ATTRIBUTES OF GOD - index to more studies on site
- The Attributes of God - Chart
- Names of God Reflecting Various Attributes
Spurgeon commenting on Psalm 9:10 observes that
Ignorance is worst when it amounts to ignorance of God, and knowledge is best when it exercises itself upon the Name of God (Click for study on Names of God). This most excellent knowledge leads to the most excellent grace of faith. O, to learn more of the attributes and character of God. Unbelief, that hooting night bird, cannot live in the light of divine knowledge, it flies before the sun of God's great and gracious name. ...By knowing his name is also meant an experimental acquaintance with the attributes of God, which are everyone of them anchors to hold the soul from drifting in seasons of peril. The Lord may hide his face for a season from his people, but he never has utterly, finally, really, or angrily, forsaken them that seek him.
Spurgeon commenting on Psalm 18:22 he adds that
The word, the character, and the actions of God should be evermore before our eyes; we should learn, consider, and reverence them. Men forget what they do not wish to remember, but the excellent attributes of the Most High are objects of the believer's affectionate and delighted admiration. We should keep the image of God so constantly before us that we become in our measure conformed unto it. This inner love to the right must be the main spring of Christian integrity in our public walk. The fountain must be filled with love to holiness and then the streams which issue from it will be pure and gracious.
In life and death we prove the attributes of God’s righteousness. We find that He does not lie but is faithful to His Word. We learn the attributes of mercy, for He is gentle in the time of our weakness. We prove the attributes of His immutability, for we find Him “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb 13:8).
Spurgeon commenting on Psalm 37:4 encourages us to remember that
Every name, attribute, word, or deed of Jehovah, should be delightful to us, and in meditating thereon our soul should be as glad as is the epicure who feeds delicately with a profound relish for his dainties.
Our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep who was brought up from the dead (Heb 13:20-note), uses His omnipotence, His omniscience, and His divine attributes to keep His sheep. My dear believer, rest assured, He will preserve you! You are in good keeping. He is the Shepherd, the great Shepherd and the chief Shepherd (1 Pe 5:4-note).
In Morning and Evening (May 18) Spurgeon reminds us that...
All the attributes of Christ, as God and man, are at our disposal. All the fulness of the Godhead, whatever that marvellous term may comprehend, is ours to make us complete. He cannot endow us with the attributes of Deity; but He has done all that can be done, for He has made even His divine power and Godhead subservient to our salvation. His omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, immutability and infallibility, are all combined for our defence.
Arise, believer, and behold the Lord Jesus yoking the whole of his divine Godhead to the chariot of salvation! How vast his grace, how firm his faithfulness, how unswerving his immutability, how infinite his power, how limitless his knowledge!
All these are by the Lord Jesus made the pillars of the temple of salvation; and all, without diminution of their infinity, are covenanted to us as our perpetual inheritance. The fathomless love of the Saviour’s heart is every drop of it ours; every sinew in the arm of might, every jewel in the crown of majesty, the immensity of divine knowledge, and the sternness of divine justice, all are ours, and shall be employed for us. The whole of Christ, in his adorable character as the Son of God, is by Himself made over to us most richly to enjoy. His wisdom is our direction, His knowledge our instruction, His power our protection, His justice our surety, His love our comfort, His mercy our solace, and His immutability our trust. He makes no reserve, but opens the recesses of the Mount of God and bids us dig in its mines for the hidden treasures. “All, all, all are yours,” saith He, “be ye satisfied with favour and full of the goodness of the Lord.” Oh! how sweet thus to behold Jesus, and to call upon Him with the certain confidence that in seeking the interposition of His love or power, we are but asking for that which He has already faithfully promised.
This title/attribute is found only twice in the entire Scripture but is surely worthy of characterization as one of God's great attributes. How else could He bless His creatures, if Himself were not the Blessed God, fully satisfied in Himself and all that He is? I think it would not be possible, but praise God that He inspired Paul to twice refer to Him as the "Blessed God". In 1Ti 1:10 Paul is discussing sound doctrine and in that context then breaks forth in a "mini-doxology" of sorts...
according to the glorious Gospel of the Blessed (makarios) God, with which I have been entrusted. (1Ti 1:11).
In chapter six Paul again breaks forth in praise to the Almighty, this time using the title "Blessed and only Sovereign" in the context of his reference to the glorious Second Coming of our Savior...
(the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ) which He will bring about at the proper time (cp what He brought about in His First Coming - Gal 4:4! How thankful we are that the Timeless, Eternal God has chosen by His free will to act in Time on behalf of His fallen creatures!)-- He who is the Blessed (makarios) and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. (1Ti 6:15)
Spurgeon has a sermon entitled "The Glorious Gospel of the Blessed God" in which he addresses this beautiful title of God...
I believe William Knibb used to read this passage, “The gospel of the happy God,” and it was not a mistake-it is the very gist of the matter. “The gospel of the happy God.” Have you ever considered how happy God must be! how supremely happy? No care, no sorrow, can ever pass across His infinite mind. He is serenely blessed evermore. Now, when a man is miserable, and of a miserable turn of mind, he as naturally makes people miserable, as a foul fountain pours out foul water; but when a good man is superlatively happy, he imparts happiness. A happy face attracts many of us, and a happy temperament, a quiet mind, a serene disposition, why, a man who has these, inevitably tries to make others happy; and it is, I suppose, because God is infinitely happy, that he delights in the happiness of His creatures.
The fabled gods of the heathen, were vexed with all sorts of ambitions, longings, and cravings, which they could not gratify, or which, when gratified, only made them crave the more, consequently they are pictured as revengeful and cruel, delighting in the miseries of men; but our God is so perfectly blessed, that He has no motive for causing needless sorrow to His creatures. He has all perfection within Himself; and, consequently, He delights to make us happy. How much satisfaction God finds in the happiness of creatures that are devoid of intellect? You may have seen sometimes when the sea is going down, a little fringe at the edge of the wave which looks like mist; but if you were carefully to examine it, you would find that there were countless multitudes of very tiny shrimps, all leaping up and casting themselves into all manner of forms of intense delight. Look again at the gnats, as you walk in your gardens in the summer’s evenings-how they dance up and down-these little mirthful beings are all exhibiting to us the perfect blessedness that God would have to be manifested by all His creatures.
He would have His people supremely blest,
He would have every vessel of mercy full to the brim with the oil of joy;
and the way to make us so is to give us the Gospel.
The Gospel is sent, to use our Savior’s words, “that His joy may be in us, and that our joy may be full.” (Jn 15:11) We enjoy heaven upon earth as we sit at the feast of fat things on earth-what will be our glory when the Gospel of the blessed God shall have turned out all our sin-; when we shall swim in the Gospel as the fish swims in the sea; when the Gospel shall become our element ’in the next world. Oh! the happiness of the creatures that are full of the Gospel spirit before the throne of God!
Dear hearer, did the Gospel ever come to you in that shape? I am afraid that to most people the gospel is a bondage, because they do not know it in very deed. I am afraid that to many, Gospel emotion is a sort of spasm; they are satisfied with the truth sometimes, and at other times when they feel they must have a treat, they go into the world for it. Where you get your treats there your heart is; whatever it is that gives you the most happiness, that is the master of your spirit....
“The Gospel of the happy God,” also means the Gospel of the God Whom we must bless in return. As being happy, He makes us happy; so we, being happy, desire to ascribe to Him all the glory of our happiness, Now, is the Gospel to you, my dear young friend over there, the gospel of a God Whom you bless from all your heart because He has sent it to you, and made you willing to receive it? If so, you are saved. But if now, if no emotions of sincere gratitude stir the deeps of your soul, then the Gospel has been to you no more than a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. (READ The Glorious Gospel of the Blessed God)
Surely this truth of the blessedness of the Blessed God Who alone can bestow true blessing on us otherwise miserable creatures is worthy of inspired praise...
Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits (Psalm 103:1-2-note)
Suppose for a moment that Jehovah could not see the works and know the thoughts of man. Would you then become more careless concerning Him than you are now? I think not. In nine cases out of ten, and perhaps in a far larger and sadder proportion, the doctrine of divine omniscience, although it is believed, has no practical effect on our lives at all. The mass of mankind forget God.
I have known a man who was once stopped from an act of sin by there being a cat in the room. He could not bear even the eyes of that poor creature to see him. Swearer! Could you swear if you could see God's eye looking at you? Thief! Drunkard! Harlot! Could you indulge in your sins if you saw His eyes on you? Oh, I think they would startle you, and bid you pause, before you did in God's own sight rebel against His law.
When a great Grecian artist was fashioning an image for the temple, he was diligently carving the back part of the goddess. One said to him, "You need not finish that part of the statue, because it is to be built into the wall."
He replied, "The gods can see in the wall."
He had a right idea of what is due to God. That part of my religion which no man can see should be as perfect as if it were to be observed by all.
I have sometimes stood in a picture gallery, and there has been a painting of some old warrior, and he has looked straight at me. If I have gone to the other end of the room, he has still looked at me. Wherever you are in the room, a well-painted portrait will be looking at you. Such is God. Wherever you are, the eye of God will be on you—as much on you as if there were not another person in the whole world.
COMMENTS ON PSALM 139
He invokes in adoration Jehovah the all-knowing God, and he proceeds to adore him by proclaiming one of his peculiar attributes. If we would praise God aright we must draw the matter of our praise from himself - “O Jehovah, thou hast.”
No pretended god knows aught of us; but the true God, Jehovah, understands us, and is most intimately acquainted with our persons, nature, and character. How well it is for us to know the God who knows us!
The divine knowledge is extremely thorough and searching; it is as if he had searched us, as officers search a man for contraband goods, or as pillagers ransack a house for plunder. Yet we must not let the figure run upon all fours, and lead us further than it is meant to do, the Lord knows all things naturally and as a matter of course, and not by any effort on his part.
Searching ordinarily implies a measure of ignorance which is removed by observation; of course this is not the case with the Lord; but the meaning of the Psalmist is, that the Lord knows us as thoroughly as if he had examined us minutely, and had pried into the most secret corners of our being.
This infallible knowledge has always existed - “Thou hast searched me”: and it continues unto this day, since God cannot forget that which he has once known. There never was a time in which we were unknown to God, and there never will be a moment in which we shall be beyond his observation.
Note how the Psalmist makes his doctrine personal, he saith not, “O God, thou knowest all things”; but, “thou hast known me.” It is ever our wisdom to lay truth home to ourselves. How wonderful the contrast between the Observer and the observed! Jehovah and me! Yet this most intimate connection exists, and therein lies our hope. Let the reader sit still a while and try to realize the two poles of this statement, - the Lord and poor puny man - and he will see much to admire and wonder at.
Psalm 139:2 “Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising.”
Me thou knowest, and all that comes of me. I am observed when I quietly sit down, and marked when I resolutely rise up. My most common and casual acts, my most needful and necessary movements, are noted by thee, and thou knowest the inward thoughts which regulate them. Whether I sink in lowly self-renunciation, or ascend in pride, thou seest the motions of my mind, as well as those of my body. This is a fact to be remembered every moment: sitting down to consider, or rising up to act, we are still seen, known, and read by Jehovah our Lord.
Psalm 139:2b “Thou understandest my thought afar off.”
Before it is my own it is foreknown and comprehended by thee. Though my thought be invisible to the sight, though as yet I be not myself cognizant of the shape it is assuming, yet thou hast it under thy consideration, and thou perceivest its nature, its source, its drift, its result. Never dost thou misjudge or wrongly interpret me, my inmost thought is perfectly understood by thine impartial mind. Though thou shouldst give but a glance at my heart, and see me as one sees a passing meteor moving afar, yet thou wouldst by that g!impse sum up all the meanings of my soul, so transparent is everything to thy piercing glance.
