Sermon 3232. Facts and Inferences

(No. 3232)




"I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree, Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not:yes, I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright for the end of that man is peace."Psalm 37:35-37.

WE must never judge by appearances, for many things that we see with our eyes and hear with our ears are not really what theyappear to us to be. Our senses, like everything else within us, are imperfect, so that it is safer to walk by faith than bysight. Especially is this the case with regard to God's Providential dealings with men. If we were to conclude, for instance,that all those who prosper in this world are peculiarly favored of God, we would make a very great mistake. And if, on theother hand, like Job's friends, we should imagine that all persons who are grievously afflicted and tried are suffering becausethey have grossly sinned, we would equally err. It is true that there sometime are manifest judgments upon individuals, communitiesand nation, but every trial or affliction is not a judgment-nor would it be right for us to regard it so. Yet the man whowalks through the world with his eyes opened and his understanding enlightened, must notice certain facts about which therecan be no question-facts which are so important and so instructive that he will want other people to also notice them andto learn the lessons they are intended to teach.

There are two facts mentioned in our text. And I am going to talk to you concerning them, coupling with them certain inferencesand Revelations which must not be separated from them. The first fact is concerning the wicked-we have seen them in greatpower, spreading themselves like a green bay tree-yet they have passed away and soon been forgotten. The second fact is concerningthe righteous-we have not merely once, but many times, seen a godly man die and from our own experience we can confirm thetestimony of the Psalmist, "the end of that man is peace."


It is a fact that we have seen the wicked in great power and that we have seen them suddenly cut off. Those of you who aremuch older than I am can remember the terror that was associated with the name of one who was, for a while, in great powerand who spread himself like a green bay tree-the branches whereof cast a baleful shade over most of the nations of Europe.Napoleon Bonaparte aimed at absolute sovereignty in France and won it. And then he aimed at universal sovereignty over allhis fellow monarchs and, for a time, it seemed as though there would be no human limit to his great power. You know how hewaded through slaughter and snatched crown after crown from other men to put upon his own head. But you also know how he ledhis vast army into Russia-and left the bulk of his followers to sleep in death beneath the snow, or to be devoured by wolves.And you remember how, afterwards, he met with men who could play the devil's game of war more skillfully than he ever couldand, in the end, the imperial eagle that had torn so many others in pieces with its cruel talons, was chained for the restof its life to the lonely rock of St. Helena! Who that saw Napoleon's empire in the height of its glory could have imaginedthat it would melt away like a snowman in blazing sunshine? I grant you that its grandeur [Mr. Spurgeon was, of course, referringto the state of affairs in France in 1863. But he lived to see the Second Empire also pass away, and the French republic firmlyestablished in its place.] has been somewhat revived in our day, but the failure of the "great" Napoleon should teach thewhole race of mankind that although a wicked man may be in great power and may spread himself like a green bay tree, yet nogreatness will permanently endure unless it is founded upon goodness and upon God!

There are some who have had great power because they have had great wealth. Many of us can recollect persons who seemed tohave unlimited riches which enabled them to exercise enormous power over their fellow men. Solomon said that "money answersall things," and they certainly made it answer their ends. Everybody was obsequious to them- whole nations yielded up theirtreasures at the bidding of these multi-millionaires. They said to the North, "Give up," and to the South, "Keep not back"-andgold and jewels and works of art came pouring into their palaces and mansions-yet those very men were reduced to beggary beforethey died and, at the same door where they had repelled poor Lazarus with scorn, they, themselves, were suppliants cravingalms! I need not mention names. Many of you can remember such men who were in great power and spread themselves like a greenbay tree-yet they have passed away and if you seek them they cannot be found.

I find that the Hebrew has in it the idea of a tree indigenous to the soil, a tree that has never been transplanted. So Davidmeans that he had seen the wicked flourish like a tree whose roots had never been disturbed. You may have heard a rich manboastfully say, "My father lived in this house and his father lived here before him. And through a long line of ancestors,these estates have belonged to our family." He had no trouble in his youth and no labor in his manhood-he is the man who,in his prosperity, said, "I shall never be moved." But he has been moved-the ancestral hall of which he was so proud, hasa new owner-those estates which he surveyed with such manifest delight have been sold to another family! And if you go tothe district today and ask anyone whom you meet, "Where is that rich man who used to own all these broad acres?" you willreceive the reply, "Nobody knows." And you may say with the Psalmist, "I sought him, but he could not be found."

