Sunday, June 10, 2018

A Study of Psalm 37
Verses 21-33
By Matthew Henry
These verses are much to the same purport with the foregoing verses of this psalm, for it is a subject worthy to be dwelt upon. Observe here,I. What is required of us as the way to our happiness, which we may learn both from the characters here laid down and from the directions here given. If we would be blessed of God
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1.We must make conscience of giving every body his own; for the wicked borrows and pays not again, v. 21. It is the first thing which the Lord our God requires of us, that we do justly, and render to all their due. It is not only a shameful paltry thing, but a sinful wicked thing, not to repay what we have borrowed. Some make this an instance, not so much of the wickedness of the wicked as of the misery and poverty to which they are reduced by the just judgment of God, that they shall be necessitated to borrow for their supply and then be in no capacity to repay it again, and so lie at the mercy of their creditors. Whatever some men seem to think of it, as it is a great sin for those that are able to deny the payment of their just debts, so it is a great misery not to be able to pay them. 

2. We must be ready to all acts of charity and beneficence; for, as it is an instance of God’s goodness to the righteous that he puts it into the power of his hand to be kind and to do good (and so some understand it, God’s blessing increases his little to such a degree that he has abundance to spare for the relief of others), so it is an instance of the goodness of the righteous man that he has a heart proportionable to his estate: He shows mercy, and gives, v. 21. He is ever merciful, or every day, or all the day, merciful, and lends, and sometimes there is as true charity in lending as in giving; and giving and lending are acceptable to God when they proceed from a merciful disposition in the heart, which, if it be sincere, will be constant, and will keep us from being weary of well-doing. he that is truly merciful will be ever merciful.  

3. We must leave our sins, and engage in the practice of serious godliness (v. 27): Depart from evil and do good. Cease to do evil and abhor it; learn to do well and cleave to it; this is true religion. 

4. We must abound in good discourse, and with our tongues must glorify God and edify others. It is part of the character of a righteous man (v. 30) that his mouth speaketh wisdom; not only he speaks wisely, but he speaks wisdom, like Solomon himself, for the instruction of those about him. His tongue talks not of things idle and impertinent, but of judgment, that is, of the word and providence of God and the rules of wisdom for the right ordering of the conversation. Out of the abundance of a good heart will the mouth speak that which is good and to the use of edifying.

5. We must have our wills brought into an entire subjection to the will and word of God (v. 31): The law of God, of his God, is in his heart; and in vain do we pretend that God is our God if we do not receive his law into our hearts and resign ourselves to the government of it. It is but a jest and a mockery to speak wisdom, and to talk of judgment (v. 30), unless we have the law in our hearts, and we think as we speak. The law of God must be a commanding ruling principle in the heart; it must be a light there, a spring there, and then the conversation will be regular and uniform: None of his steps will slide; it will effectually prevent backsliding into sin, and the uneasiness that follows from it.

II. What is assured to us, as instances of our happiness and comfort, upon these conditions.

1. That we shall have the blessing of God, and that blessing shall be the spring, and sweetness, and security of all our temporal comforts and enjoyments (v. 22): Such as are blessed of God, as all the righteous are, with a Father’s blessing, by virtue of that shall inherit the earth, or the land (for so the same word is translated, v. 29), the land of Canaan, that glory of all lands. Our creature-comforts are comforts indeed to us when we see them flowing from the blessing of God, we are sure not to want any thing that is good for us in this world. The earth shall yield us her increase if God, as our own God, give us his blessing, Ps. 67:6 . And as those whom God blesses are thus blessed indeed (for they shall inherit the land), so those whom he curses are cursed indeed; they shall be cut off and rooted out, and their extirpation by the divine curse will set off the establishment of the righteous by the divine blessing and be a foil to it

2. That God will direct and dispose of our actions and affairs so as may be most for his glory (v. 23): The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. By his grace and Holy Spirit he directs the thoughts, affections, and designs of good men. He has all hearts in his hand, but theirs by their own consent. By his providence he overrules the events that concern them, so as to make their way plain before them, both what they should do and what they may expect. Observe, God orders the steps of a good man; not only his way in general, by his written word, but his particular steps, by the whispers of conscience, saying, This is the way, walk in it. He does not always show him his way at a distance, but leads him step by step, as children are led, and so keeps him in a continual dependence upon his guidance; and this, (a) Because he delights in his way, and is well pleased with the paths of righteousness wherein he walks. The Lord knows the way of the righteous (Ps. 1:6 ), knows it with favour, and therefore directs it. (b) That he may delight in his way. Because God orders his way according to his own will, therefore he delights in it; for, as he loves his own image upon us, so he is well pleased with what we do under his guidance

3. That God will keep us from being ruined by our falls either into sin or into trouble (v. 24): Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down. (a) A good man may be overtaken in a fault, but the grace of God shall recover him to repentance, so that he shall not be utterly cast down. Though he may, for a time, lose the joys of God’s salvation, yet they shall be restored to him; for God shall uphold him with his hand, uphold him with his free Spirit. The root shall be kept alive, though the leaf wither; and there will come a spring after the winter. (b) A good man may be in distress, his affairs embarrassed, his spirits sunk, but he shall not be utterly cast down; God will be the strength of his heart when his flesh and heart fail, and will uphold him with his comforts, so that the spirit he has made shall not fail before him

