Sermon 2718. The Tenses
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, MARCH 17, 1901.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, MAY 13, 1880.
"Who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us." 2 Corinthians 1:10.
WHEN children are learning their grammar, they have to pay particular attention to the tenses of the verbs. And it is alsoimportant for Christians to remember their tenses-to remember the past, the present and the future. Our text brings all threevery vividly before us and reminds us that God has delivered, does deliver and will yet deliver.
First, let us think for a little while concerning the past. How old are you, my Friend? How many of your years have you employedprofitably and how many have you allowed to run to waste? For how many years have you worked the will of the flesh and beena servant of sin and Satan? How long have you been born again? What is your age spiritually? Take down the record of yourlife and examine it, from the days of your childhood, through youth and early manhood, up till now. It is a book which shoulddo us good to read. In some respects, all it's pages may make us weep and yet, viewed in another light, many of them may giveus cause to sing. This is the one book in the library that many people do not like to take down and read, for there are somany blots in it and so many humbling records. Yet "God requires that which is past," and it is a token of wisdom for a manto talk with his past years and to learn from them the many lessons they are able to teach. All the days we have lived willgo before us to the Judgment Seat and each one will bear its record and leave it there. So let us not be oblivious of thatwhich God remembers, but let us remember it that we may be penitent for all that has been wrong in it, and that we may begrateful for all that has been right.
Next, think about the second part of life, namely, the time present. And here let me urge upon you, dear Friends, the importanceof valuing the present. In fact, time present is the only time that you have. The past has gone and you cannot recall it-thefuture will never really be yours for, when it comes, it will be present, too. It is only in the present that we live, sothat if we waste these precious hours that are now with us, we waste all that we have. If we serve not God today, when willwe serve Him? Tomorrow? No, for when that opportunity comes, "tomorrow" will have been changed into "today." Let us endeavor,as God shall help us, to watch our moments so as not to waste one of them.
It is a good thing to have our life divided up into short periods. The other day I saw John Wesley's diary, or rather, horary,for it had in it not merely an entry for every day, but for every hour-and not only for every hour, but usually there wasa distinct occupation for every 20 minutes! The good man made his days to have many hours in them-and his hours seemed tohave more minutes in them than most men's hours have-because he did not waste any of them, but diligently used them all inhis Master's service. God help us all to do the same by paying great attention to the present portion of our life!
As for the future, there is an idle curiosity which prompts men to try to live in it that we must renounce. But there is agracious expectation which enables us to live in it-a holy anxiety which prompts us to prepare for it. It is greatly wisefor us to talk with those years that are to come if we talk with them in view of their end. I would have you familiar withyour graves, for you will soon be in them-and still more familiar with your resurrection dwelling place, remembering thatGod "has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Let us often project ourselvesbeyond the present into the future-to gather strength from the future is frequently the best way to deal with the present.You will be more easily able to bear your present burdens when you think how short is the time in which you
will have to carry them. Your "light affliction, which is but for a moment," will seem scarcely like a feather's weight toyou when you anticipate the "far more exceeding and eternal weight of Glory" which God has prepared for you!
I recommend to you, therefore, this rule of three, and advise you always to consider the past, the present and the future.And just now I invite you to do so in connection with the delivering mercy of God. He has delivered us. He does deliver us.He will deliver us. And, first, I am going to point out to you three trains of thought Next, three lines of argument And,thirdly, three inferences.
I. First, THE TEXT SUGGESTS THREE TRAINS OF THOUGHT.
The first is memory, which tells us of the deliverances in the past-"Who delivered us from so great a death." Take the wordsexactly as Paul wrote them and recall how God has delivered some of us from death. A few here, perhaps, have been very nearto death in battle or in tempest. Many more of us have been very near to death in sickness. Some of us have, several timesin our lives, looked into eternity-our illness has been no child's play and we have realized the possibility, or even theprobability of our soon passing away from all the engagements of this mortal life-and standing before our God. But we havebeen raised up again-we have come forth from our chamber tottering on our staff, perhaps, through weakness, yet we are stillpreserved-the living, the living-to praise the Lord as we do this day. I have no doubt that almost all of you have had, atone time or another, some very special proof that, "unto God the Lord belong the issues from death."