This has been the case with some who have gained honor among men. The bay tree was highly esteemed among the Greeks and Romans-theycrowned their heroes with wreaths made from its leaves-yet neither the wreath nor the honor lasted very long. So, if a manreceives honor from his fellows, yet is all the while a wicked man, his honor is like the dissolving-view which appears uponthe sheet and quickly fades away-or like the mirage of the desert which makes the burning sand look like a lake, but whichonly mocks all who run to drink from it! Or like the will-o'-the-wisp that frightens timid folk at night, but itself is withoutany enduring substance. So passes away the glory of this world and so passes away the man who has honor among men, but whois without that Divine Grace which alone brings true honor, glory and immortality! I can say of more than one such man, "hepassed away and lo, he was not: yes, I sought him, but he could not be found." Have you not noticed, dear Friends, how completehas been the disappearance of certain "great men" whose greatness has been founded upon wealth or upon sin? Every trace ofthem seems to have been destroyed-in the places where they used to live, nobody remembers them-their escutcheons have beenbroken up by the battle-axe of Time-and all their glory of heraldry has been burned in the fire. Why, as I am speaking ofthem, you can scarcely recall their names though they used to be as familiar as household words! Their names were writtenin the sand and Time's ever-rolling waves have utterly effaced them! If you seek them, you cannot find them.

Some men have appeared to be "great" because their true character had not been discovered. They were playing a very craftypart in the drama of life. Before the curtain, they appeared to be truthful, upright, even religious. But behind it, theywere rogues, thieves, liars and everything that was bad. Then, all of a sudden, the curtain was torn in two and they wererevealed to all men as they had been all the while, to the all-seeing eyes of God! And the whole world looked on and wereamazed. There was a man who always wore a mask when he walked abroad and everyone said, "What a beautiful sight it is to seesuch a man!" But one day the mask was broken and all could plainly see the signs of leprosy on his brow-the deadly diseasewas there all the time-it was only hidden from the public gaze by the mask! Discovery has often trod on the heels of sin-theguilty one has been caught red-handed-and swift justice has been meted out to the criminal. But suppose, Sinner, that foryears you conceal from your fellows your real character as so many others have done? God knows all about you and His Wordstill contains the warning that Moses gave to the Reubenites and Gadites, "Be sure your sin will find you out." Judas stoodrevealed, at last, as the Son of Perdition-his fellow Apostles did not suspect him even up to the night of the betrayal-butJesus had known from the first that he had the heart of a traitor, and only awaited a convenient opportunity to sell his Masterfor 30 pieces of silver! Simon the sorcerer, who had "bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that he was some great one,"professed to believe in Jesus and was even baptized! Yet Peter afterwards had to say to him, "Your heart is not right in thesight of God. For I perceive that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity." And, alas, both Judas andSimon Magus have many representatives even to this day!

Other "great" men have been laid low by some striking disaster. A man seems to climb up one of the tallest cedars of Lebanonto build his nest there and you say to yourself, "How can that man ever be pulled down from such a height as that?" But theOmnipotent hand lays hold of him, scatters his nest upon the ground and before long he and his nest are alike forgotten! Perhapsthe man has built himself what he calls an impregnable castle and in his marble halls he fondly hopes that no power can successfullyattack him. But God has only to make a slight fissure in the earth's surface and the man and his castle and all that he hasshall disappear even as the earth once before opened her mouth and swallowed up Korah and all that appertained to him! Godhas many ways of putting down the mighty from their seats and exalting them that are of low degree! An Eastern potentate couldnot sleep on a certain memorable night and hence it came to pass that proud Haman was hanged on the gallows he had built forMordecai, the Jew-while the despised Mordecai was publicly proclaimed as the man whom the king delighted to honor! Mysterioushave been the workings of God's Providence by which the mightiest monarchs and the most powerful princes have passed awayso completely that they have been like the wicked man of whom David says, "I sought him, but he could not be found."

