Sermon 3351. The Queen of Sheba
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, APRIL 24, 1913.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, DECEMBER 8, 1867.
"The Queen of the South shall rise up in thejudgment with this generation, and condemn it: for she came from the ends of theearth to hear the wisdom of Solomon and, behold, a greater than Salomon is here." Matthew 12:42.
Our LORD, on this occasion, was addressing a number of captious critics who, instead of listening to what He said and givingit the attention due to its own weight, said, "Show us a sign." Our Lord replies to them that He will give them no sign exceptthe two signs of Jonah and of the Queen of the South. The first was very much to the point. Jonah, a lone man, working nomiracle, went to Nineveh, a great city, where he was completely unknown. There he commenced to preach. The whole subject ofhis testimony was, "Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown." Through the broad streets of that gigantic city and throughits lanes and alleys, in its public squares the voice was heard, sharp and shrill, of that lone man-"Yet forty days and Ninevehshall be overthrown." No rod was turned into a serpent. No mountains were made to smoke. None were struck dead by the suddenhand of God. No paralytics and sick folk were healed. No signs were given to the men of Nineveh, but the declaration of thatone man sent of God was sufficient to denounce and discover their sin! They felt that they had been guilty of sins that deservedto be denounced. He pronounced their punishment and they also felt that the punishment was well deserved and, therefore, fromthe king on the throne to the meanest of the citizens, all the inhabitants of that great city humbled themselves and Jonah'swork was done! And God forgave the city. And the Lord Jesus seemed to say, "I also speak to you and tell you Truths of Godwhich ought to have as much power upon your consciences as Jonah's testimony had upon the men of Nineveh, but you turn away,albeit that I speak truth which you cannot answer, and tell you things which you cannot meet nor deny. Yet you say, 'Showus a sign,' fools that you are! There shall no sign be given you except the sign of Jonah, the Prophet." The second sign wasalso quite as much to the point. It was the case of the Queen of Sheba. She had heard, by report, that Solomon was the wisestof men. She knew that men flocked to his court to be instructed from his lips. Under many disadvantages and at much expense,she set out upon a long journey that she might listen to the wise man's teaching. She found it to her benefit and returnedwith joy. "But"-Christ seems to say, "I am as wise as Solomon. I am able to instruct you as well as that monarch instructedthose who came to his court and yet you show no eager desire to know what it is I teach! You are not willing to open yourears to receive, nor your minds to give a candid judgment upon what I utter, but you cry out at once, 'Show us a sign.' Youwould open your eyes and stare in vacant wonder at a miracle, but the mightiest wisdom that I can deliver to you, you treadunder foot as swine tread under feet the choicest pearls."
So Christ would give them no sign. He felt that they needed it not and, indeed, it would be wasted upon them. If they hadpossessed the same naive mind that was found in the Queen of the South, they would have listened to Him. And if they had beenof the same honest spirit with the men of Nineveh, they would have repented upon His testimony, even as they did of old, whoheard the Prophetic voice of Jonah!
Ah, my dear Hearers, this very night the same spirit broods over thousands! They do not, when they go to hear a sermon, thinkof the matter of what they hear, but they must have it delivered with cleverness, with refined speech, with polished periods.Ah, if men were wise, they would care but little how these Truths of God were given to them, but they would weigh the Truthsthemselves! We do not claim that you should believe all that we say-if we speak anything contrary to God's Word, we chargeyou to reject what we say, but we do ask you to judge it, to weigh it and to let the im-
portant Truths which we are charged by God to deliver to you, have a place in your attention-let them exercise your judgment,let them move your heart and will-let them influence your lives!
Coming now, however, at once to the text, we shall notice, in the first place, that Jesus is ' "greater than Solomon." thesecond place, that Jesus "is here." And in the third place, that if we do not listen to Him and obey Him, the Queen of theSouth may well rise up to condemn us.
These things, I think, are very evidently in the text. In the first place, then, in the text-
I. OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST CLAIMS TO BE "GREATER THAN SOLOMON."
You all know the history of Solomon. Solomon was great in several particulars and we shall point out to you that in each ofthese, Christ is greater than he.