Psalm 139:3 “Thou compassest my path and my lying down.”
My path and my pallet, my running and my resting, are alike within the circle of thine observation. Thou dost surround me even as the air continually surrounds all creatures that live. I am shut up within the wall of thy being; I am encircled within the bounds of thy knowledge. Waking or sleeping I am still observed of thee. I may leave thy path, but thou never leavest mine. I may sleep and forget thee, but thou dost never slumber, nor fall into oblivion concerning thy creature. The original signifies not only surrounding, but winnowing and sifting. The Lord judges our active life and our quiet life; he discriminates our action and our repose, and marks that in them which is good and also that which is evil. There is chaff in all our wheat, and the Lord divides them with unerring precision.
Psalm 139:3b “And art acquainted with all my ways.”
Thou art familiar with all I do; nothing is concealed from thee, nor surprising to thee, nor misunderstood by thee. Our paths may be habitual or accidental, open or secret, but with them all the Most Holy One is well acquainted. This should fill us with awe, so that we sin not; with courage, so that we fear not; with delight, so that we mourn not.
Psalm 139:4 “For there is not a word in my tongue, but lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.”
The unformed word, which lies within the tongue like a seed in the soft, is certainly and completely known to the Great Searcher of hearts. A negative expression is used to make the positive statement all the stronger: not a word is unknown is a forcible way of saying that every word is well known. Divine knowledge is perfect, since not a single word is unknown, nay, not even an unspoken word, and each one is “altogether” or wholly known. What hope of concealment can remain when the speech with which too many conceal their thoughts is itself transparent before the Lord? O Jehovah, how great art thou! If thine eye hath such power, what must be the united force of thine whole nature!
Psalm 139:5 “Thou hast beset me behind and before.”
As though we were caught in an ambush, or besieged by an army which has wholly beleaguered the city walls, we are surrounded by the Lord. God has set us where we be, and beset us wherever we be. Behind us there is God recording our sins, or in grace blotting out the remembrance of them; and before us there is God foreknowing all our deeds, and providing for all our wants. We cannot turn back and so escape him, for he is behind; we cannot go forward and outmarch him, for he is before. He not only beholds us, but he besets us; and lest there should seem any chance of escape, or lest we should imagine that the surrounding presence is yet a distant one, it is added, -
Psalm 139:5b “And laid thine hand upon me.”
The prisoner marches along surrounded by a guard, and gripped by an officer. God is very near; we are wholly in His power; from that power there is no escape. It is not said that God will thus beset us and arrest us, but it is done - “Thou hast beset me.” Shall we not alter the figure, and say that our heavenly Father has folded his arms around us, and caressed us with his hand? It is even so with those who are by faith the children of the Most High.
Psalm 139:6 “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me.”
I cannot grasp it. I can hardly endure to think of it. The theme overwhelms me. I am amazed and astounded at it. Such knowledge not only surpasses my comprehension, but even my imagination.
Psalm 139:6b “It is high, I cannot attain unto it.”
Mount as I may, this truth is too lofty for my mind. It seems to be always above me, even when I soar into the loftiest regions of spiritual thought. Is it not so with every attribute of God? Can we attain to any idea of his power, his wisdom, his holiness? Our mind has no line with which to measure the Infinite. Do we therefore question? Say, rather, that we therefore believe and adore. We are not surprised that the Most Glorious God should in his knowledge be high above all the knowledge to which we can attain: it must of necessity be so, since we are such poor limited beings; and when we stand a-tip-toe we cannot reach to the lowest step of the throne of the Eternal.
Here omnipresence is the theme, - a truth to which omniscience naturally leads up. Not that the Psalmist wished to go from God, or to avoid the power of the divine life; but he asks this question to set forth the fact that no one can escape from the all-pervading being and observation of the Great Invisible Spirit. Observe how the writer makes the matter personal to himself - “Whither shall I go?” It were well if we all thus applied truth to our own cases. It were wise for each one to say - The spirit of the Lord is ever around me: Jehovah is omnipresent to me.
Psalm 139:7b “Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?”
If, full of dread, I hastened to escape from that nearness of God which had become my terror, which way could I turn? “Whither?.... Whither?” He repeats his cry. No answer comes back to him. The reply to his first “Whither?” is its echo, - a second “Whither?” From the sight of God he cannot be hidden, but that is not all, m from the immediate, actual, constant presence of God he cannot be withdrawn. We must be, whether we will it or not, as near to God as our soul is to our body. This makes it dreadful work to sin; for we offend the Almighty to his face, and commit acts of treason at the very foot of his throne. Go from him, or flee from him we cannot: neither by patient travel nor by hasty flight can we withdraw from the all-surrounding Deity. His mind is in our mind; himself within ourselves. His spirit is over our spirit; our presence is ever in his presence.
Ps139:8 “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there.”
Filling the loftiest region with his yet loftier presence, Jehovah is in the heavenly place, at home, upon his throne. The ascent, if it were possible, would be unavailing for purposes of escape; it would, in fact, be a flying into the centre of the fire to avoid the heat. There would he be immediately confronted by the terrible personality of God. Note the abrupt words -
Ps139:8b “Thou, there.” “If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.”
Descending into the lowest imaginable depths among the dead, there should we find the Lord. Thou! says the Psalmist, as if he felt that God was the one great Existence in all places. Whatever Hades may be, or whoever may be there, one thing is certain, Thou, O Jehovah, art there. Two regions, the one of glory and the other of darkness, are set in contrast, and this one fact is asserted of both - “thou art there.” Whether we rise up or lie down, take our wing or make our bed, we shall find God near us. A “behold” is added to the second clause, since it seems more a wonder to meet with God in hell than in heaven, in Hades than in Paradise. Of course the presence of God produces very different effects in these places, but it is unquestionably in each; the bliss of one, the terror of the other. What an awful thought, that some men seem resolved to take up their night's abode In hell, a night which shall know no morning.
If I could fly with all swiftness, and find a habitation where the mariner has not yet ploughed the deep, yet I could not reach the boundaries of the divine presence. Light flies with inconceivable rapidity, and it flashes far afield beyond all human ken; it illuminates the great and wide sea, and sets its waves gleaming afar; but its speed would utterly fail if employed in flying from the Lord. Were we to speed on the wings of the morning breeze, and break into oceans unknown to chart and map, yet there we should find the Lord already present. He who saves to the uttermost would be with us in the uttermost parts of the sea.
Wherever you are, your heavenly Father watches over you. He looks on you as if there were no other created being in the entire world. His eye is fixed on you every moment. You cannot banish me from my Lord. Send me to the snows of Siberia, and I will have the eyes of God on me. Send me to Australia, and He will visit me. Send me to the utmost verge of this globe, and I will still have God’s eye on me. Put me in the desert, where there is not one blade of grass, and His presence will cheer me. Let me go to sea in the howling tempest, with winds shrieking, the waves lifting their mad hands to the skies, and I will have the eye of God on me. Let me sink. Let my gurgling voice be heard in the waves. Let my body lie down in the caverns of the sea, and still the eye of God will be on my very bones. “If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me” ( Psalm. 139:9–10 ). And in the resurrection day, my every atom will be tracked in its wanderings. The eye of God is everywhere. Providence is universal. God’s eye is on your friends who are far away. If you have beloved ones moving, wherever they go, God will keep them. Wherever you are, whatever your case, God will be with you. His eye is at the wedding, the funeral, the cradle, and the grave. In the battle, God’s eye is looking through the smoke. The revolution of God’s hand is managing the masses who have broken from their rulers. In the earthquake, Jehovah is manifested. In the storm, there is God’s hand tossing the ship, dashing it against the rocks, or saving it from the boisterous waves. In all seasons, always, in all dangers, and in all regions of the earth, there is the hand of God.
Ps Ps139:10 “Even there shall thy hand lead me.”
We could only fly from God by his own power. The Lord would be leading, covering, preserving, sustaining us even when we were fugitives from him.
“And thy right hand shall hold me.”
In the uttermost parts of the sea my arrest would be as certain as at home, God's right hand would there seize and detain the runaway. Should we be commanded on the most distant errand, we may assuredly depend upon the upholding right hand of God as with us in all mercy, wisdom, and power. The exploring missionary in his lonely wanderings is led, in his solitary feebleness he is held. Both the hands of God are with his own servants to sustain them, and against rebels to overthrow them; and in this respect it matters not to what realms they resort, the active energy of God is around them still.
Ps 139:11 “If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me.”
Dense darkness may oppress me, but it cannot shut me out from thee, or thee from me. Thou seest as well without the light as with it, since thou art not dependent upon light, which is thine own creature, for the full exercise of thy perceptions. Moreover, thou art present with me whatever may be the hour; and being present thou discoverest all that I think, or feel, or do. Men are still so foolish as to prefer night and darkness for their evil deeds; but so impossible is it for anything to be hidden from the Lord that they might just as well transgress in broad daylight.
Darkness and light in this agree;
Great God, they're both alike to thee.
Thine hand can pierce thy foes as soon
Through midnight shades as blazing noon.
There is no fathoming His wisdom, or measuring His knowledge. He is infinite in existence (infinite omniscience), in power (infinite omnipotence), and in knowledge, as these three phrases plainly teach us. The gods of the heathen are nothing, but our God filleth all things. And yet how condescending! For this is He who so tenderly nurses the sick souls, and waits to be gracious to sinful men. He brings His boundless power and infinite understanding to bear upon human distress for its assuagement and sanctification. For all these reasons let His praise be great: even could it be infinite, it would not exceed his due. In the building of his church and the salvation of souls, His greatness, power, and wisdom are all displayed: let Him be extolled because of each of these attributes.
“Say not my soul, ‘From whence can God relieve my care?’
Remember that Omnipotence has servants everywhere.
His method is sublime, his heart profoundly kind,
God never is before his time, and never is behind.”
By His omnipotence He rules in the world of mind as well as matter, and all things happen as He ordains.
Commenting on Ps 89:13 "Thou hast a strong arm; Thy hand is mighty, Thy right hand is exalted" Spurgeon writes - Thou hast a mighty arm, omnipotence is Thine in smiting or uplifting; strong is Thy hand, Thy power to create and grasp is beyond conception great; and high is Thy right hand -- thy skill is incomparable, Thy favour ennobling, Thy working glorious. The power of God so impressed the Psalmist that in many ways he repeated the same thought: and indeed the truth of God's omnipotence is so full of refreshment to gracious hearts that it cannot be too much dwelt upon, especially when viewed in connection with his mercy and truth, as in the following verse.
The omnipotent God never promises beyond His power. We frequently intend to act according to our word; however, we find ourselves mastered by overwhelming circumstances, and our promise falls to the ground because we are unable to perform it. This can never be so with the almighty God for His ability is without limit. All things are possible with Him. (According to Promise)
His riches in glory (Php 4:19-note)... means not only the riches of what He has done, but the riches of what He could do; for if He has made hosts of worlds, He could make as many myriads more, and then have but begun. The possibilities of God omnipotent, who shall reckon? But the Lord shall supply all your need according to such glorious possibilities. When a great king gives according to his, riches, then he does not measure out stinted alms to beggars, but he gives like a king, as we say; and if it be some grand festival day, and the king is in his state array, his largesse is on a noble scale. Now, when God is in His glory, bethink you, if you can, what must be the largesse that He distributes,-what the treasures that He brings forth for His own beloved! Now, “according to His riches in glory,” He will supply all your needs. After that, dare you despond? O soul, what insanity is unbelief? What flagrant blasphemy is doubt of the love of God! He must bless us; and, blessed by Him, we must be blest indeed. If He is to supply our needs “according to His riches in glory,” they will be supplied to the full. (Amen!) (His sermon on Philippians 4:19 entitled A New Year's Wish)
When God says, “I will,” his resolution is supported by omnipotence. you say, “I will,” but you cannot do what you have promised. You will is good enough; but you fail because of lack of the means. you say, “I will, yes, I will;” but afterwards you have meekly to say, “I pray thee, take this will for the deed; for I find that I have overshot the mark. I have promised what I am unable to perform.” Now, that can never happen with God. Hath he said, and shall he not do it? Is anything too hard for the Lord, especially anything he promised to perform? Come, then, dear friends, if God be omnipotent, and we know that he is, when he says, “I will,” we dare not doubt it; for eternal power goes forth with the word of his wisdom; and it must, yea, it shall be done. Whatever doubts we might have had, if it were not God’s “I will,” vanish when we come to remember that all things are possible with him. (See sermon - Two "I Wills" in Isaiah 41)
No power, short of the omnipotent energy of the Eternal Spirit, can renew the human heart.