If in no other way the wicked man is removed from his pinnacle of greatness, he passes away at the call of death. We neednot say much about his death, but when he is gone to his final account, he has few, if any, to mourn his loss. He lived forhimself and he died for himself-no sorrowing widows, whose poverty he has relieved will keep his grave green with their gratefultears-no mourning children, whose ignorance he has dispelled by his instruction, will remember and revere his name. No sympatheticsouls, turned from darkness to light through his instrumentality, will gratefully look up to him as their spiritual father.

I have thus called your attention to the fact that the wicked who have been in great power have passed away and been forgotten.Now, what is the inference from this fact? I think a very safe inference is that as these men failed to attain that whichwas the great end and objective of their lives, they cannot have succeeded in that about which they were not at all concerned,namely, the everlasting interests of their never-dying souls! It is certainly fair to infer that as they made such a lamentableshipwreck in this life, they made an even worse shipwreck in the world to come. And as they passed away from everything inwhich they took pleasure, here, it is reasonable to infer that whatever expectation and hope they may have cherished withregard to the next life, they are certain to have been totally and finally disappointed.

This, however, is not a mere matter of inference, for the teaching of Divine Revelation agrees with it and confirms it. Thewicked man who was in great power here, in due course, dies-and he wakes up in the next world to find himself only a feebleworm exposed to all the fury of Divine Wrath! He had servants and slaves on earth to do his bidding, but there are none tocrouch at his feet now! He was held in honor in this world but there are no praises or flatteries for him now. His wealthcould at one time buy for him anything that his heart might wish, but he had to leave it all behind him-and even if he stillpossessed it, he could not purchase even a drop of water to cool his parched tongue. Nothing remains for him, now, but shameand everlasting contempt in that terrible prison where the worm dies not and the fire is not quenched. Throughout all Heavenand Hell there is nothing that can afford him even a moment's solace-he has made an awful and an eternal failure of his wholelife-and his dolorous cry is, "Lost! Lost! LOST!"

But, just in passing, though my text speaks especially of the wicked who are in great power, I must remind you that theirdoom will be the doom of all who believe not in the Lord Jesus Christ-whether they are in the higher or lower walks of life!So, dear Friends, whoever and whatever you are, if you live only for this life, you, too, will pass away and be forgottenhere-but you will not be forgotten in the next world! Remember that "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after thisthe judgment." Make the only fitting preparation for that judgment by repenting of sin and trusting in Him who died, "theJust for the unjust, that He might bring us unto God." O Man, play not with shadows! Let not that which is the only real andsubstantial thing pass by you unheeded! If you must have something to play with, let it not be your immortal soul, for thoughyou can play your soul into Hell, you can never play it out! Nor pray it out! Nor weep it out, nor workit out! Once there,it is there forever! Do you ask, "What is there that is real and substantial? What is there that will abide when all earthlyglory has passed away?" Listen. "All flesh is as grass and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withersand the flower thereof falls away: but the Word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the Word which by the Gospel is preachedunto you." So, my dear Hearer, believe that Gospel, lay hold on the hope set before you, trust in that blessed Savior whodied in the place of sinners, put your eternal interests into the hands of the one Mediator between God and men and then,with the Apostle Paul, you will not be afraid to look forward even to the great Day of Judgment, but you will be able to confidentlysay, "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He

is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day." Man, Woman, Sinner-whoever or whatever you are-giveno sleep to your eyes nor slumber to your eyelids until you can truthfully say, "Jesus is my Savior. My Beloved is mine andI am His."

II. Now, with great brevity, I pass on to THE SECOND FACT AND THE INFERENCE AND REVELATION

CONCERNING IT. "Mark the perfect man and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace."

