ONLY GOD’S ELECT KNOW SOMETHING OF THE POWER OF SIN! DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING OF ITS POWER? 

ONLY GOD’S ELECT KNOW SOMETHING OF THE POWER OF SIN! DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING OF ITS POWER?

The power of Sin is a power unfathomable and indescribable. The great strength of sin consists in this– that it is a subtle and secret influence pervading and permeating every thread and fiber of the human mind, and acting in a way that must be felt to be known.

It is like a river, deep and rapid, such as the Danube (Europe’s second longest river), but flowing along so quietly and noiselessly that, looking down upon it, you could scarcely believe there was any strength in the stream. Try it; get into it. As long as you let yourself float with it you will not perceive its force; but turn and swim or row against it; then you will soon find what strength there is in the stream that seemed to glide so quietly along.

So it is with the power of sin. As long as a man floats down the stream of sin, he is unconscious of the power that it is exercising over him. He gives way to it, and is therefore ignorant of its strength, though it is sweeping him along into an abyss of eternal woe. Let him oppose it. Or let a dam be made across the river that seemed to flow along so placidly. See how the stream begins to rise! See how it begins to rage and roar! And see how soon its violence will sweep over or carry away the barrier that was thrown across it!

So with the strength of sin. Serve sin– obey it– it seems to have no strength. Resist it– then you find its secret power, so that but for the strength of God, you would be utterly carried away by it.

“And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins!” [Matt 1:21]

i.e. from the penalty of sin in Redemption, from the power of sin through Sanctification and finally from the very presence of sin in Glorification!

“But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death (past), and doth deliver (present): in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us (future)!” [2Cor 1:9,10]

Praise the LORD!

(from the writings of J.C. Philpot)

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THAT HORRIBLE DECREE OF REPROBATION

THAT HORRIBLE DECREE OF REPROBATION

Prof. G.Van Baren

There is something concerning God’s eternal decree of predestination, and particularly the decree of reprobation, which seems immediately to arouse the ire of man. Mention election or reprobation, and man closes his ears. Send to him material on such a subject, and he will return it with the acid comment, “I don’t want such stuff in my mailbox.” Even John Calvin, that noted Reformer and champion of the truth of predestination, is reported to have called reprobation “that horrible decree” (a deliberately poor translation of his statements). Why such opposition? Is it possible that the reason is that this scriptural truth particularly exalts God as Sovereign alone and teaches that man is but a mere creature? It puts man in his proper place. Is this why man so strongly objects?

Is there such a thing as reprobation? That usually is denied. But, will you be willing to make a careful study of scriptural passages on this point? The teaching of Scripture must stand—it is the Word of God.

I would define reprobation as that eternal will, good pleasure, or purpose of God according to which He determined that some of His moral-rational creatures would be cast into hell forever on account of their sins, and that this fact would serve the cause of Christ and redound to God’s glory alone.

Now wait a moment before condemning that idea of reprobation out of hand. First, let us view several pertinent scriptural passages which speak of this subject. Possibly the most clear statements concerning reprobation can be found in Romans 9. Before they were ever born or had done any good or evil, God had said, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (v. 13). Of Pharaoh, whose heart God had hardened so that he would not let Israel go from Egypt, we read “Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout the earth” (v. 17). Romans 9 mentions also that “whom He will, He hardeneth” (v. 18), and it speaks of “vessels of wrath fitted unto destruction” (v. 22). What else can we say of passages such as these but that they plainly teach reprobation of some to hell because of their sin? Other passages are equally lucid. In I Peter 2:8 we read, “… a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” Not only then does Scripture teach that it is God Who determines the end or final destiny of all men, but also that such determination is from all eternity. (Other passages which might profitably be examined are: Dan. 4:34; I Sam. 2:25; Matt. 11:25-27; John 8:43; Rom. 11:7-8; II Sam. 16:10; II Sam. 17:14; John 10:26; Rev. 17:17 and many others.)

Does this mean that the reprobate, no matter what he does, is damned to hell? God forbid that such should be the case, or that we should ever teach that. This question is deliberately deceiving. Consider first that all men in Adam are dead in sin (Rom. 5:12). That plainly means that every man born into this world is wholly incapable of doing any good and is inclined to all the evil (see also Romans 3). There is not even the remotest possibility that good works, well-pleasing to our God, could ever proceed from the dead sinner. Can a physically dead person eat or drink? Far less could the dead sinner ever perform good deeds. Let none dare charge us, or any true Calvinist, with teaching the lie that a reprobate could love and serve God faithfully all he would—but will nevertheless be cast into hell. Such never happens. Be not deceived! God’s grace is not given to the reprobate; they are not in Jesus Christ; and therefore they can do nothing pleasing to God.

Secondly, I would call to your attention that the reprobate are always damned to eternal hell because of their own sin. It is true that God determined what their final end would be—and He did so before they were ever born (again I ask you: in what other way could one possibly interpret the passages quoted above without denying the plain meaning contained in those texts?). But the wicked are definitely cast into the torments of eternal hell for their own evil acts. Never can they point the finger at God, declaring, “Thou hast forced me to do that which was contrary to Thy will; therefore I am not worthy of any punishment.” The reprobate, the wicked, consciously and willingly sin, and for that sin they shall surely be cast into eternal desolation. One of the many scriptural passages which shows this is Luke 11:49-51: “Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: that the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the alter and the temple: verily I say unto you, it shall be required of this generation.”

But is not God then unjust? Is it not terribly unfair on God’s part to determine that any should perish? What kind of God is he? Stop with those charges, brother. Who do you think that God is? Thinkest thou that He must conform to your puny reasoning? Since when does the Almighty God owe to any man life? Why should the Sovereign of heaven and earth be required to bestow His grace upon all? Must He bring every moral-rational creature into heaven? Nay, but O man, who art thou that repliest against God? (Rom.9:20). The potter has power over the clay to make of the same lump one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour (Rom. 9:21). Is God unjust when He does with His own as He sees fit? I confess that I can not penetrate into the depths of the wisdom of God and explain why such a one would be reprobated, and another elected. All we can say, with Scripture, is that God does all things to His own good pleasure to the glory of His own Name.

