There come times in the lives of most of God’s children when we have to say that “O my God, my soul is cast down within me,” when we feel that “deep calleth unto deep at the noise of Thy waterspouts: all Thy waves and Thy billows are gone over me.” When we are tired and weary, Satan takes advantage of us and seeks to discourage and depress us, as Amalek smote Israel “when thou wast faint and weary.” When we fail the Lord, even though we know that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” we are nevertheless oftentimes “cast down.” When we are in the midst of adverse and trying circumstances, we are prone to be “cast down” and “disquieted.” Let us remember that we may be “persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” But “why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?” “He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee”; He “forsaketh not His saints.” “Yet the Lord will command His loving-kindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.”
Are you “cast down” and “disquieted”? Do things seem to be all wrong? The God who loves and who saved you Can fill your heart with His song.
No one can be saved unless he comes to the Father by the Son, for “neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved,” and “whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” But the words of our Lord are equally true in our prayer lives, “no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me,” “for through Him we … have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” We have no merit of our own, no matter how spiritual we may be. We must, with Ezra, confess that “I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to Thee, my God.” But, thanks be unto God, “having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,” “let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Our Lord offers our prayers to God with the sweet savor of His own Person and work, and they are accepted for His sake. He said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you,” for “no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”
God hears our prayers for Jesus’ sake, Because of the work He’s done; We may, then, come boldly to Him For the sake of His dear Son.
Is it not sad that many Christians have to be forced to pray? As long as things go well and there is no special pressure or trouble, we so easily forget to “continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” Many are those who, in prosperity and health, have “rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the Most High: therefore He brought down their heart with labor; they fell down, and there was none to help. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses.” How gracious of the Lord to deal thus with His people, after we thus neglect Him and His Word, and thereby bring trouble upon ourselves. But “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.” It is a dangerous thing for the Christian to walk afar off from the Lord and to neglect prayer. “Beware … lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses … and all that thou hast is multiplied,” that then “thou forget not the Lord thy God.”
When all goes well with the Christian, He may see no need to pray, But when hardships and trouble come, Then there is no other way.
It is not the “evildoers” who cause us to fret, to blaze up and be incensed. Our text verse says to “fret not thyself.” We cannot blame our fretting on others, no matter what they do or how evil they are; we are personally responsible for it. And God has provided the remedy for it. “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.” We are not to be incensed, we are not to “fret” over the possessions, the position, the prominence, or the popularity “of evildoers.” Rather, we are to “rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” So “fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked.” Let us, then, not blame our fretting on others or on circumstances. God holds us personally responsible for it. “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil,” for “an angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.” On the other hand, “he that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly,” and “he that is slow to anger is better than the mighty.”
Why should I vainly fret myself When only evil it can bring? His grace is mine to prevent it, So then will I trust and sing.
For every testing and trial that comes to His children, God has a purpose. “For a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations,” and “it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.” The psalmist testified that “before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept Thy word,” and “it is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes.” He further said that “I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are right, and that Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.” God works through tribulations and tears to bring His own into closer fellowship with Himself. “Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn Thou me, and I shall be turned; for Thou art the Lord my God. Surely after that I was turned, I repented.” “Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.” “I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”
A long road and a heavy trial May be your lot here below, But your loving Lord is near you To help you His grace to know.
“A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” Therefore let “no man … be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.” So, “beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” In that soon-coming glory “ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ,” with “no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither … any more pain.”
Tested and tried with pressures, Till it seems you can’t endure, God’s purpose is not to hurt, But to make you clean and pure.
In that coming day when national Israel shall repent and be converted at our Lord’s return to earth, when “there shall come out of Sion the Deliverer,” the Holy Spirit will be unto them “the Spirit of grace and of supplications.” He is that now to all of us who know the Lord Jesus, for He indwells every believer, and “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” He is “the Spirit of grace,” imparting to us “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and enabling us to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus,” and to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” Thus are we “strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” And He, the blessed Holy Spirit, is also “the Spirit of … supplications,” causing us, as we yield to the Lord, to be “praying in the Holy Ghost,” and to be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” And as we “walk in the Spirit,” He will cause us to look on that Pierced One with hearts made contrite by His love and grace.
The Spirit who indwelleth me Is the Spirit of God’s grace, Leading me in supplication, For all who’ve entered the race.
How often, sad to say, we Christians grumble and complain, either thoughtlessly or willfully ignoring the fact that the Lord has permitted the circumstances about which we murmur and complain. “The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: Thou maintainest my lot,” and to murmur and complain is to say, in effect, that God has made a mistake. We may try to keep our murmuring private, as the children of Israel “murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord,” or we may even do it in our hearts, without outward expression, but it is not hidden from Him who “looketh on the heart,” for “Thou understandest my thought afar off.” One of Israel’s anticipated blessings during the millennial reign of our Lord is “that there be no complaining in our streets,” and God’s Word to us now is “neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” So “use hospitality one to another without grudging [murmuring],” and “grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door,” but let there be “rather giving of thanks.”
I need not murmur nor complain; The Lord has determined my lot; He assigneth me my portion, Blessings that cannot be bought.
Imperfect as we all are, we greatly need the exhortation and encouragement of other Christians, for “now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.” So “exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” “Where two or three are gathered together in My name,” said our Lord, “there am I in the midst of them.” By God’s grace, “I am a companion of all them that fear Thee, and of them that keep Thy precepts.” And we need each other’s fellowship and encouragement all the more “as ye see the day approaching.” While we are not looking for signs but for the assembling shout of our Lord, we cannot but see the shadows of things to come, reminding us that “now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light,” thus “redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” “The end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.”
The darkness is almost over; Soon the Morning Star will arise; We shall go to the realms of light, When we meet Him up in the skies.
The Lord does not bless His people in a hit-and-miss fashion; He “daily loadeth us with benefits.” Sometimes He “loadeth us” with things which do not seem to us to be beneficial, but let us never forget that “He that searcheth the hearts” and “weigheth the spirits” “knoweth what things ye have need of,” and “faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.” As the king of Babylon dealt with Jehoiachin, so our Lord Jesus Christ, “the King of kings,” deals with us, with a “continual allowance given him of the king, a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life.” He has promised that “My loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer My faithfulness to fail.” “The Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” Moreover, “as thy days, so shall thy strength be,” and “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” “Daily shall He be praised,” “because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning.”
Day by day His mercies come; He giveth strength for the way; Hour by hour He blesseth us, Giving us His grace each day.