Our past deliverances, however, have not only been from physical death. We have had greater deliverances than that. Therewas, first of all, our deliverance from spiritual'death. Do you not remember the time, dear Brother, dear Sister, when youwere brought out of nature's darkness into God's marvelous light? You say that you do not know the day when this great changetook place-never mind if you do not-it is not at all essential if you can now say," One thing I know, that, whereas I wasblind, now I see." Some of us do remember the very day when we came to Christ and rested in Him and we do, with our wholeheart and soul, bless Him that we were delivered from that terrible death which had so long held us in captivity! God rescuedus by His Grace and enabled us to come forth from our grave of sin, looking unto Jesus and longing to be made like He.
Further, some of you remember when you were delivered from despair. It is an awful thing to be driven away from all hope ofsalvation and to be at your wits end. You were not all brought to Christ in a terrible tempest, as some of us were-many ofyou came to Him under happier circumstances. Be very thankful that it was so-but some of us were hard put to it when we triedto touch the hem of His garment. We were pressed and crushed in the crowd and seemed to lose our very breath. I remember how,when I was under conviction of sin, my soul rolled to and fro and staggered like a drunken man, yet the Lord delivered meand taught me to rest upon Him-and thus even full assurance became possible although I had thought, before, that mercy couldnever reach me! Beloved, if I am describing your experience as well as my own, let us together bless the Lord for His mercyin delivering us from so great a death! The remembrance of our deliverance from sin and despair must take the first rank amongour grateful reminiscences!
But since then, have you not many times been delivered out of temptation? You said, with the Psalmist, "My feet were almostgone; my steps had well near slipped," yet the Lord graciously preserved you. If you look back with careful eyes, you willsee many occasions where, if it had not been for interposing mercy, you would either have fallen into the bog on your righthand, or into the quagmire on your left. If the Lord had not piloted your vessel, it would have been wrecked on the rocksof Scylla or engulfed in the whirlpool of Charybdis! Do you not wonder, sometimes, how you ever got through that peculiartemptation which was so suitable to your circumstances and so fascinating to your flesh? You did not know, at the time, thatit was a temptation and you had not the necessary wisdom to meet the craft of Satan! Yet you were not taken captive in theSatanic net, cunningly as it was spread-and for that deliverance you must bless the name of the Lord!
There are some of you who ought to praise Him for deliverances over which you wept at the time. He would not let you havewhat you desired-you were disappointed and you talked about your heart being broken. Ah, but the Lord's dealings with yousaved you from having a real broken heart! You said, "Alas! Alas! I have lost something which I fondly cherished!" It waswell that you did lose it, for that which you thought was a bracelet sparkling with jewels was a viper which, had you graspedit, would have stung you to death! Blessed be God for not hearing some of our prayers! Blessed be the Lord for not gratifyingmany of our desires!
We ought to praise Him, too, for our deliverances in the time of trouble. You are not all tried alike. I am very thankfulthat some of you are not troubled as others are, but I know that I am addressing some whose trials have been very many andvery heavy. Your road has been a very rough one. John Bunyan truly says, "A Christian is seldom long at ease-when one trouble'sgone, another does him seize." And that has been true in the lives of many of us. We can say with the Psalmist, "We went throughfire and through water." Some of God's children have been brought very low in their circumstances so that they have had tolive "from hand to mouth"-though I do not know that many of us live very differently from that-but there are some godly peoplewho never have any reserve even if they do not actually come to need. I do not know that there is anything very grievous inthat, for the sparrows and the ravens live in that style, yet God cares for them. But some of you find it to be a trial tohave scantiness in the home, or sickness in your own person, or one who is dear to you as your own life constantly afflicted.There are all sorts of losses and crosses, trials and troubles for the godly to endure. Yes, but none of these things havecrushed us yet, for the Lord has delivered us!