But, you ask, why (if God determines all this) should there even be reprobate wicked? Why should God, from before the foundations of the world, also determine that some should be cast into hell because of the sins they perform? If God truly directs all things, could not He indeed have prevented sin, and rather determined that all men should enjoy the blessings of eternal life? I will try to posit several reasons for this act of God. I do not pretend to be able to search out the eternal counsel of God, but, on the basis of Scripture, several reasons can definitely be given.

1. The decree of reprobation must serve the glory of God. God directs all things that His glory might the more fully be revealed. Do not the twenty-four elders of Revelation 4 cry out, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive all honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (v. 11)? But how, you ask, can reprobation serve to reveal the glory of God in the best possible way? Through the decree of reprobation God reveals His eternal hatred and wrath against sin and the sinner. His own purity becomes manifest in His utter condemnation and punishment of the workers of iniquity. Apart from God’s decree of reprobation this would never have been so clearly revealed. Do you object? Does not the Potter have power over the clay also to fashion vessels of dishonour to serve His own pleasure and to reveal His own glory and goodness?

2. But there is more. In Holy Scripture it becomes very evident that the heart or centre of all of the counsel or plan of God is Christ—and in Christ, the church. God would reveal Himself in the highest possible way by gathering a particular people in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son. Is it not this truth of which we read in Ephesians 1:4-6, “According as He hath chosen us in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world … having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace …”

The wonder of God is revealed in this that the gathering of this Church in Christ is served by all things which take place (Rom. 8:28). The same is true concerning those whom God has reprobated, and who shall be cast into hell because of their sins. These too must serve the purpose of God in gathering and defending the church of Christ. And the evil deeds, in which these wicked ones seek to oppose God and destroy His church, can and do work rather to the benefit of the Church. The wicked, according to God’s determination (Acts 4:27-28), crucified the Christ—which was the only way of redemption for the church. The wicked may seek to oppress the church and try to cause that church to defect, but this only drives the child of God deeper into the arms of the Comforting Rock. Thus God uses these very reprobate to prepare and equip His people for their future abode in glory.

We see then that reprobation is not a “horrible” decree on an equal par with the wonder of election. God did not arbitrarily declare: “I want to cast some people in hell, and I want to bring some to heaven.” God forbid! But God worked all things (creation and also this decree of reprobation) to serve election (so that in time on this earth all God’s people are gathered and finally brought to glory through the work of Christ on the cross). Again I confess that I can not penetrate into all of the wonder and wisdom of God which is here revealed. But this I must say, and you must confess, that God has revealed Himself in Scripture. Also this truth of reprobation then must be for my comfort and assurance in the midst of this world.

Can or must this decree of reprobation be preached by the ministers of the Word? Would not such a truth serve rather to discourage the church and turn away those outside of the church? How can one go forth in missionary labours—and teach such a decree of reprobation? Granted that this decree is true, would it not be the part of wisdom to be silent about it?

1. Of course, there would be something wrong if every minister every Sunday would preach sermons on reprobation. Christ, His cross, and His church are the centre of all the Word. And these truths must be clearly taught by the minister of the Word. He may not simply emphasize one point to the exclusion of others. But neither can the true minister of Christ’s Word avoid teaching the truth of reprobation. God’s Word does not ignore it—how then can the preacher of the Word ignore this truth? It is a truth which may not be hid.

2. In preaching, the minister of the Word is called to preach the whole Word of God. And when he preaches, he addresses particularly the church of Christ (notice that the epistles are also addressed in this way). No minister can properly preach first for the elect; then include a word for the reprobate; but always he addresses the Church of Christ. The minister is not called to distinguish and point out which individuals are elect and which are reprobate. God determines that—not man. And it is God, through the Holy Spirit, Who so applies the preaching of the Word that it finds a ready entrance into the heart of the elect and bears fruit, but in the heart of the reprobate that same preached Word arouses greater and greater opposition and hatred.

3. Certainly this truth of God’s decree of reprobation is meant to strike terror into the hearts of the wicked. When this truth is properly preached, the wicked have the sure testimony of God that he will reward them according to their works.

4. Finally, does this truth not discourage the church? Would not a Christian begin to think, “Maybe, after all, I’m a reprobate”? God forbid. One who is truly concerned with his own spiritual welfare, who sees and acknowledges sincerely before God the greatness of his sin; such a one sees in himself not the fruits of reprobation, but of election. Then the Christian is not frightened by reprobation as far as his own person is concerned. Rather, this doctrine gives him unspeakable comfort and assurance. Despite all that the wicked seek to do to God’s church, the Christian knows that God has still absolute government and control. That government is also over all the wicked. They too can only serve His eternal purpose. And the final end of the wicked God has determined for the vindication of His own Name. Should not the church constantly be assured of this glorious fact in the preaching of the Word?

Oh, wonder of the greatness of our glorious God! Unspeakable are His ways, and His judgments past finding out! May He also grant that we may never be ashamed to maintain this His Word even as He has revealed it to us!

PSALM 23 – A PSALM FOR THE NEW YEAR 2019

PSALM 23 – A PSALM FOR THE NEW YEAR 2019

Henry Mahan

THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD; I SHALL NOT WANT

1. For REST – “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.”
2. For PEACE – “He leadeth me beside still waters.”
3. For FORGIVENESS – “He restoreth my soul.”
4. For HOLINESS –”He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
5. For FELLOWSHIP – “For Thou art with me.”
6. For COMFORT – “Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.”
7. For PROVISIONS – “Thou preparest a table before me.”
8. For ANYTHING IN THIS WORLD –”Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”
9. For IN THE WORLD TO COME – “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

 

OUR TIMES IN GOD’S HAND

OUR TIMES IN GOD’S HAND

Octavius Winslow (1808-1878)

edited and rearranged by Michael Jeshurun 

“My Times are in Thy Hand.” [Psalm 31:15]

What confirmation would the precious truth contained in these words derive from the personal experience of the man of God who penned them? Reviewing the past of his eventful history, he would trace the guiding and overshadowing hand of his heavenly Father in all the circumstances of the checkered and diversified scene; and as memory thus recalled the strange and momentous events of his life, with what overpowering solemnity would the conviction force itself upon his mind, that for the form and complexion of that life how little was it indebted to himself!