4. That we shall not want the necessary supports of this life (v. 25): "I have been young and now am old, and, among all the changes I have seen in men’s outward condition and the observations I have made upon them, I never saw the righteous forsaken of God and man, as I have sometimes seen wicked people abandoned both by heaven and earth; nor do I ever remember to have seen the seed of the righteous reduced to such an extremity as to beg their bread.’’ David had himself begged his bread of Abimelech the priest, but it was when Saul hunted him; and our Saviour has taught us to except the case of persecution for righteousness’ sake out of all the temporal promises (Mk. 10:30 ), because that has such peculiar honours and comforts attending it as make it rather a gift (as the apostle reckons it, Phil. 1:29 ) than a loss or grievance. But there are very few instances of good men, or their families, that are reduced to such extreme poverty as many wicked people bring themselves to by their wickedness. He had not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging their bread. Forsaken (so some expound it); if they do want God will raise them up friends to supply them, without a scandalous exposing of themselves to the reproach of common beggars; or, if they go from door to door for meat, it shall not be with despair, as the wicked man that wanders abroad for bread, saying, Where is it? Job. 15:23 . Nor shall he be denied, as the prodigal, that would fain have filled his belly, but no man gave unto him, Lu. 15:16 . Nor shall he grudge if he be not satisfied, as David’s enemies, when they wandered up and down for meat, Ps. 59:15 . Some make this promise relate especially to those that are charitable and liberal to the poor, and to intimate that David never observed any that brought themselves to poverty by their charity. It is withholding more than is meet that tends to poverty, Prov. 11:24 

5. That God will not desert us, but graciously protect us in our difficulties and straits (v. 28): The Lord loves judgment; he delights in doing justice himself and he delights in those that do justice; and therefore he forsakes not his saints in affliction when others make themselves strange to them and become shy of them, but he takes care that they be preserved for ever, that is, that the saint in every age be taken under his protection, that the succession be preserved to the end of time, and that particular saints be preserved from all the temptations and through all the trials of this present time, to that happiness which shall be for ever. He will preserve them to his heavenly kingdom; that is a preservation for ever, 2 Tim. 4:18 ; Ps. 12:7 .

6. That we shall have a comfortable settlement in this world, and in a better when we leave this. That we shall dwell for evermore (v. 27), and not be cut off as the seed of the wicked, v. 28. Those shall not be tossed that make God their rest and are at home in him. But on this earth there is no dwelling for ever, no continuing city; it is in heaven only, that city which has foundations, that the righteous shall dwell for ever; that will be their everlasting habitation.7. That we shall not become a prey to our adversaries, who seek our ruin, v. 32, v. 33. There is an adversary that takes all opportunities to do us a mischief, a wicked one that watches the righteous (as a roaring lion watches his prey) and seeks to slay him. There are wicked men that do so, that are very subtle (they watch the righteous, that they may have an opportunity to do them a mischief effectually and may have a pretence wherewith to justify themselves in the doing of it), and very spiteful, for they seek to slay him. But it may very well be applied to the wicked one, the devil, that old serpent, who has his wiles to entrap the righteous, his devices which we should not be ignorant of,—that great red dragon, who seeks to slay them,—that roaring lion, who goes about continually, restless and raging, and seeking whom he may devour. But it is here promised that he shall not prevail, neither Satan nor his instruments. (a) He shall not prevail as a field-adversary: The Lord will not leave him in his hand; he will not permit Satan to do what he would, nor will he withdraw his strength and grace from his people, but will enable them to resist and overcome him, and their faith shall not fail, Lu. 22:31, Lu. 22:32 . A good man may fall into the hands of a messenger of Satan, and be sorely buffeted, but God will not leave him in his hands, 1 Co. 10:13 . (b) He shall not prevail as a law-adversary: God will not condemn him when he is judged, though urged to do it by the accuser of the brethren, who accuses them before our God day and night. His false accusations will be thrown out, as those exhibited against Joshua (Zec. 3:1, Zec. 3:2 ), The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan! It is God that justifies, and then who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect?

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Psalm Thirty-seven Verses Seven Through Seventeen
Commentary by Matthew Henry
In these verses we have:

The foregoing precepts inculcated; for we are so apt to disquiet ourselves with needless fruitless discontents and distrusts that it is necessary there should be precept upon precept, and line upon line, to suppress them and arm us against them. Let us compose ourselves by believing in God: "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him, that is, be well reconciled to all he does and acquiesce in it, for that is best that is, because it is what God has appointed; and be well satisfied that he will still make all to work for good to us, though we know not how or which way.’’ Be silent to the Lord (so the word is), not with a sullen, but a submissive silence. A patient bearing of what is laid upon us, with a patient expectation of what is further appointed for us, is as much our interest as it is our duty, for it will make us always easy; and there is a great deal of reason for it, for it is making a virtue of necessity.




Let us not discompose ourselves at what we see in this world: "Fret not thyself because of him who prospers in his wicked way, who, though he is a bad man, yet thrives and grows rich and great in the world; no, nor because of him who does mischief with his power and wealth, and brings wicked devices to pass against those that are virtuous and good, who seems to have gained his point and to have run them down. If thy heart begins to rise at it, stroke down thy folly, and cease from anger, check the first stirrings of discontent and envy, and do not harbor any hard thoughts of God and his providence upon this account. Be not angry at any thing that God does, but forsake that wrath; it is the worst kind of wrath that can be. Fret not thyself in any wise to do evil; do not envy them their prosperity, lest thou be tempted to fall in with them and to take the same evil course that they take to enrich and advance themselves or some desperate course to avoid them and their power.’’ Note, A fretful discontented spirit lies open to many temptations; and those that indulge it are in danger of doing evil.


