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I thank Thee, O Father, that Thou hast provided this refuge for my soul. In Thy loving care for Thy creatures, Thou didst set the rocks for a refuge for the conies; in Thy redeeming love Thou hast given Thy Son to be the Rock of salvation, for weak and sinful men to flee to. Thou Who hast provided this Refuge for me, give me grace, all weak and defenceless as I am, to make my house there, to flee thither, and to stay there. Thou dost give instinct to these Thy lesser creatures to make their dwelling in the rocks, and at every
Ꮎ appearance of danger to run to their refuge : Thou hast given me faith to believe in Jesus as my Rock, oh, grant that I may abide in Him always, stay in Him, dwell in Him; and help me now, and in every time of need and danger, and whenever my spirit fails and my heart is overwhelmed, help me afresh to take refuge in Him. I am "little upon the earth,” I am very weak; but give me this true wisdom, this wisdom from above, to look unto Jesus, to abide in Christ; by Thy Holy Spirit, do Thou make me thus “ exceeding wise.”
ENCOURAGEMENT IN THE LORD.
“But David encouraged himself in the Lord.”
1 Sam. xxx. 6.
THESE very words are encouraging; for if David encouraged himself in the Lord, why may not I? True, I am not David, I dare not place myself on the level of “the man after God's own heart;” but David's Lord is my Lord, and it was in the Lord that he encouraged himself, not in himself; and besides, whatever David was, and whatever I am, it is not in myself that I venture to look to the Lord God Almighty at all, but in my Saviour alone.
But there is a likeness between David and me : “David was greatly distressed," and so
David was distressed because the
people laid on him the blame of the great calamity that had befallen them, and talked of stoning him. This was in addition to his own share in the misfortune, which was as great as that of any, for the city was burnt with fire, and his two wives were taken captive. And now he was to be stoned, as the cause of all the trouble. Broken-hearted with sorrow, and now threatened with death besides, no wonder he was “greatly distressed.”
My causes of distress are not like his, yet to me they are great. The state of my health distresses me, my long illness, and my pain and discomfort, and the slow progress I make; and I cannot help being depressed by anxious thoughts about my family and my affairs and the future; and I have other distressing thoughts and feelings, which none but God knows. I have my ups and downs; at times I can be cheerful, but often I am much cast down, a wave of trouble seems to pass over me,“ greatly distressed” is just what I am at those times.
But, with God's help, I, like David, will encourage myself in the Lord. It was in the secret place of his own heart that he encouraged himself. Was he at the time amid those who threatened his life? Was it in a scene of grief and weeping, in the midst of a tumult of mingled sorrow and anger, that he thus silently encouraged himself? Perhaps so. The heart may be with God, while we are surrounded with angry men.
The soul may be lifted up in prayer, though noise and confusion are all around. While men threatened, David in thought took refuge with God. So may I, even when surrounded by people and things all tending to disturb and hinder me. Lord, help me even at such times to encourage myself in Thee!
But perhaps the tumult was over for the time, and he was alone; perhaps he had found means to go apart on purpose to seek God. I am much alone; alone with my thoughts and God. This is the time to battle with distressing feelings, this is the time to encourage myself in the Lord; a precious time.
David doubtless encouraged himself by thought and prayer ; but all “in the Lord.”
He thought of the Lord his God, and of many a past deliverance; he thought of God as faithful, unchanging, and almighty. What could those men do against his life, if God would save him? God could even yet repair all the harm done, and restore to him all he had lost. Then he prayed. If amongst others, his thoughts and prayers were short - a glancing thought and recollection, a moment's prayer: but if he was alone, then he thought much, and prayed fully and particularly.
Lord, I lift my eyes to Thee now, on Thee do I fix my thoughts, to Thee do I cry. Many a time hast Thou helped, delivered, and comforted me; from many a danger hast Thou delivered me, and out of many a distress hast Thou lifted me up. And Thou art still the same—my God, my gracious and loving and all-powerful God and Father in Christ, my Saviour. Thou canst do all things for me. Thou canst deliver me out of all my troubles. And Thou dost care for me, and Thou dost hear me always, when I call upon Thee in my Saviour's name.