In the first place, Solomon was very great as a ruler. His father, David, had, by much perseverance, valor and industry, verymuch enlarged the boundaries of his once small dominion. He was a man of war and he left to Solomon a heritage, indeed-a well-filledtreasury and an army of veterans. Solomon ruled over the whole of Israel. There seems to have been no disloyal rebellion,no revolt throughout the whole of his reign. In David's reign there were many rivals and the people were a restless, discontented,turbulent people. No people, perhaps, were more difficult to govern than the Jewish people in the days of David! But Solomonwas so judicious, noble and just a ruler, that he left the whole nation at peace with itself.
He was a monarch whom all respected and Solomon, too, in his time, enlarged the boundaries of his territory until it reachedto the borders of Egypt and to the river Euphrates on the other side. They that dwelt in the wilderness "bowed before himand his enemies licked the dust." Many nations paid him tribute and all the strangers who remained in the land, whom the childrenof Israel did not destroy, did him service. He had dominion from sea to sea and, to use an Oriental extravagance of expression,"from the river even unto the end of the earth." Solomon had a kingdom from his father and with it a special Divine Blessing-thegift of wisdom which enabled him to rule well. His army was one of the largest of the various armies of the Oriental kings.He ruled with wonderful state. The throne which he had built for himself is said to have had none like it in the whole ofthe then known world. His treasury was filled so full that as for silver, it was accounted for nothing. He made gold to beas silver, and silver as stones in Jerusalem! He was the greatest monarch that Israel had ever seen!
And yet, dear Friends, what a petty, little king he was, and when we compare him for a single moment with our Lord Jesus Christ,what a contrast there is! All the power of Solomon is gone and not a speck of it is left. He had dominion in his day overvast numbers of humankind, but he has no dominion now. But the Throne of the Man who was crucified on Calvary has power overtens of thousands of human hearts at this present moment. Lo, these 1,800 years Christ has reigned over multitudes who havebeen all too glad to kiss His feet and have rejoiced in the light of His Countenance! His Kingdom, instead of waning, hascontinually increased and the day shall come when all kings shall yield their scepters to Him and He shall gather sheavesof them beneath His arm when all monarchs shall doff their diadems and He, alone, shall reign King of kings and Lord of lords-theuniversal Head of the great monarchy-the Stone cut out of the mountain without hands which shall yet fill all the earth! Thepower of the Lord Jesus Christ over His Church is like the power of Solomon over Israel. He keeps it at one, and together!
Apart from Christ, the Church is a broken thing, divided into sects and parties, but in Christ Jesus, the Savior's prayeris answered, "That they all may be one." Bring any one of us to the Cross and you shall not know this from that, for therewe all agree to trust Him, to worship Him, to count His authority to be paramount and His example to be our pattern! Yes,Lord Jesus Christ, all Your children praise You! All those that are of Your household put the crown upon Your head. You rulein the household and You rule well, You "first-born among many brethren." Moreover, our Lord's dominion extends beyond HisChurch. He rules even to the river of Egypt. Know you not that Christ is Lord paramount over Providence? Nothing occurs withoutJehovah-Jesus' purpose, decree, or permission! The very hairs of your head are all numbered-
"He overrules all mortal things, And manages our mean affairs."
Nor is this all. The Lord Jesus has the government upon His shoulders-and that government extends not only to earth, but toHeaven and Hell-
"Lo!In His hands, the Sovereign keys Of Heaven, and death, and Hell."
