Confidence in God
James Smith, 1861
The life of most Christians, is a life of trial. This always has been the case, and therefore, the Bible, which records the experience of the Lord's people, is such a precious book. We can always find a companion here. One who has traveled the same road, passed through the same afflictions, and felt the same fears.
This is particularly the case with the book of Psalms, which contains the inward experience of some of the most favored of the Lord's people. Here we see how they felt, hear what they said, and learn what purposes they formed.
When Absalom rebelled against his father, Ahithophel turned traitor to his king, and most of the people followed these ungodly leaders, we are introduced to the secret thoughts of the man of God. We hear him complain, predict, and pray — and mark the wise conclusion he formed, as he said, "As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me!" Psalms 55:16. He did call, and the Lord did save him, and it is written for our instruction, encouragement, and comfort. Observe,
His Trial.That which seemed to affect him most in this psalm, was the conduct of his false friend; one who had been very dear unto him — but was now turned his foe, and was with his foes planning his destruction, and giving counsel against him. Such conduct always wounds deeply, it pierces to the very heart.
Here was hope blighted. He expected better things, he looked tor brighter days — but was bitterly disappointed. If the tree had not blossomed, or if the blossoms had not set forth fruit; or if hope had not been raised so high — the disappointment had not been so great. O how painful it is, when with us, as with Job, our hope is removed like a tree! The storm gathers, the tempest roars, the tree is torn up by its roots, and lays prostrate on the ground; so it was with David's hope, and so it is at times with ours. His confidence was destroyed. He had confided in Ahithophel, had opened his whole heart to him, and enjoyed sweet counsel with him — and now he plays him false! Can he ever trust another? Is it any wonder if he says in his haste, "All men are liars!" And have not we suffered from the same cause? Has not the advice of the prophet been applied with strange emphasis, "Trust not in a friend, put no confidence in a guide?"
His prospects were beclouded. He was driven from his palace and his kingdom, and everything looked dark and dreary. The aged monarch, bare-footed, and bare-headed, went up mount Olivet, weeping as he went up, and all the people wept with him. It is painful at any time to have our prospects beclouded — but it is especially so in old age, when we feel unable to do as we have done, and need rest and attention. Let us not set our minds upon anything here below, nor make sure of anything, for our most promising hopes may be blighted, our confidence in our firmest friend may be destroyed, and all our prospects may be suddenly beclouded. Let us notice,
His Purpose."I will call upon God." When creatures fail us, then we must repair to the Lord, who has graciously promised. "I will not fail you, nor forsake you." Here is a sweet view of prayer.
It is calling upon God, to speak with him. This often eases the heart, and relieves the mind. Converse with our Heavenly Father, always does us good. "We can speak freely to him, telling out all that we think, feel, fear, or desire.
It is calling upon God to consult him. He has promised to counsel us, and in all cases of difficulty or perplexity, when we know not what to do, or which way to take — it is our wisdom to call upon God for his counsel. "The Lord gives wisdom." He says, "I will counsel you, my eye shall be upon you."
It is calling upon God to ask a favor of him. He says, "Ask, what shall I give you?" He directs, "Call upon me in the day of trouble." And true prayer is coming to God for favors, asking him for blessings, and those blessings which our circumstances teach us that we need.
It is calling upon God to confide in him. To tell him the secrets of the soul, to entrust him with what we value, to put our entire case into his hand. What a relief, what a comfort have we often found it, to cast our burden on the Lord, to commit ourselves and all our concerns into his hands, and leave them there.
It is calling upon God to get comfort from him. At the throne of grace, often, very often — do we obtain the sweetest comfort, in the midst of our bitterest sorrows, and the sweetest peace, in the midst of tumult and confusion. It is when we call upon God, that he comforts us in all our tribulations, and gives us songs in the night. Mark,
His Assurance."The Lord will save me." Prayer, often inspires us with confidence, and we feel sure that the Lord who listens to our cries, will appear for our deliverance. The Lord will save me — for he is able, being omnipotent; he is disposed — being my father, and possessing a father's heart; he only waits to be asked, for he loves to grant the requests of his children. Yet it may not just now be the best, or the fittest time. When it is, he will save me. He will deliver me in his own way, by the means he is pleased to select, in the time he has wisely appointed, and so as to advance his own glory and praise.
He will deliver me so as to prove the power of prayer — as in the case of Jacob and Hezekiah; so as to display the folly of my foe — as in the case of David and Daniel; so as to prove the truth of his word — as in the case of all his people. Yes, the Lord will save us, in answer to prayer, as his word everywhere testifies.
Let us expect to be tried, for we shall be, and perhaps sharply; yes and often. The Lord tries the righteous. Let us carry all our trials to the Lord, who will look upon them, sanctify them to us, and give us a happy outcome in them all. Let us call upon God for help in trouble, for wisdom to manage trouble, and for an honorable deliverance out of trouble. Let us look for the deliverance we ask, for the Lord loves to be trusted, and to see his children expecting him to be as good as his word. The Lord will save, cost what it may. Though it cost him the life of his dear Son — he would save.
Therefore the apostle's most comforting conclusion, "He who spared not his own Son — but delivered him up for us all; how shall he not with him, also freely give us all things?" The Lord will save for his word's sake, which is, "I will deliver you." He will save for his love's sake, which is stronger than death, as vast as eternity, and as changeless as his glorious nature. He will save for his child's sake, therefore he says, "How shall I give you up?" How can he give up his child, which has cost him so much, which he loves so much, and to whom he has promised so much? He cannot. He cannot. In all times of trouble, of trial, of persecution, and of distress — the purpose of David shall be mine, "As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me."