The foregoing reasons, taken from the approaching ruin of the wicked notwithstanding their prosperity, and the real happiness of the righteous notwithstanding their troubles, are here much enlarged upon and the same things repeated in a pleasing variety of expression. We were cautioned not to envy the wicked either worldly prosperity or the success of their plots against the righteous, and the reasons here given respect these two temptations severally.


Good people have no reason to envy the worldly prosperity of wicked people, nor to grieve or be uneasy at it. Because the prosperity of the wicked will soon be at an end: Evil-doers shall be cut off by some sudden stroke of divine justice in the midst of their prosperity; what they have got by sin will not only flow away from them (see Job 20:28), but they shall be carried away with it. See the end of these men (See Psalm 73:17), how dear their ill-got gain will cost them, and you will be far from envying them or from being willing to espouse their lot, for better, for worse. Their ruin is sure, and it is very near: Yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be what they now are; they are brought into desolation in a moment, (See Psalm 73:19). Have a little patience, for the Judge stands before the door, (See James 5:8-9). Moderate your passion, for the Lord is at hand, (See Philippians 4:5). And when their ruin comes it will be an utter ruin; he and his shall be extirpated; the day that comes shall leave him neither root nor branch (See Malichi 4:1): Thou shalt diligently consider his place, where but the other day he made a mighty figure, but it shall not be, you will not find it; he shall leave nothing valuable, nothing honourable, behind. him.


To the same purport the wicked shall perish; their death is their perdition, because it is the termination of all their joy and a passage to endless misery. Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord; but undone, for ever undone, are the dead that die in their sins. The wicked are the enemies of the Lord; such those make themselves who will not have him to reign over them, and as such he will reckon with them: They shall consume as the fat of lambs, they shall consume into smoke. Their prosperity, which gratifies their sensuality, is like the fat of lambs, not solid or substantial, but loose and washy; and, when their ruin comes, they shall fall as sacrifices to the justice of God and be consumed as the fat of the sacrifices was upon the altar, whence it ascended in smoke. The day of God’s vengeance on the wicked is represented as a sacrifice of the fat of the kidneys of rams (See Isaiah 34:6); for he will be honoured by the ruin of his enemies, as he was by the sacrifices. Damned sinners are sacrifices, (See Mark 9:49). This is a good reason why we should not envy them their prosperity; while they are fed to the full, they are but in the fattening for the day of sacrifice, like a lamb in a large place, (See Hosea 4:16), and the more they prosper the more will God be glorified in their ruin.


Because the condition of the righteous, even in this life, is every way better and more desirable than that of the wicked. In general, a little that a righteous man has of the honour, wealth, and pleasure of this world, is better than the riches of many wicked. 
 
Observe:

The wealth of the world is so dispensed by the divine Providence that it is often the lot of good people to have but a little of it, and of wicked people to have abundance of it; for thus God would show us that the things of this world are not the best things, for, if they were, those would have most that are best and dearest to God. That a godly man’s little is really better than a wicked man’s estate, though ever so much; for it comes from a better hand, from a hand of special love and not merely from a hand of common providence,—it is enjoyed by a better title (God gives it to them by promise, (See Galatians 3:18), it is theirs by virtue of their relation to Christ, who is the heir of all things, and it is put to better use; it is sanctified to them by the blessing of God. Unto the pure all things are pure, (See Titus 1:15). A little wherewith God is served and honoured is better than a great deal prepared for Baal or for a base lust. The promises here made to the righteous secure them such a happiness that they need not envy the prosperity of evil-doers. Let them know to their comfort, First, That they shall inherit the earth, as much of it as Infinite Wisdom sees good for them; they have the promise of the life that now is, (See 1 Timothy 4:8). If all the earth were necessary to make them happy, they should have it. All is theirs, even the world, and things present, as well as things to come, (See 1 Corinthians 3:21-22). They have it by inheritance, a safe and honourable title, not by permission only and connivance. When evil-doers are cut off the righteous sometimes inherit what they gathered. The wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just, (See Job 27:17; Proverbs 13:22) This promise is here made, to those that live a life of faith. Those that wait upon the Lord, as dependents on him, expectants from him, and suppliants to him, shall inherit the earth, as a token of his present favour to them and an earnest of better things intended for them in the other world. God is a good Master, that provides plentifully and well, not only for his working servants, but for his waiting servants.


To those that live a quiet and peaceable life. [Read Romans 12:18; Hebrews 12:14]. The meek shall inherit the earth. They are in least danger of being injured and disturbed in the possession of what they have and they have most satisfaction in themselves and consequently the sweetest relish of their creature-comforts. Our Saviour has made this a gospel promise, and a confirmation of the blessings he pronounced on the meek, (See Matthew 5:5).


Secondly, that they shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Perhaps they have not abundance of wealth to delight in; but they have that which is better, abundance of peace, inward peace and tranquility of mind, peace with God, and then peace in God, that great peace which those have that love God’s law, whom nothing shall offend, that abundance of peace which is in the kingdom of Christ, that peace which the world cannot give, and which the wicked cannot have. This they shall delight themselves in, and in it they shall have a continual feast; while those that have abundance of wealth do but cumber and perplex themselves with it and have little delight in it. Thirdly, That God knows their days.