The power of Christ is felt beneath Hell's most profound wave and His Glory is sung on Heaven's most starry heights! He hasput all things under His feet. He is exalted far above all principalities and powers, and every name that is named, that atthe name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things on earth, and things that are under the earth, andthat every tongue should confess that He is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father. Our Lord Jesus Christ, then, has a dominionwhich, for duration and for extent, is infinitely superior to anything of which Solomon ever conceived! And as for majestyand glory-talk not of the peacock-throne of the Great Mogul, all set with many colors and with gems and precious stones thatshine resplendent like a rainbow in the glittering sun! There is no throne like unto the Throne of Jesus, the Emperor of allworlds! See before Him the sea of glass mingled with fire. Around Him stand His seraphic courtiers. There stand the elderswith their "vials full of sweet odors." And as you listen you can hear their "harps of sweeter sound." And mark you not thecountless hosts who all cast their crowns before Him and, with one soul and voice, cry, "You are worthy to take the book andto loose the seals thereof, for You were slain and have redeemed us to God by Your blood"? Oh, cannot your ears hear thisvery moment the mighty booms of that great sea of music which rolls up to the Throne of Jesus? Can you not catch some straynotes from the harps of angels and archangels, as unceasingly they sing, "You are worthy! You are worthy to take the bookand to loose the seals thereof"? Beloved, we cannot thinkof comparing Christ with Solomon, but we must contrast them, fora "greater than Solomon is here, as a Ruler."
Let us learn from this the obvious lesson of practical value and wisdom. If, from the far-off South, the Queen of She-ba cameto see Solomon, how wise will it be for us to come to see Jesus! Oh, that we would do so and make Him our King! Let us enlistin His warrior bands. None ever served so great a master! Let us be members of His household, for happy are they that standcontinually in His Presence. Let us give over our enmity and cast down the weapons of our rebellion! And let us say by Grace-
"Oh, King of Grace, my heart subdue-
I would be led in triumph, too,
A willing captive to my Lord,
To sing the triumphs of His Word,"
Solomon was great as a builder For this, perhaps, he is best known among us. 'Twas a mighty deed to bring the towering cedarsof Lebanon, all fashioned and prepared, to Jerusalem to make a house for the Lord-to hew from the quarries in the mountains,great stones and goodly ones, all squared, and each one fitted and made ready for its place so that there might be no soundof hammer, nor lifting up of chisel in the building of the house. Happy were the eyes that looked upon the Temple of Solomon!Even at this very day, when the explorers come upon what they suppose to be the Temple, they are astounded at the masses ofstone which they find there! Our Lord said that one stone should not be left upon another, but that all should be cast down-buteven as they lie in the places where they were cast down-they are amazing! Even modern engineers have marveled how they couldever have been brought and put into their places-they are of such enormous size and yet so well squared and prepared for thebuilding! Besides this, Solomon built a house of the forest of Lebanon, of which we have a descriptive account in the pagesof Inspiration and which also seems to have been a marvelous work. In addition to that, he was great in the erection of worksfor the carrying of water. He made pools in Zion-the upper and the nether pools. He seems to have carried aqueducts wherethey were never heard of before his time, and it is possible that many of the great discoveries of modern days were well knownto Solomon, even all those years ago. He seems to have built an ascent to the house of the Lord, which particularly struckthe Queen of Sheba as being a most wonderful piece of masonry. Besides this, he was the builder of treasure cities. He alsobuilt Gezer, Bethhoron, Baalath, Tadmor in the wilderness, and so on. Solomon was a great master builder-none could excelhim as a piler of huge stones, one upon another.
Ah, but my Brothers and Sisters, a greater than Solomon is the Lord Jesus! It is easy enough to build with stones, granite,bricks and cedar. These are dead, coarse things that you can hew and cut as you will. Get enough sawing and cutting powerand you can make what you will of these things. It is only brute mechanical force that is needed, with judgment here and thereto direct and guide it. Get strength enough and, as Archimedes said, you might move the world with a lever-it is only onephysical force pitted against another. But what shall we say of Christ, who has built a house
that is made of living, immortal souls, built of what Peter, taught of the Spirit, calls, "living stones"? You do not cutthese, nor polish them quite so easily. Men with strong, stubborn wills. Men with diseased imaginations. Men with perverseaffections, men altogether gone from original righteousness-our Lord Jesus Christ has taken these and He has prepared themto make a Temple in which there shall be nothing but holiness and perfection! I trust that some of us have been prepared tobe built into "a living Temple, for an habitation of God through the Spirit." But if the Lord Jesus Christ shall ever maketens of thousands-and thousands of thousands of once guilty men all perfect, and shall build these altogether, fitting eachone into its place and making each one willing to maintain and stay in its place-this will be such a thing as a thousand Solomonscould not have attempted! This is no work of brute force, of mechanical power, my Brothers and Sisters-this is the power ofthe Holy Spirit Himself-a spiritual'power, a power which comes from God, who is a Spirit, and who will have those who worshipHim, worship Him in spirit and in truth! Can you conceive of this Temple? My soul seems to rise upon the wings of imaginationat the very thought of it-a Temple all alive, a living Temple-each stone a priceless soul, glittering with immortality! Johntells us of a city, the foundations whereof were of precious stones and he tells us of the "new Jerusalem coming down outof Heaven," and I know not what besides. That was but a faint picture of the living Temple of Jesus, where each soul shallbe more precious than the whole world, even though all the world were one pearl of the purest water-a Temple built by Him,for Him, to His own praise!