Circumstances which chance could not originate, events which human sagacity could, not foresee, and results which finite experience could not determine, would at once lift his grateful and adoring thoughts to that God of infinite foreknowledge and love, whose overruling providence had guarded with a sleepless eye each circumstance, and whose infinite goodness had guided with a skillful hand each step. With this retrospect before him, with what intensity of feeling would the aged king exclaim: “My Times Are in Thy Hand.”

But if David felt this truth- that all his interests were in God’s keeping, and under His supreme direction- so consolatory, as life drew near its close, how much more cheering may it be to US just entering upon a new year of life, all whose history is, to our view, wisely and beneficently enshrouded in obscurity, and all whose events, from the least to the greatest, are happily beyond our control. “My times are in Thy hand.” Who can give us the heartfelt, soothing influence of this precious truth but the Holy Spirit by whose divine inspiration it was uttered? May He now unfold and apply with His sanctifying, comforting power this portion of his own Holy Word to the reader’s heart!

The declaration that “our times are in the Lord’s hand,” implies that the future of our history is impenetrably and mysteriously veiled from our sight. We live in a world of mysteries. They meet our eye, awaken our inquiry, and baffle our investigation at every step. Nature is a vast arcade of mysteries. Science is a mystery, truth is a mystery, religion is a mystery, our existence is a mystery, the future of our being is a mystery. And God, who alone can explain all mysteries, is the greatest mystery of all. How little do we understand of the inexplicable wonders of a wonder-working God, “whose thoughts are a great deep,” (Psa 36:6) and “whose ways are past finding out!” [Rom 11:33]

To God NOTHING is mysterious! In purpose, nothing is unfixed; in forethought, nothing is unknown; in providence, nothing is contingent. His glance pierces the future as vividly as it beholds the past. “He knows the end, from the beginning.” (Isa 46:10) All His doings are parts of a divine, eternal, and harmonious plan. He may make ”darkness His secret place; His pavilion round about Him dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies, and to human vision His dispensations may appear gloomy, discrepant, and confused; yet is He, “working all things after the counsel of His own will,” and “at the brightness that is before Him, His thick clouds pass.” and all is transparent and harmonious to His eye.

And WHY this obscurity thus investing all our future? Would it not make for our present well-being; would it not be a satisfaction and a blessing, could we pull back the mystic veil, and gaze with a farseeing and undimmed eye upon “our times,” yet awaiting us this side the grave? Remembering the past, you are, perhaps, ready to say: “Could I but have foreseen, I would have fore-arranged. Had I anticipated the result of such a step, or have known the issue of such a movement, or have safely calculated the consequences of such a measure, I might have pursued an opposite course, and have averted the evil I now deplore, and have spared me the misery I now feel.” But hush this vain reasoning! God, your God, O believer has in wisdom, faithfulness, and love, hidden all the future from your view!

“You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you these forty years.” How has He guided, counseled, and upheld you! He has led you by a right way. In perplexity He has directed you- in sorrow He has comforted you- in slippery paths His mercy has held you up, and when fallen He has raised you again. From seeming evil He has educed (brought out) positive good. The mistakes you have made and the follies you have committed in the blindness of your path, and in the sinfulness of your heart, have but led you to a closer acquaintance with, and to a stronger confidence in God. They have opened up to you new and more glorious views of His character and His government; while in leading you closer to the feet of Jesus in self-knowledge and self abhorrence, they have unlocked to you spring of spiritual blessings, fresh, sanctifying, and, unspeakable.

Beloved, God has placed us in a school in which He is teaching us to lay our blind reason at His feet, to cease from our own wisdom and guidance, and lean upon and confide in Him as children with a parent. The goodness of God to us, combined with a jealous regard to His own glory, constrains Him to conceal the path along which He conducts us. His promise is, “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them” (Isa 42:16)…Dear child of God, your afflictions, your trials, your crosses, your losses, your sorrows – all – ALL are in your heavenly Father’s hand. They cannot come until sent by Him. Bow that stricken heart, yield that tempest-tossed soul to His sovereign disposal, to His calm, righteous sway, in the submissive spirit and language of your suffering Savior, “Not my will, but Thine, be done (Luk 22:42)!

My times of sadness and of grief are in Thy hand.”

TIMES OF SOUL-DISTRESS, SPIRITUAL DARKNESS, AND CONFLICT ARE IN HIS HAND. Many such are there in the experience of the true saints of God. Many the hard-fought battle, the fiery dart, the desperate wound, the momentary defeat in the Christian’s life…But it is in the Lord’s hand. No spiritual cloud shades, no mental distress depresses, no fiery dart is launched that is not by Him permitted, and for which there is not a provision by Him arranged. There is nothing that the Lord has taken more entirely and exclusively into His keeping than the redeemed, sanctified souls of His people. All their interests for eternity are exclusively in His hand. In the infinite fullness of Jesus, in the inexhaustible supply of the covenant, in the exceeding great and precious promises of His Word, He has anticipated every spiritual exigency of the believer.

How precious is your soul to Him Who bore all its sins, Who exhausted all its curse, Who travailed for it in ignominy and suffering, and Who ransomed it with His own most precious blood. Guarded, also, by His indwelling Spirit is His kingdom of righteousness, joy, and peace within you. Oh, endeavor to realize that, whatever be your mental exercises, spiritual conflicts, doubts and fears, your “times” of soul despondency are in the Lord’s hand.

Lodged there, safe are your spiritual interests. “All His saints are in His hand” (cf. Deu 33:3). And He to Whose care you have confided your redeemed soul has pledged Himself for its eternal security. Of His own sheep He says, “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all: and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John10:28-29). With like precious faith and humble assurance, you are privileged to exclaim with Paul, “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!” (2Ti 1:12).