Here is a poor widow and she wonders how she ever brought up that large family of little children. She scarcely knew how toprovide for them all when she had a husband and yet, when the head of the house was gone, they were provided for! It is verywonderful, yet it was done. And you who seemed to see all your prospects suddenly dissolve like the mirage of the desert,were helped, too. You said at one time, "If such-and-such a thing should happen it would kill me." It did happen, yet it didnot kill you, for you are here to testify to the Lord's delivering mercy! One Job's messenger after another came to bringyou evil tidings, yet the Lord delivered you from the trials which threatened to crush you! I cannot stay to mention all thosepast deliverances and, probably, most of them are not even known to us. Glory be to God for unknown mercies-favors which camein the night when we most needed them, favors which helped us to sleep and to awake refreshed-favors that stole, with silentfootfall, into our home and our heart and went away leaving traces of the sacred oil of Divine Mercy behind them!
That is the first train of thought-memory, which tells of deliverances in the past.
The second is observation, which calls attention to present deliverance-"and does deliver." Open your eyes my Brothers andSisters, and see how God is delivering you at this moment! I do not say that with the most widely opened eyes you will perceiveall your deliverances, for, many times, you have been saved from trouble, while, on other occasions, you have been deliveredout of it. I have often told you the story of the good old Puritan who met his son at a half-way house. When the young mancame in, he said, "Father, I had a very special Providence as I rode here today." "What was that, my son?" "My horse stumbledthree times very badly, yet I was not thrown." "And I have had an equally special Providence in riding here," his father answered."What was that?" "My horse never stumbled all the way, so I was not thrown." You know that if we are in a railway accidentand escape from any hurt, we say, "What a Providence!" Yes, but what a Providence it was when you were preserved from a railwayaccident by staying at home! Oftentimes we do not see the very thing that has the most of mercy in it. What evidences of Divinedeliverance there are in the fact that you are here at this moment! A comparatively trifling incident might have resultedin your death. You may be, tomorrow morning, in doubt as to which of two ways you should take but there will be the Providenceof God directing you which to choose-and your choice of that one may affect the rest of your life!
If you are not just now being assailed by any temptation, it is because God is delivering you from it. Yet it may be thatSatan is planning some fresh temptation with which to assail you. But, though he desires to have you that he may sift youas wheat, Christ is praying for you, that your faith fail not. We might have fallen into doctrina1 error had it not been forGod's restraining mercy. How apt thoughtful people are to be carried away by the particular novelty of the hour! It seemsas if they could not resist the cogency of the argument by which the new teaching is supported, but we have been kept fromyielding to it by having our hearts established in the faith, so that we have not believed every novel doctrine, but havejudged it by the Word of God and so have been kept from wandering into devious ways.
How graciously God is preserving many of us from the tongue of slander! It is a wonderful thing for any man to live much inpublic without being accused of some vile crime. And the woman who lives in the most retired position, the housewife who doesnothing but look after her own children, will find somebody or other slandering her. You cannot always escape from the envenomedtongue of slander, be you what you will and where you will-and for God to keep the reputation of any Christian unstained yearafter year is a subject for the greatest thankfulness.
We do not know where or what we might have been if God's gracious protection had not been like a wall of fire around us, asit is even now, for the Lord does still deliver all those who put their trust in Him. I want you, dear Brothers and Sisters,to believe with unquestioning confidence that God is delivering you just now. You know that He has delivered you-be quiteas sure that He is delivering you at this moment. "Oh," says one, "I am shut up in the dungeon of despair." Yes, but yourLord has a key that can open the door and let you out. "Yes, but I am in great need." But He knows all about it and He hasHis basket in His hand full of good things with which He is going to supply all your needs. Oh," says another, "but I am sinkingin the flood." But He is throwing the lifebelt to you. "Oh, but I am fainting!" But He is putting a bottle of sweet perfumeto your nose to refresh your spirit. God is near you, to revive and cheer your fainting soul! Perhaps someone says, "I findfaith concerning the past and concerning the ultimate future tolerably easy, but it is faith for the next hour or two I cannotso readily exercise." At certain times it is found that a trial is peculiarly present, but one cannot always realize thatGod is "a very present help in trouble," yet it is true. He hasdelivered and He does deliver.