It is a wonderful thing when omnipotence overcomes omniscience, when omnipotent love will not allow omniscience to recollect.
God has strength omnipotent; that strength He can communicate to us, and His promise is that He will do so. He will be the food of our souls and the health of our hearts; thus, He will give us strength. There is no telling how much power God can put into a man. When divine strength comes, human weakness is no more a hindrance.
Everyone who is a man of God has omnipotence as his guardian, and God will sooner empty heaven of angels than leave a saint without defense. Be braver than lions for the right, for God is with you.
IT is a great encouragement to valor to be assured of victory, for then a man goes forth to war in confidence and ventures where else he had been afraid to go. Our warfare is with evil within us and around us, and we ought to be persuaded that we are able to get the victory, and that we shall do so in the name of the Lord Jesus. We are not riding for a fall, but to win; and win we shall. The grace of God in its omnipotence is put forth for the overflow of evil in every form, hence the certainty of triumph.
In this day’s labors or trials say, “The Lord God will help me.” Go forth boldly. Set your face like a flint and resolve that no faintness or shame-facedness shall come near you. If God helps, who can hinder? If you are sure of omnipotent aid, what can be too heavy for you? Begin the day joyously, and let no shade of doubt come between thee and the eternal sunshine.
The treasury of the church is the liberality of God. The power of the church is the omnipotence of Jehovah. The persuasions of the church are the irresistible influences of the Holy Ghost. The destiny of the church is an ultimate conquest over all the sons of men.
There is no greater proof of the omnipotence of God than His longsuffering, for it shows the greatest possible power for God to be able to control Himself, to be able to keep in an anger which naturally must boil, and restrain a fury which else must burn.
Man is perfectly free, and God violates not the human will. Yet he is as much able to rule perfectly free agents as he is to control the atoms of inert matter. It is omnipotence which compels yonder starry orbs to obey the laws which God has made and to travel in their appointed courses. But to my mind it is even more marvelous omnipotence which leaves men free agents and controls not their will, but yet sweetly triumphs over them.
Hell itself does not contain greater monsters of iniquity than you and I might become. Within the magazine of our hearts there is powder enough to destroy us in an instant, if omnipotent grace did not prevent.
Are you fighting with the adversary to-day? Are Satan, the world, and the flesh, all against you? Be not discouraged nor dismayed. Fight on! For God himself is with you; Jehovah Nissi is your banner, and Jehovah Rophi is the healer of your wounds. Fear not, you shall overcome, for who can defeat Omnipotence? Fight on, “looking unto Jesus”; and though long and stern be the conflict, sweet will be the victory, and glorious the promised reward.
The right hand is the place of power. Christ at the right hand of God hath all power in heaven and in earth. Who shall fight against the people who have such power vested in their Captain? O my soul, what can destroy thee if Omnipotence be thy Helper? If the aegis of the Almighty cover thee, what sword can smite thee? Rest thou secure. If Jesus is thine all-prevailing King, and hath trodden thine enemies beneath His feet; if sin, death, and hell are all vanquished by Him, and thou art represented in Him, by no possibility canst thou be destroyed.
OUR unbelief is the greatest hindrance in our way; in fact, there is no other real difficulty as to our spiritual progress and prosperity. The Lord can do everything, but when He makes a rule that according to our faith so shall it be unto us, our unbelief ties the hands of His omnipotence.
Were Omnipotence to stay its power but for a moment, earth would return to earth and ashes to ashes.
When you are in trouble, ask God for help. Ask believing that He is able to give it. Ask expecting that He will bestow it. Do not grieve the Spirit of God with doubts and mistrust. These things will be fiery arrows in your soul to drink away the very life of your strength. However hard the struggle, however difficult the trial, seek the Lord, and seek Him in the confidence He deserves. Depend only on the arm invisible, the arm omnipotent. Be a scholar in the school of faith. Become proficient in the divine art of prayer and praise.
He who knows how to be master of prayer will rule the heart of Christ, and Christ can and will do all things for His people, for the Father has “given all things into his hands” (John 13:3). You can be omnipotent if you know how to pray, omnipotent in all things that glorify God. What does the Word itself say? “Let him take hold of My strength” (Isa. 27:5). Prayer moves the arm that moves the world. Oh, for grace to grasp almighty love in this fashion.
Prayer is a creature’s strength, his very breath and being;
Prayer is the golden key that can open the wicket of mercy;
Prayer is the magic sound that saith to fate, so be it;
Prayer is the slender nerve that moveth the muscles of Omnipotence.
Wherefore, pray, O creature, for many and great are thy wants;
Thy mind, thy conscience, and thy being,
Thy needs commend thee unto prayer,
The cure of all cares, the grand panacea for all pains,
Doubt’s destroyer, ruin’s remedy, the antidote to all anxieties.
(Power in Prayer)
Doth the Creator expect the creature to fulfil his promise for him? No; he who makes the promise ever fulfils it by his own unaided omnipotence. If he speaks, it is done—done by himself. His promises do not depend for their fulfilment upon the co-operation of the puny strength of man.
“Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Ps. 37:3–5). Always expect the unexpected when you are dealing with God. Look to see in God and from God what you never saw before. When you are dealing with Him who is omnipotent, faithful, and true, the things that seem utterly impossible will be those most likely to happen.
He is God indeed who, without reversing the engine or removing a single cog from a wheel, fulfills the desires of His people as they come up before Him. The Lord is so omnipotent that He can work results tantamount to miracles without in the slightest degree suspending any one of His laws. In olden times He did, as it were, stop the machinery of the universe to answer a prayer (see Joshua 10:12–13), but now, with equally godlike glory, He orders events so as to answer believing prayers and yet suspends no natural law. (Power in Prayer)
Spurgeon remarks that...to make worlds, is nothing to Him compared with saving souls. He takes the big hammer of his omnipotence, and brings it down on the anvil of His wisdom, and worlds fly like sparks all over the sky when He is at that work; and He thinks nothing of it. But He rests in His love, and rejoices over His people with singing when He is at work for their salvation. This is the very joy of His heart; it is never hard for Him to set free those who have been in bondage. (Excerpt from Spurgeon's sermon Forgiveness, Freedom, Favor - Deuteronomy 15:2)
In Morning and Evening (December 22 AM)
“I will strengthen thee.” — Isaiah 41:10 God has a strong reserve with which to discharge this engagement; for he is able to do all things. Believer, till thou canst drain dry the ocean of omnipotence, till thou canst break into pieces the towering mountains of almighty strength, thou never needest to fear. Think not that the strength of man shall ever be able to overcome the power of God. Whilst the earth’s huge pillars stand, thou hast enough reason to abide firm in thy faith. The same God who directs the earth in its orbit, who feeds the burning furnace of the sun, and trims the lamps of heaven, has promised to supply thee with daily strength. While He is able to uphold the universe, dream not that he will prove unable to fulfil His own promises. Remember what He did in the days of old, in the former generations. Remember how He spake and it was done; how He commanded, and it stood fast. Shall He that created the world grow weary? He hangeth the world upon nothing; shall He who doth this be unable to support His children? Shall He be unfaithful to His word for want of power? Who is it that restrains the tempest? Doth not He ride upon the wings of the wind, and make the clouds His chariots, and hold the ocean in the hollow of His hand? How can He fail thee? When He has put such a faithful promise as this on record, wilt thou for a moment indulge the thought that he has out promised Himself, and gone beyond His power to fulfil? Ah, no! Thou canst doubt no longer. O Thou Who art my God and my strength, I can believe that this promise shall be fulfilled, for the boundless reservoir of thy grace can never be exhausted, and the overflowing storehouse of thy strength can never be emptied by thy friends or rifled by thine enemies.
At the very time when the Chaldeans surrounded Jerusalem, and when the sword, famine and pestilence had desolated the land, Jeremiah was commanded by God to purchase a field, and have the deed of transfer legally sealed and witnessed. This was a strange purchase for a rational man to make. Prudence could not justify it, for it was buying with scarcely a probability that the person purchasing could ever enjoy the possession. But it was enough for Jeremiah that his God had bidden him, for well he knew that God will be justified of all his children. He reasoned thus:
"Ah, Lord God! thou canst make this plot of ground of use to me; thou canst rid this land of these oppressors; thou canst make me yet sit under my vine and my fig-tree in the heritage which I have bought; for thou didst make the heavens and the earth, and there is nothing too hard for thee."
This gave a majesty to the early saints, that they dared to do at God's command things which carnal reason would condemn. Whether it be a Noah who is to build a ship on dry land, an Abraham who is to offer up his only son, or a Moses who is to despise the treasures of Egypt, or a Joshua who is to besiege Jericho seven days, using no weapons but the blasts of rams' horns, they all act upon God's command, contrary to the dictates of carnal reason; and the Lord gives them a rich reward as the result of their obedient faith. Would to God we had in the religion of these modern times a more potent infusion of this heroic faith in God. If we would venture more upon the naked promise of God, we should enter a world of wonders to which as yet we are strangers. Let Jeremiah's place of confidence be ours-
Nothing is too hard for the God that created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 28:16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.”
The Puritans believed in an ever-present God. Oh to be able to feel God everywhere, in the little as well as the great, in our rising up and our sitting down, in our going out and our coming in. I cannot imagine a life more blessed or a spirit more related to the spirit of the glorified than the mind and heart of the person who lives in God, who knows and feels that God is ever-present.
If you are in personal danger, or in the midst of a storm, or facing illness, and if you hear a voice saying, “Surely the Lord is in this place,” you will be perfectly at rest. The anxious air grows pure if He is there. Lightning cannot strike you, or if it does it will be joy. The storm cannot devour you, nor can the hungry ocean engulf you, or if one does it is happiness if God is there. There is no need to fear. Nervousness is wickedness when “the eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you” (Deut. 33:27).
You may be in great poverty. Your walls may be bare and your furnishings scant. And still you may say, “Surely the Lord is in this place.” Remember the old Christian’s exclamation, “What, all this and my God present with me?” Better to have poverty and feel His presence than to own the world’s riches and not know that He is here. Some of you are in deep affliction. Your difficulties are so great that you do not know where things will end, and you are deeply depressed. But remember, “Surely the Lord is in this place.” Some of you are called to some extraordinary duty and do not feel strong enough. Follow that call, for surely the Lord is in that place. He will help you. His arm will not be far off, so lean on Him. His divine strength is not remote, because “surely the Lord is in this place.
I heard the story of a man, a blasphemer, profane, an atheist, who was converted singularly by a sinful action of his. He had written on a piece of paper, "God is nowhere," and ordered his child to read it, for he would make him an atheist too. The child spelled it, "God is n-o-w h-e-r-e—God is now here." It was a truth instead of a lie, and the arrow pierced the man's own heart.