He takes particular notice of them, of all they do and of all that happens to them. He keeps account of the days of their service, and not one day’s work shall go unrewarded, and of the days of their suffering, that for those also they may receive a recompence. He knows their bright days, and has pleasure in their prosperity; he knows their cloudy and dark days, the days of their affliction, and as the day is so shall the strength be. Fourthly, That their inheritance shall be for ever; not their inheritance in the earth, but that incorruptible indefeasible one which is laid up for them in heaven. Those that are sure of an everlasting inheritance in the other world have no reason to envy the wicked their transitory possessions and pleasures in this world. Fifthly, That in the worst of times it shall go well with them.


They shall not be ashamed of their hope and confidence in God, nor of the profession they have made of religion; for the comfort of that will stand them in stead, and be a real support to them, in evil times. When others droop they shall lift up their heads with joy and confidence: Even in the days of famine, when others are dying for hunger round about them, they shall be satisfied, as Elijah was; in some way or other God will provide food convenient for them, or give them hearts to be satisfied and content without it, so that, if they should be hardly bestead and hungry, they shall not (as the wicked do) fret themselves and curse their king and their God, but rejoice in God as the God of their salvation even when the fig-tree does not blossom.


Good people have no reason to fret at the occasional success of the designs of the wicked against the just. Though they do bring some of their wicked devices to pass, which makes us fear they will gain their point and bring them all to pass, yet let us cease from anger, and not fret ourselves so as to think of giving up the cause. Their plots will be their shame, It is true the wicked plotteth against the just; there is a rooted enmity in the seed of the wicked one against the righteous seed; their aim is, if they can, to destroy their righteousness, or, if that fail, then to destroy them. With this end in view they have acted with a great deal both of cursed policy and contrivance (they plot, they practice, against the just), and of cursed zeal and fury—they gnash upon them with their teeth, so desirous are they, if they could get it into their power, to eat them up, and so full of rage and indignation are they because it is not in their power; but by all this they do but make themselves ridiculous. The Lord shall laugh at them.


They are proud and insolent, but God shall pour contempt upon them. he is not only displeased with them, but he despises them and all their attempts as vain and ineffectual, and their malice as impotent and in a chain; for he sees that his day is coming, that is. The day of God’s reckoning, the day of the revelation of his righteousness, which now seems clouded and eclipsed. Men have their day now. This is your hour. But God will have his day shortly, a day of recompences, a day which will set all to rights, and render that ridiculous which now passes for glorious. It is a small thing to be judged of man’s judgment. God’s day will give a decisive judgment.


The day of their ruin. The wicked man’s day, the day set for his fall, that day is coming, which denotes delay; it has not yet come, but certainly it will come. The believing prospect of that day will enable the virgin, the daughter of Zion, to despise the rage of her enemies and laugh them to scorn. Their attempts will be their destruction. See here: How cruel they are in their designs against good people. They prepare instruments of death, the sword and the bow, no less will serve; they hunt for the precious life. That which they design is to cast down and slay; it is the blood of the saints they thirst after. They carry on the design very far, and it is near to be put in execution: They have drawn the sword, and bent the bow; and all these military preparations are made against the helpless, the poor and needy (which proves them to be very cowardly), and against the guiltless, such as are of upright conversation, that never gave them any provocation, nor offered injury to them or any other person, which proves them to be very wicked. Uprightness itself will be no fence against their malice.


How justly their malice recoils upon themselves: Their sword shall turn into their own heart, which implies the preservation of the righteous from their malice and the filling up of the measure of their own iniquity by it. Sometimes that very thing proves to be their own destruction which they projected against their harmless neighbours; however, God’s sword, which their provocations have drawn against them, will give them their death’s wound.


Those that are not suddenly cut off shall yet be so disabled for doing any further mischief that the interests of the church shall be effectually secured: Their bows shall be broken; the instruments of their cruelty shall fail them and they shall lose those whom they had made tools of to serve their bloody purposes with; nay, their arms shall be broken, so that they shall not be able to go on with their enterprises. But the Lord upholds the righteous, so that they neither sink under the weight of their afflictions nor are crushed by the violence of their enemies. He upholds them both in their integrity and in their prosperity; and those that are so upheld by the rock of ages have no reason to envy the wicked the support of their broken reeds

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Psalm Thirty Seven Verses One Through Six

1 Fret not thyself because of the wicked men, neither be envious for the evildoers.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like grass, and shall wither as the green herb.
3 Trust thou in the Lord and do good: dwell in the land, and thou shalt be fed assuredly:
4 And delight thyself in the Lord, and he shall give thee thine heart’s desire.
5 Commit thy way unto the Lord, and trust in him, and he shall bring it to pass.
6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noon day

This psalm is a sermon, and an excellent useful sermon it is, calculated not (as most of the psalms) for our devotion, but for our conversation; there is nothing in it of prayer or praise, but it is all instruction; it is "Maschil—a teaching psalm;’’ it is an exposition of some of the hardest chapters in the book of Providence, the advancement of the wicked and the disgrace of the righteous, a solution of the difficulties that arise thereupon, and an exhortation to conduct ourselves as becomes us under such dark dispensations. The work of the prophets (and David was one) was to explain the law. Now the law of Moses had promised temporal blessings to the obedient, and denounced temporal miseries against the disobedient, which principally referred to the body of the people, the nation as a nation; for, when they came to be applied to particular persons, many instances occurred of sinners in prosperity and saints in adversity; to reconcile those instances with the word that God had spoken is the scope of the prophet in this psalm, in which, He forbids us to fret at the prosperity of the wicked in their wicked ways.
 
