THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH

Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

“Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us.” (Psalm 68:28).

The Lord imparts unto us that primary strength of character which makes everything in life work with intensity and decision. We are “strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.” And the strength is continuous; reserves of power come to us which we cannot exhaust.

“As thy days, so shall thy strength be”- the strength of will, the strength of affection, the strength of judgment, the strength of ideas and achievement.

“The Lord is my strength” to go on. He gives us the power to tread the dead level, to walk the long lane that seems never to have a turning, to go through those long reaches of life which afford no pleasant surprise, and which depress the spirits in the sameness of a terrible drudgery.

“The Lord is my strength” to go up. He is to me the power by which I can climb the Hill Difficulty (THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS) and not be afraid.

“The Lord is my strength” to go down. It is when we leave the bracing heights, where the wind and the sun have been about us, and when we begin to come down the hill into closer and more sultry spheres, that the heart is apt to grow faint.

I heard a man say the other day concerning his growing physical frailty, “It is the coming down that tires me!”

“The Lord is my strength” to sit still. And how difficult is the attainment! Do we not often say to one another, in seasons when we are compelled to be quiet, “If only I could do something!”

When the child is ill, and the mother stands by in comparative impotence, how severe is the test! But to do nothing, just to sit still and wait, requires tremendous strength. “The Lord is my strength!” “Our sufficiency is of God.” The Silver Lining A Door Opened in Heaven “A door opened in heaven” (Revelation 4:1).

You must remember that John was in the Isle of Patmos, alone, rocky, inhospitable prison, for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus. And yet to him, under such circumstances, separated from all the loved ones of Ephesus; debarred from the worship of the Church; condemned to the companionship of uncongenial fellow-captives, were vouchsafed these visions. For him, also a door was opened.

We are reminded of Jacob, exiled from his father’s house, who laid himself down in a desert place to sleep, and in his dreams beheld a ladder which united Heaven with earth, and at the top stood God.

Not to these only, but to many more, doors have been opened into Heaven, when, so far as the world was concerned, it seemed as though their circumstances were altogether unlikely for such revelations.

To prisoners and captives; to constant sufferers, bound by iron chains of pain to sick couches; to lonely pilgrims and wanderers; to women detained from the Lord’s house by the demands of home, how often has the door been opened to Heaven.

But there are conditions. You must know what it is to be in the Spirit; you must be pure in heart and obedient in faith; you must be willing to count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ; then when God is all in all of us, when we live, move and have our being in His favour, to us also will the door be opened.

“God hath His mountains bleak and bare, Where He doth bid us rest awhile; Crags where we breathe a purer air, Lone peaks that catch the day’s first smile.

“God hath His deserts broad and brown–A solitude–a sea of sand, Where He doth let heaven’s curtain down, Unknit by His Almighty hand.” There We Saw the Giants.

Let there be only one giant in your life today and let it be the Holy Spirit to conquer and fight all of your battles and to open doors for you. May Almighty God bless and keep you this day to His perfect will.

GOD GIVEN ATTITUDES

Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

“And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39).

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13).

There are two attitudes in which our will should be given to God.

First. We should have the surrendered will. This is where we must all begin, by yielding up to God our natural will and having Him possess it.

But next, He wants us to have the victorious will. As soon as He receives our will in honest surrender, He wants to put His will into it and make it stronger than ever for Him. It is henceforth no longer our will, but His will. And having yielded to His choice and placed itself under His direction, He wants to put into it all the strength and intensity of His own great will and make us positive, forceful, victorious and unmovable, even as Himself. “Not My will, but Thine be done.” That is the first step. “Father, I will that they whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me.” That is the second attitude. Both are divine; both are right; both are necessary to our right living and successful working for God.

Brethren what more can we ask for as we start this new year 2018. I implore you to surrender to His will and let Him lead you to the Rock that is higher than you.