God is everywhere. His circumference is nowhere, but his center is everywhere
He filled all things by His omnipresence, yet He came and tabernacled on the earth. This is that Jesus, who was born of Mary, yet who existed before all worlds.
The thought of Your omnipresence was once horrible to us. We said, “Whither shall we flee from His presence?” It seemed to make hell itself more dreadful, because we heard, “If I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there.” But now, O Lord, we desire to find You. Our longing is to feel Your presence, and it is heavenly that You are there. The sick bed is soft when You are there. The furnace of affliction grows cool when You are there. The house of prayer when You are present is none other than the house of God, the very gate of heaven.
“The Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he willbe with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not neither be dismayed.”—Deuteronomy 31:8
IN the presence of a great work or a great warfare, here is a text which should help us to buckle on our harness. If Jehovah Himself goes before us, it must be safe to follow. Who can obstruct our progress if the Lord Himself is in the van? Come, brother soldiers, let us make a prompt advance! Why do we hesitate to pass on to victory? Nor is the Lord before us only; He is with us. Above, beneath, around, within is the omnipotent, omnipresent One. In all time, even to eternity, He will be with us even as He has been. How this should nerve our arm! Dash at it boldly, ye soldiers of the cross, for the Lord of hosts is with us!
Psalm 121:3 He who keeps you will not slumber.
God is everywhere, in every place, in every time. His eyes never sleep. His hands never rest. He is in the city traffic as well as the wilderness. Every place feels His footstep. Every time trembles at His presence. It is a great comfort to discern God in all our trials. Do not say that these are evil times—no times are evil when God is there. His presence scatters all that is harmful. Do not think that evil circumstances have happened. They may seem greatly evil, but these clouds will break in blessings on your head. If you can see that your troubles are sent from God, it will change them from wasps that sting to bees that gather honey. A present God! I cannot suggest a theme to make you more courageous. You will find it exceedingly helpful and comforting to discover God in the unimportant things. If we had a God for only great things and not also for little things, we would be miserable. Blessed be our heavenly Father. He that wings an angel, guides a sparrow. He that rolls a world along, molds a tear and marks its track when it trickles from your eye. God is in the motion of a grain of dust as much as He is in the revolutions of the planets. God is in the sparkling of a firefly as truly as He is in the flaming comet. God is in your home, in your bedroom, in your office, and in your shop. Recognize God in every little thing. (Ed note: Spurgeon is not teaching that everything is divine which is the false teaching known as "pantheism")
We should not stand a moment if our keeper were to sleep; we need him by day and by night; not a single step can be safely taken except under his guardian eye. This is a choice stanza in a pilgrim song. God is the convoy and body guard of his saints. When dangers are awake around us we are safe, for our Preserver is awake also, and will not permit us to be taken unawares. No fatigue or exhaustion can cast our God into sleep; his watchful eyes are never closed.
Deut 33:26-27 “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun (upright one), Who rides the heavens to help you, and in His excellency on the clouds. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you”
God surrounds His children. We dwell in Him. These verses show that the Lord is above, around, and underneath His saints.
“Lord , You have been our dwelling place in all generations” (Psalm 90:1).
We are as surrounded by You as the earth is surrounded by the atmosphere:
Within Thy circling power I stand,
On every side I find Thy hand;
Awake, asleep, at home, abroad,
I am surrounded still with God.
The eternal God is your dwelling place and your rest, and underneath are the everlasting arms. A parallel passage is,
“His left hand is under my head, and His right hand embraces me” (Song 2:6).
The soul has come to its resting place in God and is supported by divine strength. The heart has learned to live in Christ Jesus and to lean on Him day and night. We are like Noah’s dove, weary and about to drop into the destroying waters. But Noah puts out his hand, takes her, and draws her into the ark (Ge 8:9). She was safe in the hollow of his hand, held by her savior with a firm but tender grip. The dove found a refuge that surrounded and upheld her. The hands covered her on all sides. The hand of God sustains those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High and abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord,
“He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust” (Psalm 90:1)...
Tested believer, the Lord will be as faithful to you as He has been to me. The Lord will not fail you. Do not be discouraged,
the eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms (Dt 32:27).
You will conquer. You will be delivered, and God will be glorified....God will not take away His hand until He has finished His purpose concerning us....However weak you are, His strength shall be revealed in the everlasting arms, which will not permit you to sink into disaster.
God—the eternal God—is himself our support at all times, and especially when we are sinking in deep trouble. There are seasons when the Christian sinks very low in humiliation . Under a deep sense of his great sinfulness, he is humbled before God till he scarcely knows how to pray, because he appears, in his own sight, so worthless. Well, child of God, remember that when thou art at thy worst and lowest, yet “underneath” thee “are everlasting arms.” Sin may drag thee ever so low, but Christ’s great atonement is still under all. You may have descended into the deeps, but you cannot have fallen so low as “the uttermost”; and to the uttermost he saves. Again, the Christian sometimes sinks very deeply in sore trial from without . Every earthly prop is cut away. What then? Still underneath him are “the everlasting arms.” He cannot fall so deep in distress and affliction but what the covenant grace of an ever-faithful God will still encircle him. The Christian may be sinking under trouble from within through fierce conflict, but even then he cannot be brought so low as to be beyond the reach of the “everlasting arms”—they are underneath him; and, while thus sustained, all Satan’s efforts to harm him avail nothing.
This assurance of support is a comfort to any weary but earnest worker in the service of God. It implies a promise of strength for each day, grace for each need, and power for each duty. And, further, when death comes , the promise shall still hold good. When we stand in the midst of Jordan, we shall be able to say with David, “I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” We shall descend into the grave, but we shall go no lower, for the eternal arms prevent our further fall. All through life, and at its close, we shall be upheld by the “everlasting arms”—arms that neither flag nor lose their strength, for “the everlasting God fainteth not, neither is weary.”
Psalm 90:2 Even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God, or, "thou art, O God."
God was, when nothing else was. He was God when the earth was not a world but a chaos, when mountains were not upheaved, and the generation of the heavens and the earth had not commenced. In this Eternal One there is a safe abode for the successive generations of men. If God himself were of yesterday, he would not be a suitable refuge for mortal men; if he could change and cease to be God he would be but an uncertain dwelling place for his people. The eternal existence of God is here mentioned to set forth, by contrast, the brevity of human life.
He is immutable; he will not change. He is all-wise; he need not change. He is perfect, he cannot change.
The heavenly sun shines on in eternal brightness. You have a possession that is unfading, a promise that is unfailing, and a Protector who is unchanging. Though you live in a faithless world, you dwell in a faithful God.
As for me, I so deeply believe in the immutable love of Jesus that I suppose that if one believer were to be in hell, Christ Himself would not long stay in heaven, but would soon cry, "To the rescue! To the rescue!"
There is love, immortal and unchanging love, in heaven toward you, which will never grow cold. You will be helped. God would sooner cease to be than cease to be faithful. Be of good courage, for today He will strengthen your heart.
In the worst of times our great consolation is God. The very name of our covenant God, “The Lord your God,” is full of good cheer. “The Lord your God” is Jehovah, the Self-existent One, the unchangeable One, the ever-living God, who cannot change or be moved from His everlasting purpose (Heb. 7:24)...All His wisdom, all His foresight, all His power, all His immutability—all of Him is yours.
You have changed, but your God has not. What a mercy, that, though eternal ages roll over His immutability, with Him “there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). God stands firm like the great mountains, and we like clouds melt on the mountains’ peaks. We come and go; we are, and we are not. We are the mists of an hour, but He is the same.
Since God is unchangeable, He will continue to be mindful of us in the future as He has been in the past; and His mindfulness is tantamount to blessing us.
We have an unchanging gospel, which is not today green grass, and tomorrow dry hay, but always the abiding truth of the immutable Jehovah. Opinions alter, but truth certified by God can no more change than the God who uttered it.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift … comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). When the Lord made His promises, He foresaw every possible contingency, and He made His promises with a determination to keep them. Time makes no difference. His promises are as fresh and unfading as when they first delighted His chosen. Fall on your knees and pray, “Lord, this is Your promise. Be gracious and grant it. You do not change. Your Word is not withdrawn. You have never run from your Word, and You never will. Therefore fulfill it, because this gives me reason to hope.”
An unchanging God is the foundation of happiness for the believer.
When God says, “I will,” we should remember that it is sealed with immutability. We change, we are always changing. Made of dust and ashes, we are made of material that continues to change. Hence, we say to-day, “I will,” and we must mean it; but to-morrow we wish that we had never said, “I will,” and the next day we say, “I will not.” Ah! me, the suicides that have come through resting on the word of a man who was false, and proved a traitor to his friend. But God never changes; he is the same yesterday, today, and for ever. The thing that has gone out of his mouth shall never be reversed. When he once says, “I will,” depend on this, he still says, “I will”; and till heaven and earth shall pass away, it will still be, “I will.” He is too perfect to change; for being perfect, he cannot change. A changeable being either changes from a worse to a better, in which case he was not perfect before; or else he changes from a better to a worse, in which case he will not be perfect afterwards; but God being always perfect, is always the same, never withdrawing his word, or altering his purpose. Will you not, therefore, believe the unfailing word of an unchanging God? Can you not hang upon it; and when he says, “I will,” depend on it that is shall be even so? (See full sermon - Two "I Wills" in Isaiah 41)
Habakkuk 3:6 “His ways are everlasting.”
What he hath done at one time, he will do yet again. Man’s ways are variable, but God’s ways are everlasting. There are many reasons for this most comforting truth: among them are the following—the Lord’s ways are the result of wise deliberation; he ordereth all things according to the counsel of his own will. Human action is frequently the hasty result of passion, or fear, and is followed by regret and alteration; but nothing can take the Almighty by surprise, or happen otherwise than he has foreseen.
His ways are the outgrowth of an immutable character, and in them the fixed and settled attributes of God are clearly to be seen. Unless the Eternal One Himself can undergo change, His ways, which are Himself in action, must remain for ever the same. Is He eternally just, gracious, faithful, wise, tender?—then His ways must ever be distinguished for the same excellences.
Beings act according to their nature: when those natures change, their conduct varies also; but since God cannot know the shadow of a turning, His ways will abide everlastingly the same.
Moreover there is no reason from without which could reverse the divine ways, since they are the embodiment of irresistible might. The earth is said, by the prophet, to be cleft with rivers, mountains tremble, the deep lifts up its hands, and sun and moon stand still, when Jehovah marches forth for the salvation of His people. Who can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest thou? But it is not might alone which gives stability; God’s ways are the manifestation of the eternal principles of right, and therefore can never pass away. Wrong breeds decay and involves ruin, but the true and the good have about them a vitality which ages cannot diminish.
This morning let us go to our heavenly Father with confidence, remembering that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for ever, and in Him the Lord is ever gracious to His people.
God lives on, no decay can happen to him, or destruction overtake him. What a joy is this! We may lose our dearest earthly friends, but not our heavenly Friend. Men's days are often suddenly cut short, and at the longest they are but few, but the years of the right hand of the Most High cannot be counted, for they have neither first nor last, beginning nor end. O my soul, rejoice thou in the Lord always, since he is always the same.
Psalm 102:27 Thou art the same.
The essence of God, with all the perfections of his nature, are pronounced the same, without any variation from eternity to eternity. So that the text doth not only assert the eternal duration of God, but his immutability in that duration; his eternity is signified in that expression, "thou shalt endure;" his immutability in this, "thou art the same." To endure, argues indeed this immutability as well as eternity; for what endures is not changed, and what is changed doth not endure.