He gives very good reasons why we should not fret at it. Because of the scandalous character of the wicked notwithstanding their prosperity, and the honourable character of the righteous. Because of the destruction and ruin which the wicked are nigh to and the salvation and protection which the righteous are sure of from all the malicious designs of the wicked. Because of the particular mercy God has in store for all good people and the favour he shows them. He prescribes very good remedies against this sin of envying the prosperity of the wicked, and great encouragement to use those remedies. In singing this psalm we must teach and admonish one another rightly to understand the providence of God and to accommodate ourselves to it, at all times carefully to do our duty and then patiently to leave the event with God and to believe that, how black soever things may look for the present, it shall be "well with those that fear God, that fear before him.’’A psalm of David.

The instructions here given are very plain; much need not be said for the exposition of them, but there is a great deal to be done for the reducing of them to practice, and there they will look best. We are here cautioned against discontent at the prosperity and success of evil-doers Fret not thyself, neither be thou envious. We may suppose that David speaks this to himself first, and preaches it to his own heart (in his communing with that upon his bed), for the suppressing of those corrupt passions which he found working there, and then leaves it in writing for instruction to others that might be in similar temptation. That is preached best, and with most probability of success, to others, which is first preached to ourselves. Now, when we look abroad we see the world full of evil-doers and workers of iniquity, that flourish and prosper, that have what they will and do what they will, that live in ease and pomp themselves and have power in their hands to do mischief to those about them. So it was in David’s time; and therefore, if it is so still, let us not marvel at the matter, as though it were some new or strange thing. When we look within we find ourselves tempted to fret at this, and to be envious against these scandals and burdens, these blemishes and common nuisances, of this earth. We are apt to fret at God, as if he were unkind to the world and unkind to his church in permitting such men to live, and prosper, and prevail, as they do. We are apt to fret ourselves with vexation at their success in their evil projects. We are apt to envy them the liberty they take in getting wealth, and perhaps by unlawful means, and in the indulgence of their lusts, and to wish that we could shake off the restraints of conscience and do so too. We are tempted to think them the only happy people, and to incline to imitate them, and to join ourselves with them, that we may share in their gains and eat of their dainties; and this is that which we are warned against: Fret not thyself, neither be thou envious. Fretfulness and envy are sins that are their own punishments; they are the uneasiness of the spirit and the rottenness of the bones; it is therefore in kindness to ourselves that we are warned against them. Yet that is not all; for: When we look forward with an eye of faith we shall see no reason to envy wicked people their prosperity, for their ruin is at the door and they are ripening apace for it. They flourish, but as the grass, and as the green herb, which nobody envies nor frets at. The flourishing of a godly man is like that of a fruitful tree (See Psalm 1) :but that of the wicked man is like grass and herbs, which are very short-lived. They will soon wither of themselves. Outward prosperity is a fading thing, and so is the life itself to which it is confined. They will sooner be cut down by the judgments of God. Their triumphing is short, but their weeping and wailing will be everlasting.

We are here counselled to live a life on confidence and complacency in God, and that will keep us from fretting at the prosperity of evil-doers; if we do well for our own souls, we shall see little reason to envy those that do so ill for theirs. Here are three excellent precepts, which we are to be ruled by, and, to enforce them, three precious promises, which we may rely upon. We must make God our hope in the way of duty and then we shall have a comfortable subsistence in this world, t is required that we trust in the Lord and do good, that we confide in God and conform to him. The life of religion lies much in a believing reliance on God, his favour, his providence, his promise, his grace, and a diligent care to serve him and our generation, according to his will. We must not think to trust in God and then live as we list. No; it is not trusting God, but tempting him, if we do not make conscience of our duty to him. Nor must we think to do good, and then to trust to ourselves, and our own righteousness and strength. No; we must both trust in the Lord and do good. And then, it is promised that we shall be well provided for in this world: So shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. He does not say, "So shalt thou get preferment, dwell in a palace, and be feasted.’’ This is not necessary; a man’s life consists not in the abundance of these things; but, "Thou shalt have a place to live in, and that in the land, in Canaan, the valley of vision, and thou shalt have food convenient for thee.’’ This is more than we deserve; it is as much as a good man will stipulate for (See Genesis 28:20), and it is enough for one that is going to heaven. "Thou shalt have a settlement, a quiet settlement, and a maintenance, a comfortable maintenance: Verily thou shalt be fed.’’ Some read it, Thou shalt be fed by faith, as the just are said to live by faith, and it is good living, good feeding, upon the promises. "Verily thou shalt be fed, as Elijah in the famine, with what is needful for thee.’’ God himself is a shepherd, a feeder, to all those that trust in him, (See Psalm 23:1). We must make God our heart’s delight and then we shall have our heart’s desire.
 
We must not only depend upon God, but solace ourselves in him. We must be well pleased that there is a God, that he is such a one as he has revealed himself to be, and that he is our God in covenant. We must delight ourselves in his beauty, bounty, and benignity; our souls must return to him, and repose in him, as their rest, and their portion for ever. Being satisfied of his loving-kindness, we must be satisfied with it, and make that our exceeding joy, (See Psalm 43:4). We were commanded. to do good, and then follows this command to delight in God, which is as much a privilege as a duty. If we make conscience of obedience to God, we may then take the comfort of a complacency in him. And even this pleasant duty of delighting in God has a promise annexed to it, which is very full and precious, enough to recompense the hardest services: He shall give thee the desires of thy heart. He has not promised to gratify all the appetites of the body and the humours of the fancy, but to grant all the desires of the heart, all the cravings of the renewed sanctified soul. What is the desire of the heart of a good man? It is this, to know, and love, and live to God, to please him and to be pleased in him.3. We must make God our guide, and submit in every thing to his guidance and disposal; and then all our affairs, even those that seem most intricate and perplexed, shall be made to issue well and to our satisfaction. 
 