It is a fact that we have seen the righteous die and that we know that their end is peace. I t is a fact that those who areaccounted perfect in the sight of God through the blood and righteousness of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and whoselives have been made upright through the effectual working of the ever-blessed Spirit, do end their earthly careers in peaceand then enter into that eternal peace which has no end! I am not speaking of dreams and fancies, but of facts that have happenedin my own experience. Never shall I forget the deathbed of one who had often walked with me many a weary mile to preach theGospel in country villages. I have told you before how I found him, when he was near his end. His sight had so completelyfailed that not a ray of light entered his eyes, but when he heard my voice, he sat up in the bed, and said to me, oh, sojoyously!-

"And when you hear my eye-strings break,

How sweet my minutes roll!

A mortal paleness on my cheek,

But Glory in my soul!'

Verily, the end of that man was peace! There is a beloved Brother behind me on the platform, who went with me to see one ofthe members of this Church who was dying of consumption. While we talked with her, she told us that her only fear was lestshe might live, for she dreaded the temptations of living far more then the pangs of dying! A few hours after we saw her,she passed away from this world of sorrow and sin-and entered the land of everlasting peace-but the rapture with which sheanticipated death almost made us exclaim, after the manner of Thomas, "Lord, let us die with her." As we came away, we feltthat hers was the happy lot and that she was the one to be envied because she had gone to be "with Christ, which is far better."

Look at the dying Christian-what blessed peace he has! He is at peace even with those who have been his enemies! He says tothose around him that if there are any who have done him harm, or said what was false concerning him, he not only freely forgivesthem, but his most earnest wish for them is that he may meet them all in Heaven! He is at perfect peace concerning the past,for he knows that all his sins have been forgiven him, for Christ's sake, and that they will be remembered against him nomore forever. He is full of peace in the present, even though he is near the end of his earthly life. His wife weeps and wellmay she grieve at the thought of parting with such a godly husband, but he reminds her of that ancient promise, "Leave yourfatherless children. I will preserve them alive, and let your widows trust in Me." And of that Inspired declaration, "A fatherof the fatherless, and a judge (or advocate) of the widows is God in His holy habitation." He looks at his dear children gatheredaround his bed and although he would gladly have lived longer for their sake, he knows that it is his Lord's will that heshould depart out of this life, so he does not repine! He commits into the hands of God, his household, his business and allthat concerns him. He says, "I have nothing more to do with them, I am dead to them all. And now I am only waiting until themessenger arrives to summon me into the Presence of the King." As for the future, he is at peace concerning that, also. Heknows that it is a solemn matter to pass through Death's iron gate, but he is confident that Christ will come and meet himthere, so he looks forward to the great transition without a tremor and without a murmur! He is fully aware that existencein a disembodied state is something very mysterious and awe-inspiring, but that mystery has no terrors for him, for he hasthe same assurance that Paul had when he wrote, "we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we havea building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." He is not in the least troubled because the poorold worn-out tent is being taken down, for he knows that he is going to exchange it for one of the abiding mansions in hisFather's house! Indeed, he is so happy in the anticipation of going Home that he begins to sing the very hymn that we afterwardssing at his funeral-

"My Father's house on high,

Home of my soul! How near,

At times, to faith's foreseeing eyes,

Your golden gates appear!

Ah, then my spirit faints

To reach the land I love,

The bright inheritance of saints,

Jerusalem above!

'Forever with the Lord!'

Father, if'tis Your will

The promise of that faithful word

Even here to me fulfill.

So when my latest breath

Shall rend the veil in twain,

By death I shall escape from death,

And life eternal gain!'

The good man believes in the resurrection of the body, so he says with Job, "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that He shallstand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God."It is a blessed thing for such a man to die! And the many deaths of that happy kind that I have witnessed have made me also-

"Long for evening to undress, That I might rest with God."