Spurgeon quotes Stephen Charnock on Psalm 102:27
"But thou art the same," doth more fully signify it. He could not be the same if he could be changed into any other thing than what he is. The Psalmist therefore puts, not thou hast been or shall be, but thou art the same, without any alteration; thou art the same, that is, the same God, the same in essence and nature, the same in will and purpose, thou dost change all other things as thou pleaseth; but thou art immutable in every respect, and receivest no shadow of change, thought never so light and small. The Psalmist here alludes to the name Jehovah, I am, and doth not only ascribe immutability to God, but exclude everything else from partaking in that perfection.
Spurgeon's sermon (sermon #1!) The Immutability of God...
It has been said by some one that "the proper study of mankind is man." I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God's elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, "Behold I am wise." But when we come to this master-science, finding that our plumb-line cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought, that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass's colt; and with the solemn exclamation, "I am but of yesterday, and know nothing." No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God. We shall be obliged to feel—
"Great God, how infinite art thou,
What worthless worms are we!"
But while the subject humbles the mind it also expands it. He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe. He may be a naturalist, boasting of his ability to dissect a beetle, anatomize a fly, or arrange insects and animals in classes with well nigh unutterable names; he may be a geologist, able to discourse of the megatherium and the plesiosaurus, and all kinds of extinct animals; he may imagine that his science, whatever it is, ennobles and enlarges his mind. I dare say it does, but after all, the most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ, and him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity. And, whilst humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatary. Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose your sorrows? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead's deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of grief and sorrow; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead. (Read the full sermon on The Immutability of God)
"My name from the palms of His hands
Eternity will not erase;
Impress'd on His heart it remains,
In marks of indelible grace."
"Trust him, he will ne'er deceive you.
Though you hardly of him deem;
He will never, never leave you,
Nor will let you quite leave him."
Malachi 3:6 "I am the Lord, I change not."
It is well for us that, amidst all the variableness of life, there is One whom change cannot affect; One whose heart can never alter, and on whose brow mutability can make no furrows. All things else have changed-all things are changing. The sun itself grows dim with age; the world is waxing old; the folding up of the worn-out vesture has commenced; the heavens and earth must soon pass away; they shall perish, they shall wax old as doth a garment; but there is One who only hath immortality, of whose years there is no end, and in whose person there is no change. The delight which the mariner feels, when, after having been tossed about for many a day, he steps again upon the solid shore, is the satisfaction of a Christian when, amidst all the changes of this troublous life, he rests the foot of his faith upon this truth-"I am the Lord, I change not."
The stability which the anchor gives the ship when it has at last obtained a hold-fast, is like that which the Christian's hope affords him when it fixes itself upon this glorious truth. With God "is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." What ever his attributes were of old, they are now; his power, his wisdom, his justice, his truth, are alike unchanged. He has ever been the refuge of his people, their stronghold in the day of trouble, and he is their sure Helper still. He is unchanged in his love. He has loved his people with "an everlasting love"; he loves them now as much as ever he did, and when all earthly things shall have melted in the last conflagration, his love will still wear the dew of its youth. Precious is the assurance that he changes not! The wheel of providence revolves, but its axle is eternal love.
"Death and change are busy ever,
Man decays, and ages move;
But his mercy waneth never;
God is wisdom, God is love."
Job 26:14 “Behold, these are the fringes of His ways; And how faint a word we hear of Him! But His mighty thunder, who can understand?”
Your troubles and sorrows are sent according to the Lord’s thoughtful purpose. It is in His fixed intent and thoughtfulness that the real character of an action lies. A person might do you a good turn, but if it were accidental, you would not be overwhelmed with gratitude. When a friend’s kind action is the result of deliberation, you are far more thankful. Remember, there is never a thoughtless action on God’s part. His mind goes with His hand. His heart is in His action. He thinks so much of His people that “the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Lk 12:7). He thinks not only of the great things, but also of the little things that are incidental to the great things, such as the number of hairs on your head. Every affliction is timed and measured. Every comfort is sent with a loving thoughtfulness that makes it precious. The Divine Mind exercises great thoughtfulness toward the Lord’s chosen. Nothing happens as the result of a remorseless fate. All your circumstances are ordered in wisdom by a living, thoughtful, and loving God. Our heavenly Father knows what He is doing. Even when His way appears to be involved and complicated and we cannot untangle the threads, the Lord sees all things clearly. His breadth exceeds the range of our vision; His depth baffles our profoundest thought.
Your way was in the sea, Your path in the great waters, and Your footsteps were not known (Psalm 77:19).
When we are overwhelmed with wonder, we are humbled by the reminder "Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! (Job 26:14).
Psalm 50:12 If I were hungry, I would not tell thee."
Strange conception, a hungry God! Yet if such an absurd ideal could be truth, and if the Lord hungered for meat, he would not ask it of men. He could provide for himself out of his own possessions; he would not turn suppliant to his own creatures. Even under the grossest ideal of God, faith in outward ceremonies is ridiculous. Do men fancy that the Lord needs banners, and music, and incense, and fine linen? If he did, the stars would emblazon his standard, the winds and the waves become his orchestra, ten thousand times ten thousand flowers would breathe forth perfume, the snow should be his alb, the rainbow his girdle, the clouds of light his mantle. O fools and slow of heart, ye worship ye know not what! For the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. What can he need who is owner of all things and able to create as he wills? Thus overwhelmingly does the Lord pour forth his arguments upon formalists.
Psalm 145:3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised.
Worship should be somewhat like its object --Great praise for a great God. There is no part of Jehovah's greatness which is not worthy of great praise. In some beings greatness is but vastness of evil: in Him it is magnificence of goodness. Praise may be said to be great when the song contains great matter, when the hearts producing it are intensely fervent, and when large numbers unite in the grand acclaim. No chorus is too loud, no orchestra too large, no psalm too lofty for the lauding of the Lord of Hosts.
"And His greatness is unsearchable."
"Still His worth your praise exceeds,
Excellent are all His deeds."
Song should be founded upon search; hymns composed without thought are of no worth, and tunes upon which no pains have been spent are beneath the dignity of divine adoration. Yet when we meditate most, and search most studiously we shall still find ourselves surrounded with unknowable wonders, which will baffle all attempts to sing them worthily. The best adoration of the Unsearchable is to own Him to be so, and close the eyes in reverence before the excessive light of His glory. Not all the minds of all the centuries shall suffice to search out the unsearchable riches of God; He is past finding out; and, therefore, His deserved praise is still above and beyond all that we can render to Him.
Spurgeon quotes Thomas Le Blanc on His greatness is unsearchable.
God is so great, that till Christ revealed the Father, Deity was lost in its own infinity to the perception of men. He who attempts to navigate an infinite ocean must come back to his starting point, never being able to cross. So the ancient philosophers, disputing as to the Divine Nature, were baffled by their own ingenuity, they had to confess that they comprehended nothing of God except that he was incomprehensible. Without Christ, men can only find out about God that they can never find him."
Isaiah 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
God has not promised to rescue us according to our time schedule. If it appears that your prayers are unanswered, do not dishonor the Lord with unbelief. Waiting in faith is a high form of worship. In some respects, it excels the adoration of the shining ones above.
God delivers His servants in ways that exercise their faith. He would not have them lacking in faith, for faith is the wealth of the heavenly life. He desires that the trial of faith continues until faith grows strong and comes to full assurance. The Sycamore fig never ripens into sweetness unless it is bruised; the same is true of faith. Tested believer, God will bring you through, but do not expect Him to bring you through in the way that human reason suggests, for that would not develop your faith:
God works in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.
You fearful saints, fresh courage take: the clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.
Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain.
Isaiah 55:9 My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are my ways your ways, says the Lord.
God has a way of His own.
Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God (Job 37:12)
Obey Him, and that will be far more in accord with your position as a finite creature than the vain attempt to map out a course for your Creator. Obey Him and rest assured, for He will not be late in providing.
Psalm 40:5 Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done.
Creation, providence, and redemption, teem with wonders as the sea with life. Our special attention is called by this passage to the marvels which cluster around the cross and flash from it. The accomplished redemption achieves many ends, and compasses a variety of designs; the outgoings of the atonement are not to be reckoned up, the influences of the cross reach further than the beams of the sun. Wonders of grace beyond all enumeration take their rise from the cross; adoption, pardon, justification, and a long chain of godlike miracles of love proceed from it. Note that our Lord here speaks of the Lord as "my God." The man Christ Jesus claimed for himself and us a covenant relationship with Jehovah. Let our interest in our God be ever to us our peculiar treasure. And thy thoughts which are toward us. The divine thoughts march with the divine acts, for it is not according the God's wisdom to act without deliberation and counsel.
All the divine thoughts are good and gracious towards his elect. God's thoughts of love are very many, very wonderful, very practical! Muse on them, dear reader; no sweeter subject ever occupied your mind. God's thoughts of you are many, let not yours be few in return. They cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee. Their sum is so great as to forbid alike analysis and numeration. Human minds fail to measure, or to arrange in order, the Lord's ways and thoughts; and it must always be so, for he hath said,
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)
No maze to lose oneself in like the labyrinth of love. How sweet to be outdone, overcome and overwhelmed by the astonishing grace of the Lord our God! If I would declare and speak of them, and surely this should be the occupation of my tongue at all seasonable opportunities, they are more than can be numbered; far beyond all human arithmetic they are multiplied; thoughts from all eternity, thoughts of my fall, my restoration, my redemption, my conversion, my pardon, my upholding, my perfecting, my eternal reward; the list is too long for writing, and the value of the mercies too great for estimation. Yet, if we cannot show forth all the works of the Lord, let us not make this an excuse for silence; for our Lord, who is in this our best example, often spake of the tender thoughts of the great Father.
Psalm 113:4 The Lord is high above all nations.
Though the Gentiles knew him not, yet was Jehovah their ruler: their false gods were no gods, and their kings were puppets in his hands. The Lord is high above all the learning, judgment, and imagination of heathen sages, and far beyond the pomp and might of the monarchs of the nations. Like the great arch of the firmament, the presence of the Lord spans all the lands where dwell the varied tribes of men, for his providence is universal: this may well excite our confidence and praise.
And his glory above the heavens:
higher than the loftiest part of creation; the clouds are the dust of his feet, and sun, moon, and stars twinkle far below his throne. Even the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him. His glory cannot be set forth by the whole visible universe, nor even by the solemn pomp of angelic armies; it is above all conception and imagination, for He is God -- infinite. Let us above all adore Him who is above all.
The challenge will never be answered. None can be compared with him for an instant; Israel's God is without parallel; our own God in covenant stands alone, and none can be likened unto him. Even those whom he has made like himself in some respects are not like him in godhead, for his divine attributes are many of them incommunicable and inimitable. None of the metaphors and figures by which the Lord is set forth in the Scriptures can give us a complete idea of him; his full resemblance is borne by nothing in earth or in heaven. Only in Jesus is the Godhead seen, but he unhesitatingly declared "he that hath seen me hath seen the Father."
Who dwelleth on high.
In the height of his abode none can be like him. His throne, his whole character, his person, his being, everything about him, is lofty, and infinitely majestic, so that none can be likened unto him. His serene mind abides in the most elevated condition, he is never dishonoured, nor does he stoop from the pure holiness and absolute perfection of his character. His saints are said to dwell on high, and in this they are the reflection of his glory; but as for himself, the height of his dwelling place surpasses thought, and he rises far above the most exalted of his glorified people
"Eternal Power! whose high abode
Becomes the grandeur of a God:
Infinite lengths beyond the bounds
Where stars revolve their little rounds."
"The lowest step around thy seat
Rises too high for Gabriel's feet;
In vain the tall archangel tries
To reach thine height with wondering eyes."
"Lord, what shall earth and ashes do?
We would adore our Maker too;
From sin and dust to thee we cry,
The Great, the Holy, and the High!"