The duty is very easy; and, if we do it aright, it will make us easy: Commit thy way unto the Lord; roll thy way upon the Lord (so the margin reads it), See Proverbs 16:3; Psalm 55:22). Cast thy burden upon the Lord, the burden of thy care, (See 1 Peter 5:7) We must roll it off ourselves, so as not to afflict and perplex ourselves with thoughts about future events (See Matthew 6:25) not to cumber and trouble ourselves either with the contrivance of the means or with expectation of the end, but refer it to God, leave it to him by his wise and good providence to order and dispose of all our concerns as he pleases. Retreat thy way unto the Lord (so the Septuagint), that is, "By prayer spread thy case, and all thy cares about it, before the Lord’’ (as Jephthah uttered all his words before the Lord in Mizpeh, (See Judges 11:11), "and then trust in him to bring it to a good issue, with a full satisfaction that all is well that God does.’’ We must do our duty (that must be our care) and then leave the event with God. Sit still, and see how the matter will fall, (See Ruth 3:18) We must follow Providence, and not force it, subscribe to Infinite Wisdom and not prescribe.

The promise is very sweet. In general, "He shall bring that to pass, whatever it is, which thou hast committed to him, if not to thy contrivance, yet to thy content. He will find means to extricate thee out of thy straits, to prevent thy fears, and bring about thy purposes, to thy satisfaction.’’ In particular, "He will take care of thy reputation, and bring thee out of thy difficulties, not only with comfort, but with credit and honour: He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light and thy judgment as the noon-day.’’, that is, "he shall make it to appear that thou art an honest man, and that is honour enough.’’ First, It is implied that the righteousness and judgment of good people may, for a time, be clouded and eclipsed, either by remarkable rebukes of Providence (Job’s great afflictions darkened his righteousness) or by the malicious censures and reproaches of men, who give them bad names which they no way deserve, and lay to their charge things which they know not. Secondly, It is promised that God will, in due time, roll away the reproach they are under, clear up their innocency, and bring forth their righteousness, to their honour, perhaps in this world, at furthest in the great day, See Matthew 13:43). Note, If we take care to keep a good conscience, we may leave it to God to take care of our good name

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Study of Psalm Thirty Four
Verse Twenty Two

22 The Lord redeemeth the souls of his servants: and none that trust in him, shall perish.

Related Scripture:

Psalm 103:4

Brethren:

We are redeemed by the blood of Christ. Even death no longer holds sway over us (Read 1 Corinthians 15:55) for our sins have been made to be as white as clean linen. (Read Isaiah 1:18; Revelation 7:14)

Friends, when we accept Christ as Savior all sin is cleansed from us, and we are made as righteous as God. There is nothing in this world that we can say or do to attain that righteousness, for even our best efforts are naught but filthy rags in comparison. (Read Isaiah 64:6).

Therefore, all people, seek the Lord while He may still be found.(Read Isaiah 55:6) Confess your sins, and accept Christ for He is quick and just to forgive.(1 John 1:9)

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

A Study of Psalm Thirty Four
Verse Twenty One

21 But malice shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous, shall perish.
GNV Translation

21 Evil shall kill the wicked; And they that hate the righteous shall be held guilty.
JPS Tanakh Translation


Brethren:
Above, we read of the fate of those that would do evil. In particular to those that would do so to those that God's own. We as Christians are taught to not repay evil for evil but to repay evil with good. However, those of this temporal plane that would do otherwise, shall be consumed by the deeds of their own making. Likewise in the day of judgment, shall they be held accountable, and judged as guilty for their actions.

Friends, take heed of this warning; seek for yourselves the Lord. He is patient and wishing that none should perish on the last day and that all peoples come to repentance. (Read 2 Peter 3:9). Do good for evil, think or speak no ill of anyone. Maintain, within yourselves a meek and humble spirit, for in so doing we heap coals of fire upon the wicked. (Read Proverbs 25:22). These coals, are not for harm, but for purification. That is to say, for them to see the error of their wickedness, and to come to Him that can save their souls.





Monday, May 7, 2018

A Study of Psalm Thirty Four
Verse Twenty

20 He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.

Related Scripture:


For these things were done (better, came to pass), that the scripture should be fulfilled.—The emphatic witness of the previous verse is not therefore to be confined to the one fact of the flowing of the blood and the water, but to the facts in which the fulfilment of Scripture was accomplished, and which establish the Messiahship of Jesus.