THE GENTLENESS OF GOD (Part two)

The Gentleness of God–Part II

“Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.” Psalm 18:35

What exactly may be meant by greatness is a question that we need not linger to discuss. It is enough that the writer of this verse was conscious that he had been lifted to that eminence. That he had been in extreme distress is clear from the earlier verses of this chapter. His heart had fainted–his efforts had been in vain–his hopes had flickered and sunk into their ashes. And then mysteriously, but very certainly, he had been carried upward to light and power and liberty, and now he is looking back over it all. That it was God who had so raised him up was, of course, as clear to him as the noonday. He had sent up his cry to heaven in the dark, and to that cry, His greatness was the answer. But what impressed him as he surveyed it all was not the infinite power of the Almighty; it was rather the amazing and unceasing gentleness wherewith that infinite power had been displayed. “Thy gentleness hath made me great,” he cried. That was the outstanding and arresting feature. Tracing the way by which he had been led, he saw conspicuous a gentle ministry of God.

The One and Only Gentle God

Let me say in passing that that wonderful concept is really peculiar to the Bible. I know no deity in any sacred book that exhibits such an attribute as that. Of course, when one believes in many gods, it is always possible that one of them is gentle. When the whole world is thought to be tenanted with spirits, some of them doubtless will be gentle spirits. But that is a very different thing indeed from saying that the One Lord of heaven and earth has that in His heart which we can dimly picture under the human attribute of gentleness. No prophets save the prophets of Israel ever conceived the gentleness of God. To no other poets save these Jewish poets was the thought of heavenly gentleness revealed. And so when we delight in this great theme, we are dwelling on something eminently biblical, something that makes us, with all our Christian liberty, a debtor unto this hour to the Jewish prophets for bringing this to our attention.

Now if we wish to grasp the wonder of God’s gentleness, there are one or two things we ought to do. We ought, for instance, always to lay it against the background of the divine omnipotence. You know quite well that the greater the power, the more arresting the gentleness becomes. As might advances and energy increases, so always the more notable is gentleness. It is far more impressive in the general of armies than in some retired and ineffectual dreamer. The mightier the power a man commands, the more compelling is his trait of gentleness. If he is the ruler of a million subjects, a touch of tenderness is thrilling. And it is when we think of the infinite might of God, who is King of kings and Lord of lords, that we realize the wonder of our text. It is He who calleth out the stars by number and maketh the pillars of the heaven to shake. And when He worketh, no man can stay His hand, nor say to Him, What doest Thou? And it is this Ruler, infinite in power, before whom the princes of the earth are vanity, who is exquisitely and forever gentle.

The Wonder of God’s Gentleness in View of Sin

Again, to feel the wonder of God’s gentleness, we must set it against the background of God’s righteousness. It is when we hear the seraphs crying “Holy, Holy, Holy” that we thrill to the thought of the gentleness of God. There is a kind of gentleness–we are all familiar with it–that springs from an easy and uncaring tolerance. It is the happy good nature of those characters to whom both right and wrong are nebulous. Never inspired by any love of goodness and never touched by any hate of evil, it is not difficult to walk the world with a certain smiling tolerance of everybody.

Now there have been nations whose gods were of that kind. Their gentleness was the index of their weakness. (Living immoral lives in their Olympus, why should they worry about man’s immorality?) But I need hardly take time to point out to you that the one radical thing about the Jewish God—one unchanging feature of His being–was that He was infinitely and forever holy. He was of purer eyes than to behold iniquity. “The soul that sinneth,” said the prophet, “it shall die.” And He visits the sins of the fathers of the children, even unto the third and fourth generation. All this was graven on the Jewish heart and inwrought into Jewish history; yet the psalmist could sing in his great hour, “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” I beg of you, therefore, never to imagine that the gentleness of God is only an easy tolerance. Whatever it is, it certainly is not that, as life sooner or later shows to every man. Whatever it is, it leans against the background of a righteousness that burns as doth a fire, and I say that helps us to feel the wonder of it.

The same jewel upon the bosom of omnipotence flashes out as we survey the Bible. The Bible is really one long record of the amazing gentleness of God. Other features of the divine character may be more immediately impressive there. And reading hastily, one might easily miss the revelation of a gentle God. Yet so might one, walking beside the sea, where hammers were ringing in the village workshop, easily miss the underlying music of the waves ceaselessly breaking on the shore. But the waves are breaking although the hammers drown them, and the gentleness of God is always there. It is there–not very far away–at the heart of all the holiness and sovereignty; it is there where the fire of His anger waxes hot and His judgments are abroad upon the earth, and men are crying, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”