Spurgeon quotes John Gill
Among the gods of the nations as Kimchi; or among the angels of heaven, or among any of the mighty monarchs on earth; there is none like Him for the perfections of His nature, for His wisdom, power, truth, and faithfulness; for His holiness, justice, goodness, grace, and mercy. Who is eternal, unchangeable, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent? Nor for the works of His hands, His works of creation, providence, and grace; none ever did the like. What makes this reflection the more delightful to truly good men is, that this God is their God; and all this is true of our Immanuel, God with us, Who is God over all, and the only Saviour and Redeemer; and there is none in heaven and earth like Him, or to be desired beside Him.
Is there a man here who kicks against divine sovereignty? It is a testing doctrine, and if he does not receive it, it shows that his pride is not out of him.
There is no attribute of God more comforting to his children than the doctrine of divine sovereignty. On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldlings, no truth of which they have made such a football, as the great, stupendous, but yet most certain doctrine of the sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah.
My comments on Spurgeon's excellent devotional on Proverbs 16:33
GOD IS IN CONTROL - In Genesis 50:20 Joseph testifies to God's sovereign control over every circumstance, declaring to his brothers --"And as for you, you meant evil against me, BUT GOD meant it for GOOD in order to (PURPOSE CLAUSE) bring a...bout this present result, to preserve many people alive." Indeed, God is behind the scenes (the "seen") and controls the scenes He is behind, not just in Joseph's life but in all of our lives. In studying the book of Esther we see evil Haman cast lots (pur) which "just happens" to give the Jews an extra 12 months to prepare for their appointed day of annihilation approved by King Xerxes (cf Esther 3:7ff). Haman had not read the Proverb which says "The lot is cast into the lap, BUT (Term of Contrast) its every decision (How many?) is from the LORD (Jehovah)." (Pr 16:33)
Charles Haddon Spurgeon excellent, pithy, practical devotional on Proverbs 16:33 asking "If the disposal of the lot is the Lord’s, whose is the arrangement of our whole life? If the simple casting of a lot is guided by Him, how much more the events of our entire life—especially when we are told by our blessed Saviour: “The very hairs of your head are all numbered: not a sparrow falls to the ground without your Father.” (Mt 10:29, cf Lk 12:6,7) It would bring a holy calm over your mind, dear friend, if you were always to remember this. It would so relieve your mind from anxiety, that you would be the better able to walk in patience, quiet, and cheerfulness as a Christian should. When a man is anxious he cannot pray with faith; when he is troubled about the world, he cannot serve his Master, his thoughts are serving himself. If you would “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” all things would then be added unto you. You are meddling with Christ’s business, and neglecting your own when you fret about your lot and circumstances. You have been trying “providing” work and forgetting that it is yours to obey. Be wise and attend to the OBEYING, and let Christ manage the PROVIDING. Come and survey your Father’s storehouse, and ask whether He will let you starve while He has laid up so great an abundance in His garner (granary-place of storage or safe keeping)? Look at His heart of mercy; see if that can ever prove unkind! Look at His inscrutable wisdom; see if that will ever be at fault. Above all, LOOK UP TO Jesus Christ your Intercessor, and ask yourself, while He pleads (Ro 8:34, Heb 7:25), can your Father deal ungraciously with you? If He remembers even sparrows, will he forget one of the least of His poor children? “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain thee. He will never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (Ps 55:22) (from Morning and Evening)
Play this apropos Twila Paris song - God is in Control
Psalm 135:6 Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.
His will is carried out throughout all space. The king's warrant runs in every portion of the universe. The heathen divided the great domain; but Jupiter does not rule in heaven, nor Neptune on the sea, nor Pluto in the lower regions; Jehovah rules over all. His decree is not defeated, his purpose is not frustrated: in no one point is his good pleasure set aside. The word "whatsoever" is of the widest range and includes all things, and the four words of place which are mentioned comprehend all space; therefore the declaration of the text knows neither limit nor exception. Jehovah works his will: he pleases to do, and he performs the deed. None can stay his hand. How different this from the gods whom the heathen fabled to be subject to all the disappointments, failures, and passions of men! How contrary even to those so called Christian conceptions of God which subordinate him to the will of man, and make his eternal purposes the football of human caprice. Our theology teaches us no such degrading notions of the Eternal as that he can be baffled by man. "His purpose shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure." No region is too high, no abyss too deep, no land too distant, no sea too wide for his omnipotence: his divine pleasure travels post over all the realm of nature, and his behests are obeyed.
Psalm 33:10 . The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought.
While His own will is done, He takes care to anticipate the wilfulness of His enemies. Before they come to action He vanquishes them in the council chamber; and when, well armed with craft, they march to the assault, He frustrates their knaveries, and makes their promising plots to end in nothing. Not only the folly of the heathen, but their wisdom too, shall yield to the power of the cross of Jesus: what a comfort is this to those who have to labour where sophistry, and philosophy, falsely so called, are set in opposition to the truth as it is in Jesus. He maketh the devices of the people of none effect. Their persecutions, slanders, falsehoods, are like puff balls flung against a granite wall -- they produce no result at all; for the Lord overrules the evil, and brings good out of it. The cause of God is never in danger: infernal craft is outwitted by infinite wisdom, and Satanic malice held in check by boundless power.
Psalm 33:11 The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever.
He changes not His purpose, His decree is not frustrated, His designs are accomplished. God has a predestination according to the counsel of His will, and none of the devices of His foes can thwart His decree for a moment. Men's purposes are blown to and from like the thread of the gossamer or the down of the thistle, but the eternal purposes are firmer than the earth. The thoughts of His heart to all generations. Men come and go, sons follow their sires to the grave, but the undisturbed mind of God moves on in unbroken serenity, producing ordained results with unerring certainty. No man can expect his will or plan to be carried out from age to age; the wisdom of one period is the folly of another, but the Lord's wisdom is always wise, and His designs run on from century to century. His power to fulfil His purposes is by no means diminished by the lapse of years. He Who was absolute over Pharaoh in Egypt is not one whit the less today the King of kings and Lord of lords; still do His chariot wheels roll onward in imperial grandeur, none being for a moment able to resist His eternal will.
Isaiah 46:10 I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure’ (Isaiah 46:9 10).
World events are not tangled, confused, or perplexing to God...Jehovah’s power is apparent, from the least to the greatest, for God is in all and rules all. He guides the grain of dust in the March wind and the planets in their immeasurable pathways. He steers each drop of spray beaten back from the face of the rock. He leads the north star (Jer 31:35). God is the dictator of destinies. He appoints both the ideas and the end. He is the King of kings (Rev 19:16), ruling rulers and guiding counselors. He is the same in the crash of battle or in the hush of peace. He is the same in famine or in the joy of an abundant harvest. He is Lord. He does according to His will, not only in heaven but among the inhabitants of this lower world. The storm may rage, but all is well, for our Captain is the governor of storms. He who trod the waves of the Galilean lake is at the helm, and at His command winds and waves are quiet (Mt 14:27). Courage, dear friend. The Lord, the ever-merciful, has appointed every moment of sorrow and every pang of suffering. If He ordains the number ten, it can never rise to eleven, nor should you desire that it shrink to nine.
The Lord’s time is best. The span of your life is measured to a hair’s width. Restless soul, God ordains all, so let the Lord have His way.
Psalm 119:142 Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness.
Having in a previous verse ascribed righteousness to God, he now goes on to declare that that righteousness is unchanging and endures from age to age. This is the joy and glory of the saints, that what God is he always will be, and his mode of procedure towards the sons of men is immutable: having kept his promise, and dealt out justice among his people, he will do so world without end. Both the righteousnesses and the unrighteousnesses of men come to an end, but the righteousness of God is without end.
And thy law is the truth.
As God is love, so his law is the truth, the very essence of truth, truth applied to ethics, truth in action, truth upon the judgment seat. We hear great disputes about, "What is truth?" The holy Scriptures are the only answer to that question. Note, that they are not only true, but the truth itself. We may not say of them that they contain the truth, but that they are the truth: "thy law is the truth." There is nothing false about the law or preceptory part of Scripture. Those who are obedient thereto shall find that they are walking in a way consistent with fact, while those who act contrary thereto are walking in a vain show.
Spurgeon quotes Thomas Manton:
Not only righteous at the first giving out, but righteous in all ages and times; and should we slight this rule that will hold for ever? In the world, new lords, new laws; men vary and change their designs and purposes; privileges granted today may be repealed tomorrow; but this world will hold true for ever. Our justification by Christ is irrevocable; that part of righteousness is everlasting. Be sure you are justified now upon terms of the gospel, and you shall be justified for ever: your forgiveness is an everlasting forgiveness, and your peace is an everlasting peace: "I will remember their sin no more": Jer 31:34. So the other righteousness of sanctification, it is for ever; approve yourselves to God now, and you will approve yourselves at the day of judgment."
Psalm 89:14 Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne.
They are the basis of the divine government, the sphere within which his sovereignty moves. God as a sovereign is never unjust or unwise. He is too holy to be unrighteous, too wise to be mistaken; this is constant matter for joy to the upright in heart....No creature can eventually be unjustly dealt with under his dominion, and his kingdom ruleth over all.
Mercy and truth shall go before thy face.
They are the harbingers and heralds of the Lord; he calls these to the front to deal with guilty and changeful man; he makes them, in the person of the Lord Jesus, to be his ambassadors, and so poor, guilty man is enabled to endure the presence of his righteous Lord. If mercy had not paved the way, the coming of God to any man must have been swift destruction.
Thus has the poet sung the glories of the covenant God. It was meet that before he poured forth his lament he should record his praise, lest his sorrow should seem to have withered his faith. Before we argue our case before the Lord it is most becoming to acknowledge that we know him to be supremely great and good, whatever may be the appearance of his providence; this is such a course as every wise man will take who desires to have an answer of peace in the day of trouble.
Spurgeon quotes John Calvin
As if the Psalmist had said, "The ornaments with which God is invested, instead of being a robe of purple, a diadem, or a sceptre, are, that He is the righteous and impartial judge of the world, a merciful father, and a faithful protector of His people." Earthly kings, from their having nothing in themselves to procure for them authority, and to give them dignity, are under the necessity of borrowing elsewhere what will invest them therewith; but God, having in Himself all sufficiency, and standing in no need of any other helps, exhibits to us the splendour of His own image in His righteousness, mercy, and truth.
Psalm 62:12 Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy.
This tender attribute sweetens the grand thought of his power: the divine strength will not crush us, but will be used for our good. God is so full of mercy that it belongs to him, as if all the mercy in the universe came from God, and still was claimed by him as his possession. His mercy, like his power, endureth for ever, and is ever present in him, ready to be revealed...The constant union of power and mercy in the language of Scripture.
For thou renderest to every man according to his work.
This looks rather like justice than mercy; but if we understand it to mean that God graciously rewards the poor, imperfect works of his people, we see in it a clear display of mercy. May it not also mean that according to the work he allots us is the strength which he renders to us? he is not a hard master; he does not bid us make bricks without straw, but he metes out to us strength equal to our day. In either meaning we have power and mercy blended, and have a double reason for waiting only upon God. Man neither helps us nor rewards us; God will do both. In him power and grace are eternally resident; our faith should therefore patiently hope and quietly wait, for we shall surely see the salvation of God. Deo soli gloria. All glory be to God only.
Psalm 106:44 Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry.
Notwithstanding all these provoking rebellions and detestable enormities the Lord still heard their prayer and pitied them. This is very wonderful, very godlike. One would have thought that the Lord would have shut out their prayer, seeing they had shut their ears against his admonitions; but no, he had a father's heart, and a sight of their sorrows touched his soul, the sound of their cries overcame his heart, and he looked upon them with compassion. His fiercest wrath towards his own people is only a temporary flame, but his love burns on for ever like the light of his own immortality.
