The LORD Our Companion

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 (Psalm 23:4).

Sweet are these words in describing a deathbed assurance. How many have repeated them in their last hours with intense delight!

But the verse is equally applicable to agonies of spirit in the midst of life. Some of us, like Paul, die daily through a tendency to gloom of soul. Bunyan puts the Valley of the Shadow of Death far earlier in the pilgrimage than the river which rolls at the foot of the celestial hills. We have some of us traversed the dark and dreadful defile of “the shadow of death” several times, and we can bear witness that the LORD alone enabled us to bear up amid its wild thought, its mysterious horrors, its terrible depressions. The LORD has sustained us and kept us above all real fear of evil, even when our spirit has been overwhelmed. We have been pressed and oppressed, but yet we have lived, for we have felt the presence of the Great Shepherd and have been confident that His crook would prevent the foe from giving us any deadly wound.

Should the present time be one darkened by the raven wings of a great sorrow, let us glorify God by a peaceful trust in Him.

A Sound Heart

Let my heart be sound in Thy Statues: that I be not ashamed (Psalm 119:80).

We may regard this inspired prayer as containing within itself the assurance that those who keep close to the Word of God shall never have cause to be ashamed of doing so.

See, the prayer is for soundness of heart. A sound creed is good, a sound judgment concerning it is better, but a sound heart toward the truth is best of all. We must love the truth, feel the truth, and obey the truth, otherwise we are not truly sound in God’s statutes. Are there many in these evil days who are sound? Oh, that the writer and the reader may be two of this sort!

Many will be ashamed in the last great day, when all disputes will be decided. Then they will see the folly of their inventions and be filled with remorse because of their proud infidelity and willful defiance of the LORD; but he who believed what the LORD taught and did what the LORD commanded will stand forth justified in what he did. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun. Men much slandered and abused shall find their shame turned into glory in that day.

Let us pray the prayer of our text, and we may be sure that its promise will be fulfilled to us. If the LORD makes us sound, He will keep us safe.

God Himself Shall Work

Now will I rise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up Myself (Isaiah 33:10).

When the spoilers had made the land as waste as if devoured by locusts, and the warriors who had defended the country sat down and wept like women, then the LORD came to the rescue. When travelers ceased from the roads to Zion, and Bashan and Carmel were as vineyards from which the fruit has failed, then the LORD arose. God is exalted in the midst of an afflicted people, for they seek His face and trust Him. He is still more exalted when in answer to their cries He lifts up Himself to deliver them and overthrow their enemies.

Is it a day of sorrow with us? Let us expect to see the LORD glorified in our deliverance. Are we drawn out in fervent prayer? Do we cry day and night unto Him? Then the set time for His grace is near. God will lift up Himself at the right season. He will arise when it will be most for the display of His glory. We wish for His glory more than we long for our own deliverance. Let the LORD be exalted, and our chief desire is obtained.

LORD, help us in such a way that we may see that Thou Thyself art working. May we magnify Thee in our inmost souls. Make all around us to see how good and great a God Thou art.

Our Field of Battle

For the LORD your God is He that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you (Deuteronomy 20:4).

We have no enemies but the enemies of God. Our fights are not against men but against spiritual wickednesses. We war with the devil and the blasphemy and error and despair which he brings into the field of battle. We fight with all the armies of sin — impurity, drunkenness, oppression, infidelity, and ungodliness. With these we contend earnestly, but not with sword or spear; the weapons of our warfare are not carnal.

Jehovah, our God, abhors everything which is evil, and, therefore, He goeth with us to fight for us in this crusade. He will save us, and He will give us grace to war a good warfare and win the victory. We may depend upon it that if we are on God’s side God is on our side. With such an august ally the conflict is never in the least degree doubtful. It is not that truth is mighty and must prevail but that might lies with the Father who is almighty, with Jesus who has all power in heaven and in earth, and with the Holy Spirit who worketh His will among men.

Soldiers of Christ, gird on your armor. Strike home in the name of the God of holiness, and by faith grasp His salvation. Let not this day pass without striking a blow for Jesus and holiness.

Possess, Not Only Profess

For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance (Matthew 13:12).

When the LORD has given to a man much grace, He will give him more. A little faith is a nest egg; more faith will come to it. But then it must not be seeming faith, but real and true. What a necessity is laid upon us to make sure work in religion and not to profess much, and possess nothing! For one of these days the very profession will be taken from us, if that be all we have. The threatening is as true as the promise.

Blessed be the LORD, it is His way when He has once made a beginning to go on bestowing the graces of His Spirit, till He who had but little, and yet truly had that little, is made to have abundance. Oh, for that abundance! Abundance of grace is a thing to be coveted, It would be well to know much but better to love much. It would be delightful to have abundance of skill to serve God but better still to have abundance of faith to trust in the LORD for skill and everything.

LORD, since Thou hast given me a sense of sin, deepen my hatred of evil. Since Thou hast caused me to trust Jesus, raise my faith to full assurance. Since Thou hast made me to love Thee, cause me to be carried away with vehement affection for Thee!