Moreover, our Lord Jesus Christ, as the great Master Builder, has built many a pool and aqueduct. We sang about one just now,such as Solomon never knew-
"There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel's veins!
And sinners plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains!"
This is more glorious than the Pool of Gihon, the upper and the nether pool! Moreover, Solomon brought a river into Jerusalemthat the multitude might drink, but it was not like this-"The water that I shall give you, shall be in you a well of water,springing up into everlasting life." Beloved, we have said that Solomon built treasure cities, but our Lord has given us promisesthat hold richer treasures than Tadmor ever knew-a Covenant-oh, the grandeur of that word, Covenant-a Covenant stored withall the fullness of God, for in Christ "dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily"!
I shall lose myself if I attempt to extol my Master as a Builder! I only pray that you and I may be built upon His Foundation-thatwe may come to the Fountain which He has opened and may be cleansed therein-that we may come to His treasure city and be enriched,all our necessities being removed. And may we dwell with Him in the palace which shall never be taken down! A greater thanSolomon, then, is Christ as a Builder!
And now for a third view of Solomon. Solomon was the greatest man of his age as a trader A careless reader may not observethis, but a careful student of the narrative will discern the reason why Solomon was so immensely rich. Possessed of greatwisdom, he saw at once that the wealth of a people must largely depend upon its commercial enterprise and activity. He thereforetook a city upon the banks of the Euphrates, and when the great caravans, laden with costly treasures from India and China,sought to make their way to Egypt, Greece and Rome, they crossed at the very ford which Solomon possessed. He seized uponan oasis in the great desert and upon it he built a city, known to this day as Tadmor- "Baalath and Tadmor in the wilderness."This little oasis, this spot of green earth in the midst of the desert, the caravans must pass. It was the only place wherethey could obtain water-and here Solomon built these cities which became the great depot, where exchanges were continuallymade of the productions of Egypt, India and China! The trade which, after the days of Solomon, went farther west and at lastpassed through the port of Venice-and then went still farther west and went through Holland, and has now come to London-allthat trade was in the hands of Solomon. If you read carefully the record of his life, you will see that he was a most clevertrader and managed for a time to secure a complete monopoly of all the provinces of the East. For this, the Queen of Shebamarveled at him. She wondered how it was that he could have been so wise as to be able to do this.
But our Lord says that "a greater than Solomon is here." Our Lord Jesus Christ has been a Trader of no common sort, my Brothersand Sisters. By His most precious blood He has brought us the supplies of the skies! Solomon could only bring to himself gold,and silver, and spices, and apes, and peacocks-but our Lord Jesus Christ has, by His precious blood, opened up the skies tothe commerce of souls so that now, through Christ, there comes to us pardon for our sin, acceptance in the Beloved, sanctificationby the Spirit, preservation by the indwelling of God and all those priceless
gifts of which we cannot now speak particularly, only we must say of them, "Blessed be the name of Jesus, that ever our soulslearned to trade in this heavenly direction." Yes, Christ is, indeed, greater than Solomon! Oh that you would seek to be enrichedby Him! Oh that you would seek to obey that text in which He says, "I counsel you to buy of Me gold, yes, fine gold, triedin the fire, and the white raiment that you may be clothed." God give us Grace that we may come to this greater Trader thanSolomon!
