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Light and Truth: The Old Testament: Chapter 13 - The Day of Despair

By Horatius Bonar

      "Intreat for me." -- Exodus 8:28

      PHARAOH is brought down from his haughtiness. He had but a little before scoffed both at Moses and his God; now he is humbled,--only for a season indeed,--yet he is humbled. He confesses Jehovah; he becomes a suppliant to Moses and to his God. Is this the Pharaoh that said, "Who is the Lord?" How is he come down from his pride!

      What brings him down? It might be (1.) true repentance; (2.) cunning; (3.) terror. It is only the last of these that is here at work, and his impressions pass away with the terror. He cares no more about God than he did before; but he would fain be delivered from these judgments. Now let us look beyond Pharaoh.

      I. The sinner's day of prosperity. There is such a thing as prosperity even in this fallen world; prosperity for the wicked,--"Lo, these are the ungodly that prosper in this world." They are not in trouble as other men. They revel in pleasure, they roll in wealth, they are decked with honour; all things go well with them. They say, "Tomorrow shall be as this day, and more abundant." The sinner sits at ease, and puts away the thought of trouble. He basks in sunshine, and laughs at storms. He sails onward with favouring breezes, and believes in no shipwreck. No adversity for him!

      II. The sinner's day of trouble. No prosperity lasts forever; nor is it even life-long, or half a life-time. Then the clouds gather; the tempest breaks; the waves wash over the vessel, and it becomes a wreck. Sometimes it is one long day of trouble, after as long a day of peace. Sometimes it is the alternation, at brief intervals, of joy and sorrow, light and darkness, health and sickness, prosperity and adversity. Each man has his day or days of trouble. Let this be thoroughly pondered and laid to heart. Care will come; distress will come; sickness will come; death will come; weariness will come. The sky will darken; the smile will vanish; the night will fall. These are certainties, O sinner,--and perhaps very near. Thou canst not ward them off. Wise precautions cannot ward them off; nor potent friends; nor prudent councillors; nor sanatory regulations; no; these will not avail. God's word, God's purpose, will break through all these, and lay thee low. Thou wilt find what it is to be in the hands of the living God. He will deal with thee. He is dealing with thee now by His goodness; to-morrow He may be dealing with thee in severity and sore displeasure.

      III. The sinner's helplessness. He knows not what to do. He once thought himself strong; now he feels himself weak; unable to contend against his ills. The current is too strong; he cannot swim against it. His foes are numerous; his difficulties great; his friends fail; his conscience awakes; his heart trembles; what can he do? He is utterly helpless; and in his helplessness he turns coward.

      His remembrance of God. Hitherto God had not been in all his thoughts; now he says, God only can help me. Man cannot; devils cannot; angels will not. Perhaps God will. His long despised God comes now to remembrance. So in danger the sinner cries. In shipwreck; in the plague; he cries.

      His dread of God. He does not go straight to God; or if he does, it is in despair. He trembles before Him; afraid to look up. He is overawed, overpowered by a sense of God's greatness. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. God is to him the most terrible object of all, yet he cannot but betake himself to Him in some way. He is undone any way. Perhaps this dreadful God, who is more powerful than these evils, may succour him.

      VI. His appeal to God's people. He once despised them, hated, and shunned them; now he goes to them with, "Entreat for me." What a different man a saint seems now! He has something to say with God, and that is a great thing for a despairing sinner. He has influence at court. So he goes to him. How often has the stricken, afflicted sinner, had these words wrung from him, "Pray for me."

      O sinner, look forward to your day of darkness. Prepare for it now. It is coming. How dreadful to be overtaken by it unprepared.

      O sinner, go now to God; straight to God; not to Moses, nor to any saint; but at once to God. Go, with all thy sins, and burdens, and trials; go now! He will receive you, and bless you.

      The day is coming when another cry shall be heard; when you shall cry on rocks and hills; and all in vain. O seek the Lord while he may be found! When Jesus Christ the great Judge may come, we know not. He may come soon. Earth is growing old. Its sin is heavy upon it. Your sin adds to the load. It will soon be too heavy to bear. Then the vengeance comes. God's long-suffering is great, but not forever. The great day approaches. He that shall come, will come, and will not tarry. Up and make ready! Up and watch!