What is the inference from all this? think it is but fair to infer that if in the pain, agony and weakness of death, theChristian has such perfect peace, surely his peace will be even more profound when he enters that blest world where "thereshall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain." If in this stormy world he hassuch peace of mind even amid the swellings of Jordan, surely there must be for him, in the life that is to come, stormlessseas and cloudless skies-days that have no night and years which winter's cold can never reach! And truly, Revelation confirmsthis inference. For a Christian to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord! What it must be to be present withthe Lord, no mortal tongue can fully tell, but we know that "His servants shall serve Him: and they shall see His face; andHis name shall be on their foreheads. And there shall be no night, there, and they need no candle, neither light of the sun;for the Lord God gives them light: and they shall reign forever and ever... And He that sits on the Throne shall dwell amongthem. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb whichis in the midst of the Throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe awayall tears from their eyes." What a change, Beloved, it will be from all the strife and turmoil of this world to the perfectpeace of the world to come! Here, you and I have to work, work, work- either with the sweat of the brow or the sweat of thebrain-and the latter is not the lighter of the two! But there, brain and brow shall both be perfectly at rest! Here we aresometimes perplexed by the prosperity of the wicked-but therewe shall see that we have no cause to envy them! Here we areoften made to grieve over losses and crosses, adversities and afflictions-but therewe shall always be on the bright side ofthe hill-our dark night of sorrow and trial shall be forever over and our everlasting morning shall have come! Here we areconstantly losing some of our best friends, they pass away as sweet flowers wither and die. But there-

"Oh, it will be joyful

When we meet to part no more!' Here we are plagued and tormented by sin-but there, "they are without fault before the Throneof God." Here the fiery darts of the Wicked One are continually flying all around us-but there, they are out of range of thedevil's most deadly artillery! Yet let not one of us sigh and cry for the wings of a dove, that we may fly away and be atrest. In God's good time, He will beckon us across the narrow stream of death! And till then let us patiently wait and earnestlywork for Him who is all our salvation and all our desire.

Now, my Hearers, I have set before you two men representing two very different classes-those who have their portion in thislife, and those whose inheritance is in the heavenly Canaan, the land of perfect peace and perfect bliss. What is the greatobjective upon which your soul is set? To get on in this world, to make money, to win fame, honor, glory, power? Oh, thatis a poor ambition! And if you could attain it all, your wreath of bay leaves would soon wither-and then what would you haveleft? "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" Profit him? It would be an eternaland irretrievable loss! Oh, seek not such "gain" as that, but "seek you first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness; andall these things shall be added unto you"-insofar as God sees that it shall be for His

Glory and your own and others' good for you to have them. May the Lord give you the Grace to make the wise choice this veryhour, for Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.


May the Spirit of God graciously apply this Psalm to our hearts, comforting us as no one else can! Is He not the Comforter?And what better cordial has He for our spirits than His own Word?

Verses 1, 2. Fret not yourself because of evildoers, neither be you envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shallsoon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Evil cannot last! It is a feeble plant, like the grass andweeds which the mower's scythe soon cuts down and leaves to wither in the blazing sunshine.

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 in the LORD; and He shall give you the desires of your heart [See Sermon #454, Volume 8-SUNSHINE IN THE HEART.] Thisis a most precious verse-its sweetness who can tell? Do not think first of the desires of your heart, but think first of delightingyourself in your God! If you have accepted Him as your Lord, He is yours, so delight in Him and then He will give you thedesires of your heart.

5. Commit your way unto the LORD; trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass. Give it over into God's hands and thenconfide in Him as completely as a little child confides in its mother. "He shall bring it to pass." It is quite certain thatyou cannot "bring it to pass," so you will be wise if you leave it with Him who can do what you cannot!

6. And He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday. You cannot make the light andthe noonday-that is a work that is far beyond your power-but your God can give you both light and noonday. He can clear yourcharacter from any slander that may have fouled it and He can crown you with honor and glory in place of the contempt thatis now cast upon you.

7. Rest in the LORD-[See Sermon #2393, Volume 40-A COMFORTING MESSAGE FOR THE CLOSING YEAR.] That is the sweetest word ofall-"Rest." Go no further! Fret no more. Bear your burdens no longer. Make this day a Sabbath to your soul-"Rest in the Lord"-

7. And wait patiently for Him! Do not be in a hurry. The Lord has Infinite leisure, so partake of it as far as you can-"Restin the Lord, and wait patiently for Him."

7, 8. Fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Ceasefrom anger You cannot do that unless you "rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him."Angry passions boil upon the fireof fretfulness! Therefore, "cease from anger"-

8, 9. And forsake wrath: fret not yourself in any wise to do evil For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait uponthe LORD, they shall inherit the earth. Their turn will come in due time. It comes last, but then it comes to last, for thereis nothing to come after the last!

10. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yes, you shall diligently consider hisplace, and it shall not be.The house in which he lived, or the place that was called by his name is often destroyed.

11, 12. But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. The wicked plots againstthe just That has been the style of things from the beginning. And the old serpent's seed will be like the old serpent andhe, "was more subtle than any beast of the field." "The wicked plots against the just"-he plots against the Lord's people,but "the Lord shall laugh at him"-

13-18. For he sees that his day is coming. The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow to cast down the poorand needy, and to slay such as are of upright conversation. Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shallbe broken. A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall bebroken: but the LORD upholds the righteous. The LORD knows the day of the upright: and their inheritance shall be foreverHe gives them an eternal portion by an Everlasting Covenant.

19. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. There is nothing that theycan get, but God will give them what they cannot get themselves. He will ransack Heaven and earth to find food for His people!"In the days of famine they shall be satisfied."

20-23. But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lamb: they shall vanish; into smokeshall they vanish away. The wicked borrows, and pays not again: but the righteous shows mercy, and gives. For

such as are blessed of Him shall inherit the earth, and they that are cursed of Him shall be cut off The steps of a good manare ordered by the LORD-Even his "steps"-the little movements of his life-not only his great plans and his ambitious projects,but "the steps of a good man are ordered by Jehovah"-

23. And He delights in his way. He loves to see him walk, even as parents delight to watch the first tottering steps of theirlittle children, so that He who "takes not pleasure in the legs of a man," takes pleasure in the ways of His people!

24. Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down. For a while it may seem as if he had been finally defeated- thingsmay seem to go altogether wrong with him-but, "though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down"-

24, 25. For the LORD upholds him with His hand. Ihave been young andnow am old; yet have Inot seen the righteous forsaken,nor his seed begging bread. And we can also still speak of the faithfulness of Jehovah. He who took care of His people inDavid's day has not changed since then! We have not seen the righteous forsaken.

26. He is ever merciful, and lends; and his seed is blessed. God has a special regard for the children of Believers. Gracedoes not run in the blood, but it often runs side by side with it. The God of Abraham is the God of Isaac, and the God ofJacob, and the God of Joseph, and the God of Manasseh and Ephraim!

27-29. Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell forevermore. For the LORD loves judgment, and forsakes not His saints. Theyare preserved forever but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell thereinforever I have frequently remarked to you that although the wolf is very strong and fierce-and the sheep is very weak andtimid-yet there are more sheep in the world than there are wolves. And the day will come when the last wolf will be dead-andthen the sheep shall cover the plains and feed upon the hills. Weak as the righteous often are, they "shall inherit the land"when the wicked shall have been cut off from the earth!

30. The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of judgment That which is down in the heart will come upinto the mouth-and you may rest assured that men are fairly judged by the common current of their conversation.

31-33. The Law of his God is in his heart, none of his steps shall slide. The wicked watches the righteous and seeks to slayhim. The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged. How dreadful it would be for the godly manif the Lord were to leave him in the hand of the wicked! You remember how David sought to avoid that calamity when he hadto choose famine, pestilence, or the sword of his enemies? "Let me fall," he said, "into the hands of the Lord, for very greatare His mercies; but let me not fall into the hands of man." Let us thank God that even if we should get into the hands ofthe ungodly, the Lord will not leave us there, nor condemn us when we are judged!

34-37. Wait on the LORD, and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, you shallsee it. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, hewas not: yes, I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the perfect man and behold the upright for the end of that manis peace.There is no end to that man, for he is to endure, world without end! In any sense in which there is an end to him,his end is everlasting peace!

38, 39. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off But the salvation of therighteous is of the LORD: He is their strength in the time of trouble. Have you not proved it so, dear Brothers and Sistersin Christ? I know that you have had times of trouble, but has not God been your strength in a very peculiar way in all suchtimes?

40. And the LORD shall help them-He is and He shall always be their Helper. "The Lord shall help them"- 40. And deliver them:He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him. That is the point-not because of any meritof theirs, nor because of any skill of theirs- but, "He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trustin Him." So, Lord, help us to trust in You! Amen.