Moreover, Solomon was exceedingly great as a sage. I shall not amuse you, for that is no objective of mine, with the variouslegends that are told of him. The one instance of his decision between the two women reminds us of the excellency of his judgment.
He was renowned for this. You have his Proverbs, his Ecclesiastes, one of his thousand and one songs, and you may be assuredthat he was a mastermind in his day.
But the wisdom of our Lord Jesus Christ far transcends this, for He can open up all the dark questions of your mind! He canteach you, O man, what you most want to know. He can teach you the way to Heaven, the way to escape from the power as wellas the result of your sins, the way to get peace with God! The sages could not tell you this, but Jesus can. Seek Him, forHe is greater than Solomon! I had more to say upon this point, but time will not allow, for I must have a word or two uponthe second head, which is-
II. THIS JESUS IS HERE
He is not here in body. As we reminded you last Sabbath evening, He is gone. He is not here in that sense, "for He is risen."But Christ is here by His Spirit. If you want to get to Christ, this is the way-think of Him. That is, coming towards Him.Read His life. Study His death. Meditate upon Him. Let the thought of His laying down His life for His enemies dwell uponyour minds. I wish that some of you would read the story of His Crucifixion very, very often. If you have not any faith, perhapsfaith will come while you are reading it. "God commended His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, in due timeChrist died for the ungodly." He did not die for those good people who have not any sin. He had nothing to do with those goodpeople who are so righteous that they can get to Heaven their own way. Christ died for the guilty, the lost, the worthless.He comes like a physician to the sick-like one who gives sustenance to the perishing poor. Oh, read His life, for this willhelp you to come to Him!
The true way in which to come to Christ is to believe Him, to trust Him. If any man trusts in Christ to save him, he has cometo Him! When I used to hear sermons about coming to Christ, I thought, "Well, I would do it if I only knew how! If I had towalk from here to York, or no matter how far, I would find my way." But you do not come to Christ with your feet-you cometo Him with your mind, heart and will-and he that trusts in Jesus, who says, "I will lean alone upon what Christ has done.I have been trying a thousand ways of salvation, but they shall all go to the winds and now, sink or swim, I believe thatJesus Christ died to save sinners and I trust in Him"-that man is saved! If you trust in Him, and lean on Him and if, justas you now see me throw the whole of my weight upon this rail, you lean the whole weight of your soul on Christ, you are saved!
That is the only way of salvation, to throw yourselves completely on Jesus! God must punish sin, but Christ bore what wasdue to our sin in the place of sinners, of all who trust Him! If you trust Him, then Christ was punished instead of you andno penalty can fall on you. Your debts have all been paid by Christ and God cannot-for He is righteous- demand from you whatJesus has already endured for your sake. If you trust Jesus Christ, then, as sure as God is true, He will save you! It isHis own promise, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." Now, for the purpose of trusting, Christ is here. If youcould see Him with your eyes, you could not trust Him any more than you can tonight when you cannot see Him, though He ishere and oh, wonder of wonders, He is also engaged yonder in Heaven, according to this Book, in pleading for you! You do notneed to see a man to trust him. I can trust a man who is in India. I can trust a brother whom I may have in Australia, I cantrust a man who may be in the backwoods of America and trust him quite as well as if I saw him-perhaps my trust might be allthe more like trust because I did not see him. We say that there are some people whom we can only trust as far as we can throwthem, that is to say, we cannot trust them at all! But Christ is not of that kind. For all the purposes that are needed, then,to save you, Christ is here! By His Spirit He is here, and here now, and He will now whisper into your soul, "Peace. Yoursins are forgiven you." If you will now trust Him, you shall have in your heart a peace which passes all understanding, whichshall be the best proof to you that Jesus is here. Oh, why do you put it off? Oh, why do you who feel you need a Savior, continueso long away from this simple faith." I prayed for you just now-the Lord knows how sincerely I prayed-that we might all meetin Heaven. We never shall, unless we all believe in Jesus, for He is the one Door-if we will not enter by Him, we cannot enter-thereis no stealing or climbing our way there.