That which might have seemed an accidental occurrence—that they brake not the legs of Jesus [and] that which might have seemed a sort of instinct of the moment [this is to say], that the Roman soldier pierced the side of Jesus; he saw in the water and blood which flowed from it visible proof that Jesus was the Son of man; but he saw, too, that these incidents were part of the divine destiny of the Messiah which the prophets had foretold, and that in them the Scripture was fulfilled.
A bone of him shall not be broken.—The reference is, as the margin gives it, to the Paschal Lamb, in which the Baptist had already seen a type of Christ, and which St. Paul afterwards more definitely identifies with Him. (See 1 Corinthians 5:7). The words of the Psalm are doubtless themselves a poetic adaptation of the words of Exodus.” - C.J. Ellicott's commentary


Sunday, May 6, 2018

A Discourse On Meekness and Quietness of Spirit
  Abridged from the Rev. Matthew Henry
Edited by R.P. Woitowitz Sr.
A meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 1 Peter 3:4
Published by the American Tract Society

THE EXCELLENCY OF MEEKNESS

Consider what a preparative it is for something further.

It is a very desirable thing to stand complete in all the will of God, (See Colossians 4:12), to be fitted and furnished for every good work, to be made ready, a people prepared for the Lord. A living principle of grace is the best preparation for the whole will of God. Grace is establishing to the heart, it is the root of the matter, and a good foundation for the time to come [Read Luke 6:48]. This grace of meekness is particularly a good preparation for what lies before us in this world.

It makes us fit for any duty. It puts the soul in frame, and keeps it so for all religious exercises. There was no noise of axes and hammers in the building of the temple: those are most fit for temple service that are most quiet and composed. The work of God is best done when it is done without noise.

Meekness qualifies and disposes us to hear and receive the word: when malice and envy are laid aside, and we are like new-born babes for innocence and inoffensiveness, then we are most fit to receive the sincere milk of the word, and are most likely to grow thereby. Meekness prepares the soil of the heart for the seed of the word, as the husbandman opens and breaks the clods of his ground, and makes plain the face thereof, and then casts in "the principal wheat and the appointed barley." Christ's ministers are fishers of men, but we seldom fish successfully in these troubled waters. The voice that Eliphaz heard was ushered in with a profound silence, and in slumberings upon the bed—a quiet place and posture. God "opens the ears of men, and sealeth their instructions."

Prayer is another duty which meekness disposes us rightly and acceptably to perform. We do not lift up pure hands in prayer, if they be not "without wrath." Prayers made in wrath are written in gall, and can never be pleasing to, or prevailing with the God of love and peace. Our rule is, "First go and be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." And if we do not take this method, though we seek God in a due ordinance, we do not seek him in the due order. [Read Matthew 5:24]

The Lord's day is a day of rest, and none are fit for it but those who are in a quiet frame, whose souls have entered into that present sabbatism which the gospel has provided for the people of God. The Lord's supper is the gospel-feast of unleavened bread, which must be kept, not with the old leaven of wrath and malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 

God made a gracious visit to Abraham, and after that the strife between him and Lot was over, in which he had discovered so much mildness and humility. The more carefully we preserve the communion of saints, the fatter we are for communion with God. It is observable, that the sacrifices which God appointed under the law, were not ravenous beasts and birds of prey, but calves and kids and lambs and turtle-doves and young pigeons, all of them emblems of meekness and gentleness and inoffensiveness; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. This quietness of spirit contributes very much to the constant steadiness and regularity of a religious conversation. Hot and eager spirits, that are ready to take fire at every thing, are usually very inconstant in their profession, and of great inconsistency with themselves: like a man in an ague-fit, sometimes burning with heat, and sometimes shivering with cold; or like those that gallop in the beginning of their journey, and tire before the end of it; whereas the meek and quiet Christian is still the same, and by keeping to a constant rate, makes progress. If you would have one foot of the compass go even round the circumference, you must be sure to keep the other fixed and quiet in the centre, for your strength is to sit still. [Read Psalm 4:4; 46:10]

It makes us fit for any relation into which God in his providence may call us. Those who are quiet themselves, cannot but be easy to all that are about them; and the nearer any are to us in relation and converse, the more desirable it is that we should be easy to them. Relations are various, as superiors, inferiors, and equals; he that is of a meek and quiet spirit is fitted for any of them. Moses was forty years a courtier in Egypt, forty years a servant in Midian, and forty years a king in Jeshurun; and his meekness qualified him for each of these posts, and still he held fast his integrity. There are various duties requisite, according as the relation is, and various graces to be exercised; but this of meekness is the golden thread that must run through all. If man be a sociable creature, the more he has of humanity, the more fit he is for society. Meekness would greatly help to preserve the wisdom and due authority of superiors, the obedience and due subjection of inferiors, and the love and mutual kindness of equals. [Read Romans 13:7]. A calm and quiet spirit receives the comfort of the relation most thankfully, studies the duty of the relation most carefully, and bears the inconvenience of the relation—for there is no unmixed comfort under the sun—most cheerfully and easily. [Psalm 119:148]. I have heard of a married couple, who, though they were both naturally of a hasty temper, yet lived very comfortably in that relation by observing an agreement made between themselves, "never both to be angry together:" an excellent law of meekness, which, if faithfully obeyed, would prevent many of those breaches among relations which occasion so much guilt and grief, and are seldom healed without a scar. It was part of the good advice given by a pious and ingenious father to his children newly entered into the conjugal relation:

Doth one speak fire? t'other with water come;
Is one provoked ? be t'oher soft or dumb.