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See Also:
   Chapter 1 - The Old and New Creation
   Chapter 2 - The Link Between Being and Non-Being
   Chapter 3 - A Happy World
   Chapter 4 - The Sin, the Sinner, and the Sentence
   Chapter 5 - Man's Fig-Leaves
   Chapter 6 - Expulsion and Re-Entrance
   Chapter 7 - The Blood of Sprinkling and the Blood of Abel
   Chapter 8 - The Way of Cain
   Chapter 9 - The Man of Rest
   Chapter 10 - Going Out and Keeping Out
   Chapter 11 - The Shield and the Recompense
   Chapter 12 - Liberty and Service
   Chapter 13 - The Day of Despair
   Chapter 14 - The Blood of Deliverance
   Chapter 15 - How God Deals with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 16 - The Fire Quenched
   Chapter 17 - The Vision from the Rocks
   Chapter 18 - The Doom of the Double-Hearted
   Chapter 19 - Be Not Borderers
   Chapter 20 - The Outlines of a Saved Sinner's History
   Chapter 21 - Divine Longings Over the Foolish
   Chapter 22 - What a Believing Man Can Do
   Chapter 23 - Song of the Putting Off of the Armour
   Chapter 24 - The Kiss of the Backslider
   Chapter 25 - The Priestly Word of Peace
   Chapter 26 - Human Anodynes
   Chapter 27 - Spiritual and Carnal Weapons
   Chapter 28 - Divine Silence and Human Despair
   Chapter 29 - Jewish Unbelief and Gentile Blessing
   Chapter 30 - The Restoration of the Banished
   Chapter 31 - The Farewell Gift
   Chapter 32 - God's Dealing with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 33 - God Finding a Resting-Place
   Chapter 34 - The Moriah Group
   Chapter 35 - Diverse Kinds of Conscience
   Chapter 36 - The Soul Turning from Man to God
   Chapter 37 - Man's Dislike of a Present God
   Chapter 38 - True and False Consolation
   Chapter 39 - Gain and Loss for Eternity
   Chapter 40 - Man's Misconstruction of the Works of God
   Chapter 41 - The Two Cries and the Two Answers
   Chapter 42 - The Knowledge of God's Name
   Chapter 43 - Deliverance from Deep Waters
   Chapter 44 - The Excellency of the Divine Loving-Kindness
   Chapter 45 - The Sickness, the Healer, and the Healing
   Chapter 46 - The Consecration of Earth's Gold and Silver
   Chapter 47 - The Gifts of the Ascended One
   Chapter 48 - The Speaker, the Listener, the Peace
   Chapter 49 - The Believing Man's Confident Appeal
   Chapter 50 - The Love and the Deliverance
   Chapter 51 - The Sin and Folly of Being Unhappy
   Chapter 52 - The Book of Books
   Chapter 53 - The Secret of Deliverance from Evil
   Chapter 54 - The Voice of the Heavenly Bridegroom
   Chapter 55 - The Love that Passeth Knowledge
   Chapter 56 - The Vision of the Glory
   Chapter 57 - Man's Extremity and Satan's Opportunity
   Chapter 58 - The Day of Clear Vision to the Dim Eyes
   Chapter 59 - The Unfainting Creator and the Fainting Creature
   Chapter 60 - The Knowledge that Justifies
   Chapter 61 - The Heritage and its Title-Deeds
   Chapter 62 - The Meeting Between the Sinner and God
   Chapter 63 - God's Love and God's Way of Blessing
   Chapter 64 - Divine Jealousy for the Truth
   Chapter 65 - Divine Love and Human Rejection of it
   Chapter 66 - God's Desire to Bless the Sinner
   Chapter 67 - The Resting-Place Forgotten
   Chapter 68 - The Day that Will Right all Wrongs
   Chapter 69 - The Glory and the Love
   Chapter 70 - False Religion and its Doom
   Chapter 71 - No Breath No Life
   Chapter 72 - Every Christian a Teacher
   Chapter 73 - Work, Rest, and Recompence
   Chapter 74 - Human Heedlessness and Divine Remembrance
   Chapter 75 - Lies the Food of Man
   Chapter 76 - The Love and the Calling
   Chapter 77 - The Anger and the Goodness
   Chapter 78 - Darkness Pursuing the Sinner
   Chapter 79 - Jerusalem the Centre of the World's Peace
   Chapter 80 - Jerusalem and Her King
   Chapter 81 - Looking to the Pierced One
   Chapter 82 - The Holiness of Common Things
   Chapter 83 - Wearying Jehovah with our Words
   Chapter 84 - Dies Irae


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