Ah! As soon shall Christ Himself perish, as one bought with His blood. No member of His body, insignificant though it may be, shall be dissevered. No temple of the Holy Spirit, frail and imperfect though it is, shall be destroyed. Not a soul to whom the divine image has been restored and the divine nature has been imparted, upon whose heart the name of Jesus has been carved, shall be involved in the final and eternal destruction of the wicked. Nothing shall perish but the earthly and the sensual. Not one grain of precious faith shall be lost, not one spark of divine light shall be extinguished, not one pulsation of spiritual life shall die!

Oh, think of this, you who have fled all sinful and trembling to Jesus, you who cling to Him…as the ivy to the oak: NEVER shall you lose that hold of faith you have on Christ, and never will Christ lose that hold of love He has on you. (see Jer 32:40) You and Jesus are one, indivisibly and eternally one. Nothing shall separate you from His love, nor sever you from His care, nor exclude you from His sympathy, nor banish you from His heaven of eternal blessedness. YOU are in Christ, the subject of His grace; and CHRIST is in you, the hope of glory (Col 1:27). All your cares are Christ’s care, all your sorrows are Christ’s sorrow, all your need is Christ’s supply, all your sicknesses are Christ’s cure, all your crosses are Christ’s burden. Your life—temporal, spiritual, eternal—is “hid with Christ in God” (Col 3:3).

Oh, the unutterable blessings that spring from a vital union with the Lord Jesus! The believer can exultingly say, “Christ and I are one! One in nature, one in affection, one in sympathy, one in fellowship, and one through the countless ages of eternity! The life I live is a life of faith in Him (Gal 2:20). I fly to Him in the confidence of a loving friend, in the simplicity of a little child, and I reveal to Him my secret sorrow. I confess to Him my hidden sin. I acknowledge my heart backsliding. I make known to Him my needs, my sufferings, my fears. I tell Him how chilled my affection is, how reserved my obedience is, how imperfect my service is, and yet how I long to love Him more ardently, to follow Him more closely, to serve Him more devotedly, to be more wholly and holily His. And how does He meet me? With a hearkening ear, with a beaming eye, with a gracious word, with an out-stretched hand with benignity and gentleness all like Himself.” Confide, then, dear reader, your spiritual and deathless interests in the Lord’s hand…

To those who, depressed with a painful foreboding at their final dissolution, are all their lifetime subject to bondage, how consolatory is the reflection that the time of the believer’s death is peculiarly in the Lord’s hand. It is solemnly true that there is a “time to die” (Ecc 3:2). Ah! Affecting thought—“a time to die!”—a time when this mortal conflict will be over; when this heart will cease to feel, alike insensible to joy or sorrow; when this head will ache and these eyes will weep no more! [It will be the] best and holiest of all: a time “when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality” (1Co 15:54), and “we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is” (1Jo 3:2)…If this be so, then, O Christian, why this anxious, trembling fear? Your time of death, with all its attendant circumstances, is in the Lord’s hand. All is appointed and arranged by Him Who loves you and Who redeemed you—infinite goodness, wisdom, and faithfulness consulting your highest happiness in each circumstance of your departure. The final sickness cannot come, the “last enemy” cannot strike until He bids it.

All is in His hand. Then calmly, confidingly leave life’s closing scene with Him. YOU CANNOT DIE AWAY FROM JESUS! Whether your spirit wings its flight at home or abroad, amid strangers or friends, by a lingering process or by a sudden stroke, in brightness or in gloom, Jesus will be with you! Upheld by His grace and cheered with His presence, you shall triumphantly exclaim, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me!” (Psa 23:4), bearing your dying testimony to the faithfulness of God and the preciousness of His promises.

“My time to die is in your hand, O Lord, and there I calmly leave it”…In WHOSE hand are the believer’s times? In a Father’s hand. Be those times what they may, times of trial, times of temptation, times of suffering, times of peril, times of sunshine or of gloom, of life or death— THEY ARE IN A PARENT’S HAND. Is your present path lonely and dreary? Has the Lord seen fit to recall some fond blessing, to deny some earnest request, or painfully to discipline your heart? All this springs from a Father’s love as fully as though He had unlocked His treasury and poured its costliest gifts at your feet…

In a Redeemer’s hand, also, are our times. That same Redeemer Who carried our sorrows in His heart, our curse and transgressions on His soul, our cross on His shoulder, Who died, Who rose again, Who lives and intercedes for us, and Who will gather all His ransomed around Him in glory is your Guardian and your Guide. Can you not cheerfully confide all your earthly concerns, all your spiritual interests to His keeping and control? “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you” (1Pe 5:7)? “Oh, yes!” faith replies, “in that hand that still bears in its palm the print of the nail are all my times. ‘I will trust, and not be afraid’! (Isa 12:2)

 Let us, in conclusion, trace the practical influence that this truth should exert upon our minds…Let this precious truth, “My times are in Thy hand,” divest your mind of all needless, anxious care for the present or the future. Exercising simple faith in God…“Be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb 13:5). Learn to be content with your present lot, with God’s dealings with and His disposal of you.

You are just where His providence has, in its [mysterious] but all-wise and righteous decision, placed you. It may be a painful, irksome, trying position, BUT IT IS RIGHT. Oh, yes! It is right! Only aim to glorify Him in it. Wherever you are placed, God has a work for you to do, a purpose through you to be accomplished, in which He blends your happiness with His glory. And when you have learned the lessons of His love, He will transfer you to another and a wider sphere…

 STRIVE, THEN [BY FAITH], TO LIVE A LIFE OF DAILY DEPENDENCE UPON GOD. Oh, it is a sweet and holy life! It saves from many a desponding feeling, from many a corroding care, from many an anxious thought, from many a sleepless night, from many a tearful eye, and from many an imprudent and sinful scheme…Oh, yes! beloved reader, thank God that your times, your interests, your salvation, are all out of your hands, and out of the hands of all creatures, supremely and safely in His. Forward in the path of duty, of labor, and of suffering. Aim to resemble Christ more closely in your disposition, your spirit, your whole life. Soon will it be said, “The Master is come, and calleth for thee” (John 11:28)…Patient in endurance, submissive in suffering, content with God’s allotment, zealous, prayerful, and watchful—be found standing in “thy lot at the end of the days” (Dan 12:13).

