that the man who really enjoyslife and enjoys the world, is, after all, the meek, humble-minded Christian? That shepherd of Salisbury Plain, of whom weused to read in our childhood, when he was asked what he thought of the weather, said it was good weather, for God sent it-andany sort of weather pleased him if it pleased God. Anybody can see that a man of that kind is in a healthy state and thathe inherits the earth and possesses far more of what is worth having-namely, ease and peace of mind-than the owner of broadacres who has no true rest of heart in the Lord.
12-19. The wicked plot against the just, and gnashes upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him: for He sees thathis day is coming. The wickedhave drawn out the sword, andhave bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slaysuch as are of upright conversation. Their swordshall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. A littlethat a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORDupholds the righteous. The LORD knows the days of the upright and their inheritance shall be forever They shall not be ashamedin the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. Let me read that 19th verse again, so that any childof God here, who is in great straits, may be able to lay hold upon it-"They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and inthe days of famine they shall be satisfied."
20-25. But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smokeshall they consume away. The wicked borrows, and pays not again: but the righteous shows mercy, and gives. For such as areblessed of Him shall inherit the earth, and they that are cursed of Him shall be cut off The steps of a good
man are ordered by the LORD: and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdshim with His hand. Ihave been young, andnow am old; yet have Inot seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.We have often remarked here that we, also, though we are not old, have never seen the righteous forsaken and we do not thinkthat the oldest man or woman here has ever seen the righteous forsaken. David says that he had not seen the seed of the righteousbegging bread. Well, he was a king, so he was not likely to see very many poor people, but we have several times seen theseed of the righteous begging bread. It is not a common thing, but we have seen it-and when the seed of the righteous misbehavethemselves-when they disgrace their father's name-they will have to beg bread the same as other people's children do. Theywill come to poverty through idleness and drink just as other people do. And it has been my unhappy lot, within these verywalls, to have to minister relief to the unworthy and reprobate sons of Christian ministers about whose piety I could entertainno doubt, and some of whom are now in Heaven. These good men's children have walked contrary to God, so God has walked contraryto them! I have often hoped that the poverty I saw might be the means of bringing them to seek the God of their fathers!
You who fear the Lord may depend upon this-if the Lord helps you to train up your children rightly, He will take care of them.If they are truly the seed of the righteous by being themselves righteous, your children shall not beg bread, for the Lordwill provide for them and you will find that God always takes care of the children of those who faithfully serve Him. He seemsto say to them, "You mind My business, and I will mind your business. If you look after My children, I will look after yours."If we serve the Lord with all our hearts, we may fairly reckon that the God of the fathers will be the God of the children.
26-40. He is ever merciful, andlends andhis seedis blessed. Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell forevermore. For theLord loves judgment, and forsakes not His saints; they are preserved forever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut offThe righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever. The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tonguetalks of judgment The Law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. The wicked watches the righteous, andseeksto slay him. The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged. Wait on the Lord, and keep His way,and He shall exalt you to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off you shall see it I have seen the wickedin greatpower,andspreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yes, I sought him, but he could not befound. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyedtogether: the end of the wicked shall be cut off. But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: He is their strengthin the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them,because they trust in Him.