And thus one wise, both happy. But where wrath and anger are indulged, all relations are imbittered; those that should be helps, become as thorns in our eyes and goads in our sides. Two indeed are better than one, and yet it is better to dwell alone in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry relation, who is like "a continual dropping in a very rainy day." [Read Proverbs 21:19; 24:24]

It makes us fit for any condition, according as the wise God shall please to dispose of us. Those who, through grace, are enabled to compose and quiet themselves, are fit to live in this world, where we meet with so much every day to discompose and disquiet us. In general, whether the outward condition be prosperous or adverse, whether the world smile or frown upon us, a meek and quiet spirit is neither lifted up with the one nor cast down with the other, but is still in the same poise: in prosperity humble and condescending, the estate rising, but the mind not rising with it; in adversity encouraged and cheered—cast down, but not in despair. St. Paul, who had learned in every estate "to be content, knew how to be abased, and knew how to abound; everywhere, and in all things, he was instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need." [Read Philippians 4:7]. Changes without made none within. It is a temper which, as far as it has the ascendant in the soul, makes every burden light, by bringing the mind to the condition, when the condition is not in every thing brought to the mind. Prosperity and adversity have each of them their particular temptation to peevishness and frowardness; the former by making men imperious, the latter by making them impatient. Against the assaults of each of these temptations the grace of meekness will stand upon the guard. Being to pass through this world "by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report," that is, through a great variety of conditions and of treatment, we have need of that long-suffering and kindness and love unfeigned which will be "the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left." Meekness and quietness will fortify the soul on each hand, and suit it to the several entertainments which the world gives us; like a skillful pilot that, from which point of the compass soever the wind blows, will shift his sails accordingly, and knows either how to get forward and weather his point with it, or to lie by without damage. It is the continual happiness of a quiet temper to make the best of that which is.

It makes us fit for a day of persecutionIf tribulation and affliction arise because of the word—which is no foreign supposition—the meek and quiet spirit is armed for it, so as to preserve its peace and purity at such a time, which are our two great concerns, that we may neither torment ourselves with a base fear, nor pollute ourselves with a base compliance. We are accustomed to say, we "will give any thing for a quiet life;" I say, any thing for a quiet consciencewhich will be best secured under the shield of a meek and quiet spirit, which doth not "render railing for railing," nor aggravate the threatened trouble, nor represent it to itself in its most formidable colors, but has learned to put a but upon the power of the most enraged enemies; they can but kill the body; and to witness the most righteous testimony with meekness and fear, like our Master, who, "when he suffered, threatened not, but committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously." Suffering saints—as the suffering Jesus—are compared to sheep dumb before the shearer, nay, dumb before the butcher. The meek and quiet Christian, if duly called to it, can tamely part, not only with the wool, but with the blood; not only with the estate, but with the life, and even then rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Angry, froward people, in a day of rebuke, are apt to pull crosses upon themselves by needless provocations; or to murmur and complain, and fly in the face of instruments, and give unbecoming language, contrary to the laws of our holy religion and the example of our Master, and so get more hurt than good by their suffering. [Read Proverbs 17:10; Ecclesiastes 7:5]. Whenever we have the honor to be persecuted for righteousness' sake, our great care must be to glorify God and to adorn our profession, which is done most effectually by meekness and mildness, under the hardest censures and the most cruel usage; so manifesting that we are indeed under the power and influence of that holy religion for which we think it worth our while to suffer.

It makes us fit for death and eternity. The grave is a quiet place; "there the wicked cease from troubling." Those that were most troublesome are there bound to the peace; and "their hatred and envy" are there "perished." Whether we will or no, in the grave we shall lie still and be quiet. (See Job 3:13). What a great change then must it needs be to the unquiet, the angry and litigious; and what a mighty shock will that sudden, forced rest give them, after such a violent, rapid motion. It is therefore our wisdom to compose ourselves for the grave; to prepare ourselves for it, by adapting and accommodating ourselves to that which is likely to be our long home. This is dying daily, quieting ourselves, for death will shortly quiet us.

The meek and quiet soul is, at death, let into that rest which it has been so much laboring after; and how welcome must that needs be. Thoughts of death and the grave are very agreeable to those who love to be quiet; for then and there "they shall enter into peace," and "rest in their beds."

After death we expect the judgment, than which nothing is more dreadful to them that are "contentious." The coming of the Master brings terror along with it to those who "smite their fellow-servants;" but those that are meek and quiet are likely to have their plea ready, their accounts stated, and whenever it comes it will be no surprise to them: to those whose "moderation is known to all men," it will be no ungrateful news to hear that "the Lord is at hand." It is therefore prescribed as that which ought to be our constant care, that whenever our Master comes, we may "be found of him in peace," that is, in a peaceable temper. Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when he comes shall find in such a frame. "A good man," says the late excellent Archbishop Tillotson, in his preface to his book of Family Religion, "would be loath to be taken out of the world reeking hot from a sharp contention with a perverse adversary; and not a little out of countenance to find himself in this temper translated into the calm and peaceable regions of the blessed, where nothing but perfect charity and good-will reigns for ever." Heaven is a quiet place, and none are fit for it but quiet people. The heavenly Canaan, that land of peace, would be no heaven to those that delight in war. The turbulent and unquiet would be out of their element, like a fish upon the dry ground, in those calm regions.

They are the sheep of Christ—such as are patient and inoffensive—that are called to inherit the kingdom; without are dogs, that bite and devour. (See Revelations 22:15).

They are the wings of a dove, not those of a hawk or eagle, that David would fly upon to his desired rest. (See Psalm 55:6).

Now lay all this together, and then consider whether there be not a real excellency in this meekness and quietness of spirit, which highly recommends it to all that love either God or themselves, or have any sensible regard to their own comfort, either in this world or in that which is to come.