The third train of thought is this-expectation looks out of the window upon the future-"in whom we trust that He will stilldeliver us." Yes, dear Friends, there may be many trials before you, but there is a mass of mercy kept in store to meet thosetrials! Troubles such as you have never yet known, as well as repetitions of those you have experienced will surely come uponyou, but as your days are, so shall your strength be, for your Lord will continue to deliver you. As the eyes gradually failand the limbs grow weak, and the infirmities of age creep over us, we are apt to be distressed, yet our Lord will not forsakeus. When severe sickness invades our mortal frame and our pains are multiplied and intensified, we wonder how we shall holdout to the end-and especially as we look forward to the time of death, not always viewing it in the true light, we say, "Whatshall we do in the swellings of Jordan? How shall we be able to bear the stern realities of our last hours?" Be of good comfortmy Brother, my Sister! He who has delivered, and does deliver, will yet deliver!
As surely as the trial comes, the way of escape shall be opened up for you by your Lord. Will you try to realize all thisof which I have been speaking? He has delivered you, then give Him your gratitude. He is delivering you, then give Him yourconfidence. He willdeliver you, then give Him a full and joyful expectation and begin, even now, to praise Him for mercieswhich are yet to come and for Grace which you have not tasted yet, but which you shall taste in His good time!
II. Now, in the second place, THE TEXT SUPPLIES THREE LINES OF ARGUMENT, all running to the same point.
The point to be proved is that the Lord will deliver His people. And I argue that He will deliver us in the future becauseHe has already begun to deliver us. There is a chain of continuity here-He has delivered, He does deliver and He willdeliver.He began to work for our deliverance long before we sought Him. The first movement was not from us to God, but from God tous! We were lying dead in trespasses and sins and He came and quickened us. He gave His Son to die for us many centuries beforewe were born. He provided the Gospel for us long before you and I had ever sinned. In all things He had the start and wasbeforehand with us. Yet He need not have done all this, except that it was by His own choice and free will that He acted.I rejoice in the free will of God which moved Him to deliver us! Surely, then, since the motive that impelled Him to saveus must have been in Himself, alone, that motive is still there. If He had begun to deliver us because He saw some goodnessin us, or because we first applied to Him, then He might leave us, but as the commencement was with Himself, spontaneouslyout of His own heart, depend upon it that as He began the work, He will carry it on!
God has no more knowledge of any one of us than He had at the first. When He began with us, He knew what we would be. He foresawall our sins and all our follies, all our ingratitude and all our backsliding. He did not enter blindfolded upon a task which,after second thoughts, He would have to relinquish, but even from eternity, He saw us just as we have turned out to be. YetHe began with us and, having begun with the deliberation of eternal love, let us be quite sure that He will prosecute Hisgracious purpose with the perseverance of eternal love! If there had been, at the first, some reason in us why God shouldbegin to deliver us, then that reason being removed from us, God might cease to deliver us. But as the reason was not in us,but in Himself, since He can never change, the reason for our deliverance abides the same, and the argument is good and clear-Godhas delivered us, then He willdeliver us!
The next argument comes from the fact that as He is now delivering us, therefore He will continue to do so. Here is the continuityof His Grace. Now look, Beloved-He has, up to this hour, continued to deliver you and me who have
trusted Him. How many times has He delivered me? Out of how many troubles have I been delivered? From how many sins have Ibeen delivered? Well, then, if the Lord has kept on delivering me so long, I argue that if He had ever meant to stop, He wouldhave stopped before now! And, therefore-
"His love in time past forbids me to think
He'll leave me at last in trouble to sink.
Each sweetEbenezerI have in review,
Confirms His good pleasure to help me quite through." When a man begins to build, we reckon that he will finish the buildingif he can. We know that our God can complete what He has commenced, so we conclude that He will do so. I feel that He hasgone so far with me that He cannot give me up now-
"Can He have taught me to trust in His name, And thus far have brought me to put me to shame?"