TRUST GOD IMPLICITLY FOR THE FUTURE! No sorrow comes but shall open some sweet spring of comfort…No affliction befalls but shall be attended with the Savior’s tenderest sympathy…Let your constant prayer be “Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe” (Psa 119:17). Let your daily precept be “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you” (1Pe 5:7). And then leave God to fulfill, as most faithfully He will, His own gracious, precious promise, “As thy days, so shall thy strength be” (Deu 33:25). Thus walking with God through this valley of tears until you exchange sorrow for joy, suffering for ease, sin for purity, labor for rest, conflict for victory, and all earth’s checkered, gloomy scenes for the changeless, cloudless happiness and glory of heaven. Amen!

Praise the LORD!

GOD – THE HOPE OF ALL HIS DISCOURAGED CHILDREN

GOD – THE HOPE OF ALL HIS DISCOURAGED CHILDREN

Ray Barnett

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.” [Psalm 42:11] O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember Thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. [Psalm 42:6]

Even the most holy men and women of God have suffered from depression. As noted theologian T. Horton said long ago – “The mind, even of a holy man may be unduly cast down and disquieted.” In addition, many famous men and women were often plagued with “the blues.” Sorrow of mind, despair, sadness, unhappiness, melancholia, gloominess, and dejection – all synonyms for depression, has come on the greatest of personalities throughout time. Some of these people included Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, John Adams, and Queen Elizabeth II. In fact the list is so long, I have included a link to a [long] list of famous men and women who suffered from depression. Even the “crowned prince of preachers” – Charles Haddon Spurgeon, without doubt, among the most notable preachers of the Gospel in history, suffered from chronic depression.
Concerning depression – including his, Spurgeon wrote -“Knowing by most painful experience what deep depression of spirit means, being visited therewith at seasons by no means few or far between, I thought it might be consolatory to some of my brethren if I gave my thoughts thereon, that younger men might not fancy that some strange thing had happened to them when they became for a season possessed by melancholy; and that sadder men might know that one upon whom the sun has shone right joyously did not always walk in the light. It is not necessary by quotations from the biographies of eminent ministers to prove that seasons of fearful prostration have fallen to the lot of most, if not all, of them.

The life of Luther might suffice to give a thousand instances, and he was by no means of the weaker sort. His great spirit was often in the seventh heaven of exultation, and as frequently on the borders of despair. His very deathbed was not free from tempests, and he sobbed himself into his last sleep like a greatly wearied child.”

Depression is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as – “severe despondency and dejection, especially when long-lasting; a mental condition characterized by severe feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy.” From the Latin – “deprimere” meaning – to “press down,” to “depress” means “to cause to feel utterly dispirited or dejected.” It also means – “to reduce the level of activity in (a system); push or pull down into a lower position.”

Thus, we see depression as being pushed or pressed down. Interestingly, we see this word – “pressed” employed by the Apostle Paul to describe their “troubles” in 2nd Corinthians chapter 1. “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life.” [2Co_1:8]

How can an Apostle, or a preacher of the Gospel [or in the case of David as we read in the select verses above – a king and a prophet chosen by God Himself] fall into depression? It seems not only improbable, but also impossible that anyone who walks with God – especially as close as David did and the famous preachers of the Gospel as Spurgeon notes, can become depressed. Yet, much of our bewilderment about this fact of life is based on ignorance. That is, we are lacking in the knowledge of how God works in the lives of His chosen ones, including Israel and the Church. For those who do not know Christ one would consider depression to be the fitting result of sin. Still, how can this be with men and women of God?

In – “God’s Preachers Are Still Frail Humanity,” Rev. Spurgeon goes further to explain why depression at times visits even the preacher himself.

“Is it not first that they are men? Being men, they are compassed with infirmity and are heirs of sorrow. Grace guards us from much of this, but because we have not more of grace, we still suffer even from ills preventable. Ev en under the economy of redemption it is most clear that we are to endure infirmities; otherwise, there were no need of the promised Spirit to help us in them.

It is of necessity that we are sometimes in heaviness. Good men are promised tribulation in this world, and ministers may expect a larger share than others, that they may learn sympathy with the Lord’s suffering people, and so may be fitting shepherds of an ailing flock.

Disembodied spirits might have been sent to proclaim the Word; but they could not have entered into the feeling of those who, being in this body, do groan, being burdened.

Angels might have been ordained evangelists, but their celestial attributes would have disqualified them from having compassion on the ignorant.

Men of marble might have been fashioned, but their impassive natures would have been a sarcasm upon our feebleness and a mockery of our wants.

Men, and men subject to human passions, the all-wise God has chosen to be His vessels of grace; hence these tears, hence these perplexities and castings down.

These infirmities may be no detriment to a man’s career of special usefulness. They may even have been imposed upon him by divine wisdom as necessary qualification for his peculiar course of service.

Some plants owe their medicinal qualities to the marsh in which they grow; others to the shades in which alone they flourish. There are precious fruits put forth by the moon as well as by the sun. Boats need ballast as well as sail. A drag on the carriage wheel is no hindrance when the road runs downhill.

Pain has, in some cases, developed genius, hunting out the soul which otherwise might have slept like a lion in its den. Had it not been for the broken wing, some might have lost themselves in the clouds, some even of those choice doves who now bear the olive branch in their mouths and show the way to the ark.

Where in body and mind there are predisposing causes to lowness of spirit, it is no marvel if in dark moments the heart succumbs to them; the wonder in many cases is—and if inner lives could be written, men would see it so—how some ministers keep at their work at all and still wear a smile upon their countenances.

Grace has its triumphs still, and patience has it martyrs—martyrs nonetheless to be honored because the flames ki ndle about their spirits rather than their bodies and their burning is unseen of human eyes.”

Therefore, as Mr. Spurgeon wrote – “grace has its triumphs still.” With this, we turn to our texts, particularly the phrase – “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?” This inquiry is used three times in Psalms 42 – 43.