If we have to come and rest in Christ, why should we not do it tonight? Oh, why should we this night not be led to rest alonein Christ? If we do this, we are saved, already saved, completely saved, irrevocably saved-so saved that neither death norHell shall ever divide the Believer from his Lord! May this be done by us all, for Jesus is here. And now I have to closeby saying that if, with this Gospel before us, we do not come to this greater than Solomon- III. THE QUEEN OF SHEBA WILL CONDEMNUS!
For look! She was a heathen who had heard but a little about Solomon and yet she came to see if it were true. You professto be Christians, many of you. You have heard about Jesus from the time when you left the cradle. If you come not, these manySundays, these many sermons, these good books and these Bibles of yours-what shall they be but like the big stones that werehurled at Achan to destroy him for his sin? May God grant that you may not sin against the Light of God, but may the Lightlead you to Christ that you may be saved!
This woman came to see Solomon from afar We know not how far it was-whether she was the queen of the southern part of Arabia,or whether her territory was upon the other side of the Red Sea in Abyssinia-she seems to have been the queen of both countries.But from whichever she might have come, it was a long journey. You have no distance to go. Thought can travel all the distancein a moment! Faith can throw a bridge across every difficulty! Believe in Christ and you are with Christ! Trust Christ andChrist is with you-and you are with Him and in Him!
The Queen of Sheba had to meet a thousand dangers. Traveling in those days was no easy task. The Bedouins would attack hercaravans. She had many trials and hardships to put up with, but there are no such hardships to you. You have simply to trust.All the way to Heaven is only two steps-the first is to step out of yourselves and the second is to step into Christ. Firstto have done with all that you can do and secondly, to ask for all that Christ has done. You have no difficulties, then.
Now, this woman, when she came, did not come bringing her own wisdom to Solomon, but she came to learn from Solomon. You mustcome to Christ, not to bring your own knowledge, but to learn of Him what He would have you to do. If you are to be saved,you must be taught as well. "Unless you are converted and become as little children, you shall in no wise enter into the Kingdomof Heaven."
And this woman did bring very great presents to Solomon-spices and I know not what. Now Christ asks you to bring nothing!And if you do not come on such terms, well may she condemn you. He needs no merits of yours. He needs no good heart. He needsnothing good from you. "Surely He needs faith and repentance," says one. Yes, but-
"True belief and true repentance, Every Grace that brings me nigh, Without money,
Come to Jesus Christ and buy."
"But I must felmy needs," says one. Yes, but-
"This He gives you- 'Tis His Spirit's rising beam."
You are to come to Christ without anything-and Christ will give you everything!
This woman had never been invited to come. She went on a haphazard journey. Solomon never sent the Queen of Sheba an invitationto visit his court, but she came and was well rewarded. But you have been invited hundreds of times. I must bear this witnessagainst you. I have invited you very earnestly times without number. Oh, why, why, why-when the Gospel is so simple, why doyou kick against it? If my Lord were hard I could understand your lifting up the heel against Him. If He laid down some difficultconditions, I could excuse you if you said, "Master, we cannot come up to them." But when the only thing He says is, "Takewhat I give you. Receive it as a gift of Grace"-oh, not to receive it is unkindness, is madness, is wickedness! May God forgiveyour unbelief! I know the very difficulty in your case is that it is so easy. I do believe if salvation were more difficult,some of you would like it better. You are just like Naaman. If the Prophet had bid him do some great thing, he would havedone it, but when it was nothing but, "Wash and be clean," it did not suit his pride. And it does not suit yours just to comeand trust in Christ. I know you say you are afraid it would not be true. Ah, then you prefer your opinion to the testimonyof God, for this is God's simple testimony, "Believe on the
Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved." "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved. He that believes not shall becondemned."
May the Eternal Spirit bring you, empty-handed and ruined, to the All-Sufficient Savior and may you be enabled to now relyupon Him and you shall find that He is true! "Him that comes unto Me," He says, "I will in no wise cast out." The Lord blessyou for Christ's sake!
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: PSALM 119:113-120.
The proper way in which to read these verses is to peruse them in the spirit of prayer, turning every verse into a personalsupplication to God. I trust that many of us may be so in the Spirit, today, that these words may suit us.