No, that can never be! And many of you must feel just as I do about this matter. Some of you are, as it were, sitting on thevery doorstep of Heaven. You are over 80 years of age, so you cannot be here long. Can you not trust the Lord for the fewmonths or years you have yet to live? He has been helping you, my aged Sister, ever since you were a girl, and He has deliveredyou out of all sorts of troubles-do you think that He will leave you now? And my dear venerable Brother, you knew the Lordwhen you were but a boy and He has never left you yet-will He forsake you now? No, blessed be His name, He will not! All thoseyears of His favor go to confirm us in the conviction that He will keep on delivering us till He brings us safely Home.
The Lord has not only delivered us so often, but He has also done it in such a wonderful way that He must go on working ina similar fashion! What marvelous wisdom has He sometimes displayed in delivering us from the consequences of our own folly!Often has He seemed to lavish His mercy upon us that He might help us in our time of need-and not once has He failed us. Thereis not one broken promise of His, nor one Covenant blessing that He has ever withheld from us. If any of you who have knownHim the longest, have anything to say against your God, say it. But you have not. You have never had any reason for doubtingHim, nor have you ever had any suspicion of His faithfulness raised in your mind by anything that He has done which mightlead you to mistrust Him in the future. He has delivered, He is delivering and He will still deXiver. There are two argumentsdrawn from the past and the present.
The best argument, however, comes from God Himself-in whom we trust." He is always the same and everything is always presentto His unchanging mind. What was the Nature of God when He first determined to deliver me? Was it love? Then it is now love.What was the motive which impelled the Son of God when He came from above and snatched me from the deep waters? It was love,surprising love and it is surprising love which still moves Him to deliver me! Did I sing about His faithfulness the otherday? That faithfulness is the same today! Have I adored His wisdom? That wisdom is not exhausted!
There is not only the same Nature in God as there always was, but there is also the same unchanging purpose. You and I shiftand change and we are obliged to do so because we make rash promises and faulty plans. But God, who is infinitely wise, alwayskeeps to His purpose. Now, if it was His original purpose to save us-and it must have been, or He would never have deliveredus as He has done-that purpose still stands and shall stand forever! Though earth's old columns bow. Though Heaven and earthshall pass away as the morning frost dissolves in the beams of the rising sun, yet the decree of the Immutable Jehovah shallnever be changed. "For the Lord of Hosts has purposed, and who shall disannul it? And His hand is stretched out, and who shallturn it back?"
III. Time fails me, so I can only very briefly show you that THE TEXT IS OPEN TO THREE INFERENCES.
The first inference I draw from it is that we shall always be in danger so long as we are here. The Lord has delivered, doesdeliver and He will deliver, so we shall always need Divine deliverance while we are in this world. We must not expect toever be out of gunshot of the enemy. You may depend upon it, Brothers and Sisters in Christ, that you will always have tribulationas long as you are in the world. You will have trials in the flesh, you will have trials in the spirit, you will have trialsfrom God and trials from Satan! And if, at any time, you are a long while without any trouble, keep a good lookout for it,for it is probably on the way! We should always suspect some danger near when we perceive too much delight. When God has givenus a long stretch of smooth sailing, it well behooves us to steer our vessel cautiously and to be ready to furl our sailsat any moment, for a cyclone may be upon us before we know where we are!
We need not askthe Lord to send us trouble, but when it comes, let us have the Grace to accept it and to glorify God in it.While we are in this world, we shall always know that it is the world, so let us not make any mistake about the matter-thedevil is the devil, the world is the world and the flesh is the flesh. None of these things have changed and the mercy isthat God has not changed-He is still the same as He always was! If I found that the world was not the world, I might be afraidthat God was not God, but that can never be the case. So, as trials are always arising, I may fairly suspect that they alwayswill come while this time-state lasts. but I also fully believe that God will always be the same and that He will deliverall who trust in Him.
The second inference from the text is that we may constantly expect a display of God's delivering Grace. The past says, "Hehas delivered." The present says, "He does deliver." And the future says, "He will yet deliver." Yesterday, God was very graciousto me, I need not tell you how. Today He has been very gracious to me. Tomorrow He will be very gracious to me and the samewill be true the next day, and the next day, and the next day, until there shall be no more days and time shall be swallowedup in eternity! Between here and Heaven, every minute that the Christian lives will be a minute of Grace. From here to theThrone of the Highest, you will have to be continually supplied with new Grace from the Lord who sits on high.