Obviously, it is a question, a query David answers for himself. Thus, he says – “I will yet praise him!” From this we glean the wisdom that in this world, in this life, nothing lasts forever. Whether good or evil, nothing we encounter lasts for eternity. Only that which we choose – God’s life, or Satan’s death endures. Therefore, in addition to the joy we can expect in the world to come for having been chosen by Christ and ordained to eternal life through faith in Him, we can take solace that no evil lasts forever in this life.

First, God will not permit it. 1Cor 10:13 – “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Second, the nature of the temporal world is transience. Nothing lasts forever except God and His love. We know love remains. It will never be corrupted or destroyed.

David wrote of his [own] downcast soul, and in so doing, being moved of course by the Holy Spirit to do so, he offers hope to all who are downcast or dejected in spirit. It seemed fitting to consult Mr. Spurgeon on this text, not only because he was a consummate preacher and theologian, but also because he was under the dark cloud of depression so frequently.

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” As though he were two men, the Psalmist talks to himself. His faith reasons with his fears, his hope argues with his sorrows. These present troubles, are they to last forever? The rejoicings of my foes, are they more than empty talk? My absence, from the solemn feasts, is that a perpetual exile? Why this deep depression, this faithless fainting, this chicken-hearted melancholy? As Trapp says, “David chideth David out of the dumps;” and herein he is an example for all desponding ones. To search out the cause of our sorrow is often the best surgery for grief. Self-ignorance is not bliss; in this case it is misery. The mist of ignorance magnifies the causes of our alarm; a clearer view will make monsters dwindle into trifles.

“Why art thou disquieted within me?” Why is my quiet gone? If I cannot keep a public Sabbath, yet wherefore do I deny my soul her indoor Sabbath? Why am I agitated like a troubled sea, and why do my thoughts make a noise like a tumultuous multitude? The causes are not enough to justify such utter yielding to despondency. Up, my heart! What aileth thee? Play the man, and thy castings down shall turn to liftings up, and thy disquietudes to calm. “Hope thou in God.” If every evil be let loose from Pandora’s box, yet is there hope at the bottom. This is the grace that swims, though the waves roar and be troubled. God is unchangeable, and therefore his grace is the ground for unshaken hope. If everything be dark, yet the day will come, and meanwhile hope carries stars in her eyes; her lamps are not depende nt upon oil from without, her light is fed by secret visitations of God, which sustain the spirit.

“For I shall yet praise him.” Yet will my sighs give place to songs, my mournful ditties shall be exchanged for triumphal paeans. A loss of the present sense of God’s love is not a loss of that love itself; the jewel is there, though it gleams not on our breast; hope knows her title good when she cannot read it clear; she expects the promised boon though present providence stands before her with empty hands.

“For I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” Salvations come from the propitious face of God, and he will yet lift up his countenance upon us. Note well that the main hope and chief desire of David rest in the smile of God. His face is what he seeks and hopes to see, and this will recover his low spirits, this will put to scorn his laughing enemies, this will restore to him all the joys of those holy and happy days around which memory lingers. This is grand cheer. This verse, like the singing of Paul and Silas, looses chains and shakes prison walls. He who can use such heroic language in his gloomy hours will surely conquer. In the garden of hope grow the laurels for future victories, the roses of coming joy, the lilies of approaching peace.”
[C.H. SPURGEON]

Let us all look for the smile of God! That demeanor of His beautiful countenance that says – “You shall yet praise Me!” Let us pursue for the beam that speaks of better days to come. Surely – they shall come! For He is the health of my countenance! Jer_17:14 Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for Thou art my praise!

SOVEREIGN GRACE – THE ONLY GRACE THERE IS

SOVEREIGN GRACE – THE ONLY GRACE THERE IS

Rolfe Barnard (1904-1969)

Why do we use the double term sovereign grace? What does it mean and what is implied by the epithet ‘sovereign’ as attached to the term grace?

The answer is immediately at hand. The whole, so called Christian world professes to believe in salvation by grace. Only a remnant within the whole believes in Sovereign Grace. I am happy to be found among the latter group. The popular conception of salvation by grace is that God used to be holy, but now He has found a way to let men off easier. Nearly all of the major groups talk of salvation by grace and it means, usually, whatever the holder of the view thinks it means.

I am trying simply to say this; there seems to be no division among professing Christians as to salvation by grace, as the term is loosely and widely used, but there is a wide and real division among them when we consider the term ‘Sovereign Grace’! Because I believe there is no grace save sovereign grace, I use the term and dedicate my own ministry, unprofitable as it is, to the expounding of sovereign grace and to the calling of the ministry back to similar action.

What do the terms ‘grace’ and ‘sovereign’ mean? One of the attributes of God is goodness. The goodness of God is the divine essence seen as energized benevolently and kindly toward the creature. “I will be gracious – I will be merciful,” saith the Lord. “The Lord is plenteous in (mercy).” “The Lord delights to show mercy.” Mercy and grace are varieties of God’s goodness. Grace has reference to sinful man as guilty, while mercy has respect to sinful man as miserable.

This attribute (goodness) expressed in grace and mercy is free and sovereign in its exercise. “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” Exo. 33:19. The goodness of God is infinite and circumscribed by no limits: but the exercise of His goodness may be limited by Himself. God is necessarily good in His nature, but free in His communication of it. If the Bible is plain about anything it is plain about the fact that God must be just to all men; He may be merciful to some. God owes all men justice; He owes no man mercy or grace! A sovereign God exercises mercy and grace as it seems good to Him. “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight.” Matt. 11:25-26.

Actually God exercises mercy in a general manner toward all men. Anything this side of hell is mercy! Mercy is found in and by the works of creation and providence and the delay of punishment, but special grace or saving grace and mercy in Christ are only exercised in redemption and regeneration toward those whom a sovereign God is pleased to save. Eph. 1:36; Rom. 9:11-16. This is our battle cry! How seldom it is heard, yet it is the very truth of truths.