Verse 113. I hate vain thoughts: but Your Law do I love. The moralist is quite content to look after his actions, but theChristian is never happy until his thoughts are sanctified. The true Believer hates vain thoughts because they lead to vainwords and to vain actions-because vain thoughts nailed his Savior to the tree, because vain thoughts spoil his devotion, marhis communion with God and, like the birds which came down upon Abraham's sacrifice-would destroy all his offering. "I hatevain thoughts." The converse of this is, "But Your Law do I love." There is nothing vain there. Nothing in Your Law to distractme. Nothing to give me unhallowed thoughts. Brothers and Sisters, here is a cure for vain thoughts! When you have been assailedby vain thoughts, let your mind be lovingly stored with texts of Scripture, with passages of God's Word! The Psalmist, whilewriting these words, is evidently under a sense of danger, so he said-
114. You are my hiding place and my shield: I hope in Your Word. Here is a hiding place to escape to from danger and a shieldto protect while in danger. A hiding place is not enough because that cannot be moved-but the shield can be carried everywhere.It is buckled on the warrior's arm and into every conflict he can take it. So, at evening, when I tell my troubles to my God,He is my hiding place. But all the day long, while I myself abide in the heat of the conflict, He is my shield! See wherethe Christian's hope is, dear Friends! It is not in his own integrity, or faithfulness, or sincerity- but, "I hope in YourWord."-
"The Gospel bears my spirit up! A faithful and unchanging God Lays the foundation for my hope In oaths and promises, and blood."
115. Depart from me, you evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God. By which David did not mean that he wouldnot speak with ungodly men. Monkish seclusion would be no advantage to a Christian! We are to be in the world, though notof it, as a ship is in the sea, but the sea is not in the ship, or else soon would she go to the bottom. We are to take careof the world-to hold such society with them as may come from necessity-but as to any nearer communion, "Depart from me, youevildoers. Your company I cannot bear! Your example pollutes the air! You do me damage, you vex my ears, you dishonor my God-departfrom me, you evildoers, for I will keep the commandments of my God." You see, it seems as if this was not possible as longas there was an intimate association with the ungodly. I know nothing that is so likely to destroy the purity of a Christian'slife as an intimate association with ungodly people. You cannot run with the hare and hold with the hounds, too. It is impossiblefor you to join with world and yet be true followers of Christ.
116. Uphold me according unto Your Word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope. You see, he feels his weaknessand he cries to his God.
117. Hold You me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto Your statutes continually. The brightest archangelowes all his glory to God-and the perpetuity of that glory depends upon the constant gift of the Gracious One. How wise, then,is it of men, conscious of their weakness, to hang constantly upon their God! As the vessel hangs upon the nail, and if thenail can move, the vessel must fall, so must we hang upon God. If He is not faithful, and true, and potent, then we must perish-but,thank God, concerning this we have no doubt!
118-119. You have trodden down all them that err from Your statutes: for their deceit is falsehood. You put away all the wickedof the earth like dross: therefore I love Your testimonies. You see, the Psalmist's mind is entirely occupied
with this spirit of perseverance. He seems to tremble and to be filled with awe lest he should by any means prove an apostateand be unworthy to enter into the Kingdom. He looks with solemn mind upon God as casting all the wicked of the earth downunder His feet, just as men cast out the refuse-as the slag of the furnace is sometimes thrown down to make the footpath.So he says, "You put away the wicked of the earth like dross. You have trodden them down." David was filled with a heavy tremblinglest this should be his lot-lest, after he had thought he had known and experienced the happiness of communion with God, heshould be found to be reprobate silver and be given over to destruction! Does such a fear as this come upon you, my Brothersand Sisters? If it does not, there is room for you to fear, for even our holy Apostle had this as his anxiety, "Lest, afterhaving preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." It is not as to whether God will be faithful to me, but whetherI am really His, whether my conversion has been genuine and my union to Christ vital. These are questions which breed a holyanxiety, which is one of the very best means of keeping a Christian in the path of right and so of guaranteeing the perseverancewhich God has promised. 120. My flesh trembles for fear of You and'I am afraid of Your judgments