Psalm 106:45. And he remembered for them his covenant.
The covenant is the sure foundation of mercy, and when the whole fabric of outward grace manifested in the saints lies in ruins this is the fundamental basis of love which is never moved, and upon it the Lord proceeds to build again a new structure of grace. Covenant mercy is sure as the throne of God.
And repented according to the multitude of his mercies.
He did not carry out the destruction which he had commenced. Speaking after the manner of men he changed his mind, and did not leave them to their enemies to be utterly cut off, because he saw that his covenant would in such a case have been broken. The Lord is so full of grace that he has not only mercy but mercies, yea a multitude of them, and these hive in the covenant and treasure up good for the erring sons of men.
Psalm 116:5 Gracious is the Lord, and righteous.
In hearing prayer the grace and righteousness of Jehovah are both conspicuous. It is a great favour to hear a sinner's prayer, and yet since the Lord has promised to do so, he is not unrighteous to forget his promise and disregard the cries of his people. The combination of grace and righteousness in the dealings of God with his servants can only be explained by remembering the atoning sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. At the cross we see how gracious is the Lord and righteous.
Yea, our God is merciful, or compassionate, tender, pitiful, full of mercy.
We who have accepted him as ours have no doubt as to his mercy, for he would never have been our God if he had not been merciful. See how the attribute of righteousness seems to stand between two guards of love: -- gracious, righteous, merciful. The sword of justice is scabarded in a jewelled sheath of grace.
Spurgeon quotes John Gwyther:
"Mercy is God's darling attribute; and by his infinite wisdom he has enabled mercy to triumph over justice without in any degree violating his honour or his truth. The character of merciful is that by which our God seems to delight in being known. When he proclaimed himself amid terrific grandeur to the children of Israel, it was as "the Lord, the Lord God merciful and gracious, pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin." And such was the impression of this his character on the mind of Jonah that he says to him, "I knew that thou wert a merciful God." These, however, are not mere assertions - - claims made to the character by God on the one hand, and extorted without evidence from man on the other; for in whatever way we look upon God, and examine into his conduct towards his creatures, we perceive it to bear the impression of mercy. Nor can we more exalt the Lord our God than by speaking of his mercy and confiding in it; for our "Lord's delight is in them that fear him, and put their trust in his mercy."
Psalm 17:7 Wondrously show Thy lovingkindness, O Savior of those who take refuge at Thy right hand From those who rise up against them.
What deep depression some of us have had! We have gone to the bottom of the mountains, and the bars of the earth seemed to hold us there. We feel as John Fawcett’s hymn puts it:
My soul, with various tempests tossed,
Her hopes overturned, her projects crossed,
Sees every day new straits attend,
And wonders where the scene will end.
But after just one glimpse of God’s everlasting love, we are near God’s right hand. Pray for this experience: “Show Your marvelous lovingkindness” (Psalm 17:7). He will do it! He will bring you up, out, and through—not necessarily in the way you would like to come, but in the best way.
Trust in the Lord , and do good; dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord , and He shall give you the desires of your heart.Commit your way to the Lord , trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:3–5).
Always expect the unexpected when you are dealing with God. Look to see in God and from God what you never saw before. When you are dealing with Him who is omnipotent, faithful, and true, the things that seem utterly impossible will be those most likely to happen. God grant you grace, dear friend, to use this meditation and these verses as the means of deliverance from deep trouble.
Jer 31:3 Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love."
Sometimes the Lord Jesus tells his Church his love thoughts. "He does not think it enough behind her back to tell it, but in her very presence he says, 'Thou art all fair, my love.' It is true, this is not his ordinary method; he is a wise lover, and knows when to keep back the intimation of love and when to let it out; but there are times when he will make no secret of it; times when he will put it beyond all dispute in the souls of his people" (R. Erskine's Sermons). The Holy Spirit is often pleased, in a most gracious manner, to witness with our spirits of the love of Jesus. He takes of the things of Christ and reveals them unto us. No voice is heard from the clouds, and no vision is seen in the night, but we have a testimony more sure than either of these. If an angel should fly from heaven and inform the saint personally of the Saviour's love to him, the evidence would not be one whit more satisfactory than that which is borne in the heart by the Holy Ghost. Ask those of the Lord's people who have lived the nearest to the gates of heaven, and they will tell you that they have had seasons when the love of Christ towards them has been a fact so clear and sure, that they could no more doubt it than they could question their own existence. Yes, beloved believer, you and I have had times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and then our faith has mounted to the topmost heights of assurance. We have had confidence to lean our heads upon the bosom of our Lord, and we have no more questioned our Master's affection to us than John did when in that blessed posture; nay, nor so much: for the dark question, "Lord, is it I that shall betray thee?" has been put far from us. He has kissed us with the kisses of his mouth, and killed our doubts by the closeness of his embrace. His love has been sweeter than wine to our souls.
Can our heavenly Father be unkind?
Oh give thanks to the Lord , for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 136:1)
His name, His essence, is love, and “His mercy endures forever.”
He is the unchangeable God, the one
“with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (Jas 1:17)
Heirs of heaven, can you believe that God is indifferent to His children?
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Lk 11:13)
Have you ever felt that you would joyfully take your child’s pain to relieve her suffering? Do you think that as a poor, fallen creature you have love and compassion, but that your heavenly Father has none? You may say with Jeremiah,
This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord ’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lam 3:21, 22, 23).
Remember these verses, and know that the Lord cannot be careless about your welfare. The eternal Jehovah loves you and chose you before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4). The snowcapped mountains are newborn babies compared with his love for you. He chose you! He might have passed you by, but He chose you to be His own. Jeremiah says, “
The Lord has appeared of old to me saying, ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you’ ” (Jer 31:3 )
1John 4:8 "He that loveth not knoweth not God."
The distinguishing mark of a Christian is his confidence in the love of Christ, and the yielding of his affections to Christ in return. First, faith sets her seal upon the man by enabling the soul to say with the apostle, "Christ loved me and gave himself for me." Then love gives the countersign, and stamps upon the heart gratitude and love to Jesus in return. "We love him because he first loved us." In those grand old ages, which are the heroic period of the Christian religion, this double mark was clearly to be seen in all believers in Jesus; they were men who knew the love of Christ, and rested upon it as a man leaneth upon a staff whose trustiness he has tried. The love which they felt towards the Lord was not a quiet emotion which they hid within themselves in the secret chamber of their souls, and which they only spake of in their private assemblies when they met on the first day of the week, and sang hymns in honour of Christ Jesus the crucified, but it was a passion with them of such a vehement and all-consuming energy, that it was visible in all their actions, spoke in their common talk, and looked out of their eyes even in their commonest glances. Love to Jesus was a flame which fed upon the core and heart of their being; and, therefore, from its own force burned its way into the outer man, and shone there. Zeal for the glory of King Jesus was the seal and mark of all genuine Christians. Because of their dependence upon Christ's love they dared much, and because of their love to Christ they did much, and it is the same now. The children of God are ruled in their inmost powers by love-the love of Christ constraineth them; they rejoice that divine love is set upon them, they feel it shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto them, and then by force of gratitude they love the Saviour with a pure heart, fervently. My reader, do you love him? Ere you sleep give an honest answer to a weighty question!
Psalm 106:1 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good.
To us needy creatures the goodness of God is the first attribute which excites praise, and that praise takes the form of gratitude. We praise the Lord truly when we give him thanks for what we have received from his goodness. Let us never be slow to return unto the Lord our praise; to thank him is the least we can do -- let us not neglect it.
Spurgeon quotes John Gill
For he is good; essentially, solely and originally; is communicative and diffusive of his goodness; is the author of all good and no evil; and is gracious and merciful and ready to forgive
For his mercy endureth for ever.
Goodness towards sinners assumes the form of mercy, mercy should therefore be a leading note in our song. Since man ceases not to be sinful, it is a great blessing that Jehovah ceases not to be merciful. From age to age the Lord deals graciously with his church, and to every individual in it he is constant and faithful in his grace, even for evermore. In a short space we have here two arguments for praise, "for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever," and these two arguments are themselves praises. The very best language of adoration is that which adoringly in the plainest words sets forth the simple truth with regard to our great Lord. No rhetorical flourishes or poetical hyperboles are needed, the bare facts are sublime poetry, and the narration of them with reverence is the essence of adoration. This first verse is the text of all that which follows; we are now to see how from generation to generation the mercy of God endured to his chosen people
Psalm 145:9 The LORD is good to all.
No one, not even his fiercest enemy, can deny this; for the falsehood would be too barefaced, since the very existence lips which slander him is a proof that it is slander. He allows his enemies to live, he even supplies them with food, and smooths their way with many forts; for them the sun shines as brightly as if they were saints, and the rain waters their fields as plentifully as if they were perfect men. Is not this goodness to all? In our own land the gospel sounds in the ears of all who care to listen; and the Scriptures are within reach of the poorest child. It would be a wanton wresting of Scripture to limit this expression to the elect, as some have tried to do; we rejoice in electing love, but none the less we welcome the glorious truth, "Jehovah is good to all."
And his tender mercies are over all his works.
Not "his new covenant works", as one read it the other day who was wise above that which is written, yea, contrary to that which is written. Kindness is a law of God's universe: the world was planned for happiness; even now that sin has so sadly marred God's handiwork, and introduced elements which were not from the beginning, the Lord has so arranged matters that the fall is broken, the curse is met by an antidote, and the inevitable pain is softened with mitigations. Even in this sin stricken world, under its disordered economy, there are abundant traces of a hand skilful to soothe distress and heal disease. That which makes life bearable is the tenderness of the great Father. This is seen in the creation of an insect as well as in the ruling of nations. The Creator is never rough, the Provider is never forgetful, the Ruler is never cruel. Nothing is done to create disease, no organs are arranged to promote misery; the incoming of sickness and pain is not according to the original design, but a result of our disordered state. Man's body as it left the Maker's hand was neither framed for disease, decay, nor death, neither was the purpose of it discomfort and anguish; far otherwise, it was framed for a joyful activity, and a peaceful enjoyment of God. Jehovah has in great consideration laid up in the world cures for our ailments, and helps for our feebleness; and if many of these have been long in their discovery, it is because it was more for man's benefit to find them out himself, than to have them labeled and placed in order before his eyes. We may be sure of this, that Jehovah has never taken delight in the ills of his creatures, but has sought their good, and laid himself out to alleviate the distresses into which they have guiltily plunged themselves.
The duty of kindness to animals may logically be argued from this verse. Should not the children of God be like their Father in kindness?
Spurgeon quotes Henry Ward Beecher
God's pity is not as some sweet cordial, poured in dainty drops from a golden phial. It is not like the musical water drops of some slender rill, murmuring down the dark side of Mount Sinai. It is wide as the whole scope of heaven. It is abundant as all the air. If one had art to gather up all the golden sunlight that today falls wide over all the continent, falling through every silent hour; and all that is dispersed over the whole ocean, floating from every wave; and all that is poured refulgent over the northern wastes of ice, and along the whole continent of Europe, and the vast outlying Asia and torrid Africa -- if we could in any wise gather up this immense and incalculable outflow and treasure that falls down through the bright hours, and runs in liquid ether about the mountains, and fills all the plains, and sends innumerable rays through every secret place, pouring over and filling every flower, shining down the sides of every blade of grass, resting in glorious humility upon the humblest things -- on sticks, and stones, and pebbles -- on the spider's web, the sparrow's nest, the threshold of the young foxes' hole, where they play and warm themselves -- that rests on the prisoner's window, that strikes radiant beams through the slave's tear, and puts gold upon the widow's weeds, that plates and roofs the city with burnished gold, and goes on in its wild abundance up and down the earth, shining everywhere and always, since the day of primal creation, without faltering, without stint, without waste or diminution; as full, as fresh, as overflowing today as if it were the very first day of its outlay -- if one might gather up this boundless, endless, infinite treasure, to measure it, then might he tell the height, and depth, and unending glory of the pity of God! That light, and the sun, its source, are God's own figure of the immensity and copiousness of his mercy and compassion"
Psalm 25:8 Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.