If you will consider the history of the preaching of sovereign grace, you will arrive at the startling fact that every great period of spiritual awakening this world has ever known has come in connection with such preaching. Brethren, history and the pale imitation of revival present among us today, demand a restudy of and a return to the truth of grace in the hands of a Sovereign, Whose exercise of mercy is optional within and to Himself.

The preaching of sovereign grace is not therefore the giving of undue prominence to any single doctrine of scripture. It is rather the proclaiming of a sovereign God graciously dealing with sinners as it pleases Him. We are often and somewhat vociferously accused of being guilty of the first part of this statement. This writer would certainly join in condemning the same. It is quite true that there is danger here. Any doctrine isolated from the whole body of revealed truth becomes perverted doctrine.

The preaching of sovereign grace is not an enemy of true evangelism. Let me hasten to say that the preaching of sovereign grace will kill deader than a doornail the message and method of present-day evangelism! And some of us believe with a deadly intensity that the false message and method must be killed before the true message and method can become effective. We further believe that the only way this can be done is by the preaching of truth about God, the truth about man, and the truth about Christ Who died and lives that God might be just and justifier! These lines will appeal to no one who is happy about the results evangelism today, but should you be one of many who mourn here, you will join in the task of raising up again the standard of sovereign grace!

A sovereign Christ is almost unheard of in church circles today. A Christ into Whose hands all things have been given; Who has all authority; Who gives life and quickens whom He will; Who decides the destinies of all men; Who is Lord over all flesh. Present day evangelism, for the most part poses to men the question, “What will you do with Jesus?” Bible or true evangelism poses the question, “What will the sovereign Christ do with me?” Present day evangelism says to men, “believe and be born again.” Bible evangelism says to men, “Be born again so you can believe.”

The one makes the new birth depend on an act of men, the other an act of God. Present day evangelism takes for granted God’s mercy and grace, rather than marveling at them in adoration and worship. Hear Paul say, “I obtained mercy;” hear Peter say, “to all who have obtained like precious faith.” How I long to hear this note in the churches today. Salvation today is a physical rather than a spiritual matter. The preaching of sovereign grace is the need of the hour if we shall be true to God’s Word and true to the souls of men.

OUR MOUTHS ARE STOPPED IN ADORATION OF OUR GREAT GOD

OUR MOUTHS ARE STOPPED IN ADORATION OF OUR GREAT GOD

Preacher Ken Wimer

“The LORD is in His holy temple: Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” [Habakkuk 2:20]

THE TEMPLE OF OLD WAS AN EMINENT TYPE OF THE BODY OF THE LORD JESUS. Solomon had built a temple to the Lord – a prototype and an image of the future Church, the Lord’s body, which is why the Gospel says-“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up,” John 2:19. The Solomon of history had built that temple, our Lord Jesus Christ, the true Solomon, built a temple for himself. The name ‘Solomon’ means ‘Bringer of Peace’, and our Lord, the true Solomon, is the true bringer of peace, which is why the Apostle says “He is our peace, who has made both into one,” Ephesians 2:14. He is the true bringer of peace, who has taken two walls coming from different directions and joined them through himself, becoming the cornerstone that unites them: the believers who come from the people of the circumcision and the believers who come from the uncircumcised. He has made one Church from the two peoples, and has become their cornerstone and their peacemaker.

IN HIS HOLY TEMPLE (CHRIST) THE LORD GOD HAS MADE HIS PRESENCE KNOWN. The mercy-seat of old was set up for poor sinners to approach in their High Priest. The Lord Jesus is the sinner’s High Priest, Sacrifice and Mercy Seat, Hebrews 9:5, Romans 3:25. The point conveyed by this imagery is that it is only through Christ’s shed blood that the condemnation of the law has been abated, and all its violations answered. In the Greek Testament, the original word for “mercy-seat” in Hebrews 9:5 denotes “that which makes expiation,” or “propitiation.” In the animal sacrifices there was but a temporary covering for sin, but in Christ their complete removal. Here Jehovah was consulted. Our justification was complete only upon completion of Christ’s obedience unto death.

Therefore, let all sinners throughout the world, for whom Christ has paid the debt; be silent before the LORD in peace and quiet. We have nothing to answer to the law, sin, Satan, or the world, Romans 5:1, 8:1. Christ has answered God’s just demand of every precept and penalty, and therefore in silence we bow and worship the Lamb who was slain. HE has silenced every guilty stain and fear. So, God is in His holy temple (Christ) and has once for all reconciled sinners throughout the world unto Himself by His death, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21. Our mouths are stopped in quiet adoration, peace, and rest because of HIM!

 

THE BEAUTY OF THE WOMAN WHO FEARS THE LORD

THE BEAUTY OF THE WOMAN WHO FEARS THE LORD

“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” [Proverbs 31:30]

We long to be beautiful, don’t we?

There is nothing wrong in looking your best, but you can try in vain to make your beauty in your face, hair, and body….or you can come sit at the feet of the Author of beauty.

We all know people who are so very beautiful on the outside. However, that is where all of their beauty lies. Because their heart is ugly, mean, and empty. How does that change their outward beauty in your eyes?

There is nothing more beautiful than a girl who is in love with Jesus, and lets His beauty shine in her life. Jesus is so beautiful, and I have never seen His face. Everything that He is. Everything He has done for us. Every single promise. Girls, we have the opportunity to embrace this beauty, and broadcast it to the world.

Think of a small clay pot filled with dirt. There is nothing beautiful about looking at a pot of dirt. Even if that dirt has a tiny seed inside, we cannot see it. It is hidden. However, when that seed is watered, and given sunlight, and cultivated, and given attention, a small plant will begin to grow. The more attention we give this little seed the larger and more beautiful the plant will grow, and soon, this pot of dirt becomes something else to look at. Something special. Something beautiful.

We, in and of ourselves, are nothing special to look at. Who wants to look at simply a pot of dirt? However, when we have Jesus, we have something pretty special. We have something to cultivate– a beauty that is not our own. The more attention we give to Him, the more we can grow something of value inside of us. And soon, the people that look at us will no longer focus on a pot of dirt. In fact, the pot of dirt may go completely unnoticed, but not the flower. Jesus will become beauty inside of us. True, loving beauty from its very Author.