Dear Brother, you never live a truly holy, happy, blessed day except by Divine Grace! You never think a right thought, neverdo a right act-you never make any advance Heavenward except by Grace. I like to think that it is so, that every day I am amonument of mercy! That every day a fresh display of Sovereign Grace is made to me. That every day my Father feeds me, mySavior cleanses me, the Comforter sustains me! Every day new manifestations of the loving kindness of the Lord break forthupon my wondering soul and give me fresh visions of His miraculous l ove. I could not find another word to express what Iwanted to say-that one seemed too leap into my mouth just then-His miraculous love! And so it is miracle-working love makingthe Christian's life to be a series of miracles, at which angels shall gaze forever in astonished adoration of the amazinglove of God to guilty men! So I reckon that we may go onward with great confidence, for, although every day will bring dangers,every day will also witness Divine deliverances!
Thirdly, the last inference I draw from the text is that our whole life should be filled with praise of God our DelivererHow does it run? He delivered us and now we deliver ourselves? No, no, no! He delivered us. He does deliver us- but what aboutthe future? We must deliver ourselves? No, no, no! He has delivered! He does deliver and He will still deliver-the same Person,working in the beginning, in the center and at the close. It is all of God from first to last! There is not one deliverancewhich you have ever had which you can ascribe to anyone but the Lord, alone. Inside Heaven's gate all the praise is givento the Triune Jehovah-"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now,and ever shall be." And outside Heaven's gate, let us sing the same song, to the same tune! Let it always be to the praiseof Grace, Grace, GRACE. To the God of Grace, the Father of Grace, the Christ of Grace, the Holy Spirit and His Grace and toGod be all the glory, forever and for ever! Amen.
EXPOSITIONS BY C. H. SPURGEON: PSALMS 16; 63.
Psalm 16:1. Preserve me, O God: for in You Iput my trust. Ah, Brothers and Sisters! When we think of our daily dangers and when we rememberthe sinfulness of our nature, this petition may well be our frequent prayer! "Preserve me, O God." And this may well be ourplea, as well as the Psalmist's, "for in You I put my trust." We trust in the name of the Lord, for we can never expect tobe preserved except by His protecting Grace.
2, 3. O my soul, you have said unto the Lord, You are my Lord: my goodness is nothing apart from You; as for the saints thatare in the earth, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. "My God, I would gladly prove my gratitude to Youif I could, but what can I do for One so great as You are? You are infinitely above me. You need nothing from my hands. What,then, can I do to show my love to You? By my care for your people I may prove what I would do for You if I could. Are theyhungry? I will feed them. Are they sick? I will visit them. If my goodness cannot reach the great Head of the Church, it shallat least wash the feet, for I do love You, O my God, and I want, in some practical way, to show that I love You!"
4. Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor takeup their names on my lips. He who sincerely loves the true God cannot have any regard for His rivals. He will have no communionwith false gods in any shape or form.
5. The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup. That is the Believer's portion-his God. The Levites, as a tribe,had no inheritance in the land of Canaan, but God was their portion-and who shall dare to say that they had not the best ofit? Now, child of God, if you could have your choice, what would you choose-goods or God? Earthly wealth, or the God who isthe source of all good things?
5. You maintain my lot. One of our great men has for his motto, "I will maintain it." But the Psalmist's is a much betterone-"You maintain my lot." It is better to have God for our Guardian than to have all possible human strength with which todefend ourselves.
6. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yes, I have a goodly heritage. The Jewish rulers stretched the measuringor dividing lines over the plots of land that fell to the different members of the family. But here the man of God declaresthat since God was his portion, the lines had fallen to him in pleasant places! There is no choice of places, or times, orcircumstances with the man who thoroughly loves his God. He can find God in loneliness and so enjoy the best company. If hehas God in poverty, he has great riches. O happy man who has God to be his all!
