By Henry Law
Confidence relies on God when storms of trouble threaten. The terribleness of final judgment is revealed. May perfect shelter be our happy lot!
1. "In the Lord I put my trust; how can you say to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?"
Happy the soul which calmly rests on God! He is a rock so firmly based and so exceeding high, that swelling billows dash in vain, and raging storms harmlessly beat. Feet planted on it are as safe as God is safe. His power is omnipotence. Who can upset it? His love can never change. His wisdom knows no bounds. His truth can never fail. Let us then trust Him, at all times, in all places, under all trials. Let us trust Him with our souls and bodies, for time and for eternity. Let us trust Him with all our matters and with all our friends. Safe in His arms we may defy all foes.
But they will taunt with sneering malice. They will exclaim, Make haste to flee. There is no safety but in flight. As the frightened bird seeks refuge in the high and distant hills, so fly with rapid wing. To tarry is destruction. Tarry not.
2. "For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart."
Peril may be near. The wicked hate and plot--their bow is strong; their arrows ready; their eyes are watchful. If given the opportunity, their venomed shafts will inflict deadly wounds. Thus Jesus walked amid incessant snares. At every turn some ambush was concealed. What crafty questions spread entangling nets! So too it is each day with us. The enemy is ever near. Let us look up. Let our daily cry be heard, "In the Lord I put my trust."
3. "If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?"
The foundations of our trust are firm, and never can be moved. We have received a kingdom that cannot be shaken. What is the strong foundation of our trust? It is Christ. It is His glorious person, His deity and manhood indissolubly joined, His everlasting love, His finished work, His precious blood, His expiating death, His all-atoning cross, His resurrection-might, His rule at the right hand, His never-ceasing intercession, His well-ordered providence, His coming kingdom, His eternal reign. How blessed, how encouraging, are these truths! Not one can be opposed, not one can disappoint. We may rest all our weight on them. They cannot sink. If any flaw could be discerned, if any weak part showed insecurity, we might indeed despond. But building on this solid base, we may indeed reject all taunts. We have a strong city. God has appointed Salvation for walls and bulwarks.
4. "The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord's throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids try the children of men."
Ours is no visionary trust. Of old our God was present in the sanctuary. True worshipers might there approach and find that He drew near to them. Christ is our mercy-seat. In Him we meet our God; in Him our God meets us. What then shall be our fear?
But more; our God sits high enthroned in heaven. He rules arrayed in omnipotent power. How safe are those who are protected by His arm! His eye sees every outward act and searches every inward thought. His people never are unseen. No darkness can conceal His foes. We may then confidently trust.
5. "The Lord tries the righteous; but the wicked, and him who loves violence, His soul hates."
Many are indeed our trials, but all are ordered for our good. Thus faith is tested; leaks in the vessel are discovered; sincerity is discerned; weak parts are strengthened; the walk becomes more close, more vigilant, and more strict. These probings are among our blessings. "Blessed is the man that endures trial, for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." But all iniquity is hateful in His sight. His holy nature abhors sin.
6. "Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and a horrible tempest; this shall be the portion of their cup."
They cannot escape just wrath. Their frightful doom is here portrayed. Mercy warns of this destruction, that men forewarned may flee to Christ. Images of agony are here combined. What Sodom and her plains foreshowed is coming reality. A fiery deluge overwhelms its victim. A flaming lake engulfs. There is a cup which they must drink. The cup is hot to overflowing with all extremity and intensity of torment. Wrath has not yet gone forth. Let all who hear fly speedily to Christ.
7. "For the righteous Lord loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright."
Righteousness will execute what righteousness denounces. Justice maintains forever that rebels are thus punished. But saving smiles beam sweetly over the redeemed flock. God now beholds them in all love. They soon shall see Him in all glory. Holy Spirit! keep us ever in the light of His countenance.