True beauty emanates from a woman who boldly and unabashedly knows who she is in Christ. She clings to God’s promises for her life and believes them as the most important thing about her.

I want my life to showcase, not my own small cup of dirt, but beautiful Jesus who lives inside of me. He is the one who needs to shine the brightest. He is the one who really needs to be seen. Fear the Lord. Stay close to His side.

“A woman who fears the Lord will not run away from God to satisfy her longings and relieve her anxieties. She will wait for the Lord. She will hope in God. She will stay close to the heart of God and trust in his promises. The prospect of departing into the way of sin will be too fearful to pursue; and the benefits of abiding in the shadow of the Almighty too glorious to forsake.” -John Piper

We have no worth apart from Him. The world says “You have to love yourself before you can love others.” But, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Matthew 22:37-39

The secret of life is NOT to fall in love with yourself. I don’t think we have much of a problem putting ourselves first. The secret is to fall in love with Jesus. Let His love fill your heart, and then we can put others needs first and love them like Jesus did. This is the secret to having a beautiful heart. Only when He is our everything can His beauty be a trademark of our lives.

“Any human beauty, any human value that we might find within ourselves is just a filthy rag compared to the limitless beauty and glory of Jesus Christ. Christ’s beauty is perfect. And, in spite of what we deserve, He desires to adorn us with His spectacular glory. It is not our unique beauty that must shine for this world to see. It is not our own beauty that we must discover and embrace – it is His. True beauty is the natural byproduct of a young woman who has emptied herself, given up her own life, and allowed God’s Spirit complete access to every dimension of her inner and outer life.” -Leslie Ludy

So, guess what. We are special because of Jesus. He IS beauty inside of us. Without Him, we would be just as lost as anyone else. Why would we not cling to Him? Why would we not cultivate the only thing that sets us apart from the world? Our relationship with Jesus. Anything we could muster up of ourselves that is “good” is really filthy rags in the eyes of God. (Isaiah 64:6) And will long fade away in the eyes of the world as well. Leslie Ludy also said, “If we rely on something that we possess to make us beautiful, we cannot receive the transforming beauty of Jesus Christ. Discovering true feminine beauty is exchanging all that we are for all that He is.”

Charles Spurgeon said, “If a soul has any beauty, it is because Christ has endowed that soul with His own, for in ourselves we are deformed and defiled! There is no beauty in any of us but what our Lord has worked in us.”

Girls, we desperately need to realize the value of true beauty. The world desperately needs to see Christ, and we have a desperately important role to showcase to the world, not our own beauty, but His!

By Lauren DeMoss

IN SALVATION GOD ALWAYS MOVES FIRST

 IN SALVATION GOD ALWAYS MOVES FIRST

Donald Bell

Have you ever stopped to consider what the god of this age is like?

How he is presented to eternity bound souls?

A popular way of trying to get someone “saved” is to say “now if you make a move, god will make a move”. It seems to me as if those who do this are telling souls that their god is playing checkers and that whoever makes the best move wins and that it is possible to beat their god in this game.

Souls are being told, “God has done all he can do, now it is all up to you”, or they say something like this, “God has given you your chance it’s up to you what you do with it”.

My friends, please listen to me, if this were the way God really is, he is not worthy of worship but contempt.

This god has no power, no will, no glory, no honour, no justice or righteousness.

He is bound by what you do, by your choice; he is bound by the awful concept that he must give every soul a chance.

But could the GOD who created all things, and upholds all things by the word of his power, be like this? (Hebrews 1:2-3)

Have you never read in his holy word: “The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand” (Isaiah 14:24; Isaiah 14:27)?

Or have you read that His elect were, “predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11)?

I exhort you to take your bibles and a concordance and study, and if you do you will find that the God and Father Of Jesus Christ is a God who does all things on purpose. God has never thought, or planned in order to figure out the best way of doing something.

“He declared the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”(Isaiah 46:9-10)

If God must depend on you or me to do something before He will save us, then salvation could not be by grace, it would be a debt.

If He has to give us salvation based on what we do, that, my friends is salvation by works.

Nowhere in God’s word can you find where salvation is by chance, or by the will of man, or that God is bound to give salvation to anyone because they do something, or he is bound to give everyone a chance to be saved.

If anyone can show me from God’s word, that what I am saying is wrong, please do. But if I am right, if what I am saying is true, where does that leave you?

 

AS LONG AS YOUR EYES ARE UPON THE LORD, IT WILL ALL WORK OUT

AS LONG AS YOUR EYES ARE UPON THE LORD, IT WILL ALL WORK OUT

J.C. Philpot

 “O our God, wilt Thou not judge them? For we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon Thee.” [2Chr 20:12]

Jehoshaphat did not know what to do; he was altogether at his wit’s end; and yet he took the wisest course a man could take.

This is the beauty of it; that when we are fools, then we are wise; when we are weak, then we are strong; when we know not what to do, then we do the only right thing. O had Jehoshaphat taken any other course; had he collected an army, sent through Judah, raised troops and forged swords and spears he would certainly have been defeated! But not knowing what to do, he did the very thing he should do. OUR EYES ARE UPON THEE.”

 “Thou must fight our battles; thou must take the matter into Thy own hands. Our eyes are upon Thee, waiting upon thee, looking up, and hoping in Thee; believing in Thy holy name, expecting help from Thee, from whom alone help can come.” But this is painful work to be brought to this point, “Our eyes are upon Thee,” implying there is no use looking to any other quarter. It assumes that the soul has looked, and looked, and looked elsewhere in vain, and then fixed its eyes upon God as knowing that from Him alone all help must come.

This I believe to be the distinctive mark of a Christian, that his eyes are upon God. On his bed by night; in his room by day; in business or at market, when his soul is in trouble, cast down, and perplexed, his eyes are UPON GOD. From Him alone all help must come; none else can reach his case. All other but the help of God is ineffectual; it leaves him where it found him; it does him no good. We are never safe except our eyes are upon God. Let our eyes be upon Him, we can walk safely; let our eyes be upon the creature, we are pretty sure to slip and stumble.