7. I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel ' 'He has talked with me, checked me, rebuked me, instructed me, encouragedme. 'I will bless Jehovah, who has given me counsel.'" That does not, at first sight, look as if it were one of the choicestof blessings, yet the Psalmist mentions it immediately after he has declared that the lines have fallen on him in pleasantplaces-as if he felt that one of the choicest blessings of the Covenant was that God had been his Counselor.
7. My heart also instructs me in the night seasons. "God makes my heart, my conscience, my inmost being to give me instruction.What a blessing that must have been to David! A man who has no inward monitor because he has stifled his conscience so thatit no longer holds him by the ear, and speaks with him, is poor, indeed! But blessed is he who has his God and his conscienceto counsel and instruct him.
8. Ihave set the LORD always before me. Because He is at my right hand, Ishallnot be moved. Brother, have you always actedon the straight? Have you so conducted your business that you need not be ashamed of God Himself to look at it? Then do notbe afraid of anything that may happen to you, for you will come out all right at the last. There may be great trouble in storefor you and you may be stripped of all that you possess-but you shall never be ashamed.
9. Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices: my flesh also shall rest in hope. Every good thing belongs to the manwho belongs to God! He need not be afraid even of the grave, for he can adopt the language which is here Prophetically usedfor Christ, Himself. He is not afraid to die, for he can say-
10. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol. The place of the departed, the intermediate state into which the soul passesat death.
10. Neither will You suffer Your Holy One to see corruption. In the fullest sense, this verse belongs to Christ, alone, but,still, what belongs to the Head is also the portion of the members of His mystical body.
11. You will show me the path of life: in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for-evermore.And this is the portion of every Believer. "Here little, but hereafter much," says Bunyan, but I will venture to alter it,and say, "Here much, but hereafter moreshall be our inheritance from age to age."
Psalm 63:1. O God, You are my God; early will I seek You. Because You are mine, therefore will I seek You." A sense of possession makesus long for the enjoyment of all that is really ours.
1. My soul thirsts for You my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is. "Nothing but You can contentme. Everything else, or everyone else falls short of my desire. There is no water that can slake such a thirst as mine unlessI drink from You, You overflowing well."
2. To see Your power and Your Glory, so as Ihave seen You in the sanctuary. Past enjoyment of our Lord's Presence inspiresus with earnest desire for fresh manifestations of His face. If we have ever seen God's power and Glory when we have comeinto the courts of His house, we long to see them again, whether we are in the wilderness or in the sanctuary.
3. Because Your loving kindness is better than life, my lips shallpraise You. Is not that word "loving kindness" one of thenoblest terms in our own or in any other language? The word, kin, is at the root of kind and kindred, so that loving kindness,or loving kinness, is such conduct as we may expect from those who are akin to us. God's kindness to us,
through Jesus Christ, His Son and our Savior, brings to us a loving kindness that is better than life, and for which our lipscan never praise Him enough.
4. Thus willl bless You while Ilive: I will lift up my hands in Your name. "For very joy, I will lift them up, and clap thembefore You. Though, before, they hung down as though I were dispirited and could never work again, yet now, 'I will lift upmy hands in Your name.'"
5. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness. God's flowers always bloom double. God's blessings are like marrowand fatness-there is in them a double satisfaction of the most intense kind! "My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow andfatness."
5. And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips. The Psalmist speaks as if each of his lips had a separate joy and as though,together, they would express the double joy for the double satisfaction which his God had given to him.
6. When I remember You upon my bed, and meditate on You in the night watches. ' 'Even then shall I have joy, for Your Presencemakes even the darkness to be light."
7. Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings will I rejoice.' 'If I cannot get into the light ofYour Countenance, the very shadow of Your wings shall make me glad. Only let me be near You-that is all I crave."
7. My soul follows hard after You. "I am like a dog who loves to keep close to his master's heels."
8-11. Your right hand upholds me. But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes, But the king shall rejoice in God; everyone that swears byHim shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped. Stopped with a shovelful of earth, in many cases,for it seems as if some liars would never cease lying as long as they are alive.