Here the goodness and rectitude of the divine character are beheld in friendly union; he who would see them thus united in bonds of perfect amity must stand at the foot of the cross and view them blended in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. It is no less true than wonderful that through the atonement the justice of God pleads as strongly as his grace for the salvation of the sinners whom Jesus died to save. Moreover, as a good man naturally endeavours to make others like himself, so will the Lord our God in his compassion bring sinners into the way of holiness and conform them to his own image; thus the goodness of our God leads us to expect the reclaiming of sinful men. We may not conclude from God's goodness that he will save those sinners who continue to wander in their own ways, but we may be assured that he will renew transgressors' hearts and guide them into the way of holiness. Let those who desire to be delivered from sin take comfort from this. God himself will condescend to be the teacher of sinners. What a ragged school is this for God to teach in! God's teaching is practical; he teaches sinners not only the doctrine but the way....Opposing attributes working together. God teaching sinners -- a great wonder.
Spurgeon quotes Stephen Charnock:
As election is the effect of God's sovereignty, our pardon the fruit of his mercy, our knowledge a stream from his wisdom, our strength an impression of his power; so our purity is a beam from his holiness. As the rectitude of the creature at the first creation was the effect of his holiness, so the purity of the creature by a new creation, is a draught of the same perfection. He is called the Holy One of Israel more in Isaiah, that evangelical prophet, in erecting Zion, and forming a people for himself, than in the whole Scripture besides.
Psalm 68:10 O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor.
All God’s gifts are prepared in advance and reserved for needs foreseen. He knows our future needs, and out of the fullness of Christ Jesus He provides from His goodness. You may therefore trust Him for all your future needs. He has infallible foreknowledge about every one of them. He can say to you in any condition, “I knew that you would need this.” A traveler journeying across a desert may pitch the tent only to find that some essentials were not brought along. “Ah,” says the traveler, “I did not foresee this. If I could start this journey over, I would bring these necessary items.” God has foreknowledge of all that His wandering children require. When those needs arise, the supplies are ready. It is goodness that He has prepared for the poor in heart. Goodness, and goodness only.
My grace is sufficient for you (2Cor 12:9-note).
As your days, so shall your strength be (Deuteronomy 33:25).
Is your heart heavy? God knew it would be. The comfort your heart wants is treasured in the sweet assurance of our text. You are poor and needy, but He knows your need and has the exact blessing you require. Plead this promise, believe it, and you will obtain fulfillment. Do you feel that you were never so consciously vile as you are now? The crimson fountain is still open with all its former power to wash your sins away. You will never be in a position where Christ cannot help you. There will never be a bind in your spiritual life where Jesus Christ will not be equal to the emergency. Your history is foreknown and provided for in Jesus Christ.
Psalm 31:5 Into thine hand I commit my spirit.
These living words of David were our Lord's dying words, and have been frequently used by holy men in their hour of departure. Be assured that they are good, choice, wise, and solemn words; we may use them now and in the last tremendous hour. Observe, the object of the good man's solicitude in life and death is not his body or his estate, but his spirit; this is his jewel, his secret treasure; if this be safe, all is well. See what he does with his pearl! He commits it to the hand of his God; it came from him, it is his own, he has aforetime sustained it, he is able to keep it, and it is most fit that he should receive it. All things are safe in Jehovah's hands; what we entrust to the Lord will be secure, both now and in that day of days towards which we are hastening. Without reservation the good man yields himself to his heavenly Father's hand; it is enough for him to be there; it is peaceful living and glorious dying to repose in the care of heaven. At all times we should commit and continue to commit our all to Jesus' sacred care, then, though life may hang on a thread, and adversities may multiply as the sands of the sea, our soul shall dwell at ease, and delight itself in quiet resting places.
Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.
Redemption is a solid base for confidence. David had not known Calvary as we have done, but temporal redemption cheered him; and shall not eternal redemption yet more sweetly console us? Past deliverances are strong pleas for present assistance. What the Lord has done he will do again, for he changes not. He is a God of veracity, faithful to his promises, and gracious to his saints; he will not turn away from his people.
Once more, when God says, “I will,” it will be carried out in faithfulness. He has fulfilled his threatenings. He never idly vapors, and utters words of terror without intending to carry them out; and when it comes to promises, rest you sure that God never flatters the ear, and then deceives the man. If he did not mean to do it, he would not say, “I will.” Eternal faithfulness performs what eternal wisdom declares. Shall God lie? Is he a man as thou art? Will he deceive? Will he falsely promise, and then run from his word? That be far from him, and let it be far from us thus to blaspheme his name by such a thought. Come, then, child of God, thou who knowest him, if he has said, “I will help thee,” he will help thee. If he says, “I will strengthen thee,” he will strengthen thee. Believe God, without the trace of doubt; and “be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” (See full sermon - Two "I Wills" in Isaiah 41)
Lamentations 3:23 “Great is Your faithfulness,”
So great that there has never been an exception. Through the ages, our God has had billions of people to deal with. Yet there does not stand under heaven’s cover, or above the stars, or in hell itself a single soul who can say that God is not absolutely faithful. No item in the list of our divine promises is unfulfilled. God remembers every promise that He ever made, and He honors each in the experience of those who believe in Him. They who trust in the Lord will find Him faithful, not only in great things, but also in little things. His faintest word will stand firm and steadfast. His least truth will never grow dim. The glory of God’s faithfulness is that no sin of ours has ever made Him unfaithful. Unbelief is a damning thing, yet even when we do not believe, God is faithful. His children might rebel. They might wander far from His statutes and be chastened with many stripes. Nevertheless, He says,
My lovingkindness I will not utterly take from him, nor allow My faithfulness to fail. My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips” (Psalm. 89:33–34).
God’s saints may fall under the cloud of His displeasure and provoke the Most High by their transgressions, still He will have compassion on them. He says,
I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins” ( Isaiah 43:25 ).
Thus, no sin of ours can make God unfaithful
Psalm 77:8 Has His lovingkindness ceased forever? Has His promise come to an end forever?
When you are in distress, take a promise and see if it is true. If you have nothing to eat, take this promise:
Bread will be given him, his water will be sure (Isaiah 33:16)
When there is nothing in the kitchen, say, “I will see if God will keep this promise.” If He does, do not forget it. Set it down in your diary, or mark it in your Bible. Be like the old saint who put T and P beside the promises. She told her pastor that it meant tried and proven. When she was again in distress, she believed that God would help. There is a promise that says,
Take that and prove it! When you have, make a mark and say, “This I know is true, for I have proven it.” There is nothing in the world that can confirm faith like proof. “What I want,” said one, “are the facts.” So it is with Christians. We want facts that make us believe. The older you grow, the stronger your faith should be. Then you will have many more facts to buttress your faith and compel your belief in God. When you reach seventy years, what a pile of evidence you will have accumulated if you have kept a record of all of God’s providential goodness and lovingkindness.
I can bear willing testimony to His faithfulness. Not one good thing has failed of all that the Lord has promised! Every example of God’s love should make us believe Him more. As we see the fulfillment of each promise, it compels us to say, “God has kept His promises and will keep them to the end.” The worst is that we forget. Then we will have no more faith than when we started, for we will have forgotten God’s repeated answers. Though He has fulfilled the promises, we have buried them in forgetfulness.
Nahum 1:2 A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; The LORD is avenging and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies.
Believer, your Lord is jealous of your love. Did He choose you? Then He cannot bear that you would choose another. Did He buy you with His own blood? Then He cannot endure that you would think you are your own or that you belong to this world. He loved you with such a love that He would sooner die than you should perish. He cannot endure anything standing between Him and your heart’s love.
He is jealous of your trust. He will not permit you to trust in an arm of flesh. He cannot bear that you should hew broken cisterns that can hold no water (Jer 2:13). When we lean on Him, He is glad. But when we transfer our dependence to another, when we rely on our own wisdom or that of a friend, or worst of all, when we trust in any works of our own, then He is displeased, and He will chasten us to bring us back to Him.
He is also jealous of our company. There should be no one with whom we converse so much as with Jesus. To abide in Him alone is true love. To fellowship with the world, to find sufficient solace in our carnal comforts, is grievous to our jealous Lord. He wants us to abide in Him and enjoy His constant fellowship. Many of the trials He sends are to wean our hearts from the creature and fix them more closely on Him.
Let this jealousy, which should keep us near Christ, also comfort us. If He loves so much as to care about our love, we may be sure that nothing will harm us, for He will protect us from all enemies. May we have grace today to keep our hearts in a sacred purity for our Beloved alone. May we with sacred jealousy shut our eyes to all the fascinations of the world.
Exodus 34:14 See Spurgeon's Sermon on Exodus 34:14 - A Jealous God...Here are his introductory thoughts...
THE passion of jealousy in man is usually exercised in an evil manner, but it is not in itself necessarily sinful. A man may be zealously cautious of his honor, and suspiciously vigilant over another, without deserving blame. All thoughtful persons will agree that there is such a thing as virtuous jealousy. Self-love is, no doubt, the usual foundation of human jealousy, and it may be that Shenstone is right in his definition of it as "the apprehension of superiority," the fear lest another should by any means supplant us; yet the word "jealous" is so near akin to that noble word "zealous," that I am persuaded it must have something good in it. Certainly we learn from Scripture that there is such a thing as a godly jealousy. We find the Apostle Paul declaring to the Corinthian Church, "I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, for I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." He had an earnest, cautious, anxious concern for their holiness, that the Lord Jesus might be honored in their lives. Let it be remembered then, that jealousy, like anger, is not evil in itself, or it could never be ascribed to God; his jealousy is ever a pure and holy flame. The passion of jealousy possesses an intense force, it fires the whole nature, its coals are juniper, which have a most vehement flame; it resides in the lowest depths of the heart, and takes so firm a hold that it remains most deeply rooted until the exciting cause is removed; it wells up from the inmost recesses of the nature, and like a torrent irresistibly sweeps all before it; it stops at nothing, for it is cruel as the grave (Song 8:6), it provokes wrath to the utmost, for it is the rage of a man, therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance (Proverbs 6:34), and it over throws everything in the pursuit of its enemy, for "wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before jealousy?" For all these reasons jealousy is selected as some faint picture of that tender regard which God has for His own Deity, honor, and supremacy, and the holy indignation which he feels towards those who violate his laws, offend his majesty, or impeach his character. Not that God is jealous so as to bring him down to the likeness of men, but that this is the nearest idea we can form of what the Divine Being feels - if it be right to use even that word toward him - when he beholds his throne occupied by false gods, his dignity insulted, and his glory usurped by others. We cannot speak of God except by using figures drawn from his works, or our own emotions; we ought, however, when we use the images, to caution ourselves and those who listen to us, against the idea that the Infinite mind is really to be compassed and described by any metaphors however lofty, or language however weighty. We might not have ventured to use the word, "jealousy" in connection with the Most High, but as we find it so many times in Scripture, let us with solemn awe survey this mysterious display of the Divine mind. Methinks I hear the thundering words of Nahum, "God is jealous and the Lord revengeth, the Lord revengeth and is furious, the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reseryeth wrath for his enemies." My soul be thou humbled